18 September 2016

Winchester City 4 Truro City 0 (lucky to get nil)

WINCHESTER City’s 4-0 outclassing of National League South outfit Truro might have come as a major shock to the outside world.
But after watching his lowly Southern One South & West charges storm through to the FA Cup third qualifying round with a combination of defensive composure and irresistible attacking play, contented boss Ian Saunders smiled: “We’re capable of that.
“I’ve thought that for a couple of weeks, but this is the first time we’ve had almost everyone available and it’s no coincidence that this was the day it all fell into place.
“We thoroughly deserved the win.
“We defended stoutly and got into dangerous areas.
“Being a bit critical, we could have had one or two more goals.”
Although Truro’s improved second-half performance (it could hardly have been worse) meant Saunders stopped short of calling it a "comfortable" win, there was rarely a moment's doubt that the Citizens would be going through.
Here was a side that, by rights, should have been drained of confidence, labouring third to bottom of the South & West with just one league win to their name.
Yet Winchester took the tie to Truro in scintillating fashion and, come the half-time whistle, were three goals up.
Midfield warrior Jamie Brown had already had a header cleared off the line when Howard Neighbour set up Craig Feeney to arrow a shot into the far corner after 21 minutes.
Seven minutes later, ex-AFC Totton striker Feeney turned menacingly onto the ball some 25 yards out and drove at the Truro defence. His strike proved too hot for Truro keeper Tom McHale and Joe Briggs was handily placed to slot in the rebound.
Feeney was on fire and when Taz Roberts, another star of Winchester’s attacking show, played him through on 37 minutes, the nimble No9 cleverly flicked the ball past the advancing McHale and it crossed the line despite the best efforts of Truro’s on-loan Eastleigh defender Jack Smith.
The second half was a far more even contest with Wincheste r'keeper Lewis Noice forced into a couple of smart saves and sub Matt Evans clearing Rory Fallon’s header off the line.
But the hosts still had their chances and Neighbour made one of them count on 72 minutes, finding the bottom corner with a measured 18-yard strike.
“I wouldn’t say it was a comfortable win,” said a somewhat modest Saunders afterwards. "I felt it was a high-energy, high tempo game between two equally matched sides.
“Lewis Noice had to make a couple of good saves, but you’d expect that against a side who’ve had wins and draws in the Conference South this season.
“But we’d had a real good week’s training and we carried out the game plan to the letter of the law.
“I wouldn’t want to pick a man-of-the-match because everyone played their part.”
Big defender Ross Bottomley caught the eye with a towering performance and he smiled: “We’re there as a team now and I’m pleased for Ian.
“I really like him, I think all the lads do too, and it’s been a bit of a disappointing start to the season where we've lost a few games poorly.

“That wasn’t a reflection on Ian and what he’s doing here and I’m glad we’ve got this result for him.
“His reaction when he came into the dressing room was nice to see. His mouth was very close to his ears on both sides!”

Winchester City: Lewis Noice, Joe Hayward (Matt Evans, 46), Jamie Ford, Jamie Brown, Ross Bottomley, Dan King, Joe Briggs (Sam Wilson, 81), Stuart Green, Craig Feeney, Howard Neighbour, Adam Roberts (Jason Silver, 84). Subs (not used): Ed Dryden, Jack Hannam, Ryan Holloway.
Truro City: Tom McHale, Aaron Bentley, Jamie Richards, Ollie Knowles, Jack Smith, Aaron Pugh, Ryan Brett, Niall Thompson, Andrew Neal, Ben Adelsbury, Cody Cooke (Rory Fallon, 32). Subs (not used): Shane White, Adriano Basso, Les Afful, River Allen.


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