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Downton 1-0 Horndean
Sydenhams (Wessex) Premier League, April 21st 2012
The Robins secured their highest ever finishing position in the Wessex League with a tight victory over Horndean.
The first half brought a number of chances for both teams, with Nic Turpin narrowly missing out, striking the crossbar in the 35th minute.
Danny Finnigan’s arrival in the second half gave more emphasis to Downton’s attacking play, and for long periods the hosts dmonated their opponents. It was the Captain, Josh Thomas, who fittingly got the crucial header from a Vince Rusher cross to give the Robins all three points and a highly deserved sixth place finish in a season where he’s often lead by example.
Downton 2-1 Bournemouth Poppies
Sydenhams (Wessex) Premier League, April 17th 2012
The Robins scored all three goals as they came from a goal down to earn a deserved win over visitors Bournemouth Poppies.
Manager Jeff Softley opted to go with the team that won against Romsey the previous Saturday, despite having a number of players back from injury, holiday and suspension.
Downton started well, but fell behind when Matt Palmer put through his own net after 18 minutes of play.
There were numerous chances for the Robins to draw level, with play dominated by the impressive Declan McGregor, but he had to wait for a 41st minute penalty to score the deserved equaliser.
The second half saw a number of further chances for the Robins, but it was a contender for goal of the season that sealed all three points. Harvey Coker, still only 18 and in his first season with the Robins, thumped in an unstoppable shot in the 77th minute, meaning that Downton consolidated their position in 6th place – one more win from the final two home games and it will mean that 6th place in the league is guaranteed.
Round up - March / April
A round up of late March and early April games…
In our last home hame, Downton dropped rare points at home to a resurgent Fareham team. Downton had managed to beat the visitors on two previous occassions, first in the FA Vase back in September and then in the league last December. However, despite a number of chances, the Robins went down 2-0 to goals in both halves.
A run of 4 away games saw a return of just three points, which came at Brading Town in a midweek game, with goals from Declan McGregor and Josh Thomas securing the win. However, the week before the Robins had fallen 3-1 to Moneyfields, with McGregor again scoring the only goal, and the two games following didn’t improve the Robins fortunes either.
First off, the lost to struggling Hayling United 2-1, Declan once more getting the consolation goal, and then a midweek trip to Hamworthy resulted in a poor 3-1 loss, with the hosts even netting an own-goal. This resulted in Hamworthy climbing above the Robins into sixth.
A weekend visit to Romsey helped the Robins halt the slide, though, with Vinny Rusher’s goal being the difference between the two teams, putting Downton back in 7th, 1 point behind Hamworthy but with two games in hand. Two wins for Downton would guarantee them 6th place in the Premier, their highest league position attained in the fifth step.
Downton 2-0 Pewsey Vale
Tuesday 20th March, Salisbury Hospital Cup
Downton progressed to the semi-finals of the Hospital Cup at the expense of last year’s victors, Pewsey Vale.
Both goals were scored for the Robins in the first half, with Vinney Rusher and Danny Finnigan ensuring there was no repeat of the shock victory for Pewsey over Downton from last year’s final.
The Robins will face Bemerton Heath Harlequins or Shrewton in the semi final, with the date yet to be confirmed.
Lymington 0-1 Downton
Saturday 17th March, Sydenhams Football League (Wessex) Premier Division
Downton made it six wins in a row, lifting themselves up to sixth in the Sydenhams Football League (Wessex) Premier, with a hard fought win over Lymington Town.
With St Patrick’s Day celebrations looming, it was apt that Robins’ very own Irish superstar, Declan McGregor, scored the only goal of the game, pouncing on a loose ball after good work from fellow striker Nic Turpin.
It was also Downton’s 100th goal of the campaign – a great return in a season that’s met the highest of expectations.
Downton 2-1 Blackfield & Langley
Saturday 10th March, Sydenhams Football League (Wessex) Premier Division
Downton gained revenge for an early season 5-1 drubbing when they came from behind to take all three points against Blackfield & Langley.
Despite dominating much of the possession early on, it was the visitors who took the lead and managed to reach half-time without reply.
However, two early second half goals reversed fortunes for the Robins. First, leading scorer Nic Turpin coolly brought the hosts back on level terms before Danny Urry took advantage of a defensive mix-up to put Downton ahead.
Debutant Jack Vallis, recently loaned from Eastleigh had an excellent debut as he covered for the suspended Ben Smith, while Jamie Waters made a claim for a starting place going forward with another solid display.
Match Round Up - Feb/March
A round up of late February and early March games…
Home games remain at a premium, so here’s a round up of the Robins on their travels in the last month.
A 2-0 win over Laverstock & Ford in late February, despite a depleted team, was just reward for Downton’s hard work. Goals from Vinny Rusher and Danny Finnigan ensured another 3 points for the Robins, completing a double this season over their close neighbours. The only blot was yet another sending off for Ben Smith, adjudged to have struck out at an opponent. Smith’s previous red card against Winchester was rescinded, but this still means a lengthy spell on the sidelines for the Downton defender.
Following that, the Robins traveled to Fawley where they recorded an impressive 3-0 win. Goals from the returning Declan McGregor and Danny Finnigan put the Robins up 2-0 at half time. A sensational goal from Nic Turpin – certainly up there for goal of the season – put Downton three up, which is how it finished.
Just three days later, the Robins found themselves back on the Isle of Wight against a resurgent Newport team. With the reserves also playing that evening, Downton were only able to take a handful of subs which almost proved costly with Mark Keogh coming off injured with a calf strain. The hosts were 2-1 up at half time, with Danny Finnigan getting Downton’s sole goal. The game was then turned on its head with two goals from the prolific Nic Turpin half way through the second half. The hosts fought back to make it 3-3 before Ben Smith, so often the villain of the piece in the last few weeks, first scored to make it 4-3 to the Robins before clearing a shot off the line that would have surely dropped two points. As it was, Downton came out on top with all three points, and now sit in 7th position in the Sydenhams Football League (Wessex) Premier, with two games on hand against Romsey, who are 2 points ahead.
A huge night for the Robins then took place as they played Christchurch, at Hamworthy’s ground, in the semi-finals of the Wessex Cup. Despite what can only be described as a heroic display, Downton lost 2-1, with Vinny Rusher again notching a goal for the Robins. A disappointing result but it's fair to say that the Robins had the vast majority of play and should've won by a hatful.
Match Round up - January/February
A round up of late January and early February games…
With no home games in the past month, here’s a full round up of how Downton have fared in both cup and league action!
Having been beaten in the Wiltshire Cup by Calne Town in the rearranged game – doubly painful, due to the Robins being 2-0 up at half time in the original game - Downton made sure that they didn’t suffer the same fate in the Wessex Cup, beating Newport (IOW) 4-2 in a midweek away fixture. This sees the Robins through to the semi-final in a Cup they’ve yet to win. They are drawn away to Christchurch on Tuesday March 6th in what should be an exciting encounter. The winners will play either Bournemouth Poppies, Brockenhurst or Alton Town in the final.
The league form has suffered with a number of games against top table teams – although the Robins have generally performed well in all, with a combination of good opposition, avoidable sending-offs and a bit of misfortune meaning that there’s been only one win in 5 league games. This came against Romsey Town in the last home game to be played at Wick Lane, all the way back on 21st January! The score was 3-1, with goals from Declan McGregor and Danny Urry.
Other than that, it’s been a barren spell for Downton. Following on from a 2-1 loss against Bemerton Heath Harlequins – with Nick Turpin grabbig the Robins only goal – and a home defeat against Winchester, the away fixture came around very quickly, with the Robins going down 2-0 as well as once more going down to 9 men, Danny Finnigan and Ben Smith being sent off. Unfortunately, that was Smith’s second red card in as many games, having been given his marching orders at Totton & Eling where, despite leading through an early Vince Rusher strike, Downton eventually lost 4-2, the second goal coming from Urry.
Despite the weather having had an impact on continuity for the Robins – only six games have been played since the turn of the year – and tonight being the only home game for another 3 weeks, Downton still sit comfortably in the top half of the league and can start planning for another season in the top division next year.
Downton 3-1 Romsey
Saturday January 21st Sydenhams Football League (Wessex)
Downton got back to winning ways, putting in a fine performance after they overcame Romsey to move into seventh position.
With Declan McGregor returning to the side after missing the Winchester game through suspension, the Robins looked likely to score from the start, with a handful of chances being missed before striker McGregor notched the opener after 23 minutes.
Despite a number of further chances for both teams, including what looked like a sure penalty for the Robins being turned down by the referee, McGregor’s goal was the only one right up until the 82nd minute when the visitors, after constant pressure, finally managed to grab the equalizer.
Downton’s response, though, was swift and effective, Danny Urry grabbing their second in the 85th minute and McGregor striking home a penalty in injury time.
Downton 0-2 Winchester City
Saturday January 14th Wessex Premier League
The Robins faced top opposition again on Saturday, succumbing to a highly organized and strong Winchester City side, but not before giving the table toppers a scare or two along the way.
With Declan McGregor missing through suspension and Matt Holmes rested through injury, it was left to leading scorer Nic Turpin to lead the line, while captain Josh Thomas and defensive partner Ben Smith were generally top class throughout.
With the scores tied at half time, Downton’s gutsy performance looked like it may well be rewarded, especially with enough quality on the field to grab a goal. However, it was the visitors who benefited from a slice of fortune, earning themselves a penalty which custodian Charlie Aldridge could do little about.
As the Robins pressed for an equalizer – Danny Urry causing a great deal of anxiety for the visitors throughout – it was somewhat inevitable that there would be further chances for the visitors and so it proved to be, with their main striker taking advantage to put the league leaders two goals up and pretty much out of sight.
As with the loss against title-chasing Bemerton Heath Harlequins, there remained a great deal of positives for Downton to take from the game. Still well placed in the top ten and with games in hand, a top six finish is still well within their reach, and with players still due to come back, it will certainly be interesting to see how Downton fare in the return match against Winchester.
Downton 2-2 Bemerton Heath Harlequins
Tuesday January 3rd 2012, Wessex Premier League
Downton’s first game of 2012 saw them visit local rivals Bemerton Heath Harlequins, and can feel unlucky not to have got something out of the game.
The hosts scored two goals in the first half and, in truth, having had the ball in the net a third time, could have seen their lead extended during the first 45 minutes.
However, a strong talk at half time saw the Robins come out firing on all cylinders. Nic Turpin thrashed home a great goal after 60 mintues to put Downton right back in to contention and, as the Harlequins had dominated the first half, so Dowton dominated the second. There were chances for Declan McGregor and striking partner Turpin, including a number of close off side decisions, but in the end, the Robins started the year with a loss from which they can still draw a great deal of positives and highlights.
Downton 2-1 Hamworthy
Tuesday December 27th 2011, Wessex Premier League
Downton extended their unbeaten home run to 15 games with a win over Hamworthy United, leapfrogging them in the league in the process.
It was the visitors that had the opportunity to open the scoring, Charlie Aldridge saving well from the spot, leaving leading scorer Nic Turpin to put the Robins ahead on the 20th minute with his 15th league goal of the season.
Hamworthy struck back later in the first half with a fine header, leaving the game tied at half-time.
The visitors found themselves down to 10 men for the last 30 minutes following a sending off, and Vinny Rusher made sure that Downton took full advantage, with his deflected free kick giving the Robins all three points and extending their unbeaten home run to 15 games.
New Milton 0-4 Downton FC
Saturday December 17th 2011, Wessex Premier League
Downton continued their fine form with a convincing win over a resurgent New Milton.
The Robins, now very much secured in the top half of the table, had a number of chances to go ahead in the first half, with only Danny Finnigan’s goal to show despite their dominance. Declan McGregor also had a penalty saved in the opening 45 minutes.
The Robins quickly got back into gear in the second half, with Skipper Josh Thomas latching on to Vinny Rusher’s corner, before Nic Turpin kept his prolific run going by grabbing two great goals late on, lifting him to 20 for the season.
A great win, and the scoreline very much reflected Downton’s dominance.
Downton’s next opponents, Hamworthy, sit 3 points clear in 6th place, having played 4 games more. A festive win for the Robins would allow them to leapfrog their bank holiday opponents.
GE Hamble 1-2 Downton FC
Tuesday December 6th 2011, Wessex League Cup
Downton pulled off a great win against GE Hamble to put themselves in with a shout of real progression in the Wessex League Cup.
In the absence of manager Jeff Softley, it was left to assistant manager Matt Holmes, alongside Rae Hughes and Mitch Blake, to mastermind a win over opponents that had twice beaten the Robins this season.
It initially looked to be a tough ask for the stand-in management team, with Vinny Rusher first missing a second-half penalty and then Hamble taking the lead shortly after.
However, with a strong stance taken by Holmes and team, Rusher soon made amends for his miss, leveling the score with a well-taken goal, and then Craig Lewis reacting well to a shuffling of the side to grab the winner and avenge the previous losses suffered by the Robins.
Fareham Town 1-2 Downton FC
Saturday December 3rd 2011, Wessex Premier League
Downton secured a last gasp win over Fareham to notch up their second away win of the season and consolidate their top half position.
Declan McGregor scored an early goal for the Robins with a brave header in the sixth minute. Fareham, somewhat against the run of play, pegged Downton back 10 minutes later, and the game seemed destined for a draw.
However, in the third minute of injury time, a great cross by Paul Gulliver was met by the marauding Ben Smith to give the Robins all three points and move them up to 8th position.
Bournemouth Poppies 0-1 Downton FC
Tuesday November 29th, Wessex Premier League
Downton managed to get their first away win of the season with a hard fought win over Bournemouth Poppies.
Danny Finnigan’s sixth minute goal was enough to separate the two sides, created following good work by new signing Danny Urry.
It was Downton’s first away win of the season, ith their home form ensuring that they have had a great start and continue to fight it out in the top half of the table.
Downton 3-1 Newport IOW
Saturday 26th November, 2011, Wessex Premier League
Downton continued their winning ways as they returned to league action against Newport (IOW) on Saturday.
Downton came out with a slightly changed side, Danny Finnigan filling in for Ben Smith, off with illness, while Joey Dorrington and Matt Holmes made up the central midfield pairing.
It was the Islanders who kicked off the scoring, putting themselves one-up with a well-taken goal in the 25th minute. Despite a small handful of chances for the hosts, that’s how it remained at half time.
The team talk appeared to insire the Robins, and they came out firing on all cylinders.
Nic Turpin, leading scorer this season, bravely headed in from Craig Lewis’ pinpoint cross on the 48th minute and, from thereon in, the game was dominated by the Robins. However, it took until the 80th minute when the home team were given a stone-wwall penalty which Declan McGregor finished confidently.
There was still time for a cameo from substitute Danny Urry, just recently signed, to cap his debut appearance with his first goal for the Robins in the last minute.
Downton 2-1 Blackfield & Langley
Tuesday November 22nd 2011, Wessex League Cup
The Robins put their recent FA Vase woes behind them as they defeated fellow Premier league opponents, Blackfield & Langley, to progress in the Wessex league Cup.
It was the visitors who took an early lead, inside of 60 seconds, but this season’s leading goalscorer, Nic Turpin, scored a cracking goal to ensure that the teams went in one apiece at half time.
Danny Finnigan was the match winner, pouncing on the ball in the penalty area to ensure that Downton reached the third round and hoping to go at least one stage or so further than last season, when the Robins went out to Bournemouth Poppies in the fourth round.
The Robins have been drawn away to GE Hamble in the next round of the Cup.
Barnstaple Town 3-2 Downton
Saturday November 19th 2011, FA Vase
Downton suffered a heart-breaking exit from the FA Vase, losing 3-2 away at north Devon side Barnstaple Town.
Having dominated the game for long periods, the Robins will reflect that this was a game they could and should have won.
Trailing 1-0 at the break to Barnstaple's only chance of the opening 45 minutes – tucked away by Stan Paxton, Downton were level inside 35 seconds of the restart – Matt Holmes' sublime strike providing the perfect start to the second half.
However, chances to take the lead went begging and Downton paid the price when the hosts proved more clinical in front of goal. Two Billy Hopcroft goals against the run of play on 63 and 84 minutes, put the tie beyond the reach of the Robins.
Declan McGregor scored his 12th goal of the season in time added on to reduce the arrears.
Downton 2-1 Westbury United
Saturday November 12th 2011, Wiltshire Senior Cup
The Robins earned a place in the last eight of the county competition with a 2-1 home win against Westbury United.
After a goalless first half, Craig Lewis cut in from the left to strike the opening goal – his fourth of the campaign. The Toolstation Western League side levelled courtesy of a classy Beau Blakeman effort.
However, a stunning Vince Rusher strike, direct from a free kick, booked the hosts' quarter-final berth.
A home tie with Calne Town, FC Sanford or Trowbridge Town now awaits.
Downton 1-1 New Milton Town
Saturday November 5th 2011, Wessex Premier League
The Robins were held at home by a tenacious New Milton side whose performance belied their league position.
Downton, without Vince Rusher and with Nic Turpin starting on the bench, took the lead early in the first half, following a clear handball, Declan McGregor scoring with ease to put the Robins ahead.
Following that, there were plenty of chances for the home side to extend the lead, with McGregor again going close and opportunities falling to both Ben Smith and Craig Lewis.
With the scoreline only 1-0 at half time, it was always possible that New Milton, rejuvenated recently under new manager Glen Burnett, could grab an equalizer and so it proved, with a stunning free kick 30 yards out in the 72nd minute.
The Robins pushed for an equalizer, introducing leading scorer Turpin from the bench, but to no avail. On balance, the right result that still leaves the Robins in the top half of the table.
Downton 6-1 Brading Town
Saturday October 28th 2011, Wessex Premier League
Despite missing several key players, Downton trounced mid-table opposition Brading Town, lifting the Robins into the top ten in the league.
The game certainly didn’t appear to be set for a goal feast, with the first half limited on chances for both teams. Declan McGregor went close for the Robins with a shot that whistled past the post and, at the other end, skipper Josh Thomas and his well-marshalled defence prevented any real danger to Downton’s goal.
The floodgates finally opened in the 57th minute, with last season’s top goalscorer McGregor finding the back of the net. He followed this up with his second a few minutes later and despite Brading Town threatening a come back with a well taken goal, the Robins were able to call on the talents of Vince Rusher, back from injury but on the bench, to start to put the game beyond the visitors.
It was Rusher who scored the 3rd, following a brilliant turn and pin-point strike into the bottom corner and then just one minute later, Josh Thomas thundered in following a glorious cross from Rusher.
There was even time for a Charlie Aldridge cameo, making a fine save from a penalty given away when Ben Smith handled in the box.
Following this, it was all about how many more Downton could put away – first Craig Lewis and then the hard working Danny Finnigan both finding the net, giving the Robins a comfortable win.
Now in 9th position in the league, with only goal difference separating them from 7th spot, the Robins face strugglers New Milton Town with a great deal of confidence – following that, it’s two weeks of cup games for Downton, first at home to Westbury in the Wessex League Cup and then away to Barnstaple Town in the 2nd round of the FA Vase.
Downton 2-1 Alton Town
Tuesday 25th October 2011, Wessex Premier League
Downton returned to winning ways in the league with a hard-fought and deserved win over Alton Town.
Ben Smith opened the scoring in the early stages of the first half, getting the deftest of touches to deflect Craig Lewis’ long-range shot past the Alton keeper.
Declan McGregor followed that with his 8th goal of the season, squeezing the ball under the onrushing Alton keeper.
The goal of the game was scored by the visitors, Sam Knight hitting a cracking shot past the otherwise indomitable Charlie Aldridge in the 42nd minute, putting a different spin on the half-time team talk.
With Matt Holmes thrown into the fray in the 2nd half, Downton looked more assured and while chances were at a premium, the home team certainly deserved the points as they looked for further goals to tie up the game.
Downton 3-0 Fareham Town
Saturday 22nd October 2011, FA Vase
Downton produced one of their finest performances of the season to overcome a well-organised Fareham team.
Nic Turpin opened the scoring with one of the goals of the season, cracking in a fine left-foot shot from 25 yards, giving the opposition keeper no chance as the ball smashed the back of the net. Declan McGregor had the chance to double the lead but saw his penalty kick saved – however, it was even more surprising when none other than Matt Holmes scored his first goal of his career (more or less…) with a stunning free kick from just outside the penalty area, curling the ball into the far corner.
Fareham found themselves up against a resolute defence, lead by Josh Thomas and ably assisted by Ben Smith throughout. Chances were kept to a bear minimum and even when the visitors did get one of a small number of chances, they found keeper Charlie Aldridge up to the task.
It was Downton, though, who looked the most likely to score again but the Robins had to wait until the final minutes for sub, Ben Halski, back from injury, to hit a tremendous 35 yarder past a despairing keeper.
Just as with last season, Downton now find themselves in the 2nd round of the FA Vase and while league survival no doubt remains the big focus, there’s no doubt that many are looking forward to Monday’s draw to see who the Robins get in the next round.
GE Hamble 2-1 Downton FC
Tuesday October 18 2011, Wessex Premier League
Downton once again found themselves losing to high-flying GE Hamble despite having the best part of the play.
Vince Rusher capped a great performance by coring yet another classy individual goal, finding the net from outside the box. And with the Robins remaining one-up at half time, the game appeared to be there for the visitors to gain a deserved win.
However, two errors in the second half saw all three points go to the home team – the first in the 70th minute, and the second goal coming seconds before the end. Even so, Ollie Hoare managed to find the net soon after, only for the goal to be disallowed for a controversial offside decision.
While Downton left without any points, there were many positives to take from the game, not least the performances of the central defensive combination of Ben Smith and Josh Thomas.
Downton 1-1 Christchurch
Saturday October 15 2011, Wessex Premier League
Downton fought back from a goal and a man down to gain a valualble point against high-flying Christchurch.
In a hard fought affair, both teams had opportunities to score early on, although the hosts lost both Paul Gulliver and top scorer Nic Turpin before half-time to injuries in separate incidents.
It was Christchurch who put themselves in front on the hour mark after the Robins had squandered a handful of chances, but debutant Dan Telfer put Downton level with a well taken goal 15 minutes from the end.
The Robins, fresh from a morale boosting win on Tuesday, secured a well-deserverd draw which saw them consolidate their league position, sitting mid-table in 12th position.
Downton 3-2 Alresford Town
Tuesday October 11 2011, Wessex Premier League
Another cracking encounter at Wick Lane saw the Robins claim all three points thanks to top scorer Nic Turpin’s hat-trick.
Downton found themselves behind in the 6th minute following a defensive lapse, but took full control of a game in which they hit the woodwork no less than five times, resulting in crowd mutterings of “one of those days”. Joshn Thomas, Vince Rusher and Joe Dorrington all hitting the post or bar before Turpin’s clever lob put them back on level terms 10 minutes into the second half.
Turpin’s pressure on a backpass lead to a miskick by the visitor’s keeper in the 58th minute, giving him the simplest of taps in and putting Downton ahead.
However, despite all the pressure, Alresford drew level 2 minutes later, and then, in the 74th minute, won a penalty following a handball by the skipper, Thomas. However, unlike in the reverse fixture, Charlie Aldridge was this time equal to the spot kick, making a fine one handed save.
Craig Lewis entered the fray shortly after and it was his cross in the 84th minute that was met by Turpin to gain all three point for the Robins and move them up to a respectable 11th place in the table.
Blackfield & Langley 5-1 Downton FC
Saturday 8th October 2011, Wessex Premier League
Downton suffered a disappointing defeat against lower-table opposition Blackfield & Langley.
The game started brightly, with Ben Smith converting in the 5th minute to put the Robins 1-0 up. However, the hosts soon asserted themselves, grabbing three goals, the second in highly contentious circumstances following a shove on keeper Charlie Aldridge, all before the break.
Downton manager Jeff Softley made two changes at half time, bringing Danny Finnigan and Matt Palmer on, which gave the Robins a different shape, creating more opportunities, but it was still the home team who grabbed two more goals, first a penalty which was originally saved by Aldridge before being snapped up in the follow-up, and then a shot converted at the near post.
The Robins slipped down to 16th as a result but will look to put things back on track with their home game against Alresford Town this coming Tuesday.
Downton FC 2-0 Moneyfields
Saturday 1st October 2011, Wessex Premier League
The Robins' recent good form continued with an impressive home win over high-flying Moneyfields.
The first half was evenly matched, with both sides looking capable of scoring on the break. Olly Hoare came in for the absent Josh Thomas, and formed a formidable partnership with Ben Smith, limiting the visitor's chances to long distance shots. Goalkeeper Charlie Aldridge had one of his finest performances thus far of the season when the visitors did break through, showing safe hands and commanding his area well.
As so often has been the case this season, it was Declan McGregor and Nic Turpin combining to find the opener, the visiting keeper only managing to parry McGregor's shot into Turpin's path for the latter to grab his 11th goal of the season. It soon became 12, with Turpin grabbing Downton's second of the game with a fine individual effort, juggling the ball around the opposition's last man and smashing it past the keeper.
One week has put a different perspective on Downton's season, with the Robins now sitting in 12th and looking forward to an away trip to Blackfield & Langley next Saturday.
Downton 5-4 Totton & Eling
Tuesday 27th September 2011, Wessex Premier League
Downton notched up their first win since bank holiday Monday in an enthralling encounter with Totton & Eling.
Declan McGregor got the scoring off to a start in the 13th minute, slotting home a well taken goal after Nic Turpin’s intelligent pass. Turpin then helped himself to a tap in following great work by Craig Lewis down the right.
The Robins seemed to be sailing and could’ve gone further in front, but it was Totton & Eling who struck back just before half time, putting a slightly different perspective on the half time discussions.
The visitors came out firing on all cylinders in the second half, and grabbed the equalizer 10 minutes in. However, back came Downton, first with a wonderfully lobbed goal from Craig Lewis and then a calmly-taken penalty from Declan McGregor.
Downton manager Jeff Softley will be the first to admit that the game should’ve been over by this point, with the Robins 4-2 up, but once again they let the visitors back in to the match with goals in the 75th and 85th minute.
There was just enough time for Downton’s captain to take advantage of a loose ball in the visitor’s penalty area, spinning and slotting home in the 4th minute of injury time.
A deserved if somewhat nervey victory that took Downton into 16th in the table ahead of their home match against Moneyfields this Saturday.
Downton 9-1 Ringwood Town
Saturday 24th September 2011, FA Vase
The Robins put their recent league woes behind them as they grabbed a fantastic win in the preliminary round of the FA Vase over near neighbours Ringwood Town.
Ben Smith got the scoring underway in the 18th minute, and Declan McGregor adding a second on the half hour mark.
It was McGregor again who started the rout in the second half, scoring early on before going off for Danny Finnigan. Vince Rusher then managed one from a free kick before turning provider for Finnigan to beat the keeper in the air for the team’s fifth.
It then turned into the Nic Turpin show, with the Robins’ leading scorer this season bagging a hat-trick in 6 minutes, all fantastically taken goals. Matt Palmer finished off the scoring after a first class cross from subsitiute Harvey Coker.
The Robins, in the first round proper for the second year running, now face Fareham Town in the next round.
Alton Town 3-1 Downton
Saturday 17th September 2011, Wessex Premier League
Once again, Downton found themselves surrendering the lead in the Wessex Premier League, coming away from Alton Town without the points.
Nic Turpin put the Robins in front in the first half which Downton more or less controlled. Paul Gulliver had to be replaced by Matt Palmer with less than 30 minutes gone, but the Robins had chances to go further ahead before the break.
The game very much turned in the second half and three goals in 10 minutes from the home side put the Robins to the sword and ensured a third league defeat in a row.
Alresford Town 4-2 Downton
Saturday 10th September 2011, Wessex League Premier
Downton suffered their third defeat of the season in a match that they really should’ve fared far better in.
With a number of first teamers unavailable, Downton were very much down to the bare bones, especially with the Reserves also in action, but even so, they soon took command of the game.
Downton lead twice, with goals from Nic Turpin and Vince Rusher, but found themselves pegged back twice – the second time from a penalty that also lead to the dismissal of Matt Palmer
For some time during the second half, the Robins looked like they would take the lead again, but it was Alresford who went ahead, before extending their lead towards the end of the game following a contentious penalty decision.
Downton 1-0 Hythe & Dibden
Tuesday 6th September 2011, Wessex League Cup
Downton found themselves in the second round of the FA Cup after a tight win over Hythe & Dibden of the Wessex League Division 1.
Arguably the score could and should've been more comfortable for the Robins. Twice Paul Gulliver had the ball in the opposition net, but twice the goals were ruled out for offside.
It took Vince Rusher, in a rich vein of goalscoring form since his arrival from Andover New Street, to settle the game and send the Robins through to the second round, with one eye on going one step further than last season when they went out in the semi-finals.
Downton 1-2 GE Hamble
Saturday 2nd September 2011, Wessex League Premier
Downton suffered a harsh loss against league leaders GE Hamble on Saturday afternoon, with substandard refereeing ruining a game between two fairly equal sides.
Despite the pre-match talk about the strength of the visitors it was the Robins who started out the brightest, Declan McGregor looking extremely lively up front. Fellow striker Nic Turpin was impacted by an early injury, forcing Downton into a swift change for Paul Gulliver.
McGregor scored a remarkable goal on the 22nd minute, chipping the keeper from an extraordinary tight angle, but then the first big refereeing decision of the day lead to a penalty for the visitors after Joey Dorrington handled in the box.
The game remained at 1-1 for most of the second half, in what proved to be a start-stop match with numerous unnecessary bookings and freekicks against both sides. The big moment came 73 minutes in, when a GE Hamble defender handled in almost the same way as Dorrington did in the first half, but the referee failed to give the deserved penalty.
Further anguish was to come for the Robins, with Hamble netting 10 minutes later after an uncharacteristic defensive error.
A lot could still be taken from the match, despite the result and the shockingly inconsistent refereeing, for both teams. The Robins more than held their own with yet another of the favourites for the league title, and clearly look more than capable of surviving in this higher tier division.
Match Review compiled by Mark Smith
Downton 3-1 Laverstock & Ford
Picture courtesy of Colin Ives
Monday 29th August 2011, Wessex League Premier
Downton enjoyed their first win of the season with their Bank Holiday victory over Laverstock and Ford.
In front of a bumper crowd, the Robins welcomed Declan McGregor back to the fold and promised to start brightly. However, it was the visitors who took a shock lead in the 2nd minute, converting a corner at the near post.
It didn’t take long for Downton to get back on level terms, though, with Declan McGregor latching onto a Vince Rusher free kick a few minutes later. More was to come for the Robins, with Nic Turpin grabbing his third in three games to put the hosts ahead on the 19th minute.
A wealth of chances were created by the Robins throughout the second half, but it took a stunning 20 yard, haf-volleyed strike by midfielder Joey Dorrington – a real contender for goal of the season already – to ensure that Downton claimed all three points.
Downton 2-2 Bemerton Heath Harlequins
Picture courtesy of Colin Ives
Saturday 29th August 2011, Wessex League Premier
The Robins showed huge depths of character to gain a draw against league favourites Bemerton Heath Harlequins.
All the talk prior to the game was about the high quality of the visitors and, in front of a season-high attendance, they started brightly, threatening Charlie Aldridge’s goal from the start. However, Downton, following a string of disappointing results, regrouped well and took the lead after Danny Finnigan converted Craig Lewis’ cross, including a clever dummy by Nic Turpin.
And it was Turpin himself who put the Robins further in front with a well taken goal from an excellent Ben Halski cross. Leading 2-0, Downton almost grabbed a third with Vinny Rusher’s long-range shot being turned away by the Bemerton keeper.
Unsurprisingly, the visitors came out fighting in the second half and were rewarded with goals in the 62nd and 73rd minutes. Craig Lewis almost grabbed all three points for the Robins when his 40 yard drive just failed to dip under the cross bar.
All in all, a highly entertaining game that ended with a fair result, but it showed that Downton can compete with the very top teams in the league.
Brokenhurst 4-2 Downton FC
Tuesday 23rd August 2011, FA Cup Extra-Preliminary Round Replay
The Robins crashed out of the FA Cup at the first hurdle against a resolute and well organized Brockenhurst side.
The hosts got off the mark early on, scoring in the fourth minute and threatened to open up a bigger lead with a fast paced and strong game. However, it was Nic Turpin who leveled the scores with a glorious 30 yard lob over the Brockenhurst keeper.
The Robins threatened to take the lead for the first time in the tie, coming back into the game with opportunities for the lively McGregor but, following the start of the second half, it was Brockenhurst again who looked the stronger team, and were rewarded with two goals in quick succession, giving them a 3-1 lead.
For a short time, it looked as if Downton would repeat Saturday’s heroics, with Vince Rusher netting for the Robins to bring them back into contention but, as they went in search of the equalizer, it was Brockenhurst who finally put the game out of reach with a well taken fourth.
Downton FC 3-3 Brockenhurst
Saturday 20th August 2011, FA Cup Extra-Preliminary Round
The Robins bounced back three times to force a replay against a spirited and well organised Brockenhurst side.
The opening goal for the visitors set the tone for the game - a tricky free kick that squirmed past keeper Charlie Aldridge. Defender Ben Smith put the Robins level with a well taken header, and that's how the score remained for the first half despite further chances for the Robins to put themselves in front.
It was the visitors who once more took the lead in the early minutes of the second half, again from a free kick but Downton were able to peg them back with a goal from the head of Nic Turpin, his first of the season.
The game then appeared to repeat the earlier pattern - as the Robins looked to take advantage of their superior possession, including an opportunity for McGregor to score, seeing his effort rebound off the inside of the post, so Brockenhurst once again struck with a free kick with 15 minutes of the game remaining.
With Brockenhurst soon reduced to ten men following an alleged dangerous challenge, Downton were able to take advantage, with skipper Josh Thomas blasting the ball into the back of the visitors net following something of a scramble in the penalty area.
Despite further chances to put the game to rest, the score remained 3-3 at the final whistle. Downton now travel to Brockenhurst on Tuesday 23rd August, with the victors of the replay due to face Lymington Town in the Preliminary round.
Christchurch 3-1 Downton FC
Tuesday 16th August 2011, Wessex Premier
The Robins found themselves up against strong opposition in Christchurch as they tasted defeat for the first time in the Wessex Premier this season.
The game had been impacted severely by a serious injury to Christchurch player Ben Osbourne, causing a 45 minute delay.
When the game restarted it was Downton who were on the front foot, with Kristian Greer thundering a header into the net from a first class cross from Paul Gulliver.
The lead didn’t last long, with the home side first scoring from a swift break and then Paul Roberts hitting a sensational volley from the edge of the area.
Downton pushed for the equalizer, with Declan McGregor smacking the crossbar, but it was the hosts who extended their lead in the second half, running out 3-1 winners.
Horndean 1-1 Downton FC
Saturday 13th August 2011, Wessex Premier
Downton’s super-striker, Declan McGregor, picked up where he left off last season, scoring the Robin’s opening goal in this seasons Wessex Premier League as they drew 1-1 with new boys Horndean.
The first half saw chances for both sides – Ben Halski had two opportunities from free kicks, while stand in keeper Tom Robinson ensured that the Robins kept a clean sheet in the first half a handful of smart saves.
Following half time, it took a mere 29 seconds for the Robins to get off the mark, McGregor lofting the ball beyond the Horndean keeper, seemingly out of nowhere. Further chances fell to McGregor and Nic Turpin, but it was Horndean who managed the only other goal of the match, snatching the equalizer on 73 minutes.
With a number of first team players absent or suspended, the opening game of the 2011/12 season ended in a deserved draw with the promise of more to come from the Robins.
Match Report Archive
All photos (c) Denis Murphy/Sport4Salisbury unless otherwise stated