Willand Rovers FC vs Swindon Supermarine

FA Cup
vs
September 3, 2022
Score: 1 - 1

Match Report

Willand Rovers vs Swindon Supermarine

Mark Twain once infamously wrote about ‘Lies, damned lies and statistics’. His point was that you can always make the statistics fit the narrative that you’re pursuing and the start to Willands season is the perfect example. For those whose cup is perpetually half empty, Rovers sit firmly in the bottom half of the table with only one win to show for their efforts.

For those of us whose cups are overflowing with optimism it’s a different story though; We’ll shout from the top of Silver Street about the unbeaten start to the season, including a Bank Holiday victory over local rivals and promotion candidates Exmouth no less.

The truth of course can be found away from the grey areas that infiltrate these two extremes. The unbeaten run includes only three league games, one less than those around us due to the unfortunate incident at last weeks home game against Lymington, while the other two games were cup games against Wellington and llfracombe, both in the league below, and perhaps not a true litmus test of where we are.

Those games do however bring us back to the present and a (finally) no longer preliminary FA Cup match.

For the pessimists amongst us today’s game could be seen as a free pass; a cup game against Swindon Supermarine, currently flying high in the Southern Premier League, a game that Rovers might not have expected to win. Equally it could be used by the management team and more optimistic fans as a barometer to see exactly how full the (FA) cup actually is.

It was a much changed Willand that welcomed our opponents from Wiltshire, with Kelly, Stamp and Camilo all missing from the squad and the versatile Guppy continuing at center back. The starting eleven was also bolstered by a returning Bailey Kempster, recently signed from Weston- Super-Mare on a month’s loan.

Willand started the game sharply, playing with the wind at their backs, which occasionally transpired to make an excellent looking pass a touch too long.

The opening goal came in the 7th minute when a Swindon corner broke to Kempster who initially did well to keep the ball in play, before playing a delightful pass with the outside of his boot into the space in front of Hill who drove into the Swindon box from the halfway line before powering his shot past a flailing keeper.

What followed might kindly be called a game of midfield attrition with neither keeper needing to dirty their shorts for the remainder of the half.

Hill did find the back of the net again in the 20th minute, but only after being flagged off side by some distance and a scramble in the box following a Searle free kick eventually found its way for a corner which failed to beat the first man.

HT Willand 1 – Swindon Supermarine 0

It was a different Swindon team that emerged for the second half and in the first few minutes it was only an excellent last minute block from Guppy and an acrobatic goal line clearance from Richards kept the scores level as Supermarine surged forward.

There was nothing anyone in white could do in the 50th minute though when a corner found its way out to Morrison who hit a rasping shot from fully 25 yards past the outstretched and despairing hand of Burton before being engulfed under a blanket of his delighted teammates.

Buoyed by the equalizer it was Swindon who continued on top but it was a break from Willand in the 53rd minute which created a chance for the home team when Windsor connected first time with a looping cross but placed his shot straight to the keeper who blocked with his legs. Had the shot been either side he might have asked a more difficult question.

The home crowd were then bemused after another Willand attack when Hill found himself booked as the home fans argued for a penalty, the card brandished by the referee presumably for simulation. The confusion was compounded later in the game when a Swindon forward wasn’t booked for diving in what must have looked like a similar incident to any neutrals in the crowd.

Swindon continued to pressure between sporadic Willand attacks, winning the midfield battles that were more even affairs in the first half, and subsequently were able to put more sustained pressure onto the ever stretched home defense which held firm. Willand did continue to press forward when the opportunity arose with both Hill and Bray making mazy runs that eventually ran into trouble before a final pass or shot could be found.

With both teams looking for the winner the game stretched in the last ten minutes and finished with both teams creating chances but without creating any drama.

In the end, and excuse my first cliche, it really was a game of two halves. Willand were on top for the first 45 minutes before finding themselves on the back foot for long periods in the second half. In the end a draw seems like a fair result and the teams will meet again midweek to try to settle the tie.

As for the question of how much the Willand cup contains, this game did nothing to get us any closer to an answer. And long may that continue.

FT Willand 1 – Swindon Supermarine 1

 

Man of the match Bailey Kempster Selected by the Match sponsor Spearing Coaches thank you for your support

 

Match Report curtsy of Dave Baylis

Lineup

Ryan Guppy
Josh Searle
George Burton
Private: Will Richards
Kieran Bailey
Private: Bailey Kempster
Private: Lewis Hill
Joshua BakerGoalYellow Card
Private: Jamie Hearsey
Ashton Hewitt
Private: Jack Winsor

Subs

Private: Callum ChiversSub
Private: Ollie BraySub
Private: Charlie Dack
Private: Sully McKennaSub