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Downton FC 6 Stockbridge 2
Wessex League Division 1, Saturday 30th October
Downton’s unbeaten run continued after a resounding victory over rivals Stockbridge.
The first half brought another 4 goals from the Robins. Nick Turpin opened the scoring in the 12th minute, finding space outside the penalty area to strike into the bottom corner. This was swiftly followed by another Dan Gain goal, latching onto a sharp pull-back by Danny Western. Declan McGregor provided a squared ball for Matt Redman to finish smartly in the 27th minute and then turned goalscorer, slotting away a penalty 8 minutes later.
It wasn’t all one way traffic. Stockbridge pulled a goal back before half-time and certainly had chances to score more, Charlie Aldridge once more equal to the task.
McGregor struck his 15th of the season within seconds of the restart and though Stockbridge managed to grab what turned out to be a second consolation, it was again great work from man-of-the-match McGregor who set up Callum Robertson to bag the sixth of the day for Downton.
Calne Town 1 Downton FC 4
Skipper Dan Newman
Wiltshire Senior Cup, Wednesday 27th October
A second half display of precision and power by Downton saw them triumph over holders Calne in the Wiltshire Senior Cup.
Downton welcomed back Joey Durrington to the starting line up, opting for a similar 3-5-2 to the Horndean league match, Danny Western replacing Nick Turpin. The Robins struggled to get going in the early stages of the first half, going behind to a 15th minute penalty. However, slowly they clawed their way back into the game, with Captain Dan Newman scoring a sensational left-footed volley to equalize on the stroke of half-time.
The second half started where the first finished and Downton soon found themselves a goal up, leading scorer Declan McGregor keeping his balance to slot in the team’s second. Danny Western quickly followed with a well taken brace, putting the Robins clear with 20 minutes remaining.
The only blot on the copybook was keeper Charlie Aldridge’s dismissal with 15 minutes left – Olly Hoare proved a capable deputy though, with little to do as the Robins saw out another Cup win over their Wiltshire rivals.
Horndean 0 Downton FC 1
Goal scorer Turpin
Wessex League Division 1, Saturday 23rd October
A solitary goal from Nick Turpin grabbed all three points for the Robins as they ensured they remained clear of their rivals at the top of the league.
A challenging pitch resulted in a 3-5-2 formation for the Robins, with Danny Western on the bench and Lance Cooper drafted into midfield. The early encounters were all with Horndean, with Charlie Aldridge pulling off a string of saves throughout to keep the home side at bay.
Matt Holmes came on for Cooper midway through the first half and, eventually, the Robins settled, with Dan Gain going close on the half-hour mark.
With the game scoreless at half time, Downton came roaring out in the second half, Turpin grabbing his fifth goal in four games to give the Robins the lead after 51 minutes.
Horndean kept plugging away but couldn't find a way past man-of-the-match Aldridge, giving Downton all three points and a well-earned victory.
Downton 8 Tadley Calleva 1
Hat-trick hero McGregor in action for the Robins
Wessex League Cup, Tuesday 19th October
Another emphatic victory put the Robins through to the 3rd round of the Wessex League Cup for the first time in four years.
Declan McGregor opened the scoring with a well taken goal, and then struck again before Callum Robertson added the third. McGregor then completed his first half hat-trick with a goal to savor, showing remarkable skill in first taking a long ball with a fantastic touch past Tadley’s defence and then hitting an audacious lob over the onrushing keeper to find the back of the net.
Skipper Dan Newman and McGregor were both taken off at half-time but the goals kept flowing. Turpin scored two, his first following a stunning cross from Ben Smith, who had taken over the captaincy for the remainder of the game, and his second an instinctive finish. There remained time for Smith himself to score, finding himself in space in the penalty area to place his shot into the far corner, before sub Matt Redman capped it off with a searing run and scorching finish at the near post.
Tadley, who certainly played with passion and commitment throughout, managed to grab a consolation towards the end, but little could dampen the spirits of the Robins who now find themselves in a strong position in both cups as well as top of the league ahead of their next (league) game against Horndean this Saturday.
Downton 4 Fleet Spurs 1
Wessex League Division 1, Saturday 16th October
The Robins continued their impressive unbeaten run with a strong win over visitors Fleet Spurs.
Top scorer Declan McGregor added to his tally with a well-taken goal on the 25th minute, with Fleet Spurs equalising from the penalty spot before half time.
The initial part of the second half reflected the first, with Fleet threatening down the wings while McGregor and fellow attackers Danny Western and Nic Turpin looking lively throughout. Downton picked up the pace in the last 25 minutes, finding the net 3 times without further reply. Nick Turpin scored for the second game in succession, his eighth of the season, latching on to the ball with a venomous shot from inside the area after McGregors initial shot had been parried.
Changes came from the bench, introducing Matt Redman, but it was Ben Halski that gained the third with a delightful strike into the top corner following a pass out wide from Dan Newman. Goal of the match went to Dan Gain, another shoulder-height strike that gave the visiting keeper little chance.
Matt Palmer won praise for his work from manager Jeff Softley, while skipper Newman showed his commitment, marshalling the defence with gusto. The win cemented Downton's position at the top of the league, with 2nd place Pewsey Vale losing 5-2 to a resurgent Ringwood.
Downton 1 Fawley 0
Wessex League Cup, Tuesday 12th October
Downton progressed in the Wessex League Cup despite a testing draw against higher-league Fawley.
Matt Holmes and Declan McGregor were rested for the game, with slight knocks cited in both cases. However, Downton still fielded a strong team, with capitain Dan Newman leading the defence and man of the match Callum Robertson pulling the strings in midfield alongside Matt Palmer. Ex-Fawley star Matt Redman started up front for Downton in his more favoured position and certainly had chances to impress, striking the cross bar as the Robins looked the stronger team in the first half. The only goal of the game came from Nick Turpin who converted Dan Gain's cross after 20 minutes, while Danny Western and Redman also went close.
There were further chances in the second half, Redman again hitting the bar. Downton keeper Charlie Aldridge was a mere spectator throughout and Downton eventually ran out comfortable winners. The 2nd round is on Tuesday 19th October, at home vs Tadley Calleva.
US Portsmouth 0 Downton 1
Man of the match, Ben Smith
Wessex League Division 1, Saturday 9th October
Downton shot back to the top of the Wessex League Division 1 after a hard fought win over title-chasing rivals, US Portsmouth.
The first half was devoid of too many chances, with the league's top scorer, Declan McGregor, having a snap shot across goal early on. Both defences were resolute, giving little away, reducing Downton's attacks to set pieces. Ben Smith stood out throughout as man of the match, though fellow defenders Dan "Trigger" Newman and Lance Cooper also performed admirably.
In the second half, though, Downton started to dominate. After 5 minutes, manager Jeff Softley bought on Ben Halski and Calum Robertson for Turpin and Matt Redman, moving to a 4-4-2 formation, with Danny Western joining McGregor up front. With 75 minutes gone, Downton received a penalty following a deliberate handball in the area, reducing US Portsmouth to 10 men. Uncharacteristically, McGregor's penalty was saved and it really started to look like "one of those days", with a goal-less draw beckoning.
However, with almost the last kick of the match, Robertson latched on to a Halski cross, thumping the ball into the far corner from the edge of the box. A hard fought but deserved 3 points puts Downton back to the top of the league with a game in hand.
Calne Town 1 Downton 2
FA Vase, 1st Round Proper, Saturday 2nd October
Downton made history in Saturday encounter with Calne Town side, reaching the 2nd round of the FA Vase for the first time in their history.
Leading goalscorer Declan McGregor opened the scoring in the 3rd minute, skipping clear of the Calne Town defence to place his shot past the keeper. It wasn't all one way traffic, through, with Calne Town equalising 10 minutes later, an excellent half volley from the edge of the area. As the first half progressed, chances were plenty - Nick Turpin found himself in space to lob the keeper only to see his effort clawed away, while Dan Gain had a free-kick beaten away.
The second half saw more of the same with both sides managing to create chances and both keeper's were called into action to keep the scores level. It was Dan Gain's 60th minute strike, a glorious shot hooked back over his shoulder, that in the end seperated the two teams.
Ben Halski and Nick Turpin both had chances to make the game safe but, despite a nervy 7 minutes of injury time, Downton held on to record a famous victory.
All photos (c) Denis Murphy/Sport4Salisbury unless otherwise stated