|The working turnstiles at Windsor Football Club.|
Let's start with the positives for Hamble Club. Always start with the positives.
They did enormously well to reach the Fifth Round Proper of the national competition for clubs at this level, the FA Vase. They won six times to get this far, starting way back in September last year:
- Bemerton Heath Harlequins (h) 3-1
- Petersfield Town (h) 5-0
- Romsey Town (a) 3-2
- Brockenhurst (h) 5-4 aet
- Horndean (h) 2-1
- Westfields (a) 4-1
|A view of Stag Meadow under grey skies from Windsor Great Park.|
Windsor FC (1) 2 v 0 (0) Hamble Club FC
Saturday 3rd February 2018
Buildbase FA Vase 5th Round Proper
Programme: Free with admission
Colours: Red with green and white Union flag / red / white v White / white / yellow
National Grid reference: SU9575
|Windsor's old stand with Windsor Cemetery Chapel behind.|
This was one game too far. There was no lack of effort, but the home side were just too good on the day, with the scorer of the second goal for Windsor, Jack Denton, being particularly impressive.
And then the positives again. There's definitely more of those for the Monks.
Hamble Club went further in the Vase than anybody else from the Wessex League this season. They were the final club standing out of 41. Next year, they will receive byes in the first three rounds and enter at the Second Round Proper stage, so they have a good chance of repeating their efforts in 2018/19.
You move on from the trapped engine and start walking through a shopping mall. If you're looking for vapes or a cheeky tattoo, then the arcade which you walk through on the way out of the terminus is not for you. Windsor is not Shirley, shall we put it that way?
Beyond the arcade, you see Windsor Castle looming up out of the drizzle. It's big. I didn't realise how far back it stretches until Saturday. I guess it's the ideal size for the Queen and her growing family when they need a few days away from Buckingham Palace.
There were lots of tourists.
|Hamble Club attack through the middle...|
The original club reached the semi-finals of the FA Vase in 1981. This season's last 16 appearance is the reformed Hellenic League club's best run so far in their short existence.
|...and down the left.|
The focal point of Stag Meadow is its old stand, erected in 1948. It's about the same height as the one at Cowes Sports, but not quite as wide. The original wooden stand was burnt down in 1943, twenty years after it was built. At the time, it was said that it had been the victim of enemy action, but the truth is that it was probably an arsonist that had done for it. The "new" stand is still in good condition and now has red plastic seats. It was full on Saturday, apart from a few seats with restricted views towards the edges.
|Joy at the final whistle...|
The other thing that might be of interest to groundhoppers is that there is a small hut selling old programmes right next to the entrance. Talking of programmes, the club give the match programme away upon entry, and it's a good one. Saturday's issue had two wordsearches. I always check these for inadvertent rude words - the closest I came to any filth in this issue were the words DOGS and SWINDON.
But generally, Hamble's forward play was snuffed out by Windsor's well-marshalled defence before it became too dangerous. The official match statistics showed that Hamble only had three efforts on goal, and that none of them were on target. By way of comparison, Windsor had 14 shots, eight of which were on target. The two that really mattered came after 29 and 50 minutes.
The first goal was set up via a surging run down the right by Jack Denton, who crossed low and hard across the six-yard line, where Riccardo Cannon cleverly flicked the ball over Rory Anderson in Hamble's goal with the outside of his heel.
The killer second goal, and one that would have graced the turf at Wembley, was by Denton. He picked up the ball from a throw out by the home keeper, and he just ran with it. It was like the Winter Olympics had already started and he was practicing the slalom as he bypassed the entire Hamble team. As he reached the edge of the area, he let fly, and that was that.
Highlights from Saturday's game can be found on South Coast Journalism's website. Both goals are worth seeing. There are also match reports here and here. More of my photos from the game will be published on the HAH Facebook page when I get around to it.
That's it from the FA Vase this season for Hampshire clubs. I'll be back in two weeks with a game from the Hampshire League, if the weather is kind.