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Sydenhams trio face FA Cup test
BEMERTON Heath Harlequins, Downton and Verwood Town all get their FA Cup campaigns under way in the Extra Preliminary Round this Saturday.
Heath will host Fareham Town, the Robins entertain Sholing and the Potters will travel to the Isle of Wight to take on Newport. All three failed to win at the weekend though.
Downton collapsed in the second half at Folland Sports on Friday night, conceding four without reply after a goal-less first period.
Daniel Mason grabbed the first and last, sandwiching goals from James Vinton and James Roden.
Sam Gillott has signed for the Robins, and former Eastleigh, Amesbury Town and Shrewton United defender Jack Vallis has returned to Wick Lane.
Bemerton lost by the odd goal in five at Hamworthy United on Saturday. Sam Pekun smashed in a rebound after a save by Grant Porter in the 13th minute, and Lee Chudy made the most of a goal-line scramble to double the lead seven minutes later.
Seb Dawes pulled one back with a deft lob ten minutes into the second half, but Pekun headed in Chudy's 63rd-minute cross to make it 3-1.
Substitute Danny Young made the most of a defensive mix-up to reduce the arrears with 20 minutes to go, then Hamworthy's Greg Horlock was sent off for a second bookable offence, but the visitors couldn't find a way back.
Verwood drew 1-1 in a derby match at home to Christchurch. James Burden put the visitors ahead after 16 minutes, and Mike Haskell levelled six minutes before the interval. Ben Kelly scored at AFC Portchester last Tuesday, not Matt Oldring as stated in last week's paper.
In Division One, Ringwood Town and Amesbury opened their league campaigns with a 1-1 draw at the Canotec Stadium. Craig Wheeler headed in Ben Pryce's fine cross to give the Blues a third-minute lead.
It was almost 2-0 but Danny Western hit the bar with a fierce drive, then Tony Bellott bundled in an equaliser after 17 minutes and that was the way it stayed.
In the last ten minutes, Allan McPhie headed against the post for Amesbury, and Ringwood's Elliot Peck was sent off for two bookings. Richard Proctor made his debut off the bench for the Blues, and fellow new signing Carlos Downie was an unused substitute.
Amesbury boss Gareth Horner said: “It was essentially two points dropped rather than one gained.
“That said, it's always important to get the first point on the board.
“We created by far the better chances and plenty of them. The woodwork and their goalkeeper (Jon Page) kept them in the game.
“If we want to challenge nearer the top end we need to be ruthless and win games whilst we are on top.”
Laverstock & Ford lost their opener, 2-1 against United Services Portsmouth at The Dell. Substitute Sam Miller netted, while Connor Duffin and Connor Smith were on target for the visitors.
Amesbury, Laverstock and Ringwood do not have games now until August 24 – but Shrewton kick off their Wiltshire League campaign this Saturday, away to Southbrook. They then travel to Ludgershall Sports on Tuesday, when Downton welcome Sholing, just three days after their meeting in the FA Cup, and Bemerton go to last season’s champions Blackfield & Langley.
Jack Brooks’ 40-yard corker and Callum Coker’s brace helped Downton secure their maiden win in Sydenhams Premier on Tuesday night, beating Lymington Town 3-1.
Elsewhere, Bemerton shared a 3-3 draw with Horndean at Western Way.