Double-figure defeat ruins Downton's New Year

Charles Aldridge

Charles Aldridge

First published in Headlines by

DEPLETED Downton continue to plummet in Sydenhams Premier Division as they conceded a dozen goals to rampant leaders Sholing – but their 12-1 victory isn’t a league record, writes Mike Vimpany.

That tag remains with Fleet Town, who on Boxing Day 1994, beat Petersfield United 15-0.

Since then, in February 2001, Andover smashed Swanage Town & Herston 14-1 at the Portway Stadium – the Lions speeding towards the first of two back-to-back Wessex League titles under Ken Cunningham-Brown.

In many ways it was a hollow victory by a totally dominant Sholing over a struggling Downton side torn apart by injuries, suspensions and players quitting the Wick Lane club, who have lost nine of their last ten matches.

Lee Wort scored four times, a hat-trick from Ashley Jarvis, and goals from Marc Diaper, Tyrone Bowers, Alex Sawyer, Nicholas Watts and Bryan Mason put Sholing two points ahead of Winchester City at the top with four games in hand.

But a likely non-contest was on the cards two hours before kick-off as Downton boss Jeff Softley set off for the Silverlake Arena with only ten players.

“I spent best part of an hour making a series of frantic phone calls trying to rustle up some more players and got 12 to the game in the end,” Softley explained to The Journal.

“All credit to the lads who turned out. It’s not easy to get players at such short notice, especially at a place like Sholing, where you are up against the best team in the league. Guys aren't that keen to turn out.

“As it was, our defence had never played together before.”

Declan McGregor was the only Robin on target but it was keeper Charles Aldridge who caught the eye with his spectacular performance that spared his side further embarrassment.

Softley added: “Charlie’s the best young goalkeeper in the Wessex League. I’ve been saying that for some time and he proved it on Saturday.”

Downton host Moneyfields on Saturday (3pm).

Downton XI: Aldridge (c), Dunne, Hope, Vincent, Gulliver, Crisp, Brooks, Telfer, McGregor, Johnson, Clarke.

  • Downton’s postponed pre-Christmas derby with Bemerton Heath Harlequins has been re-arranged for Saturday, January 18 (3pm).

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