Poor start proves costly as Petersfield Town exit the FA Vase

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Friday 17th September 2021 6:00 am
Petersfield Town’s 2021/22 first-team squad. Picture by Paul Booker

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PETERSFIELD TOWN manager Mark Summerhill was left to rue his side’s “worst possible start” after they crashed out of the FA Vase with a 3-0 defeat against Wessex League Premier Division Bashley at Love Lane on Saturday.

The visitors took the lead in the second minute of the First Qualifying Round tie through Harrison White’s volley.

White doubled Bashley’s advantage on 25 minutes with a deflected effort. Ollie Bradley added a third goal in the second half when his shot found the top corner.

“We made the worst possible start,” said Summerhill.

“It was a ball into our box, we cleared it, and they volleyed it into our top corner and we were 1-0 down after two minutes. All our plans were over before we started.

“They then scored with a deflection and we were 2-0 down without doing much wrong and had a mountain to climb.

“We were out the game without being in it, although we weren’t outplayed. They’re a good side, but we conceded soft goals. It was a frustrating day.”

The Rams were reduced to ten men late on against Bashley, with Charlie Oakwell-Bourton sent off in the final five minutes.

The Petersfield defender was penalised for a poor tackle, but was sent off for dissent.

“Losing Charlie to suspension is a massive blow for us,” said Summerhill.

The Rams boss has strengthened his squad in the past week, bringing in strikers Brandon Jewell and Max Padden from Totton and Eling and Infinity respectively. Jewell started against Bashley, while Padden came off the bench.

“Mark Nicoll worked tirelessly to get the transfers through in time for Saturday,” said Summerhill. “We’ve been bringing players in and now need a period to bed it all together and get a settled side.

“We’ve got good attacking options now. If we’d had this group in pre-season that would have been ideal. It’s a shame it’s taken to mid-September to get our squad for the season.”

Next up for the Rams is a trip to fifth-placed Andover New Street in Division One of the Wessex Premier League on Saturday (3pm).

Andover have enjoyed an impressive start to the season, picking up 13 points from their first six league games, and Summerhill is expecting a tough game for his side.

“Andover New Street are up there,” he said. “You always face a very aggressive, strong team when you play against them.

“We’ve got to show our tough side. Some of our lads have got some growing up to do. We’ve got to learn our lessons. We have to be at it for 90 minutes.”

The Andover match is the latest in a tough run of fixtures for the Rams, who have already played against a number of the leading sides in their division.

“We’ve already played Newport, Bemerton and New Milton,” said Summerhill.

“After Andover we’ve got Folland, who are unbeaten, so we will have played five of the top teams. It’s been a tough start to the season with isolations, injuries and Covid. Things seem to be conspiring against us.

“The facts don’t lie though – we’ve only won once all season.”

Petersfield Town’s reserve team bowed out of the Hampshire Combination and Development League Cup at the first round stage, as they were edged out 2-1 at Fleetlands’ Reserves on Saturday.

Harry Fordham scored Petersfield’s goal.

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