Winchester U16A 5 Havant 4
This first competitive match of the season saw both sides fielding experimental line ups with plenty of new faces.
Winchester took an early lead through James Lander, who quickly added a second when he latched on to Josh Fiske's goal bound shot. Harry Trussler, Will Fleming and Zac Caldwell were controlling midfield for the home side, and it was against the run of play when Havant pulled one back from a short corner.
Olly Bryan then made a good save from Havant's next short corner, before the home side extended their lead through a great individual goal from Will, who chased down a defender, dispossessed him then slotted past the keeper from a narrow angle to make it 3-1. Shortly afterwards Harry waltzed past three defenders and his shot was directed over the line by a poaching Sam Rachman to put Winchester 4-1 up. Harry almost added another before half time but a Havant defender cleared off the line.
Havant started the second half against Winchester brightly, and new goalie John Mark (sharing keeping duties with Olly Bryan) made a couple of good early saves. Havant's pacy forwards were troubling our defence, and 5 minutes into the half a fine take by a Havant forward inside the D and a smart shot into the corner made it 4-2. Winchester were now struggling to get the ball out of their own half, and from Havant's 3rd short corner in 4 minutes they scored again. The equaliser came when dawdling at the back gave the ball away, and a speedy Havant forward broke away and slotted in just inside the post.
The momentum was now with the visitors, but the Winchester boys showed a lot of character by re-grouping and clawing their way back into the game. 7 minutes from time Ollie Green's hard hit from well outside the D was deflected by Sam into the opposite corner, with the Havant keeper committed the other way. 5-4 up now and could Winchester hang on to the lead this time? In fact they saw out the closing minutes with no alarms as they dominated midfield and prevented Havant from threatening their goal.
So a morale boosting victory to start the season, with plenty of strong individual performances to send the coaches and manager home happy.