Wimborne Town 2

Paulton Rovers 1

Goals from Jonny Stuttle and Connor Cocklin were enough for ten-man Wimborne to grab the points against a depleted but battling Rovers side who had gone ahead early in the game via Leo Eglin. Before the game even started, there were murmurs in the Rovers support that this was going to be a big defeat and the news that nine of the squad were unavailable did nothing to assuage those fears. But Rovers began brightly and were looking to move the ball around. There was certainly no fear of the team looking likely to be champions of the division. And it was a classy move that put Rovers ahead. Dan McBeam played an inch-perfect through ball to Leighton Thomas who unselfishly squared the ball to Leo Eglin who tucked the ball past the keeper. McBeam looked particularly lively in the early stages and was making a nuisance of himself on the right. A couple of niggly yellow cards were given to Dan Restorick and Leo Eglin which started the game becoming fractious which it hadn't been before. Many yellows followed across the game. Unfazed by going behind, Wimborne began to apply some pressure and were moving the ball out left as often as possible where their left winger was making things tricky for Jack Dancey. Several blocks were made to keep them out. But all the time, Rovers still looked like they could add a second. In the 26th minute, Ed Butcher made a great run and his low cross was cut out inches before Leighton Thomas could connect. Moments later, again from the left, Wimborne had the ball in the net but it was chalked off for an offside. Rovers had been given a further warning about that left side. But literally seconds later in the 29th minute, Wimborne equalised from an almost carbon copy move. Breaking on the left, Jonny Stuttle powered into the box. Frankie Phillips charged out to stop him but somehow the ball evaded him and Stuttle had an easy tap in. Phillips's challenge had left him injured but he was ok to resume. Both teams created further chances but neither tested the keepers. As the half-time whistle approached, Sam Griffin lunged in on Chris Peck and was given a straight red. It looked like a clumsy challenge but possibly not a straight red. The earlier yellow cards for lesser fouls may have left the referee nowhere to go with his decision though. At half-time, Rovers were looking good and certainly not looking like a team at the foot of the table. The second half was an altogether different affair. At times you would have been hard-pressed to know which team had the ten men as Wimborne moved the ball around confidently. Stuttle had a chance early on but fired wide before Rovers counter-attacked with Leighton Thomas just failing to connect with a bicycle kick from a McBeam cross. But Rovers started to look nervous. Understandably so maybe. They were looking to gain at least a point from a top team. But they began to invite pressure and chances started to fall for the hosts. A team in a safer position may have been inclined to have more of a go in the knowledge that a defeat wouldn’t damage them to much. In the 69th minute, Phillips was forced into a brilliant finger-tip save to stop a shot from Connor Cocklin and seconds later Harry Morgan headed narrowly over. The pressure was starting to become intense and in the 74th minute, Dan Restorick cleared off the line with Phillips stranded out of his goal. From the resulting corner, the pressure told. Phillips came to take the cross but unfortunately spilled it. Cocklin picked up the ball and smashed it through a sea of players for Wimborne to take the lead. It had been coming but the sense of disappointment from the Rovers supporters was palpable. Rovers did respond, however. With Milo Murgatroyd on for McBeam, there were some situations created in the final minutes. Leighton Thomas had the ball in the net from an Ed Butcher cross in the 83rd minute but there had been a foul in the build-up and it was disallowed. The balls into the channels weren’t quite coming off as they had in the first half but Rovers continued to work hard, but with the goal advantage, Wimborne were able to frustrate and the game ended in defeat. In the clubhouse after, Wimborne acknowledged that Rovers hadn't looked like a bottom-of-the-league team and it’s frustrating that we didn't have more battling performances like this earlier in the season. Next Game: Home to Larkhall on Saturday 13th April with a 3 pm kick-off.

Jon Green