Evo-Stik League South, West – Play-off Final
WIMBORNE TOWN 0 SWINDON SUPERMARINE 0 (after extra-time)
Swindon Supermarine won 4-3 on penalties
In front of a packed Cuthbury, defences held firm as neither side could find the net in this tense play-off final. After two hours of play on this extremely hot Bank Holiday Josh Hill, Supernarine’s super-stopper won the game with 2 saves in a dramatic penalty shoot-out.
Manager Matty Holmes was able to field the same starting XI for the fourth consecutive game and with so much at stake, it was hardly surprising that both sides made a nervy start. Supermarine’s centre-forward, Brad Gray, had the first shot but it went wide. Three minutes later, Wimborne’s Luke Burbidge had a sniff from 20 yards out, but Hill made a comfortable save. On 13 minutes Magpies Jack Lovell, coming in from the right, hit a low ball across the face of the goal, but to his frustration no-one was there to capitalise.
At the other end, the normally dependable Gerard Benfield flapped at a cross. A cheeky chip from Billy Maybury sent Luke Burbidge scampering down the right and gave Wimborne the chance to open the scoring, but again there was nobody in a position to convert the opportunity.
As the first half drew to a close, Maybury and Lovell had further shots blocked, and as the pressure grew Swindon’s skipper Zak Westlake got up close and personal with Toby Holmes. With both teams looking to go into the break with a lead it was Swindon who had the better chances before the referree blew for halftime with Joe Shepherd flashing a tasty header wide of Benfield’s upright from Michael Hopkins’ corner, and then Gray’s diving header going just wide of the mark.
Supermarine started the second-period on the front foot. Gray created an opportunity for himself but fired over, before Ryan Campbell’s volley was easily saved by Benfield.
Wimborne’s Luke Holmes’ shot was well saved by Hill, before Toby audaciously tried from wide on the right after Hill’s weak clearance left him stranded. Gray, Brad Hooper and Callum Parsons all had chances but were all wide of the mark as Supermarine built some momentum mid-way through the half.
On 75 minutes, Wimborne had possibly their best chance following a corner earned by Maybury’s marauding run down the right: Burbidge tricked his way along the by-line but saw his toe-poke cleared off the line.
Ten minutes later, Toby at last had a ball to chase. Getting the better of Westlake, he was wrestled to the ground as he burst into the penalty area. After consulting his assistant, referee Bennett decided the first contact had taken place inches outside the box, but never-the-less showed the Swindon defender the red card. Paddy Hester’s resultant free-kick hit a head in the wall and was deflected away.
As the game moved into extra-time, and with Luke Holmes becoming more influential, Wimborne started playing their passing game. Maybury’s free-kick rebounded off the defensive wall to Louis Kellaway whose first time effort crashed against the top of the bar.
Despite being down to 10 men, Supermarine were not without their own chances during the closing period with substitute Connor Thompson almost scoring after a horrible scramble. But despite some promising breaks, Wimborne were unable to make the extra man count, and, after clearing a late header off the line, Supermarine
were relieved to hear the final whistle.
Both teams had run themselves to a stand still in the searing heat, but those tired legs then had toface the ordeal of the penalty shoot-out.
At the hospital end, Hill saved Maybury’s first effort. Then Swindon’s Gray, Oldring, Woodley, Lovell, Hooper, Penny, and Thompson all scored. Luke Burbidge needed to net his penalty to keep Wimborne in the game, but Supermarine’s hero Hill once more saved, and Supermarine celebrated.
Supermarine had won the play-offs the hard way – 2 away victories, both in penalty shoot-outs. This was a massive occasion for both clubs. It was a dramatic game, but like many high profile games with so much at stake, not the feast of football the fans had hoped for.
A disappointing end to Wimborne’s season, but in the weeks and months ahead many at the club will look back with pride on what Matty’s marvels have achieved – their highest ever placing in the league pyramid, and also
winning the Dorset Senior Cup, whilst playing exciting, entertaining football in both competitions.
WIMBORNE TEAM: Gerard Benfield, Billy Maybury, Paddy Hester (Ben Walker, 94), Scott Arnold
(Capt) (Stefan Penny, 119), Matt Oldring, Louis Kellaway, James Stokoe (Lee Francis, 100), Luke
Holmes, Toby Holmes, Luke Burbidge, Jack Lovell.
SUB NOT USED: Sam Davidson, Sam Bayston