16 Nov 2023
Servio Hampshire Senior Cup: Third Round
Match report by Charlie Bradford, The Non-League Chronicles
I had (perhaps) smartly left Alton until my last ground to do in the Combined Counties League Premier Division South when you consider they sell printed programmes and pin badges and have a 3G pitch which was most needed on a wet Autumnal day!
Alton’s opponents tonight were fellow step 5 and Wessex League Premier Division side Baffins Milton Rovers in the third round of the Hampshire Senior Cup which meant tonight was the perfect “five star game” - two teams I hadn’t seen play before at a ground I had not previously visited with a printed programme and pin badge on sale.
Those programmes and pin badges were on the turnstile upon my late entry at 19:40 due to late trains in a ground that was very neat and tidy with a nice main stand, clubhouse and team board so lots of Charlie Bradford groundhopping ticks tonight!
As for the game it was a tale of two free headers from set pieces for Alton in the opening 25 minutes which finished off target.
The first of these saw Miller have a completely free header from a corner from the right go over from a couple of yards out before a deflected free kick was headed over by Scott Sanderson.
Alton’s early front foot play saw them take the lead in the 32nd minute when Perry Coles came up with a terrific run from the right wing, cutting inside before producing a left footed shot which took a deflection and found its way in.
Baffins’ chances in the first half seemed to be pot shots that finished wide but Alton had one final chance in the first half when Jamie Hoppitt stole the ball back at the edge of the box before seeing his shot saved by Baffins goalkeeper Roux Hardcastle before Hardcastle also saved the follow up from Louis Russell.
Alton’s Perry Coles had the first two chances of the first half when firstly he had a shot from the edge of the box at Roux Hardcastle before having a 20 yard shot dip just wide.
Baffins then proceeded to hit the woodwork when Danny Burroughs cracked one off the bar from 20 yards which was quickly followed by Alton’s second when a corner from the right was met by a towering header by Merrifield.
Any hope of a Baffins comeback was perhaps dashed when Dillon North got sent off. With the board up with his number 7 on, he must have mouthed something as he was about to go off to be substituted and it’s fair to say he didn’t go quietly back to the dressing room…!
The final chance of the game saw Jack Fowler have an effort cleared off the line but Alton ultimately done enough on a good night out, even if the train back to London was not until 22:44 despite actually sitting at Alton station at 22:01 (well at least I could sit in the warm…!)
MOTM: Archie Larkham (Alton) looked excellent at right back with some good crosses and forward runs.
Alton return to league action at home again this Saturday when Spelthorne Sports will be visitors to The Exclusive Networks Stadium. Kick off 3pm.