AFC Stoneham 0 – 1 Shaftesbury FC

🛡️Days like these! We are on top of the world woooahhh🛡️ 

Velocity Wessex League Premier Division Play Off Final 

AFC Stoneham 0

Shaftesbury 1 (Pitman 41)

Have you heard? We are Southern League! All the work has been done and Jim Milligan has led us there with Issac Berry making us a winning team and we are promoted to Step 4 for the first time in our history with victories over the big guns. 

We didn’t go out to be a nice watch today. A job was to be done and we did it. AFC Stoneham had a lot of the possession and we sat in crab like. It needs clever management to outfox Jamie Philips and he will probably say they dominated and yes they did with the ball. We wanted them to.

We didn’t go there to be pleasers and were not really put under pressure. The wall went up and spring them on the counter. I’ve been around football since 1982 and one thing will never change. The art of doing a job. 

Sam Davidson had our first chance as Brett Pitman headed the ball into his path and the former Bashley defender fired over Callum Lee ‘s bar. We had spoken first. 

Duarte Martins 43 goals this season was the home sides first to break through rounding Shane Murphy after we lost possession in midfield yet skipper Ash Wells cleared the danger. We were staying calm. 

With the team working for each other and helping each other out it was a good sign. Lee pushed away Callum Sweeney’s effort after Pitman had supplied the ammunition and Cameron Beard unleashed a stinger that the versatile home keeper pushed away. 

Pitman scored what turned out to be the winner in the 41st minute when Liam Farrugia’s corner was deflected up for Ben Satterley to head across the AFC Stoneham box and Pitman smashed his 59th league goal past Lee. We went wild in the stands. The former Dorset Premier League club halfway to the Southern League. 

Lee picked up a nasty hamstring injury and was retired at half time with ourselves in the box seat and Dan Bartlett and Satterley doing their trade we looked somewhere in charge. Bartlett has the Southern League know how, he is a great talent and we know that. He knows what it takes. 

We knew what AFC Stoneham can do and to be honest if it’s needed to go into the car park it will be going there! No apologies. Apart from Moneyfields we have in the last two months been the best team and hard working. 

The second half we totally killed it and despite AFC Stoneham having a lot of possession with Owen Fee and Ed Orvis both on never looked under threat. Fee is a good player who stood out on Blackfield & Langley’s visit in March 2022. Philips obviously bought into that taking him to the Sports Complex. 

Liam Nagle and Tyrell Sampson looked the home sides most dangerous players, yet Cameron Beard, Farrugia and Davidson closed them out. We were not here to entertain the neutrals and we have been playing a different kind of game. Milligan’s Way. Berry’s Trojans. 

Louis Kellaway as ever put all his efforts in midfield shackling the home side despite being heavily strapped up after his recent hamstring injury. Harry Vickery has been busy of late patching the guys up as we went into tournament mode. 

Greg Peel came on to close out the game with debutant Jack Whitcombe. Peel brought a great save from the substitute AFC Stoneham keeper. The home side pressed, yet we simply closed it out and made sure we would get the promotion we missed out on in 2022. 

Ash Wells marshalled everything at the back and Satterley and Dan Bartlett simply scraped every second ball. 

It was scruffy, ugly, we didn’t care. Satterley and Beard literally fought for everything and took one for the team earning a yellow card. Satterley was on the floor still tackling them. The 4G is bone hard. Like Bartlett he has the know how. 

Eddie Perrett was cool as a cucumber as usual as was Murphy in goal. Perrett seemed unfazed as we let them have the ball. They weren’t scoring today. We weren’t having it. You remember as a kid when some awful one visits for the party and lobs the jelly and ice cream everywhere. That’s what we did. 

There were celebrations as the whistle blew though everyone just wanted to get back to Shaftesbury where the party could begin. The Sports Complex serves it’s purpose yet there were a lot of rules and regulations there and we just wanted to enjoy the day. 

We just wanted home and Sally Philips and co delivered playing We Are The Champions as the warriors returned. The play offs were a thing when Queen recorded that one!

So, have you heard the story? We are Southern League! Say it again? We are Southern League! Let’s build this club up further and keep it there. The eagle has landed, the ship is firmly in port and we go into a brave new world. 

AFC Stoneham – Lee, Cluett, Barnes, Bainbridge, Batt, Clarke, Sampson, Welch (Capt), Martins, Jenkins, Nagle

Subs used – Orvis, Fee, Pope, Pattison, Tornianien

Shaftesbury – Murphy, Farrugia, Davidson, Wells (Capt), Beard, Kellaway, Bartlett, Pitman, Perrett, Sweeney, Satterley 

Subs used – Whitcombe, Peel

Officials – J.Osufa, R.Halloran, A.Farrar

Match Sponsor – Nuffield Health Care

Attendance -534

Booked – Clarke (AFC Stoneham)

Beard (Shaftesbury) 

Article- Avril Lancaster 

Photo – Charlie Hansford 

Rocking Rockies – Steve Coffen leads the dance just like he did in 22!

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