Hartley Wintney hosted high flying Salisbury on Saturday 19 January and after an exciting encounter it was the visitors who returned to Wiltshire with the spoils.
A good crowd of 374 saw the high spending team managed by Steve Claridge hold an edge and on 11 minutes it was the Whites took the lead. Dan Fitchett and Lewis Benson combined well on the edge of the penalty box and the latter swept a shot into the corner of the net. Things got even better for the visitors four minutes later and a strong run and cross from the left found the head of Buowe Bosma who headed home at the back post.
The Hartley response was virtually immediate and they took the match bravely to their better known opponents. They were rewarded on 24 minutes when a corner from Josh Webb on the right found the head of Jack Ball who headed home. The Row were very much on the front foot and pulled level on 32 minutes following a free kick which found Salhin Abubakkar. The winger went to the dead ball line and his cross was converted by the alert Mitchell Parker.
The Whites re-grouped and held on until half time.
HALF TIME: HARTLEY WINTNEY 2 SALISBURY 2
The Row resumed where they had left off in the first half and were quickly in front. A quick break saw Abubakkar race down the wing leaving the whites defenders in his wake. His cross was accurate and Mickel Platt did the needy by stroking the ball into the net.
Salisbury responded well and equalised with a huge slice of good fortune. A free kick by Benson appeared to be missed by both defenders and forwards and somehow found its way into the net.
Both sides went all out for the win and it was from a breakaway by the Whites that Fitchett got clear and scored what turned out to be the winner on 76 minutes.
A thoroughly entertaining match between two evenly matched sides. The Row probably deserved at least a draw and will hope to have a slice of luck next time out.
FULL TIME: HARTLEY WINTNEY 3 SALISBURY 4
David Graham said: “The Row were very unlucky in losing a good match. There is a gulf in budgets between Salisbury and Hartley who are the lowest financed team in the division. I think they are doing brilliant and we are all extremely proud of them.”