Clanfield set for latest chance to claim first big Hampshire Premier League scalp of Blakely’s reign

Clanfield boss Lee Blakely has another chance to claim his first major Hampshire Premier League scalp this weekend.

Monday, 14th December 2020, 12:35 pm
Adam Smalley struck twice in a 5-0 win against Winchester Castle

Since taking over at the start of last season, Clanfield have only beaten teams from the lower reaches of the Senior Division.This term, for example, their four wins have come against the bottom four clubs - Lyndhurst, Sway, Chamberlayne and, last Saturday, Winchester Castle.Dylan Riches and Adam Smalley both netted twice in a 5-0 caning of Castle.The game was virtually over inside the first 23 minutes after Riches’ first minute opener was followed by Smalley’s brace.Now Clanfield are preparing to welcome third-placed Fleetlands to Westleigh Park on Saturday.It will be an afternoon kick off if Hawks are not in FA Trophy third round action, and an evening kick off if they are.Reflecting on the win against Castle, Blakely said: ‘It was much better, much more professional.’That was a reference to the previous weekend’s 3-1 home loss to Hayling United.The Humbugs struck three first half goals with Blakely branding his side’s performance ‘unacceptable.’‘We weren’t at the races, we let them dictate the play,’ he recalled.‘We were better in the second half and we carried on in the same mentality against Winchester.‘We just ground them down in the first 20 minutes, they didn’t seem to want to there.’Owen Milne made it 4-0 after the break and Riches completed the nap hand 12 minutes from time.Clanfield gave a debut to ex-Fleetlands defender Aaron Tasker, who started, while two midfielders were handed their first appearance as second half subs.Marvin Meal is a Portsmouth College student while Tom Fripp has been signed from Southampton Leaguers Whiteley Wanderers.Another Portsmouth College student, Elvis Iheanacho, awaits his first appearance after sitting on the bench against Castle.Blakely’s thoughts have already started turning to the 2021/22 campaign.‘It’s taking us time to adapt to our new surroundings,’ he said.‘Other teams are coming here (Westleigh Park) as if it’s their cup final.‘We had been used to being the underdogs.‘It’ll take time, this is a long-term project - I’m already planning for next season.’

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Blakely will need to make changes against Fleetlands.

Two University of Portsmouth students, centre half Ben Linter and midfielder Will Martin, have returned home for the festive period.