Fleetlands boss watches on helplessly as his promotion hopefuls lose two vital Hampshire Premier League points

Fleetlands boss Rich Bessey was left bemoaning his side’s ‘poor game management’ after dropping points against Overton.

Monday, 9th March 2020, 1:40 pm
Updated Monday, 9th March 2020, 1:59 pm
Joel Jackson (red/black) struck a sublime goal for Fleetlands in their draw at Overton. Picture: Ian Hargreaves

Down to 10 men due to injuries, Fleetlands conceded a late leveller to draw the Hampshire Premier League encounter 2-2.

‘It was two points dropped for sure,’ said Bessey. It was a very disappointing result.

‘Our game management was poor, we should have seen the game out.

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‘I will take some of the blame as I was on a one-game ban for saying something to the referee after the Paulsgrove game recently.

‘If I had been in the dugout I might have been able to get the message across.’

Despite Fleetlands aiming to finish high enough to win promotion to the Wessex, Bessey could only piece together a 13-man squad.

And both subs - Joel Jackson and Danny Knee - were used due to injuries to Sean Dark and Jamie Wrapson.

That meant there was no-one to replace debutant defender Rich Winslade when the 39-year-old suffered an eye injury 10 minutes from time.

‘Rich was dizzy, he couldn’t see out of his left eye, so we couldn’t just leave him on the pitch,’ Bessey reported.

‘Overton then equalised after the referee over-ruled our linesman. He didn’t even acknowledge him, he just ignored him.

‘But I’m not blaming the ref for the fact we didn’t win, that was our own fault.

‘We’ve a million and one players signed on, but I could geet 13 to travel to Overton and two of them were poorly.

‘Perhaps some of the players signed on need to look at themselves in the mirror and ask themselves if they want to be a part of what we’re trying to do.’

After falling behind, Fleetlands equalised through a sublime Jackson strike. ‘It was our goal of the season,’ said Bessey. ‘Joel hit it with the outside of his right foot and it went in the top left side in off the post - it was great technique.’

The visitors took the lead when Jackson set up teenager Jack North to score.

‘The players were demoralised afterwards, but they were saying they’ll still finish in the top four.

‘But that might not be enough, it might come down to how many points we get. That's why it was so gutting to throw two away at Overton.’

Bessey is correct to say points could matter more than a league finishing place. Four HPL clubs - Fleetlands, Infinity, Bush Hill and Stockbridge - have applied to join the Wessex League. But first they have to finish in the top five, and even that might not be enough.

In all, 80 clubs from Step 7 have applied to moved up nationally. But the FA have insisted only 40 of them will actually win promotion, so a top four finish for Fleetlands might not guarantee them elevation.