Robins feel the Love in Petersfield

Goalkeeper Matt Shortt Picture: George Spear
Goalkeeper Matt Shortt Picture: George Spear
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Petersfield Town went down to a 5-2 defeat to Swindon Town at Love Lane last night.

Ian Saunders’ Wessex League premier division side battled valiantly against their League One visitors but the part-timers were unable to upset the odds in the high-profile pre-season friendly.

The Robins kept their promise of playing a full-strength side and lined up with Australia World Cup member Massimo Luongo in their ranks.

The home side, meanwhile, gave starts to new signings Jake Slater and Warren Hunt.

The hosts started well but were indebted to a series of striking profligacy, last-ditch defending and smart goalkeeping as they kept their opponents at bay.

Jack Barthram, Michael Smith and Nathan Byrne all spurned good chances, before Luongo hit a post.

Host keeper Matt Shortt saved well to deny Smith, before striker Will Essai alleviated some of the pressure with a solo run that was halted in the Robins penalty box by a Jonathan vandesompele tackle.

The home fans were left frustrated moments later, though, when Alex Ward fouled Barthram in the box.

Smith stepped up from 12 yards but he was denied by Shortt to his left.

The home keeper was finally beaten, though, just before the break when the visitors were awarded a second penalty, after Luke Heard handled on the line.

And Smith made no mistake second time round when he fired high into the net for a deserved 1-0 lead.

The same man then made it 2-0 on the stroke of half-time when he fired home from a well-worked corner-kick.

A raft of substitutions at the break saw Petersfield come out a renewed outfit – and Jason Silver showed a fantastic turn of pace, before he was brought down 25 yards from goal.

Ash Howes duly stepped up to fire a memorable free-kick into the top corner.

The threatened comeback was shortlived, though, as Will Randall reasserted the Robins’ two-goal advantage.

Randall doubled his tally moments later, before George Barker then made it 5-1 to Mark Cooper’s side.

But fittingly, Saunders’ men had the final say when Ryan Coker calmly finished when clean through.