Price keeps it clean on US Portsmouth return – but Amesbury concede 100th goal of Wessex League season

Goalkeeper Tom Price kept a clean sheet on his US Portsmouth return as relegation candidates Amesbury conceded their 100th Wessex League goal of the season.

By Simon Carter
Sunday, 16th January 2022, 1:06 pm
Simon Woods puts US Portsmouth ahead against Amesbury Town. Picture: Chris Moorhouse
Simon Woods puts US Portsmouth ahead against Amesbury Town. Picture: Chris Moorhouse

Price has returned to the Victory Stadium after playing 15 Premier Division games for Moneyfields. With previous first choice Dylan Kramer nursing a hamstring injury, Price played in a 3-0 home victory over the Wiltshire strugglers.

He didn’t have much to do as he kept what was only USP’s fifth Wessex clean sheet in 26 matches - two of which have been against Amesbury.

At the other end, goals from Simon Woods, Flo Vucaj and top scorer Joe Johnson completed a comfortable win.

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Simon Woods' goal celebration against Amesbury Town. Picture: Chris Moorhouse

USP boss Tom Grice described Woods’ opener - the 100th conceded by Amesbury in league action this season - as an ‘absolutely class finish.’

‘That’s what you get from him,’ he added of the former Portchester and Fareham forward who joined USP in November.

‘He’s not fully match fit, he said to me he was dying in the last 10 minutes, but he’s 35 years old and you have to expect that - particularly as he hadn’t been playing much.’

It was 2-0 when Vucaj headed in a Tom Dinsmore corner, and Johnson struck in second half.

Flo Vucaj (partly hidden) scores for US Portsmouth. Picture: Chris Moorhouse

Grice was full of praise for his midfield quartet of Cam Quirke and Vucaj in the centre, Dinsmore on the right and Ryan Smart on the left.

‘In phases the way we kept the ball was the best I’ve seen all season,’ said the boss. ‘I said to the boys beforehand that the squad is in the best place it’s been all season, and I genuinely believe that.’

Grice handed a debut to AFC Totton right-back Jacob Woods as a second half sub. The Waterlooville-based player had been on loan to USP’s league rivals Blackfield & Langley but found the travelling was getting too much.

As for Price, Grice commented: ‘It was great to see him back. In my opinion he’s one of the best keepers in the league, and he’ll be a good influence in the changing room - especially among the younger players.

Ryan Smart fails to connect with a cross. Picture: Chris Moorhouse

‘I’m looking forward to him helping in the development of Dylan Kramer.’

USP host Alresford on Tuesday with Grice insisting: ‘I’m not being disrespectful to Alresford, but I’m looking for nothing less than three points there.’

Tom Dinsmore on the ball for US Portsmouth. Picture: Chris Moorhouse
US Portsmouth manager Tom Grice. Picture: Chris Moorhouse