South Park kicked off their Bostik South Division campaign with a comfortable 4-0 victory away at newly promoted Shoreham. The match saw competitive South Park debuts for new signings Adam Pullin, Josh Gallagher and Jack Mazzone with Izzy Adebayo coming off the bench.
Park created the first opportunity of the game in the second minute when Jack Mazzone latched onto a through ball but shot wide as the home keeper narrowed the angle. Mazzone then hit a speculative long range effort over the bar before the home side created their first opportunity which was fired over the bar by their centre forward from 15 yards. James McElligott’s cross cum shot came back off the bar as Park began to take control of the game, having been frustrated that they could not get their passing game going, on a pitch that could have done with another cut. Chris Smith’s break and cross was deflected behind and from the resultant corner Luke Elliott headed over the bar. The deadlock was broken in the 22nd minute as Smith calmly fired home from 10 yards from Mazzone’s pull back. Jackson’s shot on the turn flashed past the far post. Skipper Kieran Lavery cutting in from the left forced the Shoreham keeper to make a fine save and he reacted quickly to block Smith’s follow up effort. Adam Pullin made a couple of timely interceptions just before the break to keep Park in front at the interval.
Park started the second half on the front foot with Dan Moody and Josh Gallagher sitting in front of the back four this allowed Lavery, Smith, Mazzone and Jackson to push forward at will. Smith had a shot blocked before Park doubled their lead in the 59th minute. Mazzone moved onto a through ball and was brought down by the Shoreham keeper. Lavery stepped up and scored from the spot. Park increased their lead in the 61st minute when the ball held up in the long grass which allowed Lavery to pick out the unmarked Joe Jackson in the six yard box to score from close range. Mazzone made it 4-0 in the 70th minute as he ran onto Moody’s through ball to shoot powerfully past the keeper from the edge of the box. Jackson dragged a shot past the far post. Callum Thomas in the Park goal made his first real save of the game in stoppage time when he tipped a 25 yard shot onto the bar to preserve Park’s clean sheet.
Sparks Manager Malcolm Porter was content with his team’s start, “We know how difficult it is to face newly promoted teams at the start of the season, so I’m very pleased to have won 4 – 0 with four different goal scorers and to keep a clean sheet. We face another newly promoted team on Tuesday in Ashford United, I saw them a couple of times last season and I had them watched on Saturday in their match against one of the title favourites Carshalton and as expected they were very competitive and had several opportunities to draw the match. They’ve added in some quality players during the pre-season and with the likes of Welford, Goodchild, Richardson-Brown, Phillips and Hill they possess a real threat going forward and are very tough and uncompromising in the middle of the park and defence. So our players are under no illusion about how difficult Ashford will be and how motivated they will be get some points on the board after losing on Saturday.”
Park are at home to Ashford Utd on Tuesday who are another promoted side. Kick off at Whitehall Lane is 7.45 pm. On Saturday Park travel to Hayward’s Heath Town in the Preliminary Round of the Emirates FA Cup.
South Park: Callum Thomas, James McElligott, Luke Elliott, Adam Pullin, Dylan Merchant, Josh Gallagher, Chris Smith, Dan Moody, Kieran Lavery ©, Jack Mazzone, Joe Jackson Subs: Dean Lovegrove, Nathan Ayling, Izzy Adebayo, Jake Gill, Jack Stafford