18 August 2022

Salisbury FC to get season underway

Steve Claridge and his Salisbury side get their Southern League Premier South season underway this weekend with a home tie against Beaconsfield Town.

After a frustrating season in which Salisbury suffered a string of injuries and setbacks. This term the team are looking to bounce back with the manager talking about a potential playoff push. Claridge though, admits that the target set is ambitious.

Salisbury finished last season 15th in the league after struggling for form. Claridge’s side only picked up five wins after beating Merthyr Town at the Ray Mac in mid-November.

The club have been busy in the transfer market. They have brought in several players who on paper will help deliver more goals. This is something the side struggled with last season, having to rely on young players more than Claridge would have liked.

Salisbury marked their intentions for the season by signing striker, Brandon Goodship. The 27-year-old has a huge amount of experience having played for Southend, Yeovil and Weymouth. A proven goal scorer who the management and supporters alike will hope provides a cutting edge to the side.

He will line up regularly upfront alongside another experienced forward in former Weymouth frontman, Ben Thompson.

Another player to have joined the club having impressed during a trial is Ryan Penny. A former England Youth international who played in the Salisbury youth set-up told the club’s website, “I wanted a new challenge for this upcoming season and Salisbury was the right place for that. I have enjoyed pre-season with the club, and I am delighted to now sign and get started.

He continued, “As a player, I hope the fans have already seen that I give my all when on the pitch. I am comfortable getting on the ball deep to try and dictate the game and get forwards and create chances.”

The side last season didn’t see a goalkeeper manage to regularly hold down the starting position. Both Patrick O’Flaherty and Marcus Beauchamp have moved on. They have been replaced by Gerard Benfield and Lewis Gunstone-Gray. Benfield returns to the Ray Mac after leaving two years ago. He is another ex-Weymouth player who is expected to be the first-choice ‘keeper this season.

Changes have also been made behind the scenes with a new goal-keeping coach in the form of Jason Matthews. The former ‘keeper will be known to many White’s supporters as he played for the club in the late 90s. After leaving his career saw him play for Exeter City and Weymouth.

Notable fixtures will see Salisbury host Wiltshire rivals Swindon Supermarine later in August and travel to Dorchester Town in October. They are away to Winchester City on Boxing day and welcome Poole Town for the first fixture of 2023.

The club start and finish the season at home. Weston Super Mare are scheduled to be the final visitors to the Ray Mac in late April.

The first game of the season brings a team that finished two places lower than The Whites last season.

On the Beaconsfield fixture, Steve Claridge said, “It’s going to be a tough game. People will expect us to win this sort of game, but it’s not that easy. They’ve got good players and it’s going to be a tough game.”

Salisbury will see a true test in their first away game as they travel to last season’s runners-up. Hayes and Yeading will be a good gauge of where the team is on Saturday 13th August.

Tickets for the season opener can be bought online at salisburyfc.co.uk or at the gate for the 3 pm Saturday kick-off.

For the latest local news and sport in Salisbury like Love Salisbury on Facebook or tune into Salisbury Radio on DAB or online.

Written by
Andy Munns
View all articles
Written by Andy Munns