“START the car.” It’s a familiar cry when your team is getting mauled, only poor Bournemouth Poppies boss Ken Vaughan couldn’t even do that.
Having witnessed his patched-up side start the season with a 7-0 drubbing at Winchester City, Vaughan lifted his car bonnet to check out the persistent noise which had blighted his journey to the Denplan. He wouldn’t be driving home.
“I’ve had better days,” said Vaughan. “It wasn’t my worst day in football because losing in the quarter-final of the FA Vase was a real sickener but we certainly had no luck.”
Threadbare Poppies were ragged from the outset as Winchester ruthlessly exposed a back four containing diminutive midfielder Will Robinson and untried full-back Howard Nhemechena.
Adam Roberts kicked off the rout in the ninth minute and Sam Wilson’s first-half hat-trick was punctuated by Zac Glasspool’s strike as the hosts led 5-0 at half-time.
City spurned a host of presentable chances after the break before Chris Mason eventually claimed number six, while Wilson rounded off Winchester’s Magnificent Seven with his fourth goal in the latter stages.
But despite the lack of fortune, Vaughan admitted he had expected a tough time on the pitch having arrived with a makeshift defence.
Vaughan said: “We had our entire back four out. One of them is struggling with a broken toe while the rest are sat on a beach in Ibiza. It was not ideal.
“I came here thinking it could be four or five. I didn’t think for one minute that we would beat them and not many teams at this level will, even with a full side out.
“Our lads worked hard and it was just as well they did or could have been a lot worse. Some of the boys who stepped up from the under-18s were outclassed but I take my hat off to them because they worked their socks off.
“Those lads should be on the periphery, coming through alongside more experienced players, not being thrown in at the deep end like that.
“Five of them had never kicked a ball in the Wessex League. It was a real baptism of fire but they all stuck at it so I wasn’t too upset.”
Poppies: Vaughan, Martinez, Nhemechena, Doe, Valencia (Makhloufi, h-t), Saadi, Hales (Teixceira, 75), Robinson, Pekun, Fairbrother, Phillips. Unused subs: Cooper, Gravett.