TWO first half goals from the hosts Salisbury saw Hartley Wintney lose out 2-0.

This was despite a much improved performance from the FA Cup matches against Chichester City.

Hartley started the better and on three minutes a good move down the left set up Alex Albert with a shooting chance. The midfielder’s effort from 25 yards went over the crossbar.

Salisbury took the lead on six minutes with their first attack in the game. Shaquille Hippolyte-Patrick did well to create space and his cross from the left was headed home at the back post by Bay Downing.

Two minutes later a dangerous attack from the Whites saw Downing free Lewis Benson on the right of the penalty area. The winger’s low cross was just missed by incoming Salisbury forwards. With the home side in the ascendancy Downing tried his luck from distance but saw his deflected effort saved by Luke Williams in the Row goal.

Hartley came into the game and had long periods of possession but were unable to unlock the Whites defence to create a chance.

On 30 minutes Benson and Daniel Fitchett combined well for the Whites and the latter’s low cross across the face of the goal had no takers.

Two minutes later, a long free-kick from Salisbury into the box was partially cleared and Oliver Knowles saw his effort from 20 yards held by a well-positioned Williams.

Three minutes before the break the home side increased the lead. Hippolyte-Patrick made good progress down the left and the ball was worked across the Row’s goal to Benson. The winger cut in and sent a left foot shot into the net The Whites started the second period with a slight edge although Williams in the Row goal was not called into action.

Hartley came into the game and should have reduced the lead on 58 minutes. Mickel Platt did well to show trickery and elude the last defender. With a one on one with White’s goalkeeper Tom Smith the young striker blazed over the bar.

The Row started to dominate but it was the home side who looked dangerous on the break. On 69 minutes a good move down the left created a chance for Hippolyte-Patrick who saw his shot blocked.

Two minutes later, a long free-kick on the left from Tom Bird gave Ty Smith a chance for the Row from which the substitute shot just over. On 77 minutes a’ shot come cross’ from Bird was narrowly missed by a few inrushing Row players.

Two minutes later, Hartley had a chance when a cross from the left by Steven Duff found Nathan Smart. The Row skipper elected to blast the ball and it hit Smith full in the face before going for a corner.

The Whites keeper was down for a period before being stretchered off. Tobias Holmes an outfield player came on to play in the goal and with Salisbury having already used their three subs they had to conclude the match with 10 players.

Hartley moved Shane Hollamby up front to try and reduce the deficit and the Row pressed hard.

A number of scrambles in the Whites goalmouth ensued but the Home side held on with some brave blocks.

A breakaway in the 90th minute saw Elliott Wheeler get a shot away and Williams brought out a good diving save.

Into the sixth minute of added on time and Hartley continued to press. Smith set up Webb who saw his effort beat Holmes but went just past the post. Then good play by Platt set up Webb again and the midfielder shot over.

All in all a much better show by the Row after the Chichester. However, the match was decided by the home side having more know how in attacking positions to work and score goals. With the return of Mikey Campbell for the next match Hartley will be looking for more luck in putting the ball into the net.

Manager Anthony Millerick said: “After our display on Tuesday I asked for a lot more honesty from the players. I feel we got that today despite the result.

“Clearly we need to start scoring goals again. Despite great effort by the front players we have now gone three matches without hitting the net. We had chances but at this level they must be taken.

On Tuesday night, Hartley are at home to Thatcham in a League Cup tie.