Bluefin Sport Supplementary Cup
Tuffley Rovers 2 Thame United 0
Tuffley Rovers progressed to the semi-final of this season’s Hellenic League, Bluefin Sports Supplementary Cup, as they produced an inspired display to see off the challenge of this season’s league champions, Thame United, at Glevum Park on Thursday evening. In a game of few chances, Rovers advanced beyond the quarter-finals thanks to first-half goals from substitute Ryan Dobbins and their leading goalscorer, Warren Mann.
With a mounting injury list and his Player/Assistant, Shayne Anson, suspended, Pritchett gambled on Shayne Bradley’s fitness - with the veteran looking to come back from a recent hamstring injury - restoring him in attack, whilst Jack Overthrow had a rare opportunity to play at full-back, with Sam Hill absent and Marcus Foxwell struggling for fitness. Bradley started in attack but he lasted just eight minutes before being with withdrawn due to an entirely new injury, as he badly fractured a finger. He was replaced by the Reserves’ leading scorer, Dobbins, who had returned to the squad for the first time in six weeks.
Visitors, Thame, looked every bit the league champions in the opening stages, although their territorial advantage was not being converted into chances and Rovers’ skipper, Dave Evans, was largely untroubled in goal. Rovers were bright and busy, working hard to deny Thame any clear opportunities, and as confidence increased, they started to match their opponents, improving their share of possession and starting to stretch the visitors’ back-four. On 19 minutes, Dobbins raced onto a clearance which eluded the Thame United defence, and produced a composed finish, shooting across Jamie Perkins and into the far corner of the net, to hand Rovers the lead.
Rovers were now in the ascendancy, and Harry Walker and Mark Pritchett both went close to extending the lead with shots from distance, although neither effort troubled Perkins. During a period of Rovers superiority, a shot from Overthrow appeared to strike Derek Feyi’s hand in the Thame United box, but the referee, Tom Green, waved away all appeals, booking Overthrow for his protest, in the process. The game continued to go from end-to-end, although neither keeper was being seriously tested, and the game seemed destined to enter the half-time interval with Rovers’ slender advantage intact. However, when Mann picked up the ball 25 yards out, he cut inside, evaded a challenge and then fired a shot goalward that Perkins could not prevent from crossing the line, as Rovers went 2-0 up.
After the break chances for either side were few and far between, as Rovers defended stoutly, with Pritchett and Macaulay Herbert both excellent, as the usually free-scoring Lynton Goss and Andrew Gledhill were denied any opportunities. As the half wore on, Rovers continued to be resolute in their defending, whilst continuing to display attacking intent, with youngsters Dobbins and Harry Walker busy, without creating any clear chances.
Rovers have often saved their best performances for games against the Premier Division’s leading teams and this was another superb effort. Thame United were unable to open up the Rovers defensive line and on the one occasion they got the ball in behind, with Tom Ashworth one-on-one with Evans, the Rovers keeper produced an excellent save with his feet, as he advanced from his line.
The game progressed into the closing moments and although the visitors had a territorial advantage, Rovers’ defence stood firm and aside from a close call, when substitute Ellis Hercules’ flicked header almost fell to Feyi, at the far post, only to drift wide of the goal, they were unable to find their way back into the game and the hosts held out for a memorable 2-0 victory.
Rovers will now progress to a semi-final tie against newly crowned Hellenic League, Division One (West) champions, Fairford Town, on Thursday evening. That game will be played at Glevum Park, with a 7:45pm kick-off. Ahead of that, Pritchett’s team have a busy weekend, as they host visits by Burnham, on Saturday and Highmoor Ibis, on Monday (both 3pm kick-offs), looking to end their league programme on a high.
Final - Played at Kidlington FC 12 April 2017
Flackwell Heath 3 Lydney Town 3 (away view)
Lydney Town Win On Penalties
The road to this third cup final in three seasons was the toughest yet. Every game away, over 700 travel miles clocked up, knocked out, re-instated, extra time and finally to face a side that had beaten us home and away this season in the league. With Tom Shaw, Lewis Halford, Jake Morgan and Tom Maxted all unavailable, Lewis Bamford made a start up top, while Jacob English, Pat Gibbs,Ryan Pendry, Jordan Voss, Tom Baldwin and Ellis Boughton filled the bench.
The game was full of incident with Lydney having more of the ball in the first 20 minutes, but it was the Heathens who, against the run of play, struck first on the half hour mark. Central striker Sheridan Campbell was on the right spot to fire home after good work down the flank by Dan Rapley. Undeterred, Lydney kept going and were rewarded after a good move was ended abruptly when Lewis Bamford was tripped in the box. Deadly Declan Morley-Lyne sent Wealt the wrong way with his kick.
The front line of Heath were causing problems with some great runs and it paid off within a minute of the restart. A deep ball from the left found Matt Stockhill who powered home a superb header to put his side back in front. The half ended with Heath on top and Campbell saw a goalbound shot deflected for a corner.
The second half was barely three minutes old when referee Harry Moore awarded another Town penalty. Keeper Wealt was adjudged to have impeded a player in the area. Declan Morley-Lyne did the job again to level the score. Wealt protested too much and referee Moore brandished a red card.
Town were pushing on now and they went in front during a good spell. Morley-Lyne chased a ball played into the area where the stand-in keeper thumped it against Town's burly striker only to see the rebound bounce back over his head into the net. Despite being down to 10 men Heath went on to assert themselves and they made Town work really hard to keep them out. The back four of Morse, Elliott, Guest and Sheppard made some crucial challenges to prevent Heath finding the net.
The best chance fell to Blount but his first time effort was superbly stopped by the feet of Rich Thomas, as the ball came back to him he blasted well wide. Rapley, Stockhill and Campbell were a constant threat and a goal was looking on the cards. Heath deservedly drew level on 70 minutes. Referee Moore awarded his 3rd penalty of the day and Tom Willment hammered it home.
Pat Gibbs replaced Morley-Lyne following a yellow card, and late on Jordan Voss and Ryan Pendry came on for Pete Macklin and Billy Guest.
The tie went into extra time and to Heath's credit you would never have known they only had the 10 men. With no further scoring it ended in a penalty shootout.
Skipper Jamie Addis and Lewis Bamford bagged the opening 2 with Heath blasting their first over the top. Jack Rutter scored with ease before Liam's kick was saved by the feet of the keeper. Heath were back in it when the scored their next for 3-3.
Who else do you call on at times like this? For the 3rd year in succession Town's keeper Rich Thomas proved to be the man of the moment. Cooly slotting home our 4th pen, he then went full length to deny Heath and the Cup was coming back to the Forest, probably on one of the tractors we arrived in!!!
April 10-14 2017
Bicester Town 6 Didcot Town Reserves 2 (away view)
The Railwaymen Reserves finished their season in disapointing fashion playing with ten starters for the first 30 minutes of the game and Adam Bradley in goal it proved a game too far for them.
When reinforcements arrived after being delayed on the M40 they could not force their way into the game. The ten men actually battled bravely when a Jack Hollister bouncing cross was missed by the Bicester defence and Jack Kitchener shot home from close in. Bicester equalised from a chip over the goalkeeper and straight after Didcot again took the lead with Keiren Collins firing home from a poor Bicester keeper clearance. Bicester equalised from a header and then scored three quick goals in 8 minutes resulting from the ball over the top.
Despite battling hard in the second half downhill Didcot could not find a way through the Bicester defence and their misery on the night was complete with an own goal shortly before the end of the game.
A mixed season for the Reserves overall who will prefer to remember the recent good run of results and a decent Berks & Bucks Intermediate cup run as highlights.
Chalfont Wasps 2 Holyport 1
On Thursday Wasps entertained Holyport on the eve before the Easter weekend in the midst of a congested fixture schedule. Wasps rested a few players for the first half but made changes during the second period to grab all three points.
Wasps first opportunity came when Kieran Web found big Chris MacDonald, his header clipping the right-hand post. Wasps pressure continued with a series of a Brad Holt throw, free kick and corner, which Holyport survived. Holyport had their moments but failed to create any real chances. Wasps other first half chances came when Garluwa Sandy’s run and cross reach Webb but he was smothered before he could get his shot away; from the resulting corner Benning’s header cleared the cross bar.
Second half. Jack Pearce stole the ball in midfield and his rasping shot went close in the 46th minute. Holyport crafted a couple of chances, one gilt edged, which was pushed wide from close range. Wasps Michael Green put a header over the top. Next, the majestic Dominic Brown strode out confidently from centre back, found Benning, but Holyport snuffed out the opportunity. The Wasps opener came in the 55th minute from a fast move, Sandy started and finished the move, linking well with Mason Wright; 1-0 Wasps. Holyport responded well and forced a series of corners. Wasps weathered the mini-storm. Pardeep Ghattoara and Luke Graham came on, Wasps became more dominant. A Ryan Sweales ‘toe punt’ whistled over just before Barry Rake put Wasps two up. Rake picked the ball up wide right, deftly moved inside and struck a superb angled effort home. 2-0, 67th minute. Wasps onslaught continued – Benning was unlucky not to get something from a few efforts. Then a hiccup – Paul Rake converted a penalty for Holyport with ten minutes to go. Wasps pressure continued but the score remained 2-1.
Penn & Tylers Green 2 Chalfont Wasps 1
This was an important game last night, testing the Division One (East) league leaders’ nerves, desire and skill. The boys from French School Meadows passed the test. In front of a large crowd of 167 on a sunny evening with live local radio present again, the excellent match official Ryan Dix got the game under way. It was clear from the off, our local rivals from across the Chiltern Hills made sure last night’s game was a contest. The neutral punter (and there were many last night) would have enjoyed this game of football, which was an excellent advert of the game at this level.
The first ten minutes was a nervous spell for the hosts, bearing in mind what was at stake last night but they got going and showed why they are top of the league. Lee Thompson scored a great goal in 20th minute after a good move involving a number of the boys in blue & white. This was followed up with a Chris Hurst penalty in 33rd minute to make it 2:0. Chris was desperate to make amends for his recent penalty miss at Wokingham & Emmbrook; amends he made (no “Gumbsie” this time). A couple of saves by Chalfont’s Dan Little in the remaining minutes of half one kept the visitors in the game at that stage.
The crowd and the team was buzzing when the game started for the second half. Was the home side nervous, considering what was at stage? Yes, they were for a while. Chalfont Wasps (containing a number of former Penn & Tylers Green players in their squad) took the initiative and certainly gave the team from French School Meadows a game. In this spell, ex-blue & white boy Luke Graham got one goal back with an excellently taken free kick from just outside the box, curling the ball into the top right corner; game on. Shortly after that we gave away a needless penalty. Where we giving the game away? No, we were not, because we have a goal keeper called Josh Cockerill. He saved the spot kick. That was the turning point of the second half.
That save re-ignited the spirit and desire to win this crucial game. Penn & Tylers Green FC regained the initiative and composure. We created chances again. Two of which coming from excellent runs by Josh Fox down the left flank. From both of his crosses, we nearly scored with one shot by Fred Tripp headed off the line by an alert and brave Chalfont Wasps defender.
The minutes were ticking away ever so slowly (too slowly) but in the end with ability, desire and quality, shown throughout the season, we saw the game out. When the referee blew his whistle for the final time last night the elation of everyone connected with our village club was immense.
We are at the top of the Uhlsport League Division One (East) with 63 points and a goal difference of plus 29 with one game to go. The table never lies. Two years running on the top is a fantastic achievement. We have a very good squad of players with an excellent team spirit. The management team of Messrs. Sepede, Pritchard, Miller and Grimsdell can be very proud of their achievement.
Penn & Tylers Green 2 Chalfont Wasps 1 (away view)
After a decade where both these local rivals have had their share of success it was inevitable that they would meet at some point when one side needed all three points to secure the league. Wasps put in a good shift but it was Penn who prevailed to celebrate winning the Division One East title.
This well supported local derby was well supported, started in the late spring sunshine and ended in fading light. Penn had the best of the first half as Wasps batted against the setting sun and the breeze. Penn, via a pen, got ahead after 19 minutes, Lee Thompson converting the spot kick. Chris Hurst made it 2-0 after Wasps failed to clear their lines effectively with 33 minutes gone. Wasps rallied a little towards the end of the half but failed apply much pressure.
Wasps were better in the second period and were unlucky not to grab at least a point. Ollie White and Pardeep Ghattoara combined to force the first save. Tom Fifield wide and angled dead ball strike then evaded the home keeper and found the far top corner, 2-1, 50 minutes. Wasps then had a great period of pressure as Penn back peddled. Garluwa Sandy came on to add his pace and trickery to the Wasps threat. Then a decisive moment in the match. Wasps Fifield saw is penalty saved with 28 minutes remaining. Wasps pressure continued for a while, Josh Urquhart, Nick Little and Fifield all had half chances; and in the dying moments 20 players crowded the Penn box as Dan Little launched a free kick into the area, but Penn stood firm to take the title.
Congratulations to our rivals, we hope you had a great evening!
Woodley United 3 Chinnor 0
A team from Woodley will play at Step Five next season for the first time in the town's history after United beat Chinnor 3-0 on Monday evening. This was the first team's eighth consecutive win, with goalkeeper Alex Reed going well over ten hours without conceding. Woodley are now level on points with Penn & Tylers Green and still have an outside chance of winning the title but require Penn to drop points in their last two games.
United started well. Danny Horscroft hooked over a Greg Beckett cross before Charlie Oakley got his thirtieth of the season with a good finish. Breaking the defensive line he latched onto a perfectly weighted Beckett through ball to find the right corner. The home side continued to dominate. A quickly taken free kick by Jake Nicholls found full back Luke Turner on the left wing; the Woodley man picked out Horscroft at the near post but he failed to test Ben Taunton in the away goal. Chinnor's best chance came courtesy of a right wing cross that was headed well wide.
United doubled their advantage on seventeen minutes when Josh Drew was bought down in the box. Drew took the resultant penalty, beating Taunton with a low shot into the left corner. More chances for the hosts followed. Horscroft had a header cleared off the line from a Drew corner whilst the former had a low shot saved; the set piece that followed found Beckett whose header lacked power.
The visitors then had a six minute spell when they completely lost their discipline. Stuart MacLellan was shown a second yellow for a crunching tackle on the half way line before Tom Folley was given a straight red when he bought down Oakley who was through on goal. The half ended with Danny Greenwood heading wide a Nicholls free kick and Drew firing over from the left.
Woodley started the half with a nice move; Turner picked out Oakley whose flick found Horscroft who saw his volleyed effort miss. On fifty one minutes United made a change, with Turner making way for Teddy Thomas. This saw Woodley go to a back three of Greenwood, Idris Kamara and Joe Barley. Making the most of their numbers advantage, Oakley sliced wide before Abdul Kamara headed a Drew corner over.
Halfway through the half, United made another change when Carl Prestidge replaced Abdul Kamara. The hosts were dominating possession but not showing the urgency that they started with. Prestidge had a pass deflect into the path of Beckett who missed to the right from eighteen yards.
With nineteen minutes to go, Woodley made their final change when Drew came off for Liam Wilson. The last ten minutes saw a Beckett effort just go over before Wilson found space in the box and finished well.
Shortwood United 3 Woodstock Town 1
Shortwood's comfortable win over lowly Woodstock on Thursday evening was akin to an exhibition performance from the home side, which probably prevented it from being a rout.
Woodstock created the first real chance of the match seven minutes in, when Kevin Pike floated a cross field ball to Green, who just about reached it before it went out for a goal kick. Green hooked the ball hopefully with the outside of his right foot, it hit the top of the bar, and Beckford's follow-up shot was saved by Portlock following and Andy Lewis deflection. Ten minutes later, regular Shortwood firsts player Matt Bennett hit a shot from around 25 yards out which almost squirmed under the body of Woodstock 'keeper Gosling. With a quarter of the game played, Shortwood almost gave up a poor goal when Marks under hit a back pass to Portlock, but Raffael Rice was at a tight angle and Portlock managed to smother before the forward could shoot. A minute later Shortwood opened the scoring; Bennett found Blackah at the edge of the box, whose snapshot nestled into the bottom corner. The next five minutes saw firstly Lewis heading through to Blackah, but he pulled his shot wide when one-on-one with Gosling, and then the home side doubled their lead: some brilliant inter-play down the left hand side culminated in Blackah squaring to Rae, who pulled it back for Freeman to score. With five minutes of the half remaining, Blackah hit the top of the bar with a curling strike from the edge of the penalty area.
Six minutes into the second half, Shortwood added a third. A long through ball curled around the Woodstock defence by Singh found Blackah, who looked to have controlled it with his arm, but he carried on and scored, despite being fouled as he shot. Woodstock got one back with just over an hour played, Kevin Pike finding Rice, who lofted the ball over the onrushing Portlock, and into the bottom corner. With 15 minutes to play, Ayo Ajijedidun hit the post after Blackah found him with a low near post cross. A late flurry of chances saw an Ajijedidun goal wrongly ruled out for offside (the Shortwood substitute was behind the ball when it was played); another home substitute Hawes saw his close range shot well saved by Gosling; and the best chance of all fell to Rice, who blazed over with the goal at his mercy, having been found again by Kevin Pike.
Division Two East
Chalfont Wasps Reserves 1 Penn & Tylers Green Reserves 1
A lively local derby re-run of the first team encounter the night before saw Penn peg back Wasps early lead.
Penn had the brighter start and were on the front foot from the whistle, keeping Wasps ‘keeper Heikko Stepanov on his toes. Wasps found some menace after 10 minutes and although things evened up. Penn were making the better half chances. After 20 minutes Wasps got their noses in front when Scott Waite drove a powerful and accurate strike into the corner. Both sides then saw a speculative 45+ yard effort fly wide. Penn then spurned the chance to draw level from the penalty spot, but blazed wide. 1-0 at half time.
The high tempo and entertaining encounter continued as both sides were fully committed to their cause, but there was minimum goal mouth incident. A worldy free kick levelled matters, with Stepanov having no chance as the powerful strike breached the Wasps wall and found the near corner. The energy continued to the end, the match ebbed and flowed, but neither side managed to grab all three points.