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Pre-Season September

uhlsport football kit1 & 2 August 2017

Premier Division

Bracknell Town 2 Ascot United 0
It was a comfortable opening night victory for Bracknell Town as they defeated local rivals Ascot United thanks to two unanswered Adam Cornell goals on an evening where they also struck the woodwork four times and it was all watched by a crowd in excess of 200.

The visitors were blown away in the first half and took until the 45th minute to register their first shot but they were much improved after the interval as it settled into an even affair but even the 67th minute dismissal of home captain Carl Davies couldn’t help the Yellamen. In fact, it spurred the Robins into action as they soon got the crucial second goal to kill the game off.

As early as the second minute, Jamie McClurg’s free-kick took a nick and struck the right hand post and the opening goal came soon afterwards as Cornell turned in Dave Hancock’s cross on seven minutes. It seemed as though the floodgates would open when Joe Grant headed Rob Gerrard’s cross onto the crossbar and Grant then beat goalkeeper Lee Allen in a race but saw his lobbed effort just miss to the left.

Allen made a great save in the 27th minute as he somehow tipped a rare Seb Bowerman header onto the top of the bar, George Short had an effort blocked and Cornell fired over after Ascot conceded possession. As the half came to a close Bowerman lashed wide from distance, Kensley Maloney shot high and Grant was denied by Allen with the Yellamen’s first shot seeing Hancock block Samir Regragui’s low shot.

The second period started and was immediately more even although it was the hosts creating chances as McClurg headed Bowerman’s cross narrowly wide and Bowerman then failed to find the target. You sensed the game might turn in Ascot’s favour when Davies was adjudged to have fouled Regragui just outside the penalty area and received his marching orders, a decision which didn’t go down well with the Robins who felt very aggrieved Maloney was sacrificed and replaced by central defender Alex Rodrigues but Rob Lazarczuk sent the resulting free-kick over as the danger passed.

Rather than give the visitors momentum it was Bracknell who were spurred on by the red card as they quickly set about getting the crucial second goal and putting the game beyond Ascot. On 76 minutes a well worked free-kick did the trick. McClurg rolled the ball to Short who stopped it dead and Cornell struck an effort which took a deflection giving Allen no chance. Bowerman curled an effort onto the right hand post with Allen rooted to the spot and although the Yellamen mustered a final chance in the ninetieth minute when substitute James Goodey shot at Chris Grace they never looked like getting anything from the match right from the opening whistle.

Ascot manager Neil Richards can take some positives with both Allen and central defender Louis Bouwers excelling but after only three pre-season friendlies, it may take the Racecourse Ground team a little while to settle into a groove.

For the home manager Mark Tallentire there were so many good things to take from tonight with Cornell back amongst the goals straight away and the defence looked incredibly solid with new additions Joe Gater and Rob Gerrard settling in well. Grant, Bowerman and Maloney were difficult to contain and on top of this the suspended Liam Ferdinand returns on Saturday after completing his ban. It’s Emirates FA Cup action this Saturday for both sides with the Robins hosting Isle of Wight side Cowes Sports and Ascot travelling to Ringwood Town.

Bracknell Town 2 Ascot United 0 (away view)
Adam Cornell scored a goal in each half as Bracknell Town ousted Ascot United 2-0 after the Uhlsport Hellenic League Premier Division curtains went up on Tuesday evening. Cornell’s seventh minute volley and second-half long-range effort earned his side a deserved victory – although they could – and should – have scored a hatful.

This fixture might not have happened had the home side not fluffed their lines in last season’s title run-in; a last-week slip up consigning them to the runners-up berth and another term of football in non-league’s fifth tier. The Yellamen were much changed from the side which narrowly missed out on an unlikely point in last December’s clash at Larges Lane. Indeed, a total of five new players took their place in Neil Richards’ starting line-up, against a Bracknell side boasting several players who had also appeared in yellow-and-blue.

It didn’t take long for the home side to make their intentions clear. Attacking at will, they swarmed around debutant ‘keeper Lee Allen’s goal like wasps, although he and his side looked like they had weathered the early storm. Just when they thought they had, up popped Cornell. The prolific striker poked an outstretched leg to a fine right-wing cross, his volley was precise, and Allen clasped air as the ball sailed into the top left hand corner. Ex-Yellaman Joe Grant saw a thirteenth minute header crash back off the crossbar before lobbing Allen four minutes later only to see his effort drift wide, and when Allen tipped Seb Bowerman’s header away from Cornell’s cross soon after, the travelling faithful were contemplating a difficult evening.

To their credit, the visitors carved outs spells of possession, but failure to create any clear cut chances would ultimately prove their undoing. Allen’s awkward punch almost led to a goal for George Short – whose shot was blocked – before Cornell saw another effort sail over. As half time approached, Kensley Maloney’s wayward effort spared Ascot again – who remarkably exited the field at the interval only one goal in arrears.

James Goodey and Aaron Ross were second half replacements for Ross Seldon and Jo Stocchetti respectively – Ascot looking for inspiration – although in between those substitutions they were given heart when Bracknell defender Carl Davies was dismissed for fouling Viktor Abreu as the debutant Ascot striker got goal side from Allen’s long clearance. Samir Regragui narrowly missed with the resultant free kick, and indeed Goodey saw Ascot’s only shot on target saved by Chris Grace in injury time – but by then Cornell had already thumped Bracknell into a two-nil lead following an indirect free kick. The excellent Bowerman also struck a post and saw Allen save another of his efforts, but the job was already well done for the hosts.

Meanwhile, there is plenty for Richards to contemplate as he takes his Ascot troops south for their FA Cup fixture at Ringwood this weekend.

Flackwell Heath 0 Woodley United 0 (away view)
Woodley started their very first campaign at Step 5 with a mid-week trip to Flackwell Heath; a side that has finished first, third and third in the Hellenic Premier over the last three seasons giving competitive debuts to centre back Michael Porter and midfielder Ashley Ledger whilst Nathanael Robinson started on the wing after rejoining the club. 

The hosts just about shaded the opening twenty minutes; Ledger was called into early action clearing from practically his own goal line after a right wing free kick was turned goalwards. This was sandwiched between two routine saves by Woodley keeper Alex Reed. 

United weathered the early pressure with Porter looking very assured playing alongside captain Idris Kamara. The visitors’ first real chance came courtesy of a counter attack ten minutes before the break. Danny Horscroft picked out Robinson with a fantastic ball. Cutting in from the left, Robinson forced David Lyons in the home goal to turn behind a shot from twenty yards. 

Flackwell thought they had opened the scoring five minutes before the break when they broke through the Woodley defence; lobbing Reed, the ball hit the bar and was turned home from close range but the goal was ruled out for offside. The final chance of a half devoid of many clear-cut chances saw Flackwell full back Ryan Tackley head well wide.

United started the second period with real intent. Sixty seconds in, Robinson rounded Lyons only to see his shot from the left headed off the line. More Woodley pressure followed; Horscroft found Charlie Oakley with another great pass; bringing the ball down, United's top scorer last season was crowded out by red shirts before he could get a shot away.  At the other end, Usman Lalustani dragged a shot wide from twenty-five yards as Flackwell struggled to get anything going. 

Oakley and Horscroft once again combined as Woodley started to dominate. The former saw his shot blocked, with the ball falling invitingly to Robinson who saw his shot go agonisingly wide. Encouragingly, Robinson and Oakley seem to have already developed a good understanding. The latter picked out the former with a cross from the right, Robinson had time to take a touch and fire a shot at goal that was blocked by Logan Kwiecien. 

The nearest Flackwell got to scoring since the restart was when a fierce shot by Nathan Minhas was gathered by Reed at the second attempt.  Half way through the half United made their first change when Carl Prestidge replaced Robinson. Woodley made a further change with ten minutes to go, Ledger making way for new signing Owen Davies. 

With the game in its final stages and the hosts pushing men forward, United had a golden chance to pick up all three points on the break when man of the match Porter fed Prestidge down the left; squaring to Oakley the Woodley striker missed to the left with just Lyons to beat.  Woodley made their final change late on when pacey winger Marvin Hinds came on for Josh Drew. 

The two new additions combined in added time when a counter attack led by Hinds ended with him finding Davies who had his shot blocked. Seconds later the referee blew for full time signaling a great result and performance from United. History continues for the club on Saturday when they make their debut in the FA Cup hosting Tuffley Rovers.

Longlevens 1 Brimscombe & Thrupp 1
Longlevens opened their Hellenic League 17/18 campaign when they welcomed near by Brimscombe and Thrupp.  With a bumper crowd and the rain having slickened the Saw Mills playing surface it promised to be a good opening encounter.

Longlevens started quicker than Brimscombe and Dave Rich tested the visiting  keeper who saved well. The visitors could of taken the lead inside 20 minutes when a defence mix up allowed Smith in behind the Longlevens back line, however his toe in was brilliantly cleared by Ed Smylle on the Longlevens goal line.

Brimscombe deservedly took the lead on 42 minutes when a corner was played into the Longlevens six yard box and Kyle Pitts bundled the ball past Ash Wintle into the net.

The visitors started the second half as they'd ended the first forcing a strong of corners, however on 55 minutes Longlevens drew parity when a Jonty Welch shot was spilled into the pathway of Brad Martin who had the simple job of taping in the rebound. Longlevens could've taken the lead straight away as Myron turner found space down the right, his shot was smothered well, however turner flicked the rebound onto the crossbar and Brimscombe eventually cleared the danger.

The remainder of the game was played out at a quick pace with both sides pushing for the three points.  Longlevens felt they should've been awarded a penalty as Shaun OConnor was fouled inside the box, and Dave Rich hit the bar from a long range header.  Brimscombe had chances of their own and with some better finishing and without the heroics of the Longlevens back like Craig Beaton, Luke Kavanagh, Ed Smylle and Ryan Dunn the scoreline could've been different. 

Longlevens 1 Brimscombe & Thrupp 1 (away view)
Brimscombe and Thrupp travelled to Saw Mill End for their season opener against Longlevens.

Both teams showed opening day nerves with misplaced passing and wayward shooting. They soon settled down and the Lilywhites had the first chance of the game, Karl Nash played a fantastic ball forward finding teammate Jack Smith who then managed to knock it past the Longlevens goalkeeper before seeing it cleared off the line by Kavanagh. Longlevens still pushed to score but found their shots blocked by some great defending. Sam Blackie had a great chance finding his shot go narrowly over. The first goal came just before half time. When Nash’s corner found the head of team-mate Kyle Pitts who headed it into the bottom corner to give the visitors a 1-0 lead going in to half time.

Ben Deakin had a chance shortly after half time but it was blocked by some great defending. It was Longlevens who got the ball into the net when Ross Grimshaw initially saved a very powerful shot from distance but couldn’t keep hold of it before O’Connor was on hand to slot away the loose ball. A slip in the Lilywhites defence nearly gifted the hosts another but Grimshaw was in place to clear the immediate danger but O’Connor wanted another however could only find the bar. Ollie Pitt replaced Karl Nash and Dan Hill replaced Ben Deakin.

Lydney Town 2 Highworth Town 4
Lydney kicked off the new campaign on Tuesday evening with a tough home encounter against the consistent Highworth Town. A familiar pattern of player unavailability surrounded the squad, with Sparky unable to call on Sam, Niall, Lewis, Kerry, Jack and Ross Gabriel. He was able to welcome Ben Hands to the starting 11, a recent signing from Cinderford Town.

The poor run of pre season results were put firmly out of their minds as we kicked off and for the opening 5 minutes we put the visitors on the back foot. Pat Gibbs had an early chance but his effort was blocked. Macklin won his fair share of headers helping create openings, while youngster Keelan Hamblett also made a good start raiding down the right flank to swing crosses into the box.

On 10 minutes Highworth went in front against the run of play. A long ball hit out of defence was misjudged by Dan Barnard. Town's new signing, who had improved in every game pre season, attempted to find keeper Rich Thomas with a header only to put it wide of him and into the bottom corner of the net. The goal lifted the visitors and wide man Josh Jones was finding acres of room down the left flank, often ending in a one on one situation.

We battled to get back into it and did so on 19 minutes. Pat Gibbs won a heading duel down the left side, raced into the box before pulling the ball back for Pete Macklin to finish with a neat side footer.

Both sides gave it a go and the game flowed from end to end. Highworth had a big penalty claim turned down by referee Smith after James Morse appeared to haul down the dangerous Josh Jones inside the area, but he waved their appeals away.  Undeterred they again pushed forward and were rewarded just before the break. Dan Barnard, who was having a night he would rather forget, was beaten for pace down the right and when the cross flew into the box, Jake Slocombe beat Thomas with a superb near post finish.
Town played quite well first half but were looking uncertain in defence.

The first chance after the break fell to Lydney. Dan Morgan hit a deep free kick into the area where Barnard rose unchallenged only to put his header over the top. Five minutes later we were made to pay for the miss. Highworth were awarded a free kick out wide and when it was swung into the area Ash Edenborough beat Thomas to the ball and headed powerfully home. Lydney made a few changes following the goal when the injured Billy Guest was replaced by Frankie Johnson, Tom Maxted came on for Gibbs and skipper Jamie Addis made way for Tom Shaw.

Highworth made certain of the 3 points with a minute left. Kias Bonner-Shea found space down the right and raced through to fire inside the far post for 4-1. 

Lydney did have the final say on the scoring front in the last minute. Some neat build up play down the left side saw Liam Sheppard race to the byline and pull the ball back for Pete Macklin to complete an identical finish to his first goal. It's the FA Cup that rocks up next when Hellenic League Wantage Town visit us on Saturday.

Lydney Town 2 Highworth Town 4 (away view)
Highworth got off to a winning start in their Hellenic Premier League campaign with a 4-2 win at Lydney Town last night.

With numerous league debutants in the match day squad the Worthians took an early lead through an OG when Ash Edenborough put a a home defender under pressure who succeeded only in heading a long through ball past his own keeper.

Lydney Town equalised through former Worthian Peter Macklin in controversial circumstances as play should have been halted seconds earlier with a Highworth player on the ground with a clear head injury. The visitors regained the lead on the stroke of half-time when great work by Ash Edenborough on the right was followed by a great cross which allowed Jake Slocombe to slot the ball home.

It was 3-1 shortly after the break when Ash Edenborough got a deserved goal for himself when he headed home from a Ryan O'Hara free kick on the left. Highworth generally controlled the game from that point although the prolific Macklin forced a great save from Kent Kauppinen 10 minutes form time. It was 4-1 after 88 minutes when substitute Kias Bonner-Shea finished well from close range, but 42 seconds later after some sloppy defending, Macklin scored his second of the night.

All in all a great result . Next game at home on SUNDAY 3.00 KO v London Colney in Emirates FA Cup EP Round.

Tuffley Rovers 1 Fairford Town 1
Tuffley Rovers’ Uhlsport Hellenic League, Premier Division season started with an entertaining 1-1 draw against fellow Gloucestershire side Fairford Town, on Tuesday evening.

Rovers’ Manager, Mark Pritchett, handed a starting place to new signing Joel White, as well as introducing an unfamiliar 3-5-2 formation that had only been seen once in the pre-season period, with Brett James, who was returning from a long-term injury, at right wing-back.

Fairford Town fielded three debutants, with Liam Gale, ‘keeper John Langley and forward Lee Smith, all handed first starts by the visiting manager, Jody Bevan, who was without his co-manager, Chris Smith.

Coming into the game off the back of a free-scoring pre-season campaign, Rovers started the game brightly and shaded the territorial advantage, with Fairford Town’s Smith, Jason Milhench, Gale and Josh Morse offering a definite threat on the counter-attack. The first chance of note came on 16 minutes, as Warren Mann’s excellent cross was headed narrowly wide by Shayne Bradley from 10 yards. Fairford Town responded almost immediately, when Dave Evans’ miscued clearance went straight to Milhench, but the Rovers keeper responded quickly, to recover his ground and comfortably claim the ball.
Chances were few and far between, as Rovers’ greater share of possession only resulted in a succession of relatively tame efforts from distance, whilst Fairford Town’s counter-attacks were largely snuffed out by some sound defensive work, with Shayne Anson particularly impressive in negating the impact of the experienced Smith, who had signed from Southern League Slimbridge during the summer.

In the closing moments of the half, Anson clashed heads with Martin Hall and sustained a nasty cut to his head which saw him withdrawn from action.

Having entered the interval at 0-0 but with Anson and then midfielder Ashley Davies withdrawn, with a calf injury, Rovers were forced into two substitutions as Pritchett added Harry Walker to the midfield, assigned Sam Hill to one of the wing-back slots and moved Tristan Haswell into the back three.

The game entered a similar pattern to the first half, although it was Fairford Town who were now having the greater share of possession and carrying the greater attacking threat. Rovers were grateful to Evans on 55 minutes, as he produced an incredible double save to deny first Smith, then Milhench, with two brilliant one-handed efforts, as Fairford Town went close to opening the scoring.

It wasn’t one-way traffic and Mann drew a save from Langley, on 65 minutes, before Evans had to be on his toes again, to deny Milhench, with an outstretched foot, three minutes later. The hosts then went on the attack again, as Bradley forced Langley into a save, with a shot from 20 yards. From the resultant break, as the ball was pumped downfield, Milhench collected the ball on the edge of the Rovers’ penalty area and drove into the box, before firing the ball across Evans and low into the corner of the net on 70 minutes.

With the visitors having the better share of the second-half possession, then taking the scoring initiative, Rovers supporters may have feared a season opening defeat, but within five minutes, the scores were levelled.
After he picked the ball up in a wide position, Mann cut outside his marker and swung the ball goal ward and it sailed over Langley and into the far top-corner of the Fairford Town net.

Within five minutes, Town were reduced to ten-men, as Gale was shown a straight red-card for a challenge on Ben Tunnicliff and then had to be grateful to Langley, who produced some sound handling to ward off an increasing Rovers threat in the closing moments. In the final minute, substitute Walker almost netted a winner for the hosts, but his lob went narrowly over Langley and the bar, and the score ended 0-0.

Tuffley Rovers 1 Fairford Town 1 (away view)
Fairford Town kicked off the Uhlsport Hellenic League Premier Division season with a 1-1 draw at Tuffley Rovers on Tuesday evening. The visitors took the lead early in the second half but were pegged back by a resolute Tuffley side who provided a stern test throughout an entertaining encounter. Fairford manager Jody Bevan included three summer signings in his line-up with winger Liam Gayle, goalkeeper Josh Langley – deputising for the suspended Ben Mitchell - and striker Lee Smith all in the starting eleven.

The hosts, who finished tenth in the Premier Division last term, made a bright start to the game and were soon into their stride. Fairford’s first real opening saw a speculative effort from Jason Milhench easily gathered by skipper Dave Evans in the Tuffley goal. Milhench then combined with Dan Reynolds and Lee Smith with a neat passing move inside the box only for Evans to smother the danger. Josh Morse then fired over when well placed as the visitors began to find their rhythm on the half-hour mark. A nasty clash of heads on the stroke of half-time saw defender Martin Hall, who stepped up from last season’s reserve side after a determined pre-season effort, patched up with Tuffley defender Shayne Anson forced off.

After a goalless first half, the second half began with a bang as Fairford looked to take the ascendancy. The opening goal of the season arrived on 67 minutes with a cross come shot from Milhench lashed across the face of goal with Morse on hand to apply the finishing touch. The lead lasted just four minutes as a deep cross from the left hand side from winger Warren Mann took flight into no man’s land, with the ultimate destination the back of the net having deceived Langley at the back post. The visitors were then reduced to ten men for the final minutes as Gayle was shown a straight red card after seemingly being on the end of a robust challenge himself. 

Fairford debutant Langley made several good stops in the remaining stages of the game, with Tuffley ‘keeper Evans also called upon but the scores remained level after a thoroughly entertaining 90 minutes action.

One East

Ardley United 2 Easington Sports 1
Ardley began life in Hellenic League Division One West with a hard-earned victory at home to Easington on Tuesday.

Fielding a completely new team with no players remaining from their previous campaign, and against a side managed by ex-Ardley stalwart Darren Beckett, the home support were rapidly shown that they could expect a high-tempo passing game from Craig Adey’s side.

It took just 8 minutes for Ardley to take the lead as Mikey McKirnan’s ball out of defence was latched onto by Kaylem Patterson who out-paced the Easington rearguard to shoot home past keeper Adam Rimmer. Neither side took control of the game in the first period, although Ardley created several more chances during the half and were unfortunate to go in at the break with only a single goal advantage but despite being through one-on-one with the keeper on a number of occasions, neither Patterson nor Greg Hackett were able to extend the advantage. The visitors enjoyed their share of the ball and threatened down the flanks with Joe Eyre in particular giving the home defence plenty to think about, but their final ball failed to trouble Ardley keeper Steve Lewis who had little to do in the first half.

The first half of the second period was similar to the first and again the home side should have increased their lead when, on the hour mark, a cross-field pass from Dan West found Drew Boyd who couldn’t quite convert. Failure to increase their advantage always meant that one mistake would give the visitors a chance to get back into the game and so it proved as Easington were awarded what looked like a soft penalty conceded for holding at a corner kick. Ex-Ardley midfielder Callum Convey duly stepped up to convert the spot-kick in familiar fashion.

A substitution for Ardley was to make a difference as Connor Harris came on to give Easington plenty to think about and his cross from the left was headed home by Dan West in the 75th minute to restore Ardley’s lead. Easington made a substitution of their own which almost brought them reward but despite having a couple of good chances in the final 10 minutes, James McMahon couldn’t hit the target, so Ardley saw the game out to take the points and start the season in the way that their new chairman would have hoped.

Ardley next play Baldock Town at home in the Extra Preliminary round of the FA Cup on Saturday.

Didcot Town Reserves 2   Letcombe  1 (away view)

Letcombe suffered their first defeat in pre-season friendlies in a close match at Didcot.  

Letcombe experimented with three central defenders instead of a back four, and it inevitably took time to adjust to the new system.   There were few clear openings in the first quarter, although Ben Hummel had a shot saved, and Letcombe keeper Charlie McCreadie had to react quickly to reach a low cross shot.  

Didcot took the lead on the half hour when they opened up the Letcombe defence on the right, giving them a clear run on goal. Jordan Davies had a chance just after half time, but his shot was saved, and Didcot increased their lead when a header from a left wing cross which went into the net via the upright.  Reef Winslet had a close range header brilliantly saved by the Didcot keeper, but Letcombe pulled a goal back in stoppage time, Zachary Pettifer driving a loose ball high into the net.

Virginia Water 0 Banstead Athletic 2
“Waters” unbeaten run in pre-season came to an end at the hands of a strong, physical and organised Banstead side. In front of a good crowd at the Timbers, both sides used 18 players each to give much needed game time to many in both squads.

To be fair, VWFC at least deserved a draw, in a match that Banstead edged in the first half, but Waters dominated in the second.

Their first goal, when it came, was unfortunate on us, when a back pass took a vicious bobble, to fall at the feet of their winger to tap into an empty net. Both keepers had a fairly quiet night, mostly dealing with set pieces and crosses, and occasional shots from distance, which they both dealt with comfortably. Defences were on top (Messrs Lansdowne, Mills, Hill, Chambers and Samyint for VWFC), with the game not having too much control and quality, always hampered by the amount of changes we both made – which is to be expected in pre-season.

Livewire, Paul Burrows was our main threat with a number of efforts on goal, ably supported by Josh Guichard, Tom Curran, Jake Baker, Sam Devoil, Lorenzo Di Felice and Dan Whatford, the latter unlucky not to be awarded a penalty when brought down from behind as we pushed late on for an equaliser. Liam, Willo, Bondy and Joe in particular worked tirelessly in midfield, and despite our best endeavours and effort, we got caught with a counter attach goal in stoppage time, not really a fair reflection, but another good workout nevertheless.
We wish James Cameron (Manager) and Banstead every success in CCPL this season, and thank them all for joining us in the club following the match – cheers lads.


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