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Pre-Season September

4 August 2018

uhlsport football kitUhlsport Hellenic League Premier Division

Bishops Cleeve 3 Ascot United 3
Cleeve started brightly with debutant Bradley Martin, signed from Longlevens, and Jack Watts causing concerns for the Ascot defence early on. Cleeve’s best chance in the first half came in the 17th minute when Watts managed to beat two defenders to go one on one with Ascot ‘keeper Lee Allen but his shot was too close to Allen to cause him any problems.

An injury soon after to debutant Ashley Davies seemed to take the momentum away from Cleeve away Ascot took a grip on the match when Nathan Minha broke the offside line to fire past Lewis Clayton in the Cleeve goal.

Cleeve had claims for a penalty waved away minutes later when Martin appeared to be pushed in the Ascot box and the half ended with Ascot 1-0 up. Cleeve had another penalty appeal turned down in the opening minutes of second half when a cross hit Jonny Denton’s hand. However with the hand being only sightly away from the body and the cross at close range it would have been a harsh decision.

Ascot doubled their lead minutes later when an innocuous free kick from the edge of the away side’s box found Minha who lobbed Clayton to get his and Ascot’s second.

Cleeve however did not let their heads go down and the introduction of Harrison Iddles seemed to change the tide as, less than a minute after coming on, the winger set up Man of the Match Martin to score on his debut for the Mitres. This set up a period of play where both sides set up successive counterattacks and whilst Ascot looked threatening at times, their defence seemed to struggle to deal with the pace of Cleeve’s attackers.

Cleeve got a deserved equaliser 10 minutes after their opener when Elliot Kennedy’s cross found the heads of Ieaun Crowe and Martin at the same time with the ball looping into the back of the net. Crowe was eventually awarded the goal. The Mitres were now at full speed and just 5 minutes after they equalised, a Kennedy cross (although he claimed it as a shot) from deep looped straight into the top corner to give the hosts the lead and made the comeback look complete.

However, a determined Ascot side were to have the last word and with 3 minutes to go Cleeve gave possession away at the back and the ball fell for Callum Carlisle who hit a beauty of a curler with his left foot into the top left corner of the goal from about 25 yards out.

After the match manager Steve Cleal said “We started the game on the front foot and caused Ascot a few problems early on but were then unlucky to lose Ash Davies early on. We created some good chances to take the lead so it’s disappointing to concede a late equaliser but at the start of the day we had 0 points now we have 1 so it’s a good start. Last year if we had been 2-0 down we’d have gone on to lose so we’ve got to look at the positives and we now move on to a tough match away at Brimscombe and Thrupp on Tuesday.

Bishops Cleeve 3 Ascot United 3 (away view)
Callum Carlisle’s late equaliser salvaged a point for Ascot United at Bishops Cleeve in the opening match of the season on Saturday. The Yellamen led 2-0 with an hour on the clock, but after the hosts had staged a dramatic recovery to lead 3-2, the popular midfielder’s sumptuous 87th minute effort ensure Ascot returned from the outskirts of cheltenham with a richly-deserved point.

Kayte Lane hadn’t been a happy hunting ground for Ascot United in recent seasons. The Yellamen had previously experienced bitterly disappointing cup defeats against Cleeve’s first and development teams, but this was a chance for their new-look side to vanquish old memories.

Cleeve - relegated from step 4 last season – sensed that their visitors had finally got the better of them with barely 30 minutes remaining, but they had other ideas after a 15-minute three-goal haul had put them in sight of an unlikely victory. Earlier, Jack Watts beat two defenders and saw his shot saved by Lee Allen in the Ascot goal, and although the home side looked the more likely to score, it was Ascot who would take the lead. And, it arrived in the shape of Nathan Minhas, one of a crop of ex-Maidenhead United players making the switch to the Racecourse this season. Jonny Denton played the ball over the ‘Cleeve defence, Minhas raced onto it, took a couple of touches, and calmly put the ball into the back of the for a 34th minute opener.

After the break, Ascot survived a ‘ball-to-hand’ penalty appeal when Kirk Layton’s shot struck Denton, before Minhas doubled the advantage when he lobbed ‘keeper Lewis Clayton on 51 minutes after Allen’s long free kick was mis-judged by back-pedalling defender Ryan Paddock.

Undeterred, ‘Cleeve mounted a stirring fight back in a crazy 15 minute spell, only moments after Kai Walters’ stinging effort might have added a third for Ascot; except for a fingertip save from Clayton. Firstly, Brad Martin scored on his debut with Harrison Iddles providing the assist after Ascot had failed to clear, before Ieuan Crowe drew the home side level with a header after he had met Elliott Kennedy’s cross. And, the bad memories well and truly came back when Kennedy was allowed too much time on the left, and his cross sailed directly into the top corner to forge his side into a somewhat fortuitous 72nd minute lead.

Both sides had chances in the closing stages and Allen made two fine saves to deny Watts, but it was Carlisle who would score an equaliser for Ascot when he beat two defenders and curled a fantastic long-range curling effort into the top corner after Denton’s earlier free kick found its way to his feet. There was still time for the ever-dependable Allen to deny Cleeve again and ensure manager Jamie Tompkins enjoyed an unbeaten start to his tenure, but it might have been even better in the third minute of stoppage time only for Price to shoot narrowly wide for the visitors.
Ascot United: Allen, Carlisle, F Etienne, Denton, Bouwers, Ellis, Mutero (Haworth), Walters, Minhas, Price (Hodges), JC Etienne. Subs unused: Lock, Gilpin, Willmott

Brimscombe & Thrupp 3 Windsor 1
It was a great start for Brimscombe & Thrupp on Saturday when they welcomed former professional Barry Hales and his Windsor side to the Meadow.

It was the visitors that got off to the dream start, Dan Roberts turned in Jeevan Panesar’s freekick with the goal awarded by the assistant referee on the 17th minute. It didn’t take long for the teams to get on level terms again when Sam Blackie saw his effort find the net, three minutes later. With his name already on the scoresheet, he was desperate for another and nearly got it but was denied by Hugo Sobte in the Windsor goal. Both goalkeepers were on fine form, Sobte was called upon again to stop a Harrison Reeves shot before Keaton August and Matt Stockhill forced Ashley Gale to spring into action up the other end. With half time looming, Sobte made a fatal error which was picked up on by Blackie who had no problems snatching the ball from him and putting it into the empty net, to give the Lilywhites a lead at the break.

Despite the blistering heat, neither team showed signs of slowing down. Ollie Pitt saw his shot saved just after half time before Reeves saw his effort rattle the woodwork. Brimscombe still pushed for a 2 goal cushion but Ash Caldwell found his shot turned away. Sam Prior brought on Ben Deakin for Ollie Pitt and nearly found the net straightaway but his shot was high of the target. Ed Major replaced Harrison Reeves, Major straight away found himself in the thick of the action, when his darting run into the box resulted in being brought down by Andy Ingram in the area, the referee had no hesitation pointing to the spot. Ash Caldwell stepped up and slotted it away bottom corner away from the outstretched Windsor goalkeeper. Major found his shot saved before Keaton August found his effort blocked up the other end. Ben Snook replaced Ash Caldwell for the final substitution of the afternoon. It was a great 3-1 win and 3 points for Sam Prior’s men.

Brimscombe and Thrupp face league newcomers and fellow Gloucestershire side Bishops Cleeve on Tuesday night at the Meadow. Kick off is at 7:45pm.

Fairford Town 2 Wantage Town 3
Two second half goals from Steve Robertson saw Wantage Town come from behind against a spirited Fairford Town side who played for 82 minutes with ten men. Fairford boss Jody Bevan handed full debuts to five summer signings as the home side turned in a determined effort on a searing afternoon. The home team broke the deadlock with six minutes on the clock as new signing Josh Thomas saw his initial effort saved by Curtis Meare before making sure with the follow up.

fairford town v wantage town august 4 2018Josh Jones, a summer addition from Highworth Town, was shown a straight red card two minutes later for a high challenge as the Gloucestershire side faced an uphill battle with 82 minutes of the game remaining. However Fairford stood their ground and frustrated the much-fancied visitors, who forced several saves out of Ben Mitchell in the home goal before the half-time whistle blew.

Fairford continued to work hard after the interval and were rewarded with their second goal of the day as Thomas turned his man and smashed home a superb effort from 25-yards with 65 minutes played. Wantage captain Chris Jackson then slotted home a 71st minute penalty following a push from Lee Smith inside the area as the visitors got a foothold on the game.

Robertson struck his first to level the scores in controversial circumstances on 72 minutes. His turn and shot from close range crossed the line before emerging from the back of the net onto the advertising boards behind the goal to make it 2-2 following consultation with linesman Gordon Varey. Despite the freak occurrence, none of the officials deemed it applicable to check the goal nets much to the bemusement of the watching home support. It was Robertson who grabbed the winner with a 91st minute effort to seal the points as he capitalised on a loose ball to hammer home his second of the game and the final and crucial goal of the day.

Fairford Town: Mitchell; Watson, Hawkins, James, Oakes (S Hall ’61); Bailey, Ward, Preece (Lodge ’83), Jones; Smith (Beardsell ’70), J Thomas Substitutes not used: L Thomas, M Thompson Booked: Smith ’70, Mitchell ’74, Preece ’79, Hawkins ‘90 Red card: Jones ‘8

Wantage Town: Meare, Comer, Flanagan, Wright, Jackson, Cheetham, Glover, Davoile, Robertson, Dunmall, Scholes Substitutes: Mattimore, Buchanan, Baker, Patterson, McCormack

Royal Wootton Bassett Town 6 Tuffley Rovers 1 (away view)
In the build up to his side’s opening Uhlsport Hellenic League fixture on Saturday afternoon, Rovers’ boss Mark Pritchett had talked about the inexperience of a squad laden with potential, following the loss of several experienced players and a heavy defeat at the hands of Royal Wootton Bassett Town was evidence of the challenge facing the Glevum Park outfit in the season ahead.

Rovers lined up with a midfield trio with a combined age of 55 years, as Cameron Williams and Kieran Alder joined forces with 18-year-old debutant Dominik Kent, whilst another 18-year-old, Brad Loveridge made his debut in the back four. That the average age of Pritchett’s starting eleven was just 22 years - bolstered by Warren Mann (30), Joel White (27) and Alex O’Leary (26) – showed the impact arising from the retirement of Shayne Bradley and Dave Evans, alongside the loss of Shayne Anson to Evesham United, whilst Courtney Hamilton and Brett James were unable to play due to injury and suspension, respectively. Another new signing, Paul Carter, was unavailable to start, having picked up an injury in pre-season, but was fit enough to take his place on the bench.

The immediate action was played deep in Rovers’ territory, as the hosts, boasting the newly-signed and prolific striker, TJ Bohane, in attack looked bright and they were rewarded for some early positivity when centre-half Steve Yeardley headed home a corner, from close range, after just seven minutes.

If Pritchett feared his youthful side might lose their way, he would have been reassured by their response, as they more than matched a far more experienced Bassett side. Bohane, for the hosts, and Ashley Bird both went close in the moments that followed, before Kent saw a shot from the edge of the box fizz narrowly wide of the Bassett goal.

With the game finely balanced, the last thing Pritchett would have wanted was to see his young side gift a chance to the vastly experienced Bohane, but that is precisely what happened, on 28 minutes, as the former Highworth Town and Bracknell Town player disposed Kieran Alder on the edge of the Rovers’ box, before leaving another debutant, goalkeeper Luke Merchant, helpless to prevent this shot from entering the net, to make it 2-0 to Sam Collier’s side.

That goal seemed to dent Rovers’ confidence and they were soon to fall further behind, with former Binfield winger Brad Pagliaroli firing low into Merchant’s net from close range, after good work from Gio Wrona, six minutes before the interval.

At 3-0 Pritchett might have been keen for the opportunity to get his side into the half-time dressing room to plan a comeback, but that opportunity was denied him when Shama’s effort was beaten away by Merchant, only to fall straight into the path of Bohane, who made it 4-0 after just 40 minutes. When the half-time interval did arrive, after a period of injury time due to an earlier clash of heads, Pritchett’s side walked rather disconsolately from the field, having been taught a lesson in finishing, in a game that was otherwise competitive.

Whatever Pritchett and his Assistant, O’Leary, had said at half-time seemed to have a positive impact and Rovers were very much on the front foot for the first five minutes, only to have their slim hopes of a fightback largely extinguished on 50 minutes.

As Bohane rose to challenge for the ball, just inside the Rovers area, Merchant – who had otherwise been faultless, despite the score – came rushing out to punch the ball away, only to make a misjudgement that saw him flatten the Bassett front-man and concede a penalty. The victim of the challenge rose to his feet and despatched a penalty low to Merchant’’s left, as the keeper dived right, to make it 5-0, with forty minutes still to play.

Merchant went some way to redeeming himself moments later, as he spread himself well to keep out a Lincoln effort, before Pritchett made two quick substitutions, with Carter entering the fray in place of Alder and another 18-year-old debutant, Essa Sabally, introduced for Bird.

Within sixty seconds, his side trailed 6-0 as great work from a Bassett forward, Jason Millhench, saw Pagliaroli present with the simplest of chances to add his second.

Despite the scoreline, the Rovers youngsters continued to play a short passing game and a neat move, which saw Ryan Dobbins and Mann combine to good effect, resulted in the former latching onto a neat through ball, before rounding Alex Bowers and sliding the ball into an empty net, on 65 minutes, to make it 6-1.

Sam Hill, who had missed much of the pre-season period with a cracked rib, was introduced and had an effort that Bowers back-pedalled to claim comfortably, before a series of set-pieces came to nothing, with Sabally and Dobbins presented half-chances, but Rovers were made to pay for a 25 minute spell, either side of half-time, when their inexperience was cruelly exploited by the hosts, with Bohane in particular to the fore.

Shrivenham 1 Reading City 5
Shrivenham began life in the Uhlsport Hellenic Premier League with a lesson on how much more professional they need to be in our Blunsdon Mortgages sponsored fixture. Four goals in the opening half – two from terrible mistakes in open play, was always going to make the second forty-five minutes a hard-fought battle, but for a shocking score-line, the side did come out and play after the break – albeit, with the help of keeper Harrison Ellis who earned his first Man of the Match award for the club after his heroics managed to keep a rampant City side at bay, making a string of superb saves, to preserve a “modest” defeat.

Shrivvy perhaps enjoyed the better of a tight opening five minutes although some lackadaisical play by Josh Gregory as early as the second minute, saw the home side handed a let off after the visitors broke free, but it was a fortuitous opener by Jack Powell at the second attempt that gave the visitors the lead on 6 minutes. Ten minutes later and some more sloppy play by the hosts saw the ball handed to danger-man Mitch Parker, who smashed his effort home beyond a helpless Harrison Ellis.

shrivenham v reading city 4 august 18Shrivvy continued to give the ball away and were second best in all areas as their visitors harasses and harried their opponents with craft and precision and their efforts continued to pay off when four minutes later, Matt Hancock finished emphatically after a great move down Reading’s left flank.

With the score at 3-0, just 20-minutes on the clock and the visitors looking unlikely to wilt under the hot summer sun, the home side managed to create their first chance of the match with 33-minutes on the clock with some great teamwork saw Dan Drewett through on goal, but his floated effort went agonisingly over the crossbar. That however, was a rare moment for the home side in the first half of almost full-on bombardment of the Shrivvy defence, and after the hosts lost the ball following another spell of sloppy play, Parker was handed a gift which he skilfully netted - his second of the game, to make it 4-0 at the break.

The start of the second-half began a little cagier by both sides, but with the game all but lost, Shrivvy were to make amends by showing that they can compete at this level against a team who are almost certainly going to be title contenders, and they at least made a fight of things.

Captain, Josh Morse had the ball in the net on 50-minutes, but he was wrongly adjudged to have strayed off side, in a rare error from the three officials who were otherwise brilliant all game. On 55-minutes, Jack Ellis was adjudged to have been brought down and the resulting spot-kick saw Eddie Cavanagh dive totally the wrong way as Nathan Blackford calmly slotted his effort in at the right post.

Matty Horsell almost got his side a foothold in the game when he produced a great run, but he was denied at the death on 68-minutes, but Reading continued to battle and two minutes later bundled the ball in to the back of the net again after hitting the post, but their effort was ruled out following another offside decision. Morse fired over from a corner and on 73-minutes before Lewis Petrie came on for Jack Ellis two minutes later.

A minute later, Parker completed his hat-trick after Harrison Ellis had blocked his original effort and with 9-minutes remaining, Luke Cordery made way for Ben Saunders. With 7-minutes left, Parker almost grabbed his fourth of the game, but Harrison Ellis remained strong in an otherwise porous defensive line and the clock ran down to see Shrivvy lose their second consecutive opening day fixture.

Shrivenham: Harrison Ellis, Luke Cordery (Ben Saunders – 81min), Matty Horsell, Sam Ockwell, Aaron Dainton, Josh Gregory, Ryan Stanners, Dan Drewett, Jack Ellis (Lewis Petrie – 75min), Josh Morse © & Nathan Blackford 1 (p). Unused substitute: Chris Jackson.

Reading City: Eddie Cavanagh, Matt Hancock 1, Rob Gerrard, Jamie Connor, Alfie Grant, Gareth Brown, Muctaru Conte, Harry Grant ©, Adam Cashin-Murray, Mitch Parker 3 & Jack Powell 1. Unused substitutes: TBC: Danny Smith, Joe Grant, Owen Davies, Eddy Lazarczuk & Austin Best.  

Division One East

Kidlington Development 4 Cirencester Town Development 1
Kidlington’s development team had a fantastic start to their Uhlsport Hellenic Division One West campaign with a convincing 4-1 home victory over Cirencester Town Development. This was achieved with six players unavailable through holiday, injury and work commitments.

Manager Nick East started with five debutants, Jack Johnson (pictured), Richard Brooks, Jordan Parker, seventeen year old Joey Cowlishaw and Kevin Davies. It was Davies who proved to be the hero on his debut with a hat trick. Makeshift left back Sam Elbro got the season off to a flyer in the 15th minute when he smashed home a well worked corner from youngster Cowlishaw. Kidlington then created many chances and should have put the game out of sight by half time. Then on the stroke of half time Davies struck his first goal for the club with a neat finish from inside the box.

The second half started with Cirencester in the ascendancy and following a corner and some sloppy defending Cirencester’s striker Connor Hibbs stabbed the ball home from close range. The match was now in the balance and it seemed to spark Kidlington’s young guns into action. Another seventeen year old, Piers Walton was causing havoc with his skill and pace whilst the Greens other young winger Jack Gaul was denied by an excellent save from Cirencester’s Luke Kuczynski. Then after an hour Kevin Davies hit a low shot that squirmed under the body of Keczynski. Kidlington then stepped up a further gear and produced some scintillating play but poor finishing ensured it stayed 3-1 until the 88th minute when debutant Kevin Davies scored a magnificent hatrick goal when he twisted and turned inside the box before he calmly clipped the ball into the net.

Also would like to mention that Cirencester Town Development are a credit to the Uhlsport Hellenic League, leaving the dressing room spotless after the match. Thanks so much.

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