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Pre-Season September

10-11 August 2018

Emirates FA CupEmirates FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round

Friday Night

Ascot United 2 Camberley Town 1
Ascot United ground out a 2-1 win over Camberley Town in Friday night’s Emirates FA Cup Extra preliminary round tie. In front of a crowd of 277, the home side led 2-0 before Camberley threatened a late comeback, but they held on despite a frantic finale that saw both sides come within a whisker of scoring.

Before all that, an early goal had promised much, but the remainder of the first half was tepid at best. Chris Ellis, relishing the opportunity to play against his former side, lined up a trademark long throw in after just three minutes – and it would find the back of the net in what seemed like slow motion via the head of Nathan Minhas and a visiting defender.

Camberley would probe and push but lacked quality in the final third, but it was Nathan Minhas who threatened again for Ascot after 18 minutes only for his looping header to dip over the crossbar from James Haworth’s cross. At the other end, the improving visitors saw Brad Smith’s sweeping shot blocked following an Adam Everiss free kick, and this prompted a brace of corners from which Jack Dean’s shot deflected wide before the same player’s rising effort grazed the top of the crossbar from Everiss’s delivery. Haworth found himself with a clear sight of goal before the break as Ascot countered with a fine flowing move, but his shot from an offside position was saved by Harry Birchnall.

The second half was just ninety seconds old when Kai Walters’ shot for Ascot was tipped around a post, before the home side saw loud hand-ball penalty appeals turned away by referee Baines. However, the Yellamen would soon be two-nil up when Haworth’s header was adjudged to have crossed the line via the crossbar following Jonny Denton’s corner, although Ellis subsequently hammered the loose ball home to extinguish any doubt in the absence of VAR. But Camberley refused to buckle, and after Birchnall’s low goal-kick was flicked on, Matt Glass crossed to the far post for Smith who was on hand to rifle into an empty net to cut the deficit.

The match then deteriorated in quality once again, marred by a succession of petulant fouls, although it threatened to boil over when Dan Danisie’s horrible late challenge on Walters incensed the home faithful; Danisie subsequently receiving his marching orders. That had followed a good chance for Ascot when Haworth’s scuffed shot found its way to substitute Jean-Claude Etienne, but he failed to convert.

All the drama was, however, centred on the closing stages. 87 minutes in, and Everiss saw his free kick to the far post go begging for Camberley, before Minhas, Haworth and Etienne saw Birchnall make a mind-boggling triple save to deny Ascot a third, although Camberley would go straight up the other end and see an effort cleared off the line in true local-derby fashion.

And, in the first and second minutes of injury time as Ascot pressed again, Etienne’s effort was ruled out for offside and Minhas volleyed wide respectively, but the Yellamen had done enough and booked their place in the next round, much to the relief of their supporters.

Ascot United: Allen, Carlisle, F Etienne, Denton, Bouwers, Ellis, Mutero (JC Etienne), Walters, Minhas, Price, Haworth. Subs unused: Lock, Hodges, Goodey, Richardson, Stubbs, Willmott

Winslow 2 Easington 2 (away view)
Sports made history last night in their first ever FA Cup match against other first timers Winslow United. In an entertaining game full of effort and commitment, Easington came from behind twice to take the preliminary round tie to a replay which will be held this Tuesday at Addison Road. Aaron King scored a brace for Winslow whilst Henry Rose and Andrew Stidder scored Sports' goals.

In an end to end first half Easington started and finished the half strongly. Both sides showed they had pace and quality up front and defences were stretched virtually from the kick off. In fact Sports could have taken the lead in the first attack of the game within minutes of the start. Joe Eyre showed he had the beating of his fullback and whipped a good early ball into the box which caused confusion between the defender and keeper and as a result Sports gained an unnecessary corner. From the kick Dan Watkin headed down low which the keeper saved on the line and the ball was eventually hacked away.

Whilst it looked like the attacking players for Sports had the ability to turn the Winslow defence, unfortunately, the visitors could not make their early pressure and pressing count and Winslow came back into the game. The former Liverpool scholar, Rushton and Diamonds and Southern League striker Aaron King quickly showed why he continues to gain interest from a number of clubs in the higher leagues and started to pull the strings. Easington were unable to stop the supply of balls into his feet and he was able to slide Matt Cruise in down the right hand side for the first effort on goal for the home side. The lively winger showed lightening pace to cut in but then drag a shot across Adam Rimmer and just past the far post after the keeper was well beaten.

Clear cut chances were few and far between for the rest of the half and the Easington back five defended impressively up the slope as Winslow started to control possession. That said, in the 41st minute Winslow took the lead from a corner. Adam Rimmer pulled off a fantastic save to tip a rasping drive from the edge of the box round the post but from the resultant corner, Aaron King rose highest to head into the top corner. Sports responded immediately and finished the half with a spell of pressure of their own. It was from a free kick on the edge of the box that Henry Rose then equalised with a deflection off his back. The ball in from Convey produced confusion in the Winslow back four which meant the deflection went in easily past the stranded keeper.

Sports performance was more disjointed in the second half and it was clear a number of players were carrying knocks from the first half which hampered performance. Aaron King again started to receive the ball too easily in the final third and he was able to bring other attacking players into the game which again stretched the Easington defence. To give sports credit, they defended well and Dan Watkin showed outstanding leadership to marshall the defence whilst they pressed and blocked balls into the box. Winslow continued to control the game in the middle stages of the half and they took the lead from another unstoppable shot from King. The big striker showed great feet and after a neat one-two, he was played in and smashed a half volley across Rimmer and into the top corner of the net. In front of a big crowd of 390 Easington had to react and the changes of Niall Higgins and Charlie Hill provided more energy. Without creating any clear cut chances, Sports gradually came back into the half and eventually got their rewards for a bit more quality in the final third that had been lacking surprisingly for most of the game. Henry Rose raced onto a through ball and his cut back was slotted home by Andrew Stidder on 79 minutes to draw Sports level.

With the game stretched and both sides looking tired from the efforts in the game there was still late drama and Easington could have gone home with their names in the hat for the next round. Henry Rose glanced a header towards goal from a Convey corner in the stoppage time in the match but a defender was positioned on the post and he cleared off the line with the keeper again beaten.

The game goes to a replay at Addison Road this Tuesday. A fantastic effort from the players showing great commitment although I am sure manager Ben Milner will be looking for a bit more quality in the final third in the replay. Please note the kick off will be 7.30pm and there will be more details to follow regarding parking and admissions.


Ardley United 7 Shortwood United 0
Ardley progressed to the next round of the FA Cup with a fantastic performance against Shortwood United, resulting in a 7-0 win.

Ardley started brightly and despite many good attempts at goal, Shortwood held on with last ditch tackles and some good saves from their keeper. However, they eventuality broke the deadlock after great work from Billy Gillett, created the chance for Captain, Deon Gallacher, who slotted home in the 24th minute.

It was all one way traffic after that, with Greg Hackett looking dangerous on break always, using his pace. Greg got his rewards in the 32nd and 41st minutes, with 2 excellent goals, to send Ardley in at half time with a 3 goal lead.

The second half saw Ardley run rampant and especially Deon Gallacher who added 3 more goals in the 76th, 78th and 86th minutes and with his 4 goals in the match, putting himself in the frame to be the FA Cup player of the round. James McCarthy also notched one in the 84th minute capping off a good performance from him in midfield.
This was a great team performance and personified by the selfless Troy Bryan who sacrificed his normal position as a striker for the team by playing at Centre Back and having an immense game! 

In the next round to be played on 25th August, Ardley United will be at home to the winners of the replay between Burnham FC and Abingdon United.

Bishop’s Cleeve 5 Stofold 2
Bishop’s Cleeve had to come from a goal down at home against Stotfold to win 5-2 and set up a home Preliminary Qualifying Round tie against North Greenford United. The opening exchanges were cagey and Cleeve’s passing early on was poor with a wayward back-pass leading to a Stotfold corner. From the corner Stotfold saw two shot blocked off the line before Josh Miles eventually managed to knock the ball inches past the line to put the visitors into the lead in less than 10 minutes.

Bishop’s Cleeve 5 Stofold 2 emirates fa cup 11 August 2018Cleeve immediately looked for the equaliser with Elliot Kennedy and Jack Watts looking to test the Stotfold keeper. Stotfold however looked threatening, particularly from set pieces and another poor back-pass led to another corner from which the visitors would have doubled their lead if not for another goalline clearance this time by Adam Mace.

An injury to Rob Teppett seemed to throw a temporary spanner in the works for the visitors and not long after, Kennedy capitalised on a defensive mistake and saw his shot saved but then passed from the rebound to Harrison Iddles who scored his 1st of the season to draw Cleeve level. Shortly after, Kennedy was again in the box and again saw his shot blocked, however, this time it was Tommy Carroll’s hand that blocked the shot and a penalty was awarded. Kennedy calmly stepped up to give the Mitres a 2-1 lead and maintain his own personal record of scoring in every match.

Just a minute after, Stotfold were reduced to 10 men when Captain Mark Ansell-Carter saw a straight red for a high foot challenge on Iddles. It was a tad harsh but Cleeve would take anything coming their way. However, it didn’t change the flow of the match much and deep into first half stoppage time, Bernard Nkansah broke through and slotted ball into the bottom corner to see the sides go in level 2-2 at half time.

10 man Stotfold started the 2nd half stronger and nearly retook the lead from another set piece. However, it was Cleeve that were to get the next goal through Brad Martin soon after which seemed to settle any nerves the home side may have had. Stotfold nearly equalised straight away with Nkansah through on goal but Mace made the tackle to prevent the shot.

Cleeve finally took control of the tie when Kirk Layton found Mace on the left who whipped a peach of a ball in for Martin who skied it into the top corner of the net to make it 4-2 before the hour mark. Both sides had further chances to score with Cleeve breaking freely down both flanks and Stotfold continuing to threaten from set pieces but as injury time came into view, Watts produced a fine cross from the right to set up Martin who chested the ball in from close range to complete his hattrick and Man of the Match performance.

Hadley 2 Fairford Town 0 (away view)
Fairford Town are out of the Emirates FA Cup after a 2-0 extra preliminary round defeat at Hadley on Saturday afternoon. A goal either side of the break did the damage with the visitors unable to find a way through against the Spartan South Midlands Football League Premier Division side.

Manager Jody Bevan made two changes for the encounter with Michael Oakes and Dan Bailey in for Josh Jones (suspension) and Glenn Gittens. It was the home side who took the initiative early on and Hadley broke the deadlock with 28 minutes on the clock with Jeff Idemudia firing home from close range.

Fairford were unable to bring themselves level before the break as the home side saw out the half. The contest was effectively over when Jeff Idemudia netted the second of the game to secure Hadley a place in the next round of the world’s oldest cup competition.

Fairford now return to league action on Tuesday night with the visit of Abingdon United to Cinder Lane.
Fairford Town: Ben Mitchell; John Watson, Nathan Hawkins (Thwaite), Robbie James, Michael Oakes (Cairns); Dan Bailey (Beardsell), Callum Preece, Freddie Ward, Lee Smith, Ben Lodge, John Thomas Substitutes not used: Steve Hall, Jamie Reid, Liam Thomas

Holyport 1 Brimscombe Thrupp 2
Holyport started on the front foot and make shift striker for the day Josh Lowther found released by Steve Deverall down the right channel. Josh crossed into the six yard box, the Thrupp keeper spilled straight into the path of the onrushing Dan Rapley who poked home from 6 yards to give Port a 3rd minute lead. Thrupp started to grow into the game but Holyport were standing firm and Ollie Pitt had a chance to level the scores but saw his effort saved by comfortably saved by Jake Quelch. Harrison Reeves also saw his chance go wide of the mark. 

Alan Akerman had time to eye up a sweet curling effort which with the Thrupp keeper stranded hit the post. Josh Lowther back for a corner was then wrong footed by Chris Pates who nipped in front whilst Lowther was about to clear. The referee pointed to the spot and Caldwell duly levelled for Thrupp.

Thrupp grew in confidence and a ball fizzed across the Port box and somewhat the Thrupp forward missed from 6 yards out. Not to be undone Holyport had a good spell of corners and free kicks but Deveralls free kick narrowly went wide. With HT approaching a ball from Sam Blackie found a lingering Harrison Reeves who put the visitors ahead just before the break.

In the second half both teams increased their efforts, Steven Deverall forced Ashley Gale into a fantastic save before Jake Quelch was needed up the other end to deny the Lilywhites a two-goal cushion.  Jack Smith was replaced by new signing Jack Horrell. Holyport were desperate for an equaliser but saw their shouts for a penalty turned down by the referee. 

Quench had to be on his toes to pull off a great reaction save as Port pushed forward. Rapley was released by Akerman but the dry surface saw the ball jump up just as he was pulling the trigger from 10 yards out. Davies was also then released but as he shielded the ball he appeared to be dragged down but the penalty appeal was waived on. Holyport kept pushing and Thrupp used the counter attack well and nearly made it 3-1 in the dying minutes by the ever dangerous Harrison shot wide.

Port again showed they can match Step 5 opponents but that one big chance they needed to pull level just failed to materialise.

Holyport 1 Brimscombe & Thrupp 2 (away view)
Brimscombe started their FA Cup campaign with a 2-1 win over Hellenic League Division 1 East side Holyport at Summerleaze.

Dan Rapley gave the home side the lead when he fired in off the post in the 4th minute putting Brimscombe 1-0 down. Looking to recover from the early shock, Ollie Pitt had a chance to level the scores but saw his effort saved by Jake Quelch. Harrison Reeves also saw his chance go wide of the mark. Chris Pates was fouled in the box and referee Tom Kelly had no hesitation in pointing to the spot, Ash Caldwell stepped up to bring the two teams level on the 23 minute mark. A ball from Sam Blackie found a lingering Harrison Reeves who put the visitors ahead just before the break.

In the second half both teams increased their efforts, Steven Deverall forced Ashley Gale into a fantastic save before Jake Quelch was needed up the other end to deny the Lilywhites a two-goal cushion. Jack Smith was replaced by new signing Jack Horrell. Holyport were desperate for an equaliser but saw their shouts for a penalty turned down by the referee. Sam Blackie was replaced by Ben Deakin still with a goal between the two teams. With the full time whistle looming, Sam Prior made his final change of the afternoon with Ash Caldwell making way for John Evans three minutes from time. 46 minutes with a 1 goal deficit made for a very tense time for the travelling party.

By securing a win against Holyport, Brimscombe and Thrupp face Hayes and Yeading in the Preliminary Round at the Meadow. The clubs met last year and the Lilywhites were defeated in a tight game 1-0 when Manny Duku found the net late in the game.

Tuffley Rovers 1 Colney Heath 4
As the players and officials from Hertfordshire club Colney Heath arrived at Tuffley’s ground in Gloucester for this early F.A. cup-tie both clubs already knew that the winners would be at home in the next stage of the competition to Southern League Cinderford Town in two weeks’ time. So there was a massive incentive for the home team to beat their Spartan South Midlands League opponents and progress to a match against a club from the same county. With both clubs playing at the same level of the English game, and with both having finished exactly halfway down their respective leagues in 2017-18 (Tuffley 10/20, Colney 11/22), this was a tough tie to call before kick-off.
The early minutes did indeed suggest that the teams were quite evenly matched. Warren Mann got the game under way and Tuffley won an early corner, taken by Alex O’Leary, which was cleared. A couple of minutes later Mann was fouled mid-way inside the Colney half but Paul Carter’s free-kick was blocked. Another Tuffley corner on seven minutes was hit far too deep and went out for a throw-in on the other side. Shortly afterwards good work by Cameron Williams on the left led to Brett James tumbling over in the penalty-area but half-hearted appeals for a spot-kick were waved away by referee Mansfield-King.

Nearly fifteen minutes had passed before anything was seen from Colney Heath as an attacking force but when Harvey Scott’s shot was deflected for a corner Kane Winman grabbed the ball at the second attempt. Paul Carter then went down injured near half-way but was able to continue after treatment. Approaching the mid-point of the first half Winman confidently caught a cross from Jack Woods just underneath his crossbar. As the home team mounted another attack Mann’s cross from the right drifted out of play on the other side for a goal-kick. Colney Heath won two free-kicks in about the same position on the left but both were cleared. A third free-kick taken by visiting goalkeeper Charlie May from about the same spot was half-cleared to Greg Shaw whose wild shot went yards away from the goal. But the visitors kept pressing and a cross from Scott forced a corner which led to a scramble in the Rovers’ six-yard box and a free-kick to the home team.

On 30 minutes a short pass from Joe Newton on the left led to a shot by Spencer Clarke-Mandel which went narrowly wide of Winman’s right-hand post. Yet another free-kick award to the visitors on the left caused the referee to have a few words with Tuffley skipper Joel White, presumably about the frequency of the fouls his team was incurring. As half-time approached it was Tuffley’s turn to be awarded a free-kick on the left when Mann was fouled just inside the Colney half. Mann and Callum Dudrenec briefly squared up to each other but the referee took no action and soon afterwards there was a breakthrough when Brett James broke from halfway, skipped past the defender who was shadowing him and was tripped inside the penalty-area which brought about the inevitable punishment of a spot-kick. Mann hit the ball fiercely to the goalkeeper’s right and the home team led right on half-time.

The visitors made a strong start to the second period and only seconds after the restart seemed to have a good shout for a penalty when Sam Hill appeared to use his hand as he tried to guide the ball back to his ‘keeper. Hill again came to the rescue minutes later when he turned Shaw’s cross behind for a corner. Kieran Alder tried to put James away on the left but his pass lacked pace and was cut out. At the other end a Colney Heath corner from the left was headed towards goal but cleared. But their pressure was building and O’Leary went into the book for a foul; the resulting free-kick by Hunter was headed past Winman by Greg Shaw. It was déjà vu a few minutes later when Josh Humbert headed in a corner from the same side of the field.

Tuffley had to chase the game now and Mark Pritchett brought on Harry Walker and Ryan Caddock to improve his attacking options but it had the opposite effect because Humbert broke from midfield, made ground and lashed a fierce shot from twenty-five yards which flew past Winman before he could react. As Tuffley tried to get back into the game James was brought down on the edge of the penalty-area and this resulted in a yellow card being shown to Colney’s captain Clarke-Mandel. Mann was also carded a few minutes later after Charlie May had caught a free-kick but was then fouled Essa Sabally was on for Mann by this point but Tuffley seemed to have run out of ideas although Walker did lash a shot over the bar following good work by James on the right but in added-time Joel White lost possession to let in Scott who finished confidently past Winman.

There can be little doubt that Colney Heath deserved to win this cup-tie because of their strong second-half showing. Rovers should be concerned that two set-pieces, both from the right and both headed into goal when there were plenty of defenders around the scorer each time, turned a narrow advantage into a narrow deficit. It is disappointing to go out of a cup at the first hurdle but on this showing Colney Heath might have a few surprises for Cinderford Town in the next round. For the Tuffley players, however, there is the little matter of a Gloucester derby against Longlevens right around the corner as they try to get this cup defeat out of their systems.

Premier Division

Shrivenham  1  Virginia Water 1 (away view)
A match Virginia Water feel they should have won comfortably, but in the end could so easily have lost and come away with nothing.

Playing into the elements in the first half, Waters started poorly and could not get a foot hold in the game, as the hosts played direct and caused many problems. The loss of centre back Mark Lansdowne was key in the very early stages, and from a diagonal ball, that we failed to cut out, the cross was volleyed home from close range on 20 minutes to put Shrivvy one up.

This sparked Water into life, and soon after from a few corners of our own, Liam Whyte rose to head home on 32 minutes, his second in successive matches. Josh Guichard, Harvey Griffiths, Adam McNamara and Steve Williams all then had efforts on goal, but the half ended all square.

With some advantage in the second half, Waters started much the stronger, and sadly missed a hatful of chances, a few one on ones, and a goal bound header turned over their bar by one of our lads.

Best not to dwell on what could and should have been, and no doubt we will get our shooting boots back on pretty soon. At the other end Shrivvy countered well and looked threatening, hitting the wood work late on and Finn Evered clearing off the line as Waters chased the game. Am sure most will say a draw was the fair result, but VW will move on and hope they do not rue those missed chances.


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