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4-5 December

  perpetua press  

Tuffley Rovers 3 Brimscombe & Thrupp 9
Tuffley Rovers welcomed their Gloucestershire neighbours, Brimscombe & Thrupp, to Glevum Park, hoping to keep the momentum going following their weekend victory over Bourton Rovers in a different cup competition. Their visitors arrived as one of the surprise packages of the Hellenic League season, sitting in second place in the Premier Division table and looking certain to improve on their sixth-place finish of 2017-18 and having already won seven away league fixtures as the halfway stage of the 2018-19 season was reached.
Sam Prior’s side could also look back on a 2-1 Floodlit Cup win at Glevum Park against Tuffley as recently as January, 2018. All three goalscorers from that Tuesday evening at the start of the calendar year (Bradley for Rovers, Pitt and Reeves for Brimscombe) were available for their clubs for this rematch at the end of the year, although the returning Rovers forward and Pitt were only named as substitutes.
On a cold and wet evening, it was touch-and-go whether this cup-tie would even start. Rain had been forecast but it arrived much earlier than expected and in quite appalling conditions two teams somehow served up an extraordinary exhibition which produced twelve goals in a hundred and twenty minutes.
The scoreline only tells half a story. This might have been Rovers worst home defeat since losing 7-0 to Thatcham Town nearly a year ago but, astonishingly, it was a match Tuffley appeared to have won twice, once when they led 2-0 going into the final quarter of the game and, again, when they led 3-2 going into the final minute of normal-time. Credit must go to visitors Brimscombe, who deserve enormous credit for the patience they showed to drag themselves level at 2-2 and 3-3 before running away with the tie by scoring three times in each period of extra-time.
There was nothing in the early exchanges to suggest the drama that was to come. An early Brimscombe corner taken by James Singh on the right was headed down and wide by defender Chris Pates. At the other end Lee Smith flung himself at a cross from the right but his header hit the bar in almost exactly the same spot where a fierce drive had struck the woodwork against Bourton three days earlier.
It was Smith who would make the breakthrough, after 30 minutes, when Brett James found him in the proverbial acres of space with no defender in sight and he tucked the ball neatly past James Holder as the visiting goalkeeper came out to close the angle.
The visitors had to make an early substitution, as Ben Deakin came on for Ed Major, then shortly after the opening goal the Tuffley bench was incensed by a dreadful tackle on Henry Birkett by Ashley Caldwell, for which the visitors’ captain deservedly received a yellow card.
Luke Payne sent Dominik Kent away on the right but as he closed in on goal Holder came out quickly to smother the shot. Birkett worked hard to retain possession of the ball midway in his own half and resisted a number of attempts to dispossess him, the last of which resulted in a foul for which he received treatment on the pitch before being substituted and replaced by Rhys Davies a few minutes later as the first half neared its conclusion, with Rovers leading by the slenderest of margins.
Early in the second half home ‘keeper Kane Winman had to be alert to grab a free-kick which he must have seen late as it bounced right in front of him.
That was to prove the most significant moment in a more sedate period at the start of the second-half, but after 62 minutes, in a reversal of the move for the first goal, Smith then sent Brett James through on his own and the Rovers wide-man showed great composure to steer the ball just inside a post.
A few minutes later James was through on his own again but this time Holder foiled one of the best one-on-one finishers in the business. Even with nearly half an hour left it was much too early to write off Brimscombe’s chances because they were passing the ball around well in difficult conditions so it wasn’t really a surprise when defender Kyle Pitts turned up in the home six-yard box to direct a header away from Winman’s right-hand side and into the net. Nor was it a surprise when Sam Blackie controlled a cross from the left and rifled an equaliser into the net with less than ten minutes left to play.
At this point it looked as if Tuffley would have to work very hard to prevent the Stroud-based club from scoring again, but within a couple of minutes Kieran Alder stepped up to take a corner from the left and swung it in towards the near post. Maybe Holder was unsighted or maybe he misjudged the flight of the ball but it ended up over the line and Rovers were ahead again only to be heartbreakingly pegged back in the last minute of normal time when left-back Nick Humphries placed a careful shot into the corner of the goal following a bit of a scramble in the home penalty-area.
Brimscombe were strong in the early stages of extra-time while the home players looked deflated by the very late equalising goal and were also hampered by having to play most of extra-time with only ten men after Smith had to go off injured when the three substitutions had already been made. After Deakin had tucked a rebound away after his first shot had been saved, Brimscombe scored two similar goals when first Horrell, then Reeves were able to beat Winman from close range after accurate passes had sent them clear on goal.
The final fifteen minutes followed the pattern of the previous fifteen. Deakin scored again then Pitts met a left-wing corner at the far post with a fierce shot which fizzed into the roof of the net. All Rovers could record at the other end was a header from substitute Jake Rhodes which stuck in the mud on the goal-line before the ball was hacked clear of danger by a Brimscombe defender. Just before referee Tom Staten brought proceedings to an end one more Brimscombe attack saw Horrell score his second goal of the night and the twelfth of a pulsating contest.
With a little more nous Rovers might have closed the game out at both 2-0 and 3-2, but Brimscombe & Thrupp aren’t second in the table without deserving to be there. The only thing that wasn’t grey about the evening was the lime-green shirts their outfield players wore. When they were behind they played with patience and belief never doubting that they could still get something out of the game. Although their third goal came very late, it wasn’t undeserved and they ran away with it in extra-time which was cruel on Rovers whose players had played with a lot of determination and spirit themselves against a very strong opponent.

Tuffley Rovers 3 Brimscombe & Thrupp 9 aet (away view)
Brimscombe & Thrupp headed to a very wet Glevum Park on Tuesday night when they faced look rivals Tuffley Rovers in the Perpetua Press Floodlit Cup.

It took a while for both teams to get going, the Lilywhites had the first chance but Chris Pates’ headed was wide of the mark. Tuffley had the best chance in the opening 20 minutes when Lee Smith’s rocket header rattled the bar. Sam Blackie ran through the hosts’ defence but saw his goal ward shot deflected for a corner just before Edd Major was forced off limping, on came Ben Deakin in his place. Tuffley searched and searched for the opening goal and nearly got it when Brett James broke through the backline but saw his effort saved by the young James Holder. Rovers made no mistake with their third chance, Lee Smith found himself slotting the ball into the corner under the on-rushing Holder. The Brimscombe ‘keeper was forced into action again when he had to deal with Dom Kent’s effort.

Conditions worsened and it was a slow start to the second half. Brett James doubled the hosts’ lead ten minutes after the break. Luckily for ‘Brimmy’ Kyle Pitte was on hand to put away the loose ball after the corner bringing to a 1-goal deficit. Holder denied Smith and Tuffley another goal cushion. With 10minutes left on the clock Sam Blackie put the ball away to momentarily bring the teams level yet again. Tuffley were having none of it and quickly took the lead again when Kieran Alder managed to swing the corner in to the front post. It looked like it was the end for Brimscombe with injury time in progress, debutant Nick Humphries kept their hopes up when he hammered the ball into the bottom corner forcing the two teams into extra time.

The home side got us underway for extra time but only played the final 30minutes of football with 10 men, Lee Smith was forced off injured. Legs started to tire and mistakes were mad. Ben Deakin found himself in the Tuffley box with his original shot saved, he pounced on the loose ball and hit it home giving the Lilywhites the lead for the first time. Jack Horrell ran onto the ball and slotted it home before Harrison Reeves done the same just before the end of the first 15. Ben Deakin got on the scoresheet again before Pitts and Horrell also doubled their tallies, giving Brimscombe a 9-3 win after extra time.


Puhlsport football kitremier Division

Virginia Water 1 Ascot United 3
A much calmer affair than the previous encounter at the Racecourse Ground. The visitors were deserved winners on the night, even if it was disappointing to gift them a couple of goals.

VW got off to the worst possible start, when some sloppy defending allowed the prolific Nathan Minhas to turn and fire a great shot into the top left hand corner on 5 minutes.
We started to grow into the game, but fell further behind, when from a long throw, Scott Jackson headed into his own goal on the half hour.

From then on, VW had their best period, and pulled one back when Josh Hill scored from the spot on 40 minutes, after debutant Jamie Read had been brought down in the box. Soon after Jamie almost scored from close range, and we had a few other shots, but nothing clear cut.

The second half started with VW in the ascendancy, with Finn Evered, Jamie, Joe McBride, Josh and Scott all having half chances/shots on goal. At the other end Matt made a couple of good saves, but we conceded a body blow late on, when from a deep free kick, we lost our footing at the back and allowed Louis Bouwers to head in unmarked from 6 yards out. As much as VW tried, we could not pull a goal back. Credit to Ascot, a quality side, who deserved all three points.

Virginia Water 1 Ascot United 3 (away view)
Captain Louis Bouwers inspired Ascot United to a derby double over Virginia Water and lift his side back into second place in the Uhlsport Hellenic League Premier Division. Man-of-the-match Bouwers hit a post early-on and held his defence firm as Waters threatened to recover from going 2-0 down, before nodding home late-on to seal a 3-1 win.

The eagerly-awaited clash followed September’s hotly-contested affair which Ascot had won courtesy of a last-gasp header from captain Louis Bouwers, and with Ascot in the ascendancy and Waters battling to stay out of relegation trouble, the derby had an added edge. Ascot named an unchanged starting line-up from the side who had comfortably seen off Abingdon United in the league cup three days earlier, whereas Waters were looking to bounce back from fielding a weakened side in a shock cup exit at Thornbury Town on the same afternoon.
And, the game followed a similar pattern to Saturday when Ascot raced out of the blocks – the only difference that they were rewarded for their efforts as Jamie Tompkins’ side found themselves 2-0 up with barely a quarter of an hour played.

Firstly, Nathan Minhas extended his scoring run to eight matches with an exquisite curling effort into the top right hand corner after Harry Laflin and Jean-Claude Etienne had fashioned the opening. Bouwers then hit a post with an audacious stooping header, before his challenge from a Chris Ellis throw-in led to an own goal, doubling the visitors’ advantage after 16 minutes.

Between those efforts, Jamie Read might have done better with a cross-shot from distance that sailed wide for the home side, but the hosts were given a lifeline when Josh Hill converted a 25th minute penalty after Bouwers was adjudged to have fouled Read. Waters huffed and puffed and enjoyed sustained spells of pressure, although the remaining chances of the first half came in the final two minutes when Minhas saw an effort deflected wide for Ascot before Lee Allen thwarted Read from Scott Jackson’s cross for The Waters.

The second half was a more sedate spectacle as both sides cancelled each other out. Home ‘keeper Matt Jones produced a fabulous save to deny Minhas midway through the half after James Haworth had ghosted in from the left-wing. And, after the home side finally ran out of ideas, Ascot finished the game in the 81st minute.
Inevitably it was Bouwers who wrapped it up, as he popped up with a stooping header from Denton’s free-kick to make it 3-1, to secure a fourth consecutive win for the Yellamen.

Ascot United: Allen, Lock, Haworth, Carey, Bouwers, Ellis, Denton, Laflin (F Etienne), Minhas, Price (Sankoh), JC Etienne (Kibaki). Subs unused: Sullivan, Kassim

Gloucestershire FA Challenge Trophy

Fairford Town 4 Frampton United 1
Fairford Town put four goals past Frampton United in a Gloucestershire Challenge Trophy third round tie at Cinder Lane on Tuesday night.

The rearranged game, postponed last week due to a waterlogged pitch, saw the hosts run out comfortable winners thanks to a brace in each half.

Ben Lodge kicked off the scoring with his third goal of the season with 15 minutes on the clock. Robbie James then continued his good scoring run on the stroke of half-time for his fourth goal of the campaign following on from an impressive strike from distance at Holmer Green on Saturday.

In the second half the visitors went further behind with an own goal 21 minutes from time, before former Cirencester Town striker Danny Gudger made it 4-0 on 76 minutes. The visitors pulled a goal back in the dying embers of the game, but the tie was soon over with Jody Bevan's men through to the next stage of the competition.

Fairford Town: Ellis; Watson, Hawkins, Thomas, Oakes; Beardsell, James, Bailey, Snook; Gudger, Lodge Substitutes: Boucher, Reid, Thompson, Saunders, Weaven

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