28 February 2017
Perpetua Press Floodlit Cup - Third Round
Fairford Town 1 Flackwell Heath 3
Shrove Tuesday brought about Fairford Town’s first taste of defeat of 2017, as Premier Division challengers Flackwell Heath edged a competitive encounter at Cinder Lane.
Both sides made changes to their line-ups for the game, with the home team missing six players from Saturday’s 5-1 win over Tytherington Rocks – with league success very much at the top of manager Gareth Davies’s priorities.
That’s not to say the cup was taken lightly – far from it – and the Reds battled all the way against a Flackwell outfit who showed their higher division nous at crucial times.
Dan Rapley opened the scoring for the visitors with a well-taken ninth minute, having cut in from the right and firing past home stopper Ben Mitchell.
The flow of the game was broken on 29th minute with a straight red card for Fairford midfielder Steve Hall, whose mistimed challenge deemed worthy of dismissal and the Reds faced an uphill struggle.
Fairford adjusted well though and with Mitchell found in good form for the home side, the 1-0 scoreline going into the interval.
Jason Milhench, wearing the captain’s armband for the night, delivered the goods ten minutes into the second period with a rasping drive from just outside the box to level the game up and it was no more than the home side deserved after a rousing start to the new half.
Mitchell, Fairford’s man of the match, then made several outstanding saves soon after the hour to deny the visitors the lead. This was an entertaining encounter that was giving the healthy crowd – several of whom who had diverted to GL7 with games called off elsewhere - value for money.
The visitors regained the upper hand 11 minutes from time with a low finish from Matt Stockhill finding its way into the back of the net.
The third and final away goal came in stoppage time with a well-taken penalty from visiting skipper Ben Sturgess sealing a last four place for his side.
It proved to be a lively cup tie that will perhaps have given the Reds a taste of what’s to come should the goal of promotion back to the Premier Division be reached.
Tytherington Rocks 3 New College Swindon 4
Tytherington Rocks were knocked out of the Supplementary Cup on Tuesday night with a home defeat to New College Swindon. A cold winter’s night at Hardwicke Playing Fields was perhaps one of the last places New College Swindon wanted to be but they showed no signs of taking the game easy. The away side started well with attacks from the midfield, utilising their youth and pace to good effect.
Having said that, it was The Rocks who opened the scoring with a well-worked goal on 10 minutes. Ollie Price raced down the right wing to accurately pick out Dan McNally in the box who headed from five yards out. New College Swindon almost immediately replied with a goal of their own but Adam Clark was on hand to prevent Josh Croucher equalising. The away side continued to push Tytherington back for the next ten minutes with good pace and intent going forward. The Rocks were struggling to find a route out of their own half but they remained resolute in defence to keep the score at 1-0.
For all of New College Swindon’s endeavour, their attack was lessening in threat as the half hour mark approached. Too often their attack was predictably channeling through the middle of the pitch and Tytherington were allowed to remain in control of the scoreline. Surprisingly, it was Tytherington who doubled their lead in the 36th minute with a goal from Lewis Bezer. Ollie Price, for the second time, did well on the right hand-side with a clever feint allowing some room to cross into the box where Bezer adapted his body well to head the ball into the bottom right corner. Despite large periods of pressure in the first half, Tytherington were in front by two goals.
However, Dan Gillespie, Rocks boss, will be unhappy with the remainder of the first half. New College Swindon were allowed an easy route back into the game when they scored through Kane Howcutt. A soft piece of defending from The Rocks allowed the striker in on goal who received a slice of luck when his shot found the back of the net via the post. The away side then levelled the score five minutes later as a result of a precise reverse pass from Ben Spackman who found Max Slinn to convert from close range. The Rocks went in at half time ruing two lapses in concentration that allowed New College Swindon back into the cup tie. However, it was two lapses in concentration that had led to Tytherington’s goals so perhaps being level at the break was a fair summary of a well-contested first half of football.
Into the second half and it was New College Swindon who took the led in the 55th minute through Tom Johnston. A thunderbolt of a strike from 25 yards left Adam Clark stranded in the Tytherington goal as the ball sailed into the top left corner. The pace of the young away team looked to be causing havoc for Tytherington who were chasing shadows for large parts of the game. The pitch, too, was turning up in the light rain and several players struggled to maintain their footing. As a result, the game turned scrappy and both sides failed to conjure up many clear cut chances.
The referee’s note book was soon filling up with names and Rocks captain, Dan McNally received a yellow card in the 70th minute for a cynical challenge on the edge of the area. Just 5 minutes later, the skipper was booked again. This time for a late challenge on Kane Howcutt that resulted in Tytherington being reduced to 10 men for the final 15 minutes of the match. New College Swindon made their extra man count in the 80th minute when they threatened the defensive line of the Tytherington defence and thus drew a free-kick from 20 yards out. Tom Johnson took the resulting free-kick for the away side and, thanks to a significant deflection, he had his second of the game and his side’s fourth to make in 4-2.
Despite Tytherington being a man short, their attack was perhaps at its most threatening in the final stages. Will Harries came on with 5 minutes to go and injected a burst of energy into the side. Harries provided an excellent cross from a free-kick to fellow substitute Jack Jones who converted well with his head in the area. The Rocks pushed for an equalising goal in the dying embers of the match but the New College Swindon defence held firm to see them into the next round of the Supplementary Cup. For Tytherington, the game was one that perhaps should have not ended in defeat given the clinical nature of their attack in the first half. However, this season has proved all too familiar in defence and it was, yet again, lapses of concentration that deprived The Rocks of anything from the game.
Uhlsport Hellenic League Premier Division
Brimscombe & Thrupp 4 Oxford City Nomads 3
A first half hat-trick from Rav Shamsi wasn’t enough for Oxford City Nomads to take the points when they faced Brimscombe at the Meadow.
Shamsi scored twice before Sam Blackie nodded home Ed Major’s cross before Shamsi scored again. Plenty of first half chances made for great football despite the very difficult conditions. Ash Caldwell shot from around 40 yards but found his looping shot hit the crossbar. Ollie Pitt found his free kick narrowly miss the mark.
Chris Greenhough pulled one back after half time before Sam Blackie got his second of the evening to level the scores. Nomads goalkeeper Thomas Molloy was on hand to pull off some great saves before Greenhough struck again when he was at the back post to volley home a miss-hit to ensure all three points went to the Gloucestershire side.
Bicester Town 1 Woodley United 1 (away view)
With Charlie Oakley returning to the starting line-up, following injury United started the match kicking downhill on a sticky pitch that got worse as the match continued due to rain falling ten minutes into the match and continuing throughout the game.
The opening ten minutes saw both sides have efforts go wide, United’s being through Josh Drew and Oakley while both keepers comfortably caught crosses. As the game progressed United started to put together some good passing moves, the best being on twenty eight minutes that saw Carl Prestidge when one on one with home keeper Joe White shoot across goal and just before Josh Drew could apply the final touch a defender cleared.
At the other end Bicester twice saw a cross go through the penalty area to safety before Alex Reed pushed a shot onto the cross bar four minutes before the break to leave the first half scoreless.
Faced with playing up the slope, the second half got off to the worse possible start when Rob Johnson gave the home side the lead two minutes after the restart when one on one with Reed. An immediate response by United saw Oakley denied by White while Richard Benjamin went wide two minutes after the opening score.
With Danny Horscroft introduce after fifty minutes and Matt Jones being influential in Woodley’s play the visitors showed good character to take the game to Bicester and were reward with the equalising goal on sixty two minutes when Jake Nicholls’ free kick was headed home by Horscroft.
Three minutes later United should have taken the lead when a strong run by Oakley saw him cross the ball into the penalty area only for the unmarked Abdul Kamara to put over the cross bar when twelve yards out. Keeping the pressure on Idy Kamara headed of the home cross bar following another Nichols’ free kick.
Bicester reminded United they were a danger when they fired over the cross bar with twenty minutes remaining and Luke Turner being called on to make two excellent tackles in the visitors penalty area.
With eight minutes remaining Oakley saw a shot blocked and Jones putting the rebound wide, but it needed a Reed save in stoppage time when faced one on one to secure United a point that leaves them in fourth place one point behind second placed Headington Amateurs with two games in hand.