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14 - 15 March 2017

bluefin sport insuranceBluefin Sport Supplementary Cup 2nd Round

Abingdon United 1 Tuffley Rovers 3 (away view)
Tuffley Rovers advanced to the last sixteen of the Hellenic League Supplementary Cup competition on Tuesday evening, coming from a goal down to record a much needed victory, after a run of poor results.  After a staccato start to the 2017 calendar year, with no win since 7 January, Mark Pritchett was looking for a positive result but his plans were disrupted early in the evening, as keeper Dave Evans was ruled out at short notice, forcing the Rovers' Manager to play in goal for a second time this season. Will Tunnicliff was selected for his debut, joining his brother, Ben, in the Rovers line-up.

The Rovers boss could do little to prevent his side falling behind, as John Dennis produced a beautiful touch, to leave at least defenders trailing in his wake, before slotting home the opening goal of the game. The hosts had started brightly, playing a quick passing game, on an immaculate playing surface, and Rovers were initially limited to counter-attacking football, amidst some resolute defending that limited Abingdon United to territorial advantage, without any significant goal threat.

As Abingdon's bright opening began to be matched by a little more adventure from the visitors, Pritchett's side seemed to grown in confidence. Although unable to seriously test United keeper, Jack Griffiths, the Tuffley side were starting to stretch the hosts backline, with debutant Tunnicliff's pace an obvious threat, and they forced a number of set pieces, predominantly corner kicks, as a consequence. On 21 minutes, Liam Wright swung over a corner, which Ben Tunnicliff misdirected, but when Abingdon's Adam French sliced his attempted clearance, it fell to Jamie Goodwin, who fired into the top left-hand corner of the goal, from 25 yards, to level the scores.

Less than three minutes later, Pritchett had to show good technique on two occasions, as he first raced off his line to produce a sprawling save that smothered Sam Wharton's attempt on goal, before producing a similar stop to deny Tom Butler. The game was now developing into an end-to-end affair and Warren Mann, who was typically industrious in attack, went close, only to see his shot from 20 yards to narrowly wide of goal. As the half wore on, Rovers, imbued by Goodwin's super effort, exerted increasing control of possession and had further efforts, most notably through Courtney Hamilton, albeit with a shot that lacked enough power to properly test Griffiths, and the teams entered the interval with the score 1-1.

Rovers continued to have the better of the play as the second half started and they pushed Abingdon back from the start. Mann and Will Tunnicliff were particularly busy in attack and it was those two players who combined to put Rovers in front, eleven minutes into the second period. As Tunnicliff picked up the ball and ran, at pace, towards the Abingdon penalty area, Mann made an intelligent run across the box, pulling two defenders out of position, so that the young debutant was able to surge into the space created, before firing a well-measured shot into the bottom corner of the hosts' goal.

United were by no means out of the game and there were several occasions where Rovers' backline had to be alert, to combat the challenge presented by the pace of their attacks and some excellent passing moves. However, United's desire to play a crisp passing game eventually contributed to their downfall. Mann, in particular, was pressing the defensive line and almost stole possession on several occasions. When the Abingdon back four overplayed on one occasion too many, Mann nipped in to steal the ball. As he looked to race clear on goal, he was hauled down by Dan McNiffe, with the Abingdon player dismissed seconds later.  The resultant free-kick was skewed wide by Marcus Foxwell, and although Rovers had the numerical advantage, the hosts started to work their way back into the game, with only a combination of alert defending and a couple of routine saves from Pritchett enough to keep them from levelling the scores.

Having ridden a brief wave of attacks, Rovers started to have the better of the game, once again, and only the identity of the scorer was a complete surprise, when a two goal advantage was created. Without a goal in 77 previous appearances, Tristan Haswell burst forward from left-back, before striking a shot home from 20 yards, with only, after 79 minutes.

Although Abingdon United continue to look bright and stuck commendably to playing a fluid, passing game, Rovers were now taking better advantage of having an extra man, with Mann striking a post, before also heading narrowly wide from a Foxwell free-kick. Without extending their score or further seriously testing Griffiths, Rovers closed the game out, securing a 3-1 win and ensuring they advanced to face Aston Clinton Development in the next round of the competition.

Shrivenham 0 Finchampstead 1 (away view)
A single goal on Wednesday saw Finches through to the third round of the League's Supplementary Cup competition, after a goal-less first half with much of the play contained in the mid-field area. Shrivenham from the Western half of Division one have been drawn against the Finches in a recent season before and provided a tough opposition but they were also first to try their luck when Chris Rivers took aim but the shot was wayward. Tyler Johnson made little of a free kick awarded to the hosts and Finches began a build up culminating in a header from Sam Green which slid away behind the line harmlessly. With a route open towards Finches goal Chris Rivers shot wide for the second time and in reply, Danny Blatchford guided a free kick to Adam Barnard whose effort was unsuccessful as the ball slid past the far upright. Freddie Barron then got in on the action, pumping the ball into Shrivenham's area for the keeper, Luke Kazcinski to collect. Although Finches moved up, they lost possession again and next phase Harry Swabey was deemed offside. As play swung back to Finches area Shrivenham found the way blocked by defenders and Finches worked a tight passing game between Swabey to Barron and out to Winship who was caught offside. From this end back to Finch territory and Chris Rivers hit another shot over the framework.then with little time left in the first half Callum Little made nothing of a Shrivenham free kick.

Sadly, the host team's number 10, Jamie McGahey, was stretchered off the field with an ankle injury and was replaced. After a drop ball, Finches lost the ball and Shrivenham made a real effort and the ball bobbled all around the penalty area, swirling over Griffith's head but he managed to turn and, on the move, save the ball a yard from the goal line. From a free kick, Finches made a move into Shrivenham defensive lines, forcing a couple of corners. Eventually. in the 65th minute, Hamilton Bowler was in place to lash the ball into the net from an angle to put Finches ahead. After wasting a corner kick, Finches saw more of the play, with Freddie Barron striking too high. Chances then came for both teams as the time ticked away, Chace Jewell missed out as the ball glided past the far post at an angle across the face of goal. More fine passing from Finches but, losing the ball again. Shrivenham approached towards the goal directly in front and the clash left keeper, Griffith on the ground, although he recovered without using up any time. It was then left to Harry Swabey to try for a second goal but hte ball flew over the framework. Captain, Lance Lewis, after a series of neat passes, then blasted the ball over Griffith's crossbar seeking a late equaliser. Chris Rivers tried again but failed as did Kias Bonner-Shea. After one last attempt, Shrivenham saw the ball taken high by Neil Griffith. Harry Swabey lashed at Shrivenham's goal and the ball took a deflection for a corner to Finch. After the ball found its way into midfield, the final whistle went. Finches will play either Fairford Town or Oxford City Development in the next round.

uhlsport football kitPremier Division

Brackley Town Saints 1 Thame United 4 (away view)
United secured a comfortable 4-1 victory at Brackley Town Saints on Wednesday evening to return to the top of the Hellenic League. The win was assured in the first half as United raced in to a 4-0 lead and in the process passed 100 league goals for the season.

The opening 15 minutes saw United enjoying the majority of possession and territory, forcing a number of corners, but without testing Eastebrook in the home goal. However, the first goal arrived on 15 minutes when Dan West received the ball on the wide left before delivering a perfect ball in to the box to Lynton Goss who controlled the ball with his first touch before driving it low under Eastebrook.

The lead was doubled two minutes later when a Goss corner was headed goalwards by Tom Ashworth and West was on hand to poke the ball home from close range. Ellis Hercules then powered a header from a corner against the post before, on 36 minutes, a Hercules header again hit the post and it was Goss this time who finished from almost on the goal line. Then, five minutes before the break, it was 4-0 when West raced clear and squared the ball for Goss to fire in to an empty net and complete his hat-trick.

The second half was a more subdued and even affair, with United making changes and the home side taking advantage of the slope. Indeed, Henry Craven in the Thame goal was forced to save a number of long range efforts before the home side were awarded a penalty on 65 minutes when Hercules was adjudged to have pulled back Kyle Wynne. Josh Bowden stepped-up and placed the ball wide of Craven.

Despite the goal, United continued to press Brackley and Ben Gray had a couple of efforts go wide of the post. Craven, equally, did well to hold on to a long range effort on 77 minutes, with the remainder of the game passing without incident.


Division One East

Didcot Town Reserves 1 Holyport 0
Didcot Town Reserves completed the league double over Holyport on Tuesday night with a single goal success at the Loop Meadow Stadium. The team worked hard to deny Holyport many scoring opportunities and especially in the first half both teams cancelled each out with some determined defensive work.

The few chances included a good Emmanuel Hammond cross for Didcot just shepherded away and shortly after Holyport No 10 Paul Rake shot narrowly past. A Hammond breakaway in the 19th minute saw a hard shot saved by the away keeper. George Carlow. Following a corner Tom Hoskin headed over the bar for Didcot and poor passing almost allowed Jamie Jest a goal for the visitors but he hooked over the bar. Ross MacDonald played a through ball for Tom Stone however goalkeeper Carlow for Holyport just got there first. The half finished with a good home move that saw Lewis Noble pass to Hammond and his cross was met by MacDonald whose shot was blocked.

In the 56th minute a pass was intercepted by Paul Rake and home keeper Beesley made a fine 1:1 save. The remainder of the game saw Didcot mount the better opportunities firstly a McCarthy cross headed wide by MacDonald and not long after Hoskin headed on to the crossbar from a free header. Meantime bookings were mounting from an over fussy referee in what was a well contested but not dirty game. Hammond then had a header wide from a Noble cross and later a shot from distance that just zipped past the post as Didcot stepped up efforts to win the game. With nine minutes remaining Hoskin had a good header punched over the bar and not long after Didcot made the breakthrough with a Hammond header high into the net from a corner. There was time for a further Hoskin shot saved by the keeper and unfortunately Wilcox for Didcot was sent off for a second yellow when a Holyport player went
down theatrically . The resultant free kick was well over the bar and Didcot had claimed the three points.

Division One West

Shortwood United Reserves 2 Letcombe 1
Shortwood were lucky to come away with the win after a difficult second  half against Letcombe. But with two wins on the spin they have moved up to 8th in the league.

The first chance of note came after 14 minutes when Strickland found  Liam Meredith, who half-volleyed powerfully at goal and Joyce caught it  at the second time of asking. The away side almost conceded what would 
have been an embarrassing opener four minutes later when Joyce  miscontrolled a pass back to him, but the ball found the side netting. From the resulting corner, Palmer headed Portlock's cross just wide of the right hand post. Meredith played a pass through to the unmarked Singh with 26 minutes played, but his shot was straight at Joyce. The same combination was repeated five minutes before half time, but this time Singh rifled the ball into the roof of the net from a tight angle.

Letcombe were the dominant force for the majority of the second period, and they won a penalty just three minutes after the restart; an incisive long pass from Holloway found Shaw, who was taken down by the onrushing Shortwood goalkeeper, Lloyd Price. He atoned for his error, though, as he saved Holloway's penalty (with which he went down the middle), and Price managed to save Holloway's rebound effort as well. Davies almost got the equaliser with a little under 15 minutes remaining, but his shot went just wide of the top right-hand corner. Holloway had another presentable chance five minutes later when Hummel set him free, but his shot was again straight at Price. Shortwood, despite hanging on for most of the half, got what seemed to be the game clincher with five minutes remaining; Meredith got his second assist of the match after Blackah tucked the ball into the near corner. Letcombe eventually got their deserved goal in stoppage time, when Claydon found Davies, who slid the ball underneath Price.

Nick Ackland after a hard fought win: "We won ugly. We worked hard, and I am delighted with the three points. Letcombe dictated the play in the second half, and we were giving the ball away in poor areas. There was a lack of quality, but I am delighted with the win."

Shortwood United Reserves 2 Letcombe 1 (away view)
A long journey for an evening match meant that manager David Richardson was Letcombe`s only substitute, and with no striker available, Luke Faircloth wore the number nine shirt.

An even first 20 minutes saw both sides trying to play good attacking football, but well organised defences allowed few goal scoring chances. A back pass from Tom Eatwell went under the foot of Letcombe keeper Danny Joyce, who was fortunate to see the ball hit the post and roll behind for a corner. A long pass from Jared Jones sent Luke Faircloth clear, but home keeper Lloyd Price raced from his area to kick clear.   Shortwood had the better of the closing stages of the first half, and James Singh had a chance to give Shortwood the lead, but shot straight at keeper Danny Joyce, but he made amends just before half time. With defender Owen Holloway on the ground injured, and centre back Andy Goodchild caught upfield, a quick break found the Letcombe defence wide open, and Singh drove the ball into the roof of the net to give Shortwood the lead.

Letcombe should have equalised early in the second half when a Jared Jones pass to Owen Shaw opened up the home defence, and Shaw was brought down by keeper Lloyd Price who was cautioned.Gavin Jones took the resulting penalty, but his spot kick was saved by Price, and Luke Faircloth scuffed the rebound wide. It was the seventh penalty that Letcombe had missed during the season from nine awarded. Letcombe gradually took control of the game, playing some of their best football of the season, but were unable to turn their superiority into goals. An Owen Holloway run gave Luke Faircloth an opening, but he shot wide, and when Jared Jones found the back of the net, the effort was disallowed for offside. Shortwood broke away to add a second with three minutes remaining, Tom Blackam scoring with a low drive, but Luke Faircloth reduced the arrears from a Jared Jones pass two minutes later.

Letcombe were left to reflect yet again that they had returned home pointless when they deserved more, but you cannot keep missing from the penalty spot!

Reading Invitation Senior Cup

Binfield 5 Ascot United 1- aet (away view)
Binfield blew Ascot away in extra time as the third B3034 derby of the season ended 5-1 in the home side’s favour. After Ascot had taken the lead, Binfield quickly levelled in the regulation 90 minutes, before running riot in the Reading Invitation Challenge Cup third round. After their earlier league matches had been won by the odd goal, this match was another tight affair on paper, and so it seemed after the young Yellamen had more than matched their hosts in the opening hour and a half. The first half was a competitive affair, although after a good showing, the Yellamen were unable to make a breakthrough before the interval.

Binfield were livelier after the break, and Liam Ferdinand shot over the bar from 15 yards as they registered their intent. Then, Matt Hill was on hand to deny Brad Paglioroli – saving at his feet – with 59 minutes on the clock.

However, it was the visitors who drew first blood when Kai Walters got on the end of a Gavin Brainch free kick to give Ascot a 55th minute lead. Sadly for Neil Richards’ men, the lead lasted barely two minutes as Grant Kemp converted from a corner for Binfield to restore parity. James Brazier then replaced debutant Cameron Gilmartin for Ascot before both sides traded chances in quick succession; firstly Jack Smillie shot over for Ascot from long range and then Ferdinand struck a post for Binfield.

Finishing strongly, Binfield saw a brace of chances go begging as Smillie intervened with a fine tackle on 81 minutes before Mo Davis shot over the bar from close range under pressure from Brazier, although regulation time yielded no further goals.

Unfortunately for the Racecourse side, the remainder of the evening was one to forget. Ferdinand set the tone with a goal that may not have stood had he been penalised for hand ball in the build-up, before Harrison Bayley added a third with a fortunate deflected looping effort.

With 15 minutes of extra time remaining Luke Wilson replaced Samir Regragui for Ascot, but this had little effect as the hosts added two quick goals to gloss their scoreline - Ferdinand and Mo Davies completed the scoring for Binfield. It was a sad end to the evening for the Yellamen, but they will take heart from matching the Moles over 90 minutes.



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