21-22 March 2017
Bluefin Sports Hellenic Supplementary Cup
Fairford Town 6 Oxford City Development 3
Jason Milhench scored his second hat-trick inside four days to help Fairford Town into the next round of the Bluefin Sport Supplementary Cup after a 6-3 win over Oxford City Development.
Milhench was at the heart of the home side’s attacking prowess, but the visitors put on an impressive showing with some talented young charges giving the Division One West leaders plenty to contend with.
It was an entertaining evening’s football in front of a good Cinder Lane, with Milhench grabbing his first after just two minutes, sweeping a low finish across goal into the corner. Top scorer Lee Smith rolled home the second of the evening on 15 minutes as the Reds kicked into gear with some fluid build-up play. Milhench then collected a short corner and unleashed a low drive that cannoned in off the post to make it three after the half-hour mark.
Oxford City had produced some concise play and got on the scoresheet on 44 minutes with a looping effort from Dan Collins that sailed into the back of the net from the edge of the box. A classy strike and no less than the visitors deserved.
Jonny Aitkenhead and Sam Ockwell came off the bench for the hosts before the goals came thick and fast. Milhench completed his treble with a deft touch to make it 4-1 and a penalty soon after made it 4-2 after Aitkenhead had brought his man down. A defensive error made it 4-3 on 18 minutes with a poor clearance from Ben Mitchell handing the visitors an all too easy sight at goal. At the other end, a rasping finish from Nathan Blackford made it 5-3 before Josh Morse met a pinpoint cross from Dan Drewett to head home the sixth and seal a place in the next round of the competition – of which Fairford are the holders.
Ardley United 4 Bracknell Town 1
Ardley upset promotion favourites Bracknell Town on Tuesday night with a thumping victory which sees the league title swing back in favour of Thame United who won at Tuffley, and now lead by five points although Town have a game in hand.
Ardley defended an early onslaught from their guests, and several good save from Nick Bennion kept the scores level, the home side then took the lead on fourteen minutes through a rasping drive from Matt Cruse from the edge of the box, but Bracknell levelled eleven minutes from the break when a shot was blocked by Nick Bennion but Adam Cornell was on hand to tap home. Matt Cruse doubled his tally three minutes from the whistle, when a ball across the box fell invitingly for the front man to thump home.
On fifty nine minutes Ardley introduced Troy Bryan to the game, and within a minute of coming on he scored a third, when a Matt Cruse shot came off the underside of the crossbar, bounced down and up and Bryan leapt to head home. As Bracknell complained to the officials about the goal, Jamie McClure was shown a second yellow card and subsequent red.
With two minutes left Declan Benjamin was floored by a tackle, and in the aftermath that followed Bracknell skipper Carl Davies was shown a straight red card for violent conduct. As Bracknell tried to push forward, gaps were left in behind and a ball over the defence saw Troy Bryan race away to slot past Chris Grace and put the game to bed.
Tuffley Rovers 1 Thame United 2
Thame United took a huge step towards securing the Uhlsport Hellenic League, Premier Division title for 2016/17, as they overcame a determined effort from Tuffley Rovers, with Lynton Goss’ sublime goal, direct from a free-kick, ultimately proving the difference between the two teams.
The Oxfordshire side arrived at Glevum Park with a two point lead at the top of the table, but left five points clear, thanks to their own win and a defeat for Bracknell Town, who were thumped 4-1 away at Ardley United. Though Bracknell Town have a game in hand, Thame United will secure the title if they take maximum points from their remaining two games. Rovers’ Manager, Mark Pritchett, made three changes to the side that started against Abingdon United a week earlier, with the recall of captain Dave Evans in goal, Sam Hill restored to the starting line-up and veteran Shayne Bradley coming into the team, replacing the injured Liam Wright.
Despite a gap of ten positions between the two clubs, Rovers more than held their own in the opening stages of the game, although the defence of Hill, Tristan Haswell, Macaulay Herbert and Ben Tunnicliff had to be alert, on several occasions, to the threat posed by the pacey pairing of Goss and Melvy Ngomi. With the back four containing the visitors’ attacking threat, Rovers grew into the game and started to have an increasing share of possession, with Marcus Foxwell twice having shots on goal, albeit both save relatively comfortably by Henry Craven in the Thame goal.
Thame United’s best hope of scoring appeared to come from set-pieces and Ellis Hercules’ towering header, from Adam Morris’ corner, was only narrowly wide of Evans’ goal. Those chances aside, the game was short of goalmouth action and so it was no surprise when the teams reached the interval at 0-0.
If Rovers’ confidence had been buoyed by the spirt and endeavour shown in the opening half, they had little opportunity to build on any ensuing confidence, as Thame United took the lead only 4 minutes into the second half. As the ball was played down the left-hand side of the Thame attack, it eventually found its way to Dan West, and as he forced the ball goalwards, it fell into the path of the advancing Tom Ashworth, who forced the ball home from close range, beating Evans’ desperate scramble across the goal.
Ben Connelly had an opportunity to extend the lead, just before the hour mark, but his effort was scrambled away by Haswell, as it looked to be heading for the goal, but they did increase their advantage five minutes later. West was fouled on the arc of the penalty area, as he attempted to shield the ball, which gave Goss the opportunity to test Evans with a direct free-kick. The Thame United striker, who had scored twice against Rovers when they had met earlier in the season, stepped up to curl a beautifully judged free-kick, that struck the underside of the bar, just evading Evans’ outstretched palm in the process, and cannoned into the goal.
After their capitulation in the face of a Thame United lead, when the two sides met in December and Rovers succumbed to a four-goal defeat, Pritchett’s side might easily have folded against opponents who looked destined for promotion. Instead, they found a renewed energy and slowly began to force their opponents back. The introduction of Shayne Anson, returning from injury, into an unfamiliar central midfield role, proved a real fillip and when he produced a superb cross to the far post on 79 minutes, Jamie Goodwin headed home to give hope that a point could be salvaged.
Despite continuing to have the better of possession in the remaining moments, Rovers only threatened once, as substitute Cameron Williams headed Warren Mann’s cross narrowly wide, and Thame United held out to secure an advantage that gives them a real prospect of winning the league.
Tuffley Rovers 1 Thame United 2 (away view)
After a long, and somewhat tortuous, journey to Gloucester on a Tuesday evening, United faced a strong Tuffley side, looking to maintain their winning streak.
Manager Mark West stuck with the side that had come back from two goals down to defeat Burnham on Saturday, with United playing up the slope in the first half and in to a strong breeze. Whilst, for the majority of the half, possession between the two sides was fairly even, the better chances fell to the home side with Henry Craven in the Thame goal doing well to hold a couple of long range efforts. For United the nearest they came to scoring was when an Ellis Hercules header from an Adam Morris corner went wide of the near post.
If the first half had been bereft of any meaningful action, the second half came to life within the first two minutes as United opened the scoring. Good play down the Thame left saw the ball fed to Dan West on the edge of the box. West then hooked the ball in to the path of Tom Ashworth who, eight yards from goal, confidently placed the ball wide of Evans.
The lead was almost doubled ten minutes later when a cross from the left by David Lynn found its way to Ben Connelly at the far post, but his goal-bound effort was cleared off the line. The second goal did, however, arrive shortly afterwards. Dan West was fouled 25 yards from goal and Lynton Goss stepped-up to place a delightful free kick up-and-over the wall and in to the top corner of the net, giving Evans no chance.
By this stage, United had the upper hand but gradually the home side started to get back in to the game, and they pulled a goal back with a little over 15 minutes to go. Good work down the Thame left saw the ball crossed to the far post where Jamie Goodwin out-jumped his marker to give Craven no chance. Despite the goal, and the anticipated pressure, United maintained possession of the ball for the remainder of the game, with the home side unable to create any further chances.
Didcot Town Reserves 1 Finchampstead 1
This was a tale of two penalties and a sending off in a well contested league match at Loop Meadow. Early on Jewell for the visitors shot weakly over the bar after making some space for himself. Didcot won a couple of early free kicks but the delivery was poor. Aaron Davies for Didcot provided a good pass in the 10th minute for Emmanuel Hammond whose shot was blocked as the home team started to find some rhythm. A Finch break was thwarted by a timely Kieran Collins tackle before Ross MacDonald beat two defenders to a through ball however the away keeper Griffith had got out fast to narrow the angle and made a good save which rebounded to Hammond who shot over the bar.
MacDonald then pulled the ball back for Lewis Noble to shoot just wide as Didcot picked up the pace. In the 17th minute MacDonald robbed a defender near the corner flag and went past another before being tripped in the box for a home penalty.
Lewis Noble placed it easily past Griffiths to put the home team one up. Almost from the kick off Hammond was fouled and from the resultant free kick McCarthy's cross was blocked. Finch broke forward and a clash of players where a Finch player appeared to run in to Noble resulted in Adam Barnard for the visitors being sent off for appearing to try to headbutt Noble. Didcot continued to push forward and from a corner Noble's hard shot was blocked. MacDonald was brought down outside the box but again the free kick opportunity went begging. McCarthy had a cross/shot just dip the wrong side of the post.
Before half time though Jewell waisted a good breakaway for Finch by shooting past and Noble had another shot over the bar. Just as Didcot were imagining a team talk on how to go two up in the second half Aaron Davies shoulder charged a Finch attacker in the box and the ref awarded a penalty to the visitors which Jon Malone dispatched easily and it was 1-1 at half time.
The second half followed a pattern of Didcot creating and missing chances with the occasional dangerous Finch breakaway. Hammond headed over from a lovely Ross Tanner free kick and the same player just failed to get to a good through ball from Collins. Joe Parish took another good free kick and Tom Stone headed across goal when a more direct effort may have rewarded him better. Beesley thwarted a Finch breakaway before a MacDonald corner found Parish who should have done better than see his effort go past the post as Finch breathed easy again. From another corner the ball fell to Stone whose shot was wide. Hammond headed wide from a free kick and a good MacDonald cross was headed away at full stretch. Hammond then miskicked when through on goal and in a late breakaway Finch might have done better than see a shot screw wide. So the home team saw two points slip through their hands whereas Finch were probably the happier at the end of the game.
Didcot Town Reserves 1 Finchampstead 1 (away view)
Finches Arrived at Didcot hoping for a win against lowly Didcot Town Reserves but playing for much of the first half and the entire second with only 10 men, Finches battled hard and managed a draw, the very first this season. With 3 strikers unavailable, the visitors still had some versatile forwards to fill the gap. They started quite positively and Chace Jewell ran on to the ball and lined up a shot which just missed the top corner at his nearest upright. Didcot made an approach towards the Finch penalty area but then conceded a free kick from which the ball returned to the opposite end for Kieran Beesley to gather. When the ball reached the feet of Jamie Curry, he was placed just right to shoot at goal but the ball looped just over the crossbar. Didcot also missed a couple of times but Finches gained a free kick in defence and Freddie Barron delivered the ball from the left wing which was too strong and missed everybody in the Didcot area. Disaster then struck Finches.Ross McDonald was tripped in the area and Lewis Noble netted the ball from the spot in the 14th minute. Play resumed with the restart and in the midfield, Finch half, skipper Barnard was involved in a clash with a Didcot player and was dismissed by the referee immediately. 10 men Finches continued in a positive collective mindset as Sam Green took over the Captain's armband. After a free kick, Green's header sailed just over the crossbar. Beesley was called upon to make a fine save as halftime approached but a similar trip gave Finches a penalty on 45 minutes which Jon Malone put away to equalise.
Ten men emerged for the second half but Didcot, hoping to capitalise on the one man advantage pushed forwards and Emmanuel Hammond headed over Griffith's crossbar. In due time, Finches worked their way out of defence sending the ball into the penalty area between Chace Jewell and Jon Malone. The hosts then began to apply pressure on the Finch defence, Lewis Wilcox header failing to go into the net but Finches countered with a skilful run by Chace Jewell ceasing when keeper Beesley claimed the ball. As the half progressed, substitutions were made, Chris Dean replacing Jamie Curry for Finches and Didcot continued to seek the winner, although Joe Parish missed after a corner. The hosts then stayed in the opposition's area for a series of corners, missing mightily with a shot way over the bar. Finches eventually made their way out of defence and a long wing pass missed all. Sam Green took his standard long throw into Didcot's area but this was soon cleared and Didcot pressed into Finch land again but Ross Tanner directed the ball straight to Neil Griffith. Finches escaped defeat but this was a game that would normally have provided 3 points. One statistic for the game is that it is the only game this season that Finches have drawn and the drop down to third place as would be expected with other teams having games in hand.
Woodley United 5 Wantage Town Reserves 0
United win against pointless Wantage Town Reserves to open a two point gap over third place Finchampstead. The opening stages of the game were even, with both sides having shots blocked. The first shot on target came courtesy of Woodley captain Idris Kamara who saw his effort saved by Aaron Timbrell in the away goal.
On fifteen minutes United went ahead and never looked back, dominating the rest of the game. Woodley winger Teddy Thomas intercepted a pass as Wantage took a short goal kick, passing to Charlie Oakley and United's top scorer finished into the right corner. Minutes later it was two as Oakley headed over Timbrell, then completed a remarkable five minute spell by netting his third finding the right corner for a second time as the Wantage defence went to pieces. A perfect hat trick as the goals were scored with left foot, right foot and head! More Woodley pressure followed; Thomas saw a shot saved whilst Carl Prestidge had an effort deflected behind. The half ended with United camped in the Wantage half. Prestidge fired over after a good run that saw him skip several tackles before Timbrell denied Oakley a fourth.
Woodley started the half with a fourth goal as Josh Drew found the left corner from the right side of the box. The away side came close to an unlikely consolation ten minutes after the restart when a curling effort from James Glover just went over. United were creating chance after chance. A one two between Thomas and Oakley saw the former shoot over whilst a flowing move involving Thomas, Drew and Oakley ended with the latter dragging a shot wide of the left post.
On the hour Woodley made a double change. Brad Hoy and Sam Guze replaced Danny Greenwood and Abdul Kamara. This saw Hoy slot in at centre back with Idris Kamara and Joe Barley move to right back. The changes didn't disrupt United's flow. Oakley had an effort blocked before heading over a Drew corner.
With seventeen minutes left Woodley made their final substitution. Prestidge made way for Aaron Hooper. Sukhi Kang was pushed further forward with Hooper taking his place at left back. A minute after the change Drew got his second when he converted a penalty that he had won after a trip. The visitors who struggled all evening to create anything and the nearest they got to getting on the scoresheet was when Joe Broardley headed a deep free kick narrowly wide.
The final ten minutes saw Guze and Danny Horscroft have shots blocked for the hosts whilst Hoy headed over a Drew set piece. Drew then missed to the left after a superb run down the right wing. Thomas had the game's last chance; beating his man in the box, he couldn't test Timbrell.
Clanfield 0 Letcombe 2 (away view)
Letcombe welcomed back Richard Claydon and Sean Webb, but were still missing Tom Rowe, Tom Broad and Tom Eatwell.
The first 20 minutes saw Clanfield with the greater share of possession, but there were few goal scoring opportunities at either end. Letcombe started to cause the home defence problems as half time approached, and a Gavin Jones pass gave Luke Faircloth a clear shot on goal, but his fierce drive was brilliantly turned over the bar by home keeper Mike Bawn. Richard Claydon took the resulting corner, and when the ball returned to him after being partially cleared, he curled his shot into the far top corner of the net. Letcombe increased their lead in the last minute of the half with the best move of the game. A flowing move ended with an interchange of passes between Claydon and Jared Jones, and Claydon coolly flicked the ball past the advancing goalkeeper.
Clanfield substitute Isaac Oliver caused Letcombe problems with his pace in the second half, but awell organised defence gave the hosts few clear scoring opportunities. The best chance fell to Jack Kennedy, but his back post header was too high. Letcombe defenders threw their bodies in the way to block a number of openings, and Letcombe keeper Danny Joyce handled three low shots well. At the other end, Ben Hummell`s pass just failed to find Richard Claydon who would have had an open goal to shoot at.
A second consecutive victory and clean sheet for Letcombe, who are now looking a solid unit defensively. The win moved them above Clanfield and up three places to 9th in the league.
Gloucestershire FA Challenge Trophy Semi Final
Brimscombe & Thrupp 2 Cadbury Heath 3
It was a late heartbreak for Brimscombe and Thrupp in their Gloucestershire FA Challenge Trophy Semi Final.
Cadbury Heath were the visitors but made themselves at home early on when Kristian Lee slotted home 3 minutes in. It didn’t take long for the Lilywhites to draw level when Ben Prictor’s cross was nodded home by Jack Smith. Brimscombe still pushed and Ollie Pitt’s powerful shot from 25 yards out was spilt by the Cadbury Heath shot stopper before picking up away from danger. Lee got his second of the evening when he sent Lewis Skyers the wrong way from the spot before Sam Blackie’s mis-hit ball was lobbed over by Blackie makinng it 2-2 at the break.
With a bit of heavy rain at half time the pitch became heavy. Ollie Pitt had another chance to fire home but could only skim the crossbar. Ben Deakin was the only substitute to come on when he replaced Josh Jones. Pitt was searching to get himself a goal but had his free-kick saved before the visitors took the ball up the other end and put it away 4 minutes from time to give themselves a place in the final.
Wiltshire Senior Cup - Semi Final
Salisbury 3 Highworth Town 4
(report from Swindon Advertiser)
Highworth Town produced a superb comeback to book their place in the Wiltshire Senior Cup final with a 4-3 victory over Salisbury on Tuesday night.
Jeff Roberts' Uhlsport Hellenic League Premier Division side trailed 2-0 at half-time against the Evo-Stik League Division One South & West promotion hopefuls but hit back to book a final appointment against local rivals Swindon Supermarine.
A brace from Tommy Wright put the Whites, managed by former Football League striker Steve Claridge in command at the break at Melksham Town's Oakfields stadium. But the Worthians were back on level terms in the second period as Keiron Gleen and Jon Davoile found the net.Salisbury got themselves back in front when Highworth defender Lewis Brown put through his own net to make it 3-2.
But Ashley Edenborough restored parity once more on 84 minutes and with under five minutes of normal time remaining, Luke Cousins notched the winner for the underdogs.
Reading Senior Cup
Wokingham & Embrook 3 Henley Town 1
It took just four minutes for Wokingham to open the scoring. Luke Scope made ground down the left flank and his cross was forced home by Matt Booth at close range.
Henley hit back to equalise in the 36th minute through Seun Odusanya, who was first to react when keeper Sean Woodward failed to hang on to a shot from Karol Derewenko.
The Red Kites then enjoyed a good spell of possession, but were caught out in the 39th minute when a sweeping attack was smartly finished off by Booth, with a low shot past Gary Aulsberry.
The keeper could only look on helplessly in the 55th minute when defender James Griffiths headed into his own net off the inside of the post.
Both sides continued to create and miss chances with Wokingham facing 10 men for the last 20 minutes after Henley defender Liridon Daka had been shown a straight red card for remarks made to referee Matt Topp.
Sumas had Ben Broadhurst dismissed for two yellow cards in Saturday's 4-3 defeat by Chalfont Wasps. Their goals came from Luke Giles, Elliot Rushforth and substitute Scope in the second half after they had trailed 1-0 at the break.