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25 March 2017

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Bluefin Sport Supplementary Cup - 2nd Round

Finchampstead 0 Fairford Town 5
Division 1 West table topper's Fairford Town were visitors to the Memorial Park on Saturday for this Bluefin Sport Supplementary Cup round. With a couple of players out injured, Finches still fielded quite a reasonable side and Chace Jewell made the first attack for Finch with his skilful runs and tackle avoidance rounding defenders until he cracked in a shot which rebounded at an acute angle behind Ben Mitchley, Fairford's keeper, who slid forwards to scoop up the ball. Off rallied the visitors but the ball merely slammed into Griffith's side netting. He was then fouled in his own area and a spot of stoppage time ensued as physio, Vernon Green, was called upon. Then disaster struck Finches when they gave away a penalty for a needless trip. In the 15th minute, Nathan Blackford opened the account for Fairford. It was not long before they were baying at the door again but Neil Griffith firstly claimed the ball in one phase and followed a shot over the top of his bar in the next phase. Chace Jewell ran another merry dance around the defenders in Fairford's area but lost possession. An awkward bouncing ball came towards the Finch goal but Griffith was close enough to catch hold of it on the turn at the front edge of the penalty area. Chris Dean combined well with Chace Jewell until Fairford won back the ball then Richard Thomas needed to intercept and hoof the ball off the island. Jason Milhench was eager to increase the lead, perhaps too eager as the ball skewed wide. On the half hour, Fairford took a corner which went through the congregation of players around the 6 yard box reaching Sam Ockwell, captain, totally on his own at the back of the queue. He had a perfect view of a fraction of the net with no obstructions so he slotted the ball in to make it 2 - 0. Just 2 minutes later, Nathan Blackford was close to the goal mouth and ideally placed to nod in the incoming ball. 3 - 0. A short stoppage when Chace Jewell was down with a hamstring problem, gave the players a breather. Dave Stevens replaced the woeful Chace Jewell and in next to no time, he took a shot at goal but it lacked power. Back in defence, Freddie Barron lost his balance and let in a forward who let the ball fly well wide of goal. Stevens later had another shot at goal - straight into Mitchley's arms. Before the break, Milhench missed the ball and opportunity to add to Fairford's total but 3 - 0 it remained.

Finches were obligated to defend tightly after the interval although Harry Swabey was a bit too fast out of the blocks with a potential goal in mind, offside. Both teams were working back and forth until the 65th minute when John Morse hove into view to make it 4 - 0 and to put the icing on the cake, Levi Cox added a 5th 5 minutes later. The game was by now well set to finish and Finches were going through the motions and, although the ball was sent into the back of Mitchley's goal, the flag was already flying and offside again, the goal did not stand and not even a consolation goal was ponderable. Mitchley had the occasional ball to handle but was never overworked. Chris Dean took a shot at his goal and could not find the back of the net. Sam Ockwell lined up a shot but he had to watch the ball saved by Griffith and his team's next effort was far too high to enter the framework. The game was over when the last free kick was taken by Finches for offside by Fairford.


Penn & Tylers Green 5 New College Swindon 1
The boys in blue & white progressed into the next round of the Bluefin Sport Hellenic Supplementary Cup against a very young and hardworking New College Swindon side today. On a sunny but very windy and cold afternoon the game and subsequently the tie was virtually over after eight minutes.

The Secretary just finished counting the excellent attendance of 107 and nearly missing the first goal in 1st minute when Casey Bocarro slotted the ball in from close range. That was just the start we wanted. Adam Harman doubled the lead in 5th minute after a good move, again from close range. Shortly after that “goal machine” Jordan Gumbs slotted in goal number three in 8th minute after three attempts, the last one aided by a deflection off one of Swindon New College’s defenders. His team mates tried to persuade the writer to award this as an own goal (just to annoy Jordan) but that would have been unfair (but tempting). It was Jordan’s goal.

Swindon’s young side kept going and stuck to their script by trying to play their passing game. A couple of times in the first half with the wind behind them it nearly worked with shots only just missing the target but overall the game was under control.

An excellently taken free kick by Casey Bocarro in 24th minute from the edge of the box made it four. The keeper never stood a chance. 4:0 it was at half time.

The second half was a bit of a non-event. Our visitors from Wiltshire upped their game and we took the foot of the gas a little bit. Swindon New College were rewarded for their spirit and hard work when their best player, Ben Lodge, got one back in 51st minute. Not much really happened after that with the strong wind spoiling the spectacle for both teams. Joshua Fox finished the game off well and truly in 87th minute slotting home from within the six yard box after a good cross from the right. Tie won, safely in the next round of the Bluefin Sport Hellenic Supplementary Cup.

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Ascot United 1 Highworth Town 5
Ascot United signed off at the Racecourse with another defeat against high-flying Highworth Town. The Worthians, still buoyant following their superb 4-3 midweek Wiltshire Cup Semi Final win over Southern League Salisbury, comfortably defeated Ascot United 5-1, who now head West for each of their final four Uhlsport Hellenic League Premier Division fixtures. Whether they will need to take points from those games to secure their top-flight status remains to be seen, although the final-day clash at Oxford City Nomads on Easter Monday could prove crucial to their chances.

The teams walked onto a fabulous playing surface bathed in glorious sunshine, and all those present in a crowd of 56 paid tribute to David King; the passing-on of the league’s highly respected match official was marked by an impeccably observed minute’s silence ahead of proceedings.

The first half was not without incident. Four goals, a penalty save and a rare goal for Ascot’s Luke Wilson were three of the most notable. The opening quarter of an hour was even, although Highworth then struck three times inside twenty minutes to leave the home side with a mountain to climb. Matt Hill’s indifferent half in the home goal started with a well-timed interception to deny Aysa Corrick in the 18th minute, but a minute later he was beaten by his own defender – Tom Wensley – who was powerless to evade a cross-shot and the ball ended up in the net.

Hill should have done better when he was beaten by Aaron Ferris’ daisy-cutter from Corrick’s cut back three minutes later – 2-0 the score – although it may already have been one-all had Wilson kept down his shot when Highworth’s Kent Kauppinen had spilt Wensley’s corner moments before. Hill made a smart save to deny Corrick just when it looked as if the odds were in the Highworth striker’s favour in the 33rd minute – Ash Edenborough had threaded through a static defence – but Hill somehow clawed the ball away after Corrick had rounded him.

At the other end, Samir Regragui’s poor half worsened with a shot straight at Kauppinen when well placed – Wilson’s trickery creating the chance – but it was terrible marking from a corner that led to the Worthians’ third in the 39th minute. Firstly, the home defence remained static as Ferris received a short corner, and after Ferris had drilled the ball in, Hill could only palm the ball up at the near post – and Edenborough duly nodded home. Ascot cut the deficit almost immediately with their best move of the half. Ian Brooks threaded the ball through for James Goodey, whose wicked cross was converted by Wilson’s bullet header, but it still took a penalty save from Hill having clumsily brought down Edenborough on the stroke of half time; Corrick missing the chance to add a fourth.

The second half began much as the first, with a fairly even opening quarter of an hour before Highworth threatened when Keiron Gleed rounded Hill but could only find the side-netting. By this time, Louis Bouwers had already hobbled off to be replaced by James Brazier for Ascot, and the already exposed defence found themselves 4-1 down when substitute Nathan Gambling nodded home after 70 minutes.

Aaron Ross replaced Josh Dillon and Ben Clifford came on for Regragui as Ascot completed all three substitutions. Goodey glanced a header wide for the home side and volleyed straight at Kauppinen as the visiting keeper’s shenanigans almost cost his side, but Highworth had already had the last word beforehand when Corrick walked through the home defence and drilled home a fifth in the 79th minute.

Flackwell Heath 3 Tuffley Rovers 2 (away view)
Tuffley Rovers looked on course to record a league double over high-flying Flackwell Heath, until they conceded two late, late goals to succumb to defeat at Wilks Park this afternoon. Regular keeper Dave Evans was unavailable, at short notice, so Player/Manager Mark Pritchett was forced to don the gloves, once again, and he made further changes to the starting line-up, as Shayne Anson was recalled, Cam Williams was handed a full-debut and Jake Burns returned, after missing the midweek defeat at home to Thame United. Rovers were facing a side lying third in the table but went into the game in confident mood, off the back of a good performance against champions elect, Thame United, on Tuesday evening and with the knowledge they had beaten Flackwell Heath 4-0 earlier in the season. After the events in London this week and to mark the sad passing of Hellenic League match official, David King, both sides and the supporters present impeccably observed one minute’s silence before the match.

Despite playing into a strong breeze in the first half, Rovers started the game well and after having marginal territorial advantage, they took a deserved lead, on 12 minutes, as full-back Sam Hill took advantage of a free-kick award, 20 yards out, to bend the ball around the Flackwell Heath wall and into the bottom corner of Thomas Mason’s goal, to make it 1-0. A few moments later, after good work by Warren Mann, who skipped past 2 or 3 challenges before playing a measured pass, Jake Burns produced a powerful effort from the edge of the penalty area that was well struck but too high to trouble Mason in the Flackwell Heath goal.

Whilst Rovers were looking comfortable, the hosts remained confident and with the wind in their favour, they took advantage of a moment of hesitation, from the otherwise excellent Macaulay Herbert and Pritchett, who was advancing from his line as the ball held up in the wind. As the Rovers players collided, Sheridan Campbell was left with an unguarded goal and hammered the ball high into the empty net, after 27 minutes. Both sides traded possession, without either creating a clear chance, as the half wore on, but as the interval approached it was Rovers who managed to conjure up a goal, that took them into half-time with a deserved lead. After a free-kick was awarded wide on the right, half way in the Flackwell half, Jake Burns delivered the set piece to the far post, where centre-half Ben Tunnicliff rose highest, to place a terrific header over Mason and into the net, giving Rovers a 2-1 advantage on 44 minutes, which they held until the break.

The second half started in a similar vein to the way in which much of the first half had been played out, with both sides competitive but clear chances relatively few and far between, until the game sparked into life, on the hour. With the ball played over the top and drifting, unimpeded towards Pritchett, in the Rovers goal, Joe Blount collided with Herbert, who appeared to be shielding the ball, and the referee awarded a penalty to Flackwell Heath.

Heathens’ captain, Ben Sturgess, stepped up and struck the ball low and hard to the left, only for Pritchett to produce an excellent save. As the ball ricocheted away from the stand-in keeper, a crowd of players converged and Pritchett twice saved to maintain Rovers’ lead. Moments later, Pritchett was beaten, but the excellent Hill scampered back to scramble the ball off the line, as it looked to be heading into the net. If Rovers were pleased with that reprieve, they were grateful for Anson’s intervention five minutes later, as he then became the latest player to clear the ball off the line.

Rovers were by no means playing second fiddle to their hosts and continued to push for another goal, although chances remained at a premium. As it looked likely that Pritchett’s team would hold on to their lead, and record a creditable league double over Flackwell Heath, their player/manager made a misjudgement as the ball was played into the area, allowing substitute Dan Rapley to power the ball home, to make it 2-2, on 89 minutes. If hopes turned to travelling home with a point, those plans were undone in injury time, as Blount produced a toe poked effort, from 12 yards, that evaded Pritchett’s dive and nestled into the bottom corner of the Rovers’ goal, to hand Flackwell Heath a win that secured third place in this season’s Hellenic League, Premier Division table.


One East

Holyport 2 Headington Amateurs 7 (away view)
This was an emphatic win for Headington, who played the whole game with ten men, mid-fielder Ben Green slotting four goals.

Already down to the bare bones with injuries & holidays taking their toll, the A’s had to take the field a man short after Liam Morbey was called into work at late notice. Undaunted they took an early lead through Shaun Jacob, making a season’s debut, barely four minutes on the clock. Another five minutes played & Headington had their second, Carl Bloomfield & Jay Hill combining before Hill was brought down in the penalty area. Green confidently swept home from the spot for the first of his goals. Their hosts were stunned when Green added a third after seventeen minutes, Paul Alder & Jacob involved in the build-up, Green finishing left footed across ‘keeper Kyle Bradley. With such an early lead Headington were playing with confidence & limiting Holyport to attempts from distance with visiting ‘keeper Harry Jenkins rarely troubled. It was not until a minute before the break that Holyport’s Paul Rake had their first shot on target but Jonny Roberts was well placed to head away to safety.

Headington struck early again in the second half, Green & Luke Cuff making ground down the left wing before Green’s cross found Bloomfield who turned & fired past Bradley. Holyport at last appeared to ‘wake up’, a period of sustained pressure bringing two goals in two minutes, Ben Barnett heading home from a right wing cross for the first after fifty six minutes & Andy Forisky shooting home from the edge of the penalty area for the second. Far from wobbling though, Headington had their fifth & Green his hat trick three minutes later. A determined run from Kyle Harris-Steele took him around & through desperate challenges before Green finished from close range. Luke Cuff made it six from Alder’s through ball as Headington re-established control & Jacob was the provider for Green’s fourth & his side’s seventh with eighteen minutes left. This was a controlled disciplined performance as Headington made light of playing a man short for ninety minutes.

Woodley United 1 AFC Aldermaston 0
With Finchampstead in cup action, United had the opportunity to increase the gap to five points as they look to secure second spot behind leaders Penn & Tylers Green. This was the third meeting between Woodley and Aldermaston this season. United were 2-1 up at the start of January before the game was abandoned due to a floodlight failure whilst Woodley ran out comfortable winners in the reverse fixture back in September.

The away side started the better of the two sides. Craig Masterson saw his shot have all the pace taken off it after it clipped a defender whilst United centre back Joe Barley did well to recover from giving away possession to block a Dan Alliston effort. Woodley were really struggling; things were not clicking in the final third. Just before the half hour they were saved by the linesman's flag when Aldermaston forward Kai Parton-Edy had a headed goal disallowed for offside. The nearest United got to testing Dan Smith in the away goal was when Danny Horscroft teed up Liam Wilson; unfortunately the winger didn't make much contact allowing Aldermaston to clear. Eleven minutes before the break Woodley made a change when Dave Morgan came on for Abdul Kamara who had picked up a knock.

Aldermaston had the first chance after the break. Karl Hanks shot over from twenty five yards. Just past the hour mark United registered their first shot of the match. A sublime through ball from captain Jake Nicholls sent Charlie Oakley in on goal; with just Smith to beat the ex Woodley stopper did well to beat out a left footed effort from the left side of the box.

The creation of the chance saw the momentum of the game swing in United's favour who for the remainder of the game looked the more dangerous of the two sides. Oakley latched onto a Josh Drew pass but couldn't pick out Wilson from the right wing. Horscroft then had a left wing cross cut out with Drew waiting to pounce before the visitors nearly caught Woodley out with a swift counter attack. Working the ball from the back Hanks saw a close range shot brilliantly saved by Alex Reed in the home goal. Down the other end Oakley over hit a right wing cross with United outnumbering their opponents in the eighteen yard box.

With ten minutes to go Woodley made their penultimate change when Teddy Thomas replaced right back Danny Greenwood. This saw a change to three at the back as the hosts pushed more men forward in search of a winner. Five minutes after the change the goal finally came when Drew scored from close range. Starting the move on the wing the United player saw his cross from the left cleared; the ball was immediately sent back into the box where Oakley headed back across goal to Drew who got his third goal in two games. Before Aldermaston could kick off Woodley made their final change when Wilson made way for Sukhi Kang. No further chances were created allowing United to pick up a narrow victory.

One West

Easington Sports 2 Letcombe 1 (Away View)
Yet again Letcombe were struggling to raise a team, but they welcomed back Tom Eatwell after suspension, and assistant manager Luke Stone played at centre back.

Easington started strongly and were a constant threat in the air from crosses and set pieces. Letcombe keeper Danny Joyce raced from his line to collect a through ball, but the assistant flagged that he had accidentally handled the ball inches outside his area, but the resulting free kick hit the defensive wall. A mix up at the back allowed Andrew Stidder to give Easington the lead after 14 minutes, and Danny Joyce did well to tip a fierce drive from Stidder over the bar soon afterwards. Youngster Dan Stokell had to leave the field with a hamstring strain, Owen Holloway replacing him although he was also carrying an injury. Jordan Davies intercepted a back back, but home keeper Jack Goode sent him wide and then blocked his shot.

Easington increased their lead 10 minutes into the second half when a right wing cross found Arron Ducanth, who cut inside and placed the ball inside the far post. Letcombe pulled a goal back within two minutes, Andy Goodchild providing the pass for Jordan Davies to race clear and drive a low shot inside the near post. Davies just failed to reach a through ball from Luke Faircloth, whilst at the other end, Sam Grant sent a fierce free kick against the upright.

This was probably a fair result as Easington had the majority of the possession and chances, but the depleted Letcombe side fought valiantly for the whole game.

Shortwood United Reserves 0 Milton United 0
A largely uneventful game was played out in difficult conditions, with neither team able to impose themselves on the game. But with Wood now 5 games undefeated they move up to 8th in the Hellenic League Div 1W.

A poor first half was punctuated by Shortwood left back Rae seemingly passing it to goalkeeper Price, who picked the ball up, but the referee clearly felt that it was a miss-hit clearance rather than a pass, and nothing was given. Shortwood could have taken the lead with ten minutes of the half remaining, but Meredith headed wide of the near post from a Palmer corner.

Milton started well in the second half; a free kick was whipped in by Austin which had to be tipped over by the alert Price five minutes in. The away side really should have taken the lead with just over an hour played when Davies surged through, but he fired his shot over with the goal at his mercy. Shortwood started to create some chances with twenty minutes remaining; Hawes floated a cross into the back post, which was controlled by Portlock, but he shot wide of the near post. Five minutes later, Palmer found himself in space in the Milton penalty area, but his low cross was somehow cleared over his own bar by the recovering Craig Griffiths, with Blackah waiting for a tap in. From the resulting corner, Rae flicked his near post shot agonisingly wide. Blackah's attempted chip two minutes later was not powerful enough to prevent 'keeper Andy Griffiths from catching it near his own goal line. Milton had two more chances with less than ten minutes remaining, first a Woods shot from 25 yards was saved well by Price, then from the resulting corner, Horton headed back across goal, only for Apperley to acrobatically clear. Shortwood were denied once again with five minutes left, when Blackah headed goal-wards from a long Hawes throw, but Timbrell cleared against the head of Apperley and the ball went out for a goal kick.

Tytherington Rocks 0 Shrivenham 1
Tytherington Rocks failed to build on last week’s three points, losing 1-0 to mid-table Shrivenham in a well-contested match. Shrivenham showed their superior quality in the 65th minute through Jamie Prictor who finished off a good counter-attacking move for the visiting side to give his team all three points. Defeat for the Rocks means they stay second from bottom in the Hellenic West League, ahead of Woodstock Town by one point.

The opening stages of the match saw Tytherington with their backs firmly up against the wall. The Rocks were faced by a gusty wind that rarely saw them out of their own half in the opening ten minutes. Despite the weather proving a disadvantage, the Rocks showed great determination to get something from the game. Both Lewis Bezer and Callum Francis showed endeavour to win the ball back for the home side within the opening ten minutes. It quickly became apparent that Shrivenham’s main threat was from their left winger, Kia Bonner-Shea. His pace and direct running proved troublesome for Ollie Price, who was filling in for the absent Jack Edge, at right-back. Bonner-Shea cut in from the left onto his favoured right foot on a number of occasions in the first 15 minutes but he failed to beat the resilient Adam Clark in between the sticks.

Despite Shrivenham’s early dominance, the Rocks began to impose their own attacking threat. Firstly, in the 26th minute, Callum Francis did well on the left to put the ball into the box but there was no one to find the back of the net. Then, in the 32nd minute, Junior Mbika found himself through on goal but his unselfish pass to Callum Francis failed to reach the fast approaching forward who could not convert from close range. With 5 minutes of the half remaining, Tytherington looked as if their galant efforts were beginning to tell, with the away side asserting their dominance once more. Despite a resurgence from Shrivenham in the latter stages of the first half, Tytherington managed to keep them at bay. On half time, Tytherington would have been the happier of the two sides. The Rocks had defended for large parts of the half but managed also managed to created half chances themselves. Perhaps the possession statistics lay in favour of Shrivenham, but Tytherington held firm.

Into the second half and Tytherington started the better of the two sides. Francis had a chance following some good hold up play from Mbika but failed to make connection with his through ball. Then, on the hour mark, Liam Pullen had a good chance from 12 yards out. However, he failed to make any meaningful connection with Francis’ cross which was gratefully gathered by the goalkeeper. Going into this match, there was 24 points separating the two sides in the league. Shrivenham proved their worth in the 65th minute when Jamie Prictor gave the visitors the lead. A quick counter attack saw the Rocks defence open wide and some neat and concise passes between Shrivenham forwards gave Prictor the time and space to slot into the bottom left corner from 12 yards. Chris Patterson, substituted on just minutes before the goal, played a key role in the visitors taking the lead and it was his physicality and vision that saw Shrivenham dominate for the majority of the second half.

It was Bonner-Shea, the dangerous winger, that troubled the Rocks defence yet again. His pace and quick footwork saw him breeze past a couple of Tytherington defenders, however his shot was well saved by Adam Clark. If Tytherington were to get anything from this game, they needed to push players forward in the final 10 minutes. Having instructed his players to do so, Dan Gillespie and his side were always vulnerable to a counter attack which saw Adam Clark save Tytherington from going further behind on a couple more occasions. Into the final minutes, it appeared that Tytherington’s first half efforts to thwart a dangerous Shrivenham attack had taken the energy out of them. Despite their intent, the home side failed to create any chances heading into the final few minutes and Shrivenham held out for a hard earned three points.

On reflection, the performance from Tytherington was a tale of two halves. Their attacking intent was limited given the lack of options at Dan Gillespie’s disposal. And, had it not been for some impressive attacking play from Shrivenham, the Rocks may well have got a point from the game. As it was, Tytherington failed to add to their points tally yet still remain in 15th place in the league. Next week, the Rocks are back on the road after two home games in the last two weeks - facing 4th placed Easington Sports.

Woodstock Town 2 Purton 7 (away view)
Purton improved their goal difference and moved into third place in the league with a 7-2 win over basement club Woodstock Town increasing their recent unbeaten run to 9 league and cup matches. Purton were without Steve Davies, Joe Dorey, Jamie Sheppard,Matt Bennett and Tom McCulloch and only had two subs manager Justin Miller and Joshua Kirby.

Despite having nearly all the play in the first half Purton were only 1-0 up at the break after a great free kick by Ed Herbert kick started the team but will rue several good chances they squandered in the first period.

Eight goals came in the second period however with Bobby Gousling equalising after 47 minutes after a Purton defensive error. Purton regained the lead however 5 minutes later Shannon Pocock netting after a sweet turn and shot. On 55 minutes Joe Hiscock broke down the left cut and netted and on 58 minutes skipper Aaron Stevens added another.

From a corner Bobby Gousling pulled a goal back after 62 minutes heading in a corner kick only for Purton to add two more goals by Ed Herbert to complete his hat-trick with a 30 yard free kick and a close range tap in on 66 and 73 minutes.

Ed Herbert was fouled in box after 85 minutes and a penalty awarded which Ollie Hunt despatched sending the keeper the wrong way giving Purton their league double.


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