25 March 2017
Bluefin Sport Supplementary Cup - 2nd Round
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.
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.
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.
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.