1 February 2020
Westfields 1 Easington Sports 1
Westfields were held to a 1-1 draw at allpay.park on Saturday when visiting Easington Sports put up a tremendous defensive barrage along with a stiff wind which made playing conditions difficult.
However, Westfields didn’t play with their usual zest despite taking an early lead when King Baidoo shot Westfields into a 17th minute lead and it looked as though Westfields would go on and win comfortably after Aidan Thomas had shot narrowly wide and then the visiting keeper saved brilliantly from Thomas who put in a powerful shot from 20yds.
Easington Sports came back just before the break and nearly equalised but a breath-taking save by Steve Sarkodi in the Westfields goal produced a flying save which saw him tip the ball over the bar at the expense of a corner.
After the break and with the wind in their favour Westfields over-played at times and the ball ran out for goal-kicks when the long through balls could not be caught.
However, twice the visiting keeper thwarted Westfields from increasing their lead when he made a fine finger-tip save at the foot of the post from Richard Greaves and then Aidan Thomas also shot narrowly wide.
However, mid-way through the half Easington Sports came back into the game with a looping effort from Josh Rose which put the two sides level and set up a frantic final 15 minutes when both sides had opportunities.
Westfields had a great chance when King Baidoo got free down the right-hand side and cut the ball back into the path of Ben Miller who fired wide from 15yds.
Westfields threw everything at the attack to try and force a winner and brought on substitutes Dan Stoneman and Cameron Peters but they couldn’t force a winner over a resolute Easington Sports defence who put up a great performance to secure a safe point.
Division One East
Holyport 2 Long Crendon 0
With Maidenhead United and Holyport’s ground entry system in operation (just a £1 for all Maidenhead United season ticket holders which includes all this season’s home league games when the Magpies are away) a good attendance saw ‘The Port’ bag a deserved 3 points against a determined and very well drilled Long Crendon side at Summerleaze Village.
Despite Holyport’s overall dominance the momentum turned in Port’s favour after two penalty decisions went to the home side, the first involving centre half Adam Sharp on 40 mins who must have had his heart in his mouth after clipping the attacking player who went to ground resulting in a mass appeal for a spot kick which was turned down by the referee Mr Kaya, this left the score deadlocked at 0-0 at Half time. The second was early in the second half which again had the away side up in arms when, this time, the Referee deemed there was an offence and immediately pointed to the spot. When given such chances you have to take them and DAN RAPLEY did so with his usual cool style to put the home side one to the good in front of the home supporters.
The game was a hard fought affair with both side trying to play football in increasing difficult, windy conditions but it was eventually put out of Long Crendon’s reach by the irrepressible SHARP who having moved forward for a Port corner was first to react as the ball ran loose in the box scoring from close in.
Manager, Derek Sweetman, used his subs towards the end of a sap draining game one of which included the fans, highly regarded, Charlie Evans making his first appearance for the club since returning from Chalvey Sports seven days previous.
Another 3 points in the bag but the return match on Tuesday at Long Crendon, again in the league, will almost certainly be equally demanding for both sides.
Port MOM Adam Sharp - A superb, well timed, tackle and a blinder from 2 feet.
Risborough Rangers 3 Penn & Tylers Green 0
Risborough Rangers had no illusions about the task in front of them as they faced up to a visit from Penn & Tylers Green in this Hellenic League Division One fixture on Saturday. Green had beaten Rangers earlier in the season in the Berks & Bucks Cup and boasted in their line up last season's divisional top scorer, Dean Allen. Penn also arrived at the BEP Stadium on the back of two consecutive league wins, having scored 14 goals whilst conceding none in their last two games. So it was a confident Penn & Tyler's Green that took the field on this blustery afternoon to face top of the table Rangers. Rangers themselves were also in good form, arriving at this point in the season unbeaten in the league with a 100% home record thus far. In the end Rangers ran out comfortable winners by three goals to nil but not until they had put the 100 plus crowd through a feeling of deja vu for the first half hour. In a virtual replay of the previous cup encounter at Penn, Rangers bombarded the Penn goal, failing to capitalize on their chances, leaving the home supporters to expect the worst before the eventual breakthrough.
As early as the second minute Marcus Wyllie was through on goal, the Keeper saving well with his feet. Then Sam Pekun was in, firing straight at the grateful Goalie. Rangers thought they had scored on the quarter hour mark after Ben Hammond's cleverly taken quick free kick found Pekun who slotted home. However, the referee made them take it again as he was not ready. Shortly after Adam Morris set up Hammond on the edge of the box and the mid-fielder shot just wide. A Rangers corner then saw Hammond step over the ball for Bertie Squire-Adams, whose shot was bravely blocked by some desperate defending. 25 Minutes in and Penn's first chance saw Jack Brooker pull off a brilliant save low to his left as a shot arrowed toward the bottom far corner. The subsequent corner kick was worked the edge of the box before being hammered well wide. Rangers hit back when Davis Haule's shot was well blocked before brother Brian headed just wide from a good position. Soon after, Brian Haule got on the end of a low cross and back-heeled the ball against the post before Penn scrambled the ball clear. Just when the home fans were starting to furrow their brows, Boro' finally got their goal. And what a goal it was. In the 35th minute Brian Haule was fouled for the umpteenth time just outside the Penn 'D'; Hammond and Wyllie stood behind the ball, Hammond dummied and Wyllie rifled the ball into the top corner giving the keeper no chance. It was the 19 year old's sixth goal in six games since re-signing from Berkhamsted and a fully deserved one for the home side. Rangers continued to press with several half chances following on, before a rare chance for the visitors was blazed over from a good position. With five minutes until the break Squire-Adams shoots over after some good work by Pekun before Penn showed what a danger they are on the counter, Alex Sethie having to make a brilliant tackle to prevent what looked a certain goal. It was a warning to the home side and with Josh Urquart
just missing with a powerful header on the stroke of half time, the one nil lead meant there was still a lot of work to do.
The second half had less goalmouth action as Rangers looked content to hold on to their lead and limit the attacking threat of the visitors. In the opening minutes of the half Penn had the first chance, attacking quickly, only for the shot to go wide of the mark. For the next 20 minutes the home side regained control but had to be content with half chances only. Penn threatened sporadically and some brave defending from Urquhart ended with him receiving an accidental boot in the face for his troubles. As you would expect from the tough centre-back, he was soon back in the action. Boro' made the game safe in the 70th minute after Squire-Adams was upended in the box following some good work by Kyle Faulkner. There were no arguments about the penalty award and Brian Haule stepped up to calmly score his 27th goal of the season. Six minutes later and Haule set up Faulkner at 15 yards but the striker fired straight at the Keeper. Penn tried to hit back from a long throw that was headed wide as the game entered the final 10 minutes. With a minute to go Josh Fox pounced on some uncertainty in the Penn back line and sprinted past two challenges before gleefully smashing home Rangers' third goal to secure another three points. The final chance went to the visitors as a free kick on the edge of the Rangers box was wastefully fired well over the bar, into the trees, to the sound of the final whistle.
In the end, what looked to be a tricky fixture ended up another win for a Rangers side that are becoming increasingly hard to beat. It is too early to talk about titles but you would be hard put to bet against this Risborough team on this current form.
Rangers Man of the Match: Davis Haule. Another tireless performance from the experienced mid-fielder. Davis is always on the move, picking up loose balls, winning tackles and headers and making simple passes to keep things ticking over. His non stop work rate and understated manner allows his midfield partners room to play. Rangers' mid-field three were excellent today and Davis was the key.
Wokingham & Emmbrook 2 Langley 0 (Report by Arthur Strand)
A depleted squad from Langley who are second from bottom of Division One East, faced Sumas' with a strong side at Lowther Road,last Saturday. Langley had a full eleven but no substitutes putting them at a disadvantage, especially for the second half. Sumas' noticed the gusty wind but neared the Langley end but Langley took a free kick then started an attack although Sumas' regained possession. Sumas' countered and Joe Cummuskey was able to make progress. After a free kick, Mark O'Connor sent the ball through to Josh Harris who directed the ball to the Langley Keeper, Bic Kahara, A long loose ball found no forwards and the ball continued with the home team, until Josh Harris was upended and Sumas' took a free kick and a following approach proved inconclusive since Luke Scope could not quite latch on to the ball.. Langley made a move and the ball went anywhere but in the back of the net after hitting the post. After a push into the Sumas'' half, the latter returned with Luke Scope who supplied Josh Harris with the ball for a cool tap-in on 38 minutes. With a goal to the good, Nick Bateman took a free kick but the outcome was no additional score and at half-time Sumas' held the lead.
The visitors made a start to the second half but the ball went back to Sumas' and Chris Byrne shot just wide but the ball went out for a corner to Sumas' and the ball was cleared off the line. Mark O'Connor had worked his way up-field, taking a shot but that missed the target. Langley wasted chances to make progress in the Sumas'' half. Elliott Rushforth then replaced Chris Byrne, as the first substitution was made. Bearing in mind that Langley had no substitutes, Sumas' would be the only side making changes during the remainder of the game. Another missed scoring chance by Sumas' had given the Langley defenders, Lucas Jablonski and Daryll Carty plenty of thought and more work to do. Had it not been for them and Kahara the score could easily have been 4 or 5 goals rather than the pair, although to be fair Sumas' seemed to be dragged down by Langley plus the awkwardness of the gusty wind. In fact, when the wind dropped, it also made a difference but both sides kept on going. Sean Woodward was less busy but still had saves to make including a long range effort as Sumas' were drawn back in defence, Dan Watkis being in the limelight at that point. Luke Scope made a strike but Kahara was able to save directly and Scope was denied a goal by Kahara again.. Nick Bateman was replaced by Jake White, a striker. Sumas' in the 72nd minute, saw the ball was in the crowded Langley penalty area and Liam Eagle was able to head the ball in, a bit of a squeeze but a second goal. Another advance towards the visitors' goal gained a corner as Kahara conceded it. Jake White hit the side rigging and then another unsuccessful effort was followed by another save by Kahara. Abdel Ali Langley was shown the yellow card as the game was drawing to the end and then they had a chance as Jadd Thomas missed. The last highlight was when Kahara tipped the ball over his crossbar from a shot by Josh Harris. 2 goals and 3 points to Wokingham & Emmbrook but sadly for Langley they remain in the less enviable end of the table. Next Saturday, Sumas' are hosts to Sandhurst Town in the Berks & Bucks Senior Trophy Semi-finals.
Malvern Town 4 Cheltenham Saracens 2
A performance full of character and determination saw us secure a hard-earned three points courtesy of a 4-2 victory over Cheltenham Saracens. Our first raid within the opening couple of minutes ended with Harry Wickett firing wide of the target.
Some good work on the right saw the ball played in to Dave Reynolds who slotted home the opening goal with four minutes on the clock. As the visitors looked to hit back, Loveridge’s strike was blocked in front of goal by a combination of Sam Hunt and Curtis Smith. At the other end, Reynolds saw a rasping effort bravely blocked before Matt Fusco curled over from the edge of the area. With 11 minutes on the clock, a foul by Phil Harris on Mason gave the visitors a free-kick right on the edge of the area which Loveridge hit low and goalbound through the wall, however, Jordan Dibble produced a fantastic save.
The visitors were starting to see more of the ball and they were handed a route back into the game when Curtis Smith was adjudged to have committed a foul inside the area and Loveridge stepped up to make it 1-1 from the penalty spot on 21 minutes. A free-kick out wide was delivered invitingly into the danger zone by Louis Loader but the ‘keeper managed to get a fist on the ball to clear.There was a great chance opened up for Matt Turner whose low strike went inches wide before a volley from the edge of the area by Loader went close as we started to knock on the door again as the opening period went on. On 41 minutes, Hayes cut inside and got in a strike on goal that Jones did well to push away then shortly afterwards Hayes’ header at the far post somehow stayed out as it hit the woodwork as we went in at the break on level terms at 1-1.
The early action of the second period saw Turner use his strength to beat Asiedu to the ball but lift his effort just over. The swirling wind was playing its part as we scrambled clear a corner before Wickett set up Hayes who effort lacked the necessary power to trouble the ‘keeper. It was the visitors who took the lead against the run of play through Bryan in the 57th minute. A jinxing run on the hour-mark from Hayes ended with him hitting the post, then Turner fired straight at the ‘keeper.
At the other end, Loveridge went close before Wickett was forced off through injury. Some sharp play out wide ended with Clark’s cross falling into the path of Reynolds whose strike was saved and then it was Evans’ turn to go close with a low drive. We were able to level the scores on 73 minutes when Clark fed Turner who was brought crashing down by the ‘keeper for a penalty which Turner tucked away coolly. Moments later Turner missed a great chance when he battled through only to sky his effort with only the ‘keeper to beat.
As we searched for another goal, some neat football ended with Smith firing well over from distance. With six minutes to go, Clark’s effort was superbly cleared off the line and from the resulting corner, James Febery headed home to put us back in front. In the closing stages, Clark stroked home to make the game safe after good work from Turner to secure a hard-earned three points.
Malvern Town: Dibble, Smith, Hunt, Harris, Wickett (J. Febery 65), Turner, Hayes, Loader, Evans, Reynolds, Fusco (Clark 55). Subs not used: B. Febery, J. Sauntson, Craven.
BOOKING(S): Harris, Hunt, J. Febery GOAL(S): Reynolds, Turner (pen), J. Febery, Clark ATTENDANCE: 252.
Malvern Town 4 Cheltenham Saracens 2 ( Away view by Jemma Maeve)
The match against Malvern Town got off to a bad start when their Dave Reynolds pounced on a loose ball in the box. There was nothing Nick Jones could do to stop the inevitable goal. 1-0 down after just 4 minutes. Luck shone on Malvern minutes later when Matt Fusco committed a professional foul on our Sam Mason, right on the edge of the box. It should have been a straight red for him, but the Ref only gave him a yellow and us a free kick, which was easily saved by their keeper Jordan Dibble.
In the 21st minute, Jordan Bryan was brought down in the box and, this time, the Ref made the right decision and awarded us a penalty. Adam Loveridge stepped up to take it and duly buried it in the back of the net to draw us level. Malvern fans were soon on the edges of their seats when they thought they’d scored a certain goal, but it was dragged wide of the net. The 42nd minute saw our Nick Jones pull off the first (of many) brilliant saves this match. Malvern had been applying constant pressure on us, but Jones inched the ball onto the post and out of danger to keep us level at halftime.
The second half started dangerously for us when Malvern were through on goal in the 48th minute, but Reynolds’ shot was fired over the crossbar. Sarries didn’t bow to the constant pressure from Malvern, in fact, we resisted it and kept pushing and it paid off for us in the 57th minute when Jordan Bryan broke through the Malvern defence with ease and fired us 2-1 in front with a beaut of a goal. The 67th minute saw another blinding save from Jones, who used his outstretched legs at lightning speed to keep out a certain goal. Things were looking good.
But the intensity of the game soon started to wear on us. Malvern were awarded a penalty when Jones came off his line to try and collect a ball from their feet. The player went down and the Ref signalled instantly for another penalty. Matt Turner stepped forward to take it and Jones had his weight on the wrong foot and was unable to block it. 2-2. A shame for Nick as he’d played an absolute blinder so far, but he kept us in contention for over an hour. A truly outstanding performance from him.
At 2-2, it felt like the game was starting to slip away from us a little bit. Malvern were relentless, firing so many shots at us, but few were on target, with most going wide or soaring over the crossbar. In the 83rd minute, Jones was off his line when Malvern broke into our box. A blinding bit of last minute defence saw our ever dependable Liam Brignull clear the ball off the line with his outstretched leg, stopping the ball from crossing the line by mere inches. But, unfortunately, it wasn’t enough. Brignull’s brilliant effort bounced out for a corner, and it met the head of James Feberey who tucked it past Jones to put them 3-2 in front. We’d fought so hard for so long, with so many outstanding individual (and team) efforts against a Malvern side on an 8-win streak. It felt cruel to fall behind with so little time left on the clock.
But Sarries kept their heads up. Barnard and Asiedu kept blocking Malvern surges and attacks. Mason kept trying to create space and speed down the wing. But it didn’t pay off for us when, in the 90th minute, Harry Clark put the game to bed with a fourth goal for Malvern Town. The final score was 4-2, but I don’t feel that reflected the effort and hard work shown by Sarries today. Fair play to Malvern, their winning streak extended to 9 league games, but Sarries should feel proud of their performance.
Kintbury Rangers Reserves 0 Faringdon Town 1 (away view)
Town were on the road for the first time since the 26th October, which saw a run of nine home games, when we travelled to Inkpen Road, the home of Kintbury Rangers Reserves. It was a bright fresh afternoon, however the wind blowing across the pitch was going to cause both sides issues, along with a heavy playing surface, which started to cut up in the warm up.
Town started brightly and what turned out to be the winning goal, was scored on the first real attack in the third minute. Adam Sly from left back found the run of Matty Pill down the left, Pill played the ball into Sam Saunders who steered the ball home left footed, to score his third goal in two Town starts. It then became an endless run of attacks on the Kintbury goal for the rest of the half and if not for poor finishing and excellent goalkeeping, Town should have been out of sight. In the 7th minute, Jack Green played in Ash Piotrowski who found himself one on one with the keeper, but his weak shot was easily saved. Onto the 15th minute and skipper Josh Forth played the ball to Sean Creeley down the right wing, who pulled the ball back across goal to Green who saw his effort blocked on the line. Creeley then had his first effort on 21 minutes, but the Rangers keeper pulled off a good save. The Rangers keeper then made a tremendous save to deny Green as he headed goalwards from a
Piotrowski flick on. Rangers had their first sight of goal on 27 minutes when a free kick from the right was played into the Town area, but the number 10 could only volley high and wide. Town went straight down the other end with Creeley breaking the offside trap and rounding the keeper, however the ball took an awkward bounce which took him away from goal and he could only find the side netting. As the half came to a close, Piotrowski went through one on one, again his shot was saved and from the rebound he gathered the ball to lay off to Sanders who’s shot cannoned off the crossbar to the keepers relief!
The second half repeated the first, with Town dominant, winning their individual battles but failing to put the game to bed. Creeley had two opportunities when breaking through the Rangers back line, the first he fired over and the second was well save by the Kintbury No. 1. Pill also had an opportunity to double the lead, but he took too long to get his shot away before being challenged and Saunders effort from the loose ball went wide of the far post. With Town not taking their chances, Kintbury were always in the match, but it was the 71st minute before they had a shot in the second period, but the effort failed to trouble Town keeper Connor Guinness-Smith. Shortly after and Creeley hit a 20 yard strike which was goal bound, until the Kintbury keeper made another superb save to put the ball out for a corner. From the restart, Pill had an inswinging effort, which the keeper had to tip over. Town were now playing out the final minutes of the match, before the final whistle was blown.
This was a convincing performance and victory, however the score line doesn’t show this and Town know that missed chances could have cost us on another day. It’s now 6 games unbeaten in all competitions and with no fixture next week, we are back at Tucker Park on Saturday 15th February with Wantage Town Development the visitors.
Faringdon Town : C Guinness-Smith, A Rudman, A Sly, J Forth(c), A Goodchild, L Davenport, M Pill, S Creeley, A Piotrowski, S Saunders, J Green (sub 55 W Bazen) Subs not used: J Tomes, M Morris, J Vaughan.
Letcombe 1 Highworth Town Reserves 0
What a difference a week makes! Having lost 4-0 away to Shrivenham Development on the previous Saturday, Letcombe bounced back to defeat previously unbeaten Highworth Town Reserves in this top of the table battle. Their previous attempt to play the match was abandoned a few weeks ago after only one minute because of what appeared to be a serious injury to the Highworth goalkeeper, with Letcombe already leading 1-0.
With Highworth having submitted a 7 day approach for Fraser Little, Letcombe left him out of their team and reverted to their more familiar 4-4-2 formation. The game was spoilt slightly by a very strong wind which prevented good passing football, and Letcombe close to play with it in their favour in the first half. They took the lead after 10 minutes when a deflected shot looped into the air, and although visiting keeper Simon Randlesome got his hand to the ball, Josh Fowler was on hand to score from close range. Letcombe increased their lead after 27 minutes when a wind assisted free kick eluded the Highworth defence, and Fowler controlled the ball before firing it low into the far bottom corner. Highworth pulled a goal back with the last kick of the half. Letcombe assistant referee Des Williams indicated to referee Matthew Harris that the ball had deflected off a defender, and skipper Liam Haines drove the ball into the net from six yards from the resulting corner..
Letcombe were forced to replace Josh Fowler at half time with a tight hamstring, and Boyan Thorp deputised. With the wind behind them, Highworth had most of the play territorially, but a superb defensive performance allowed Highworth no shots on goal in the entire half. Home keeper Danny Joyce came bravely off his line to block the clearest opening, and sustained a cut knee for which Tom Steele was cautioned. Letcombe were pleased to hear the final whistle, but they could reflect on an outstanding team performance in which every member played his part.
Captain Sam Mulvey gave another man-of-the match performance in midfield in which he lead by example, ably assisted by Chad Abrams. Congratulations also to the Letcombe back four of Jordan Smith, Mikey Annetts, James Wright and Christy Whelehan. They covered brilliantly in difficult windy conditions throughout the second half, and won every important challenge and header. Boyan Thorpe and Ali Thorp worked tirelessly in attack with limited service, whilst wide men Luke Mulvey and Joe Blackwell tracked well to prevent any threat from the visitord in wide positions.
This was a competitive game, as would be expected from a top of the table clash. Five Letcombe players were cautioned as were three from Highworth, with visitor Lewis Petrie receiving a second caution after the final whistle for a comment to the referee. Letcombe now have three consecutive away matches at Clanfield development, Newent Town reserves and Wantage Town development. These will not be easy games, but at least they have opened up a gap at the top of the table, although Highworth still have games in hand.