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2 September 2020

Emirates FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round

Clanfield 85 0 Long Crendon 1 (away view)

Long Crendon marked their first ever appearance in the Emirates FA Cup with a hard fought 1-0 win at Clanfield 85, after an all action game with both sides leaving everything on the pitch. 

Manager Ryan Davis was dealt a double blow before kick off with both Archie Pettingell and Alex Hall failing to recover from injuries suffered in the last pre-season friendly against Old Bradwell Utd. However, more importantly, on the pitch, Crendon came out of the blocks quickly and took the lead as early as the seventh minute. Oli Lethbridge was played through on goal but goalkeeper Luke Haley was out quickly to dive at his feet; however he could only palm the ball in the direction of James Hawkes, who produced an instinctive curled finish with the outside of the boot and in the process scored Crendon's first ever goal in the FA Cup. 

Both sides were playing at an extremely high tempo and the work rate of both sides could not be faulted but very few players were able to get their foot on the ball. Clanfield were invariably looking to the left wing and the pace of Zak Oliver but after one searing early run, he was well marshalled by the impressive Ben Sykes, ably assisted by the tracking back of Christian Warwick. For Crendon, Oli Lethbridge was a constant nuisance and was on the receiving end of a number of fouls. He was played in again in similar circumstances to the opening goal but chose to cut back inside rather than shoot and the chance was gone. Clanfield then finished the half strongly as a couple of set pieces caused scares in the Crendon box and Ben Taunton was twice forced into saves from the angle that he was equal to. 

Half-time: 0-1 

As you would expect, the second half was just as evenly contested, with Clanfield looking to push forward for the equaliser, while Crendon were a threat with their pace on the break. Crendon's back four were looking in impressive form with Tom Lethbridge and Nathan Brownsword mopping up whenever Clanfield looked to go in behind. In truth the only time Crendon looked particularly vulnerable was from corners and when they failed to clear one, Taunton was forced into a save low to his left. The home side were beginning to get frustrated and started to fire shots in from speculative range, which in truth never threatened the target. Harry Pettingell came on to replace goalscorer Hawkes, while Eddie Richardson came on for his Crendon debut replacing Scott Chappell. In the last quarter of the game, as Clanfield gambled, Crendon had opportunities to kill the game. First Oli Lethbridge was denied again by a clearance off the line, while James Shrimpton so nearly got reward for a performance of non stop energy when he headed inches over. With these chances going begging, Crendon were walking a tightrope as Clanfield launched the ball forward. Tom Folley was sent on for Oli Lethbridge as Crendon looked to shore things up but it was the boys in green who should have doubled their lead when the ever dangerous Warwick won the ball in his own half and powered clear to race one on one with the Clanfield keeper but he stabbed wide with the goal at his mercy. That meant Crendon had to endure one more nerve shredding minute but they saw it out for an historic first ever FA Cup victory and a meeting with Aylesbury United in the Preliminary round. 

Easington Sports 2 Tring Athletic  0

Easington Sports progress to the next round with a comprehensive win over Tring Athletic.  Sports looked a threat from the start and Piers Walton and Josh Bowden caused trouble with their pace which was a theme for the evening. Sports took the lead on 17 mins when a free kick was played down the side of a wall for Bowden to score with his left foot into the far corner. 

Tring then enjoyed some possession but never really threatened. Walton capped off an excellent performance when just before half time a ball over the top caught out the defence for Walton to volley into the top right corner. 

In the second half it was more of the same. Tring enjoyed plenty of possession but Joe White was never tested, Sports always looked like they could score more on the break. Northover put in a stunning display and was denied late on when his shot was blocked on the line. 

Overall an excellent performance and clean sheet.  We move on to next round.

Risborough Rangers 4 Longlevens AFC 1 

Marcus Wyllie was the star of the show in this brilliant FA Cup win for Rangers, scoring a hat-trick and setting up another for the impressive Adam Morris in this 4-1 home win at the extra preliminary stage. The win sets up a mouth-watering game in the next round when old Buckinghamshire rivals, Winslow United, visit the BEP Stadium on Saturday 12th September.  

Longlevens, who play in the division above Rangers, traveled from Gloucester as favourites, having had a good last season in the Hellenic Premier Division, before Coronavirus brought an end to proceedings. Rangers were in no mood to be benevolent though as Wyllie showed his intent in the third minute, blazing over from 12 yards with the goal gaping. Longlevens came back with Rangers keeper Jack Brooker dealing comfortably with a low shot. With a quarter of an hour played a Longlevens corner was worked to the edge of the box with the subsequent shot well blocked by Josh Urquart. At the other end some good work from Morris and Bertie Squire-Adams led to Wyllie's shot being deflected for a corner. The corner was fed to Ben Hammond, whose rasping drive fizzed past the far post. Soon after, a Rangers corner was headed just wide by 'skipper' Joel Read. 25 minutes in and it was Longlevens turn as Brooker was forced to make a good save low to his right. Soon after he easily dealt with a free kick from 20 yards. It was end to end stuff now as Rangers hit back, with some great defending by the visitors as Brian Haule threatened from Hammond's free kick. A minute later and Sam Pekun, set up by Wyllie, was twice denied by some desperate blocks before Squire-Adams shot wide. The visitors countered and Brooker did well to come off his line saving at his opponents feet . Moments later he parried a fierce strike and breathed a sigh of relief as the follow up flew just wide of his upright. Rangers took the lead in the 36th minute following some good hold up play from Haule to set up Morris. His clever pass picked out Wyllie, who ghosted past his marker to unleash a great shot into the far corner to put Rangers ahead. Seven minutes later and the same player scored the goal of the game after a good move down Rangers' left. The ball was fed into Wyllie on the edge of the Longlevens area. The Rangers winger turned and flicked the ball over the head of a hapless defender before volleying home to cheers from most of the 180 crowd. Rangers almost got a third when Morris lashed a shot just over the bar from some 30 yards as half time approached. 

Rangers began the second period in a lively mood and the industrious Gary Rymer's cross was just tipped off the head of Haule by the stretching keeper. Shortly after, a mix up in the Rangers back line almost gifted a chance to the visitors with Brooker out of position. Fortunately the long range effort bounced harmlessly wide of the empty goal. The visitors reduced the deficit in the 61st minute when a throw in eventually found Lonlevens' Tommy Callinan who swiftly shifted the ball onto his right foot and curled a great shot into the far bottom corner. With Rangers rattled the visitors had a good spell of possession, but with the home sides back four in determined mood, little in the way of chances. Having weathered the set back Rangers put the game beyond Longlevens in the 73rd minute after Justin Gordon's deep cross was tipped away by the visiting keeper only as far as Wyllie who cut the ball back to the oncoming Morris to rifle home with a fine strike. Longlevens looked to have the wind knocked out of them by this, as the home side took control. Manager, Mark Eaton introduced his substitutes to help see the game out with Davis Haule, Asher Yearwood and Lawrence Clark taking the field. The final minutes belonged to Rangers with Brian Haule's shot easy for the keeper and later the same player heading just wide . The icing on the cake came with Wyllie completing his hat-trick with two minutes remaining. A good move by Rangers saw Squire-Adams pick out Yearwood. His driving run through the middle pulled defenders too him, before he slipped the ball to the unmarked Wyllie to smash home high into the net. It was a worthy goal to round off a superb personal performance and an excellent team one. 

Rangers Man of the Match: Marcus Wyllie. Two early dribbles and shots marked him out as the night's potential match-winner, and so it proved. Three super finishes and a great assist too! 


Tuffley Rovers 2 Harefield United 5
For the third season in a row Rovers had received a home tie to get their competitive cup season up and running; and for the third season in a row they would host opponents from the Premier Division of the Spartan South Midlands League whose 2019-20 season had, like so many others, been abandoned because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Tuffley had faced Colney Heath at Glevum Park in 2018, losing 4-1, then North Greenford United in 2019, with the club from west London prevailing 2-1 in a replay after a 1-1 draw in Gloucestershire. Now Rovers would entertain Greenford’s near-neighbours, Harefield United, a club that had been founded way back in 1868. At the time the 2019-20 season was suspended, Harefield were in 15th position with 31 points from 27 matches and comfortably clear of being dragged into any relegation battle in their first season in the Premier Division since being promoted as champions of Division One in 2019.
Even though the 2020-21 Hellenic League season was yet to start, many cup-ties are a welcome change from playing the same opponents home and away in league games year after year. The downside is that it is often hard to find out much about your opponents until the day of the match dawns although that does of course apply in reverse to the other team as well.
Rovers’ hopes of making progress in the most famous of cup competitions for clubs ended with a chastening defeat by their visitors. The match was effectively over by the mid-point of the first half, by which time the visitors had taken a two-goal lead which they never looked like relinquishing, even though Rovers fought back with spirit in the second period.
The visitors knew that this tie would have to be settled at the first time of asking and they played in such a positive manner that it was clear they had absolutely no intention of being satisfied with a penalty shoot-out after a drawn ninety minutes. That they won this match so convincingly was mainly due to how hard their front two worked with Lenny Farhall complementing the vastly-experienced Richard Pacquette, a man who can boast an FA Cup goal against Liverpool at Anfield on his c.v.!
Home goalkeeper Luke Merchant came charging off his line to collect the ball with barely a minute gone and then watched as a header from a free-kick cleared his crossbar a couple of minutes later.
The hosts had chances of their own, and both Jack Beardsell and Miles Ferguson might have done better but both missed the target when well placed.
Rovers’ inexperienced defence were being tested by the visiting forwards and although another cross from the right caused some panic in the Harefield penalty-area, it wasn’t a surprise when the Spartan South Midland side took the lead in the 18th minute. Delightful skill on the halfway line by Farhall saw him move into the Rovers’ area and, when his shot was parried by Merchant, Pacquette was waiting to drive the ball into the net. Shortly before this opening goal, home defender Toby Lawrence had received a yellow card for deliberately handling the ball but fortunately for him the resulting free-kick came to nothing.
It would quickly get worse for the hosts. Harefield ‘keeper Jacob Ballheimer made enormous ground with his clearances all evening and one such clearance was flicked on by Pacquette’s head to leave Farhall with only Merchant to beat; and a delightful chip saw United double their lead.
Joe Shutt dragged a shot wide as Rovers tried to get back into the game but their defence seemed constantly under pressure due to the speed and variety of Harefield attacks and United scored again when defender Harry McCorkell fired in a ferocious shot from thirty yards which flew past Merchant like a guided missile.
Just before the whistle blew to signal the end of the first half the yellow card count was equalised with Thomas Payne cautioned for tripping Joe Shutt.
The Rovers players were out early for the second period and it led to their most effective period of the match. Jack Beardsell had a shot which went wide of Ballheimer’s goal and then the same player sliced another shot across the six-yard box with nobody there to capitalise on the chance. Lawrence stretched to meet a cross from the left but Ballheimer made a smart save. Then, as the pressure mounted, a goal seemed likely as well as deserved and it came when Warren Mann thrashed a fierce left-footed shot from twenty yards which flew into the visitors’ net.
Harefield refused to see this as anything other than a consolation for the hosts and within minutes they had restored their three-goal advantage when the dangerous Pacquette drove the ball through Merchant from near the penalty-spot.
Both teams made substitutions as the match moved into its final quarter and it wasn’t long before Pacquette sealed his hat-trick by steering a cross from the right into the unguarded bottom corner of the Tuffley net. A dramatic goaline clearance prevented a sixth Harefield goal but it was Tuffley who had the last word when Henry Birkett reduced the arrears with a strike which was very similar to Pacquette’s third.
Five-two was perhaps slightly harsh on Rovers, who played pretty well in the second half but most of the damage had already been done in the first. Harefield deservedly went through to meet Leighton Town in the next round and they will fancy their chances of progressing if they show as much creativity in attack as they did at Glevum Park in front of an excellent attendance of nearly 150 spectators who saw a fiercely-contested and occasionally exciting cup-tie which definitely gave value for money.
report courtesy Christopher Wood

Westfields 2  Brocton 0 

Westfields got a dream start in the FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round tie at allpay.park last night when they had a comfortable 2-0 victory over visiting Brocton. 

The Midland Alliance side visited allpay.park but soon found themselves in trouble being 2-0 down within the first ten minutes.  Westfields could not have dreamt of a better start when after only four minutes Keanu Cooper fired them ahead with a great finish from 8yds when he seized on a half chance to blast Westfields in front.  Six minutes later Cooper was on the spot again when he powerfully headed home a Richard Greaves cross to give Westfields a 2-0 start with only ten minutes on the clock. 

It looked as though Westfields were going to go further ahead as Dan Stoneman and Basit Umar were both prominent in early Westfields attacks. At the other end Brocton came more into the game and a brilliant goal-line clearance by Paul Hurrell prevented the visitors from pulling a goal back. Just before the break Sarkodie when under pressure dropped a high cross and as the ball bobbled around again Hurrell made a saving tackle to ease the pressure. 

After the break Westfields pressed for a third goal to clinch the game and were unlucky when a piledriver from Billy Murphy flew into the net but a linesman’s flag adjudged that another Westfields player was off-side. Brocton then came back into the game and had an opportunity when they shot high over the bar and then another chance at the far post saw a header go safely into the arms of Steve Sarkodie. 

Westfields played some controlled soccer with skipper Sam Rawlings outstanding at the heart of the defence as Westfields now go through to the Preliminary Round of the FA Cup with a home tie against Whitchurch Alport on Saturday 12th September at allpay.park, kick-off 3pm. This Saturday Westfields play another pre-season friendly when they host visitors Wellington at allpay.park, kick-off 3pm.