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3 October 2020

Emirates FA Cup Second Round Qualifying

Chichester City 2 Risborough Rangers 1 (away view)

Rangers bowed out of the FA Cup on Saturday, going down by two goals to one against Chichester City. Rangers were always going to be up against it after being drawn away at the Step Four club, and so it proved, with the home side having the greater of the possession for long periods of the match. Rangers had their chances however and were never out of contention against a side that reached the second round proper of this competition last season.

The opening minutes saw City have plenty of the ball and Rangers survived several half chances. The visitors first chance came in the 11th minute when Marcus Wyllie should have done better after getting on the end of Adam Morris' free kick. Two minutes later and Wyllie put Gary Rymer in and his shot was well blocked for a corner. Chichester failed to clear the kick, with the ball falling the Brian Haule who missed his shot. At the other end a superb tackle from the impressive Josh Urquhart saved Rangers. On 17 minutes Rangers should have taken the lead after Wyllie was fed by Morris. The winger picked out Sam Pekun with an easy finish but the normally lethal striker fluffed his chance, shooting wide. Chichester took control again and Urquart was again the saviour with two more timely tackles in quick succession. 25 minutes and Jack Brooker made a good save from from a stinging effort before diving bravely on the loose ball as City's forwards closed in. Soon after Brooker was in action again, tipping over a dangerous cross. From the corner the Rangers keeper again diverted the threat. The left winger for City was causing problems for the visitors and after beating two of his markers, Joel Read came to the rescue, blocking his shot. It was against the run of play that the minnows from Risborough took the lead. The experienced Davis Haule picked the ball up in the middle of the park and threaded a delightful pass inside the full back for Marcus Wyllie who raced clear before squaring the ball to Brian Haule to score with a cool finish. City almost levelled three minutes later when a high ball eluded Alex Sethi, with City's number nine pouncing to lob the advancing Brooker. To Rangers' relief the ball cleared the bar. Shortly after, a good turn and shot from the home side was deflected for a corner and the subsequent kick saw an acrobatic attempt safe in the hands of Brooker. With ten minutes of the half remaining Rangers had a brief spell with Davis Haule shooting over from distance, Morris shooting just wide as he ghosted in from the right and Pekun in again, only to be denied by a desperate tackle. Chichester broke from the resultant corner and it was Urquart who saved Rangers again with another great tackle. A series of corners from the home side were well defended by Brooker and his defence before Rangers cleared the danger to the sound of the half time whistle.

The home side began the second half with intent, forcing an early corner that ended with a poor shot well over the bar. They should have equalised a few minutes later when, once again they capitalised down the Rangers right, before shooting straight at Brooker. It was all Chichester as Rangers compounded things with some poor passing, the home side quick to pick up the loose ball. They came close again 10 minutes into the half when a well struck free kick crept past the foot of Brookers' post. Rangers saw a decent Ben Hammond free kick cleared by the home side before more pressure was applied at the visitors end, forcing some stout defending by the team in red. In the 65th minute City had a great chance to score when another cross from Rangers' right saw the City centre forward presented with a free header, only to put it wide of the gaping goal. Rangers could have doubled their lead when a rare break saw Rymer pick up the ball just inside the opponents half. He proceeded to beat several players, driving into the box before shooting low from the angle, forcing a good save from the home keeper. The ball span across the goal, crying out for a Rangers toe but it was not to be and two minutes later the home side were level. Rymer couldn't deal with the cross from the left and the tricky winger picked up the ball and drifted past two markers to shoot. Even then, City needed a huge stroke of luck as the shot took a massive deflection of Read to send the ball spinning into the opposite corner and past the helpless Brooker. It was a cruel blow for Rangers, who had defended courageously, though it had a touch of inevitability about it. Chichester continued to attack in waves as the visitors failed to get hold of the ball, and with their tails up, had another good chance five minutes later with a clever turn and strike from inside the box going just wide. The 75th minute saw City take the lead after some good work by the right winger. Coming in from the corner he beat two players before squaring to his colleague at the near post to score with a simple tap in. It was a deserved goal and reward for the dominance of the half. Chichester continued to enjoy most of the possession as Rangers visibly tired and they created several more shooting opportunities, forcing Brooker to make a couple of smart saves. In the final minutes Rangers made a couple of changes and applied some pressure of their own, but it was too little, too late,as the home side soaked up the pressure to ease themselves into the hat for the third qualifying round.

Rangers made Club history in reaching this stage of the competition and the players should be proud of their cup run. They put in a hardworking and brave performance against a team that plies their trade two leagues above Risborough's. Chichester are a good side and if they had a striker who could put away just a few of the chances they created they would certainly be challenging in their league. and for Rangers to lose by an odd goal is no disgrace. Truth is, Manager Mark Eaton and his players can be proud of their effort but have more important trophies to worry about, starting with Tuesday's home league game versus Thame Rangers (7.30 KO) and this coming Saturday's FA Vase fixture at Raunds.

Rangers Man of the Match: Josh Urquhart & Jack Brooker. A rare occurrence but it was so difficult to choose between them. Jack had a great game in goal on a busy afternoon and Josh made some match saving tackles and blocks, keeping his cool at all times.

uhlsport football kituhlsport Hellenic League

Premier Division

Easington Sports 3 Tuffley Rovers 1 (away view)
After the high of their first uhlsport Hellenic League win of the season, in midweek against Ardley United, Tuffley Rovers left Easington Sports on Saturday having recorded a fourth defeat in five league games and failing, not for the first time this season, to trouble the opposition goalkeeper. Both teams came into the game with one league win under their belt, having played three and four games, respectively, although Easington had fared rather better in the cup competitions and had just two competitive defeats to their name, in comparison to Rovers’ win being their solitary positive result from five competitive fixtures.

The game started with the hosts very much on the front foot and they took the lead within the opening ninety seconds, as Joe Eyre found space on the left, before fizzing an excellent ball across the Rovers goal, where it landed at the feet of Luke Swann, who held his nerve, taking a touch to control the ball, before smashing it beyond Luke Merchant and into the Rovers net. Rovers’ latest signing, Luke Soule, who had made his debut in the win against Ardley United, went close for the visitors, after combining well with Joe Shutt, but his effort went narrowly wide; then Jake Peters might have extended the Sports’ lead, but his shot lacked power and was comfortably blocked by Merchant. Merchant made another save, to deny Swann, before the first moment of controversy, as the match official decided that Lloyd Sabin’s driven cross had struck Macaulay Herbert’s hand and he awarded a penalty. Charlie Hill made no mistake with the opportunity afforded to him and stroked the penalty down the centre of the goal to make it 2-0, after just 26 minutes of play.

Within six minutes, the referee made an equally debatable decision, leading to protests from the Easington defence, as he adjudged Sabin to have handled the ball, as Shutt looked to take it past him, and awarded a penalty to Rovers. James Sunley, starting only his third start for Rovers’ Hellenic League team, produced an emphatic response, driving his penalty kick low into the right-hand corner of Joe White’s net, to reduce the arrears and record his first goal for the club at Premier Division level. The remaining action in the first period saw both sides toil, without creating clear chances, meaning the hosts went into the interval with a narrow lead.
As the second period commenced, the heavy rain stopped falling and there might have been hope that the sides could produce a second-half performance that would wrestle the points in one direction or another. What followed was a half where the visiting team probably had the greater share of possession, without once troubling White in the Easington Sports goal, whereas the hosts looked far more menacing on the break and might have extended their lead, before Henry Rose’s heavily deflected shot, on 77 minutes, flew beyond Merchant and into the Rovers net, in what proved to be the only moment of note in the second period.

Rovers now face two fixtures against high-flying opposition, as they visit Bishops Cleeve, before hosting Fairford Town, whilst Easington will host Windsor, before continuing their adventure in the Buildbase FA Vase, when they travel to Hounslow United next weekend.

Westfields 1 Brimscombe & Thrupp 1 
Westfields’ first home league game of the season resulted in a disappointing 1-1 draw against visiting Brimscombe & Thrupp. Westfields, having only picked up one win now in 4 games, sadly lacked that killer punch in front of goal and suffered disappointment when Brimscombe substitute Ben Snook scored an injury time equaliser to give the Gloucestershire side a share of the spoils. 

Westfields started slowly but could not get past the strong visiting defence and it was the visitors who created a couple of great early opportunities but they were thwarted by good defensive clearances by Kane Kahaki and Paul Hurrell. Westfields eventually broke the deadlock in the 41st minute when a neat movement resulted in Basit Umar scoring a fine goal when he created space for himself to coolly slot the ball home shortly before the interval. 

After the break the visitors came more into the game and it was Steve Sarkodie who made 2 full-length saves to keep out the visitors and very little was seen of the Westfields attack who were continually caught in the offside trap of the Brimscombe & Thrupp side. 

Westfields had lost Billy Murphy in the first half to injury and were struggling to put good constructive play together and it was always the case that the visitors looked likely to come back into the game with an equaliser. However, with the minutes ticking away, and solid defending by Sam Rawlings and Kane Kahaki looked to have secured the points, substitute Ben Snook came on and stole an equaliser for the visitors when he scrambled home the ball from close range from a left-wing cross. 

Westfields introduced substitute Richard Smith into the attack but the former Worcester Raiders striker was not given the opportunities to put Westfields back in front as the game ended in a 1-1 draw.  Westfields now play at home next Saturday to Virginia Water, kick-off 3pm at allpay.park. 

Division One West

Malvern Town 2 Tytherington Rocks 0

Malvern Town battled out a 2-0 victory over Tytherington Rocks. On a wet afternoon, an early foul on Matt Turner gave us a free-kick which Louis Loader delivered invitingly into the area only for the ball to flick off the head of Turner and go wide. A low ball into the area from James Brock was half-cleared and as the ball came back in, Keiron Blackburn was able to claim under pressure.

With nine minutes on the clock, a sweeping break ended with the ‘keeper clearing outside his area ahead of George Hayes. It was Hayes who then crossed for Harry Wickett in the next attack but he was thwarted at the far post. As Joe Bates and Loader combined, it was the latter who saw his effort blocked by the ‘keeper, then a foul on Turner gave us a free-kick in a promising position which was smacked against the woodwork by Loader. A low drive from James Febery was well watched by Jordan Schofield as it skidded across the surface. We were seeing the majority of the ball, however, a chance opened up for the visitors which Oni snatched at then Bailey Croome found space and went close.

There were chances at either end in quick succession around the half-hour mark as firstly Clark saw a strike well saved and then Croome skewed his effort wide from a good position as the visitors broke away.

The deadlock was broken on 35 minutes when some good pressure on the edge of the area saw the ball half-cleared as far as Bates who found the bottom corner of the net with a sweet strike. Some sloppy defending presented Oni with a chance but Blackburn was able to block. Right at the end of the half, Bates’ strike was deflected out for a corner which Wickett headed just over as we went in at the break one-goal to the good.

A low attempt from Bates was spilled by the ‘keeper on 49 minutes and as Wickett looked to seize upon the loose ball, it was cleared from in front of goal. Blackburn had to time his challenge right as Oni looked to break through, whilst at the other end, Schofield did well to claim a high ball under pressure from Turner. The visitors saw a corner flash inches wide as Nathan Croot looked to get a crucial touch, whilst at the other end, Terry Obeng blocked well to deny Bates as the resulting corner was well claimed by the ‘keeper.

With the rain continuing to lash down, it was making life difficult for both teams. Clark’s low cross just evaded Turner then a foul on Bates gave us a free-kick right on the edge of the area as the wall did its job to deny Loader. Some good build-up play ended with Bates’ final ball being cleared at the crucial moment. Then some good battling from Wickett ended with him going close. A glorious chance opened up for Oni as he broke the offside trap but he was unable to take advantage. As the clock ticked down, we finally had some breathing space when the ball was fired goalwards and it appeared to get a touch off Adam Sauntson on its way into the net to make it 2-0 and that’s how it stayed.

Malvern Town: Blackburn, Smith, Paddock (Platt 61), Wickett, J. Sauntson, Febery, Loader (Billingham 70), Hayes, Turner (A. Sauntson 79), Bates, Clark. Subs not used: Chowns Higgs, Bullock.

BOOKING(S): - None
GOAL(S): Bates, A. Sauntson


Division Two

Letcombe 4 Wallingford Town Reserves 0
Letcombe returned to winning ways after a disappointing cup defeat at Adderbury by dominating the second half after an indifferent first half performance.

The pitch at Letcombe was in excellent condition despite 24 hours of continuous rain. Letcombe recalled keeper Danny Joyce, who was unavailable at Adderbury, and Greg Nutley replaced Chad Abrams who was ill. An even first half saw few chances at either end, although Sam Mulvey hit the post with a long range free kick. Striker Darryl Wearn looked dangerous for the visitors, but was given few chances by a well organised Letcombe defence, with young full back Aaran Mudie improving with every game.

Letcombe took control in the second half with two goals in the first five minutes. A long corner eluded everybody, but Harry Green regained possession on the left, and his cross was volleyed home at the far post by Josh Fowler. Green increased the lead two minutes later with a shot into the top corner from 12 yards, and Nathan Haresnape crashed a long range effort against the bar as Letcombe began to dominate the game. Greg Nutley raced clear and Wallingford keeper Josh Gannon appeared to handle his shot outside the area, but Harry Green placed the loose ball into the net to save referee Gary Wroe having to make a difficult decision. Nathan Haresnape added a fourth mid-way through the half with a low shot to finish the match as a contest, and the hosts could have added more. Josh Fowler appeared to be brought down in the box, but Letcombe`s penalty claims were waved away, and Fowler raced away to round keeper Gannon, but then hit the post from a narrow angle.

A pleasing three points for Letcombe after a hesitant start, and they can now approach two difficult games against Wantage Town Development and Highworth Town Reserves with renewed confidence.

Moreton Rangers Development 0 Slimbridge Reserves 3 (away view)
slimbridge supporters moreton rangers 3 october 2020Slimbridge reserves made it two wins from two with another convincing win against a strong and determined Moreton Rangers development side.

On a very wet and miserable afternoon in the Cotswold's Slimbridge management couldn't of asked for a better performance form their young side. The young Swans controlled the game from the first whistle creating chance after chance and have the lions share of the possession.

The break through came on 10th minute when some slick passing down the left flank between full back Harry Purnell and Henry Dyson ended up with Dyson cutting inside and smashing the ball home to make it 1-0 to the Swans. Slimbridge kept Applying the pressure and got the their just rewards on 43 minutes when another fast flowing move ended up with the ball at the feet of Ethan Dunbar who was there to slot home to make it 2-0.

The second half started at a fast pace with Moreton having the better of the exchanges in the opening minutes and coming close to grabbing a goal back. After a scramble in the box Slimbridge managed to clear there lines to keep the score at 2-0. This kicked the young swans back into action who again took control of the game.

Slimbridge finally put the game to bed in the 78th min when Ethan Dunbar struck a sweet shot into the bottom corner after another long period of possession, Slimbridge also gave debuts to 3 of our under 18's players, Joshua Ridler, Oliver Vasey & Norman George. All 3 players did themselves proud. This was refreshing to see as on the final whistle Slimbridge had seven players on the filed all under the age of 18.

Manager Adam Coyle was delighted with the performance and said today the team showed they are more than capable of playing at a good level, With most of the lads playing there first season in men's football they have really stepped up and took hold of the mantle. This group of lads have only played together a few times but already showing they can and will progress as the season goes on. Assistant manager Shane Matthews said the lads stuck to the game plan and dominated the match from start to finish so we couldn't ask any more from them today.

Slimbridge are back on the road next week against Shipston Excelsior. Thanks to Martin Byrnes for running the line today and thanks to the travelling supporters who also came out in force to brave the elements.