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Hellenic League Match Report

uhlsport football kit4 September

Premier Division

Shrivenham 2 Tuffley Rovers 3 

Shrivenham boss Gareth Davies drafted in Supermarine forward Brad Gray head of Tuesday evenings clash against Tuffley Rovers, while Dan Reynolds continued his recovery from injury with a call up to the bench having featured for the Development side at the weekend in their defeat at Highworth, but a sloppy first half ultimately cost them the points as they fell to a 3-2 home defeat against their visitors. 

A quick start from Tuffley saw August Player of the Month Dan Lawrence, called in to action early doors, however with their sustained assault on the Shrivvy backline unwavering, it took just 6-minutes until the opener was registered.  Sloppy defending meant that Ross Langworthy found his fierce effort found the back of the net – getting the visitors off to a perfect start. 

Disappointingly, and rather uncharacteristically for the home side, their first real effort on target took until 15-minutes to materialise when they won a corner. A fantastic floated in ball was met by the head of Gray, but he saw his effort cleared off the line.  6-minutes later however, Shrivenham were back on level terms. Luke Cordery produced a brilliant cross which was met by the head of top-scorer Jack Allan, who converted the ball home with a beautiful effort. 

The game continued to flow from end-to-end and Shrivvy grew in confidence and with chances for both sides, Tom Ballard had a shot well saved but it was more poor defending that gave Tuffley the advantage when Brett James was allowed to tap home on 33-minutes to restore his sides lead and when Langworthy was tripped inside the box on 39-minutes, he dusted himself down to slot home the resulting spot kick. 

Shrivenham made the break with lots to do in the second half, but the visitors – who were previously without a league win, showed little sign of giving up and were narrowly denied a fourth when a free-kick span off the post with 55-minutes on the clock. Ollie Rejek came on for Liam Edmondson (70 minutes) as Davies opted for a more attacking formation and Ballard made way for Josh Morse (74 minutes) and the side managed to grab one back with ten minutes remaining when Rejek opened his Shrivenham account, poking home from a Nick Stanley header and the home side almost grabbed an equaliser two minutes later, but after being put clean through, Antonio Gerrish saw his effort go wide and moments later Gray also saw an effort fly wide of the mark and a much improved second half came to a close with a draw agonisingly evading the players efforts. 

Shrivenham: Dan Lawrence, Macauley Dodson, Matt Horsell, Sam Ockwell ©, Liam Edmondson (Ollie Rejek 1), Nick Stanley, Antonio Gerrish, Luke Cordery, Jack Allan 1, Brad Gray & Tom Ballard (Josh Morse). Sub: Dan Reynolds & Mike Alexander (GK). 

Tuffley Rovers: Alex Avenell, Issac Lawrence, Ben Prictor, Tyreece Briscoe, Macauley Herbert ©, Mark Pritchett, Dom Kent, Paul Carter, Brett James 1, Ross Langworthy 2 (1p) & Warren Mann. Sub (TBC): Niall Priday, Harri John, Dec Earwaker & Luke Merchant.

Shrivenham 2 Tuffley Rovers 3 (away view)

At the fifth time of asking, Tuffley Rovers recorded their first league victory of the 2019/20 playing season, as a much changed line-up from the horror show at Shortwood United three days earlier triumphed over Shrivenham in an absorbing encounter at Barrington Park, on Tuesday.

Rovers’ boss, Mark Pritchett, made a raft of changes following the abysmal showing in the previous outing and there were call-ups for Ben Prictor, Warren Mann, Tyreece Briscoe and Paul Carter, as well as a debut for Cheltenham Town youngster, Isaac Lawrence, who had signed on a long-term work experience arrangement. The hosts’ manager, Gareth Davies also made changes, following a narrow FA Vase win against Milton United four days earlier, drafting in Swindon Supermarine striker Brad Gray amongst those added to the side.

A quick start from Rovers set the tone for the first period and Shrivenham were caught out as early as the sixth minute, when Briscoe won possession before setting Ross Langworthy away and he showed excellent composure before stroking the ball home past the hosts’ keeper Dan Lawrence. The debutant, Lawrence, had started the game well and he reacted well to clear the ball off the line, after Gray headed beyond Alex Avenell’s dive, from a well delivered set-piece after 15 minutes. That was to prove a moment of temporary respite for Pritchett’s men, though. When they launched another attack, 28 minutes in, the move broke down and when Luke Cordery whipped over a beautiful cross which Jack Allan headed home from close range.

From the opening moments both sides had shown positive intent, and whilst Shrivenham had achieved a spell of concerted pressure in the period up to the equaliser, it seemed to shake Rovers into life. First, Langworthy found himself one-on-one with his marker, before turning him and firing beyond Lawrence, only for the ball to cannon away off the post; then Dom Kent shot narrowly over the Shrivenham bar, after the ball had only been half-cleared. Tom Ballard then drew a terrific save from Avenell in the Rovers goal, before a five minute spell that turned the game in the visiting side’s favour. First, Briscoe launched another move that set Langworthy away and when Lawrence half-stopped his effort on goal, Brett James had the simplest task of the evening, poking the ball into the empty net, from two yards out, to hand Rovers the lead.

Within two minutes of the restart, it was 3-1. Langworthy was instrumental again, as he pulled down a magnificent pass from Carter, before skipping between two defenders, who only combined to take him down inside the area, with the match official awarding a penalty without a moment of hesitation. It was Langworthy himself who got up to take the spot-kick and he sent Lawrence the wrong way to make it 3-1 at the interval.

Early in the second period Rovers might have extended the lead, on more than one occasion, but James hit the post, after heading Carter’s free-kick goalwards, then Langworthy headed Briscoe’s cross wide from 7 yards out. Kent, who was energetic and positive in midfield, had another chance, as his perseverance took him within site of the Shrivenham goal, so that he set James up for another shooting opportunity, only for the shot to drift away to safety. With the game going in their favour, Rovers took the opportunity to hand a debut to another seventeen-year-old, Niall Priday, whilst Shrivenham looked to claw their way back into the game by introducing Josh Morse and Ollie Rejek.

The latter sub then found space in the area, latching onto Nick Stanley’s header and bundling the ball home from close range, to make it 2-1 on 80 minutes, and setting up a frenetic closing period as a consequence. For once, luck was on Rovers’ side and although the odds were on an equaliser for the hosts, Gray and Antonio Gerrish both wasted good chances to level the scores, before Avenell produced a terrific clearing punch in the dying moments of the game. When the referee’s whistle finally sounded the end of the game, there were cheers from both the travelling support and the Rovers squad, as they celebrated a first three points for the season, that took them to 12th place in the Hellenic League table.

Royal Wootton Bassett 1 Westfields 6 (away view)

Westfields welcomed back Craig Jones and Matt Reeve to their line-up away at Royal Wootton Bassett last night and the changes made by manager Phil Glover made all the difference as the inspirational midfield pair produced tremendous performances to enable Westfields to take all their chances and come home with the 3 valuable points.

Westfields played slick quick football on a beautifully prepared Wootton Bassett pitch that suited Westfields’ attacking style and it only took Aidan Thomas a short while to put Westfields ahead when he got on the end of a Craig Jones pass to open the scoring.

Midway through the half Richard Greaves was bundled over in the penalty area but he got up and took the penalty to put Westfields 2-0 ahead from the spot.

Wootton Bassett briefly came back into the game and just before the break Harvey Rivers was forced to make an excellent save with his legs to prevent the home side pulling a goal back just before the interval.

After the break Thomas was again on the spot to put Westfields 3-0 ahead before Royal Wootton Bassett pulled a goal back through Alfie Presley to put the score at 3-1.

However, within 60 seconds Westfields were back in front at 4-1 when Richard Greaves got on the end of an Aidan Thomas cross and then Craig Jones scored a 5th with a blistering shot from just inside the penalty area before substitute Keanu Cooper scored a spectacular 6th goal after being put through with a brilliant ball from Richard Greaves.

Westfields really took their chances and hoisted themselves up into 4th position where on Saturday they meet 5th in the table Ardley at home at allpay.park, kick-off 3pm.

Next Tuesday Westfields face local rivals Lydney Town in the Hellenic League Floodlit Cup, kick-off 7.45pm, but they face a blank date on Saturday 14th September as they are knocked out of the FA Cup and it’s FA Cup day.

Westfields will unveil their new C J Insurance sponsored home kit on Saturday in their match v Ardley when manager Phil Glover is expected to have a full squad to pick from apart from the injured Ollie Butler who is suffering a back injury.

Division One East

AFC Aldermaston 1 Woodley United 1 (away view)

Woodley started September with a hard earned point at Aldermaston. Giving a debut to Gareth Ainsworth, United started brightly with Ainsworth involved from the off. After being fouled just outside the box, the Woodley man fired the following free kick into the wall and also saw the follow up blocked. 

The hosts’ first chance came courtesy of two ex-United players combining. Gary Smith’s long raking ball found Lemar Maycock on the left of the box; however the pacey winger couldn’t direct a difficult opportunity on target. A further Aldermaston shot came courtesy of Jordan Cox. This time it was goal bound, with Woodley keeper Adam Thomson saving in the right corner. 

Midway through the half saw United on top, with several chances forged. The first saw winger Ben Anderson find full back Bailey Hill on the left. The latter’s excellent back post cross picked out Ainsworth who missed to the right.  Anderson was involved in the next attack and had a great chance to give Woodley the lead. A Sam Guze cut back found the wide man eight yards out; unfortunately, Anderson miss-kicked when well placed. 

Just past the half hour the visitors deservedly went ahead. After Sam Wood was clattered in midfield, the ref played advantage allowing the passage of play to continue. Picking up possession on the right, Ainsworth evaded a challenge, advanced into the box and before being wiped out by the keeper he picked out Anderson who tapped home from close range. The final chance of a hotly contested half saw Karl Simms fire a free kick just wide of Thomson’s right post. 

The second period began with a superb Thomson save. Getting a strong hand on a low Cox effort, the United keeper preserved Woodley’s lead. After a long range Ainsworth shot was saved, United made a change when Wood made way for Jon Malone. 

Aldermaston were better in the second half. Malone did well to block another Cox shot, Thomson gathered an effort from distance at the second attempt, whilst substitute Jamel Forde-Small just missed to the right. With eighteen minutes to go Woodley made a second change when Teddy Thomas came on for Anderson. 

United were looking to hit the home side on the counter. A Guze pass that would have seen Thomas in on goal was cut out by a decent interception by Jamie Porter. A final Woodley substitution was made on eighty minutes when Toby Briggs was replaced by Harry Swabey. 

Aldermaston equalised with nine minutes to go when Forde-Small fired a shot into the left corner from thirty yards. This was to be their last sight of goal as United ended the match well. A Thomas shot from the left was blocked before Sean Saxty showed a good pair of hands to hold an Ainsworth free kick heading for the right corner. With five minutes left Jerome Coultress was sin binned for dissent despite protests from the Aldermaston while the final chance of a feisty game ended with a Guze shot from twenty yards being deflected narrowly wide. 

Marlow United 1 Risborough Rangers 1

Marlow staged a second half come back to dent Risborough's hundred percent record in a exciting game that could have gone either way. With a raucous crowd in excess of 150 creating a cup tie atmosphere both teams played the game with determination, pace and no little skill, the hosts determined to be the first team to lower Rangers colours this season: The fact that their team including United’s Captain from last season Alex Sethi in their ranks adding some extra spice.

The visitors shaded the early proceedings without unduly disturbing a solid Marlow defence who defended an early Rangers corner and then seeing Felix Prudden almost collect a long ball into the Risborough area when unmarked. The pace was fast and furious with a number of half chances arriving at both ends, Rangers gaining a further corner resulting in a shot going wide whilst at the other end a Prudden shot resulted in loud appeals for hand ball in the area. United looked the more lively in attack , breaking quickly with Bull, Prudden, Hardie and Hurst prominent as they looked to open the scoring. Neither side had really threatened to open the scoring despite creating chances that is until United’s best moment arrived on 39 minutes with a free kick from Thomas finding Hardie, his cross being met by centre half Willment who’s header skimmed the bar. Seemingly stung by the close shave the visitors snatched the lead as following a corner from the Marlow right the ball wasn’t cleared and in the ensuing scramble a clearance off the line hit Davis Haule with the ball ricocheting over the goal line. The half ended with Rangers a goal to the good, their winning record looking like it may continue.

Marlow commenced the second period in determined mood pressing back their opponents, Mckie, Willment and both full backs Gray and Woodward pushing up the pitch. Hardie and Prudden were winning their midfield duels at this early stage of the half, the visitors struggling to break out of their half. The pressure eventually told as leading scorer Chris Hurst ran onto a Hardie through ball only to be upended in the area, the same player dusting himself off before planting the spot kick past keeper Brooker, this on 56 minutes. Rangers though were not unbeaten without reason and they responded with a number of promising attacks, Pekun firing over from a corner and Brian Haule pleading with the ref for a penalty after he was tackled just yards from goal. The game was very open now as both teams strove for the winner , Hurst seeing two efforts fail to test the keeper with United’s Woodward bringing down Pekun as the forward broke through the United back line, a yellow card his punishment. Marlow replaced both Harman and Prudden with Sutherland and Lucas as they looked to freshen up the midfield. With time running down a Rangers free kick caught out keeper Alex Partridge as he failed to cut out the ball, Woodward saving his keepers blushes with a judicious clearance of the loose ball.

On 87 minutes the hosts thought they had snatched a victory after a foul on Bull which was spotted by the assistant referee. The kick from Thomas meet Woodwards head the ball falling to Willmet twenty five yards from goal. The defender blasted the ball goal ward only for Brooker to fling himself to his left a palm the ball away. Risborough returned the favour with the game now in stoppage time with a free kick across the United area finding the unmarked Sam Pekun, his shot fizzing past the outside of the post much to the relief of the Marlow defence. A draw seemed to be a fair result on the night in a game that was a credit to both teams and the league. Both look to have the capability to in the mix come the end of the season, Marlow already rueing those two poor opening results. They travel to Thame this Saturday to take on Thame Rangers in what will be another tough encounter KO 3pm.

Marlow United: A Partridge, M Woodward, J Gray, A Mckie, T Willment, J Hardie, F Prudden, Q Thomas, C Hurst, C Bull, A Harman Subs. R Sutherland, A Lucas, C Shingleston