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Hellenic League Match Report

7 March 2020

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Premier Division

Binfield 1 Lydney Town 0 (Indepenent report by Arthur Strand)

Lydney Town from Gloucestershire visited Binfield for the Hellenic League Premier Division fixture which was possible to play at Stubbs Lane because Swan Road pitch was not fit for play and the League and both clubs decided that they should switch fixtures to be played this one at Binfield. Binfield were second in the table before kick-off and, although table-toppers Westfields drew the weekend’s fixture, Binfield remain in second spot with Lydney in twelfth place. The game started with both teams probing defences but very soon after kick off Jack Spark was lying down on the turf and his nose was bleeding so he went off for treatment. He was substituted not much later because it was still troubling him on the field of play. A drop ball got the game going again and Kennie Chamberlain made himself useful although Lydney were awarded a free kick, taken by Jordi Sheen. Spark was then allowed to return after the blood was stemmed. Richard Thomas received the ball and sent a clearance kick up-field. Josh Howell latched on to the ball and aimed the ball towards Sean Moore and when the ball returned to Moles Adam Cornell nodded in from reasonably close range, out of reach of Thomas. With an early goal about 10 minutes in, Binfield had over an hour to double the lead at least or face the prospect of an equaliser by Lydney. It became tougher later but Declan Morley-Lyne took a long range shot which was dealt with by Chris Grace. Unfortunately, at this stage, Jack Spark was replaced by Logan Bowkett, his injury seemingly too much to continue. Binfield’s approach work was unrewarded at the next effort and, after Thomas took a goal kick, the ball arrived close enough for a shot by Lydney but the deflection gave Lydney a corner which Chris Grace palmed away from goal. Morley-Lyne was able to pass the ball to Arran Goulty and the ensuing cross ball went out of play. Thomson-Wheeler supplied Josh Howell with the ball only for Lydney to regain possession but were deemed to be offside. Tom Melledew sent in along aerial ball but the header that followed went direct to Thomas, goal-keeper. A drop ball later restarted the game and Lydney mounted a fresh attack and as the ball entered the Moles’ penalty area, Grace got to the ball first and shielded it from the forward who was trying to retrieve the ball but Grace then shepherded the ball out for a goal kick. A free kick to Lydney was taken by Tom Handley but the Moles won back the ball and went forwards although Thomson-Wheeler sent the ball over the Lydney crossbar. As time was passing, Lydney woke up a bit more and took three free kicks in a row which pushed Binfield back into the penalty area and, after a bit of scrappy defending, managed to clear the ball. Lydney pushed forward again and Tom Handley scuffed a grubber just wide of the near post but Grace had it covered.

Half-time brought a one goal advantage to the hosts but Lydney players were not to be humiliated and no more goals were scored in the game. Sean Moore went on a good run forwards but Moles conceded a free kick taken by Tom Handley. Ruben Fahiya replaced Jacob English as Lydney made a substitution then Arran Goulty missed Binfield’s near post. Binfield then replaced Josh Howell with Josh Helmore. Binfield then tried a right wing approach but the whistle blew and Lydney took a free kick. Sean McCormack come on as Adam Cornell was relieved of duty and a throw in produced a corner kick and later, Keelan Hamblett sent the ball into the central area but Chris Grace made a safe catch. Lydney had tightened up a bit more although much of the play was in midfield and the ball had not reached the penalty area too often for both sides. After a positive attack by the visitors, Binfield reached the halfway line again and Sean Moore went out wide on the left flank but progress was halted by the Lydney defenders. At the halfway line, Kennie Chamberlain made an excellent tackle then moments later made a good block as Lydney battled for a late equaliser but the rebound returned the ball to Lydney and the shot hit the post and the Moles were preoccupied solely in defence. Kennie Chamberlain made way for Jemel Johnson who, with fresh legs, went on a few sprints forwards but Lydney came back and Chris Grace made some crucial saves in quick succession. Binfield took 3 points and were grateful to get in a game that could have been stockpiled until after the end of normal season. The Moles are still second and Lydney are in 12th place in the Premier Division.

Binfield: DGrace.[GK], Thomson-Wheeler, Legg, Melladew, Gavin, Kamara, Howell, Chamberlain, Cornell, Short, Moore [c].
Substitutes: Johnson, Helmore, McCormack, - Veal, Shaw. Not used.

Westfields 1 Flackwell Heath 1

Westfields returned to Allpay.Park after 5 weeks following yet another flood at the ground. Fantastic commitment from both supporters & the committee who worked tirelessly to get this game on left many of them disappointed with Fields being held to a 1-1 draw.

Because of the recent flooding, although playable the pitch was heavy & did to some degree hamper the Westfields players as they were unable to play with the speed that has been seen for most of the season. However in the early minutes of the game Fields had numerous opportunities to have established a lead, Kane Kahaki, King Baidoo & Billy Murphy all went close with young Baidoo hitting both the post & crossbar.

Flackwell Heath had certainly not arrived at Allpay.Park with any intention of lying down & indeed they took the lead in the 28th minute with a superb move down the left wing & the cross found Flackwell striker Ashley Howell who made no mistake. With the game going from end to end Westfields were disallowed what looked like a penalty in the 36th minute but 3 minutes later Richard Greaves scored with a great finish to level the score at 1-1.

Richard’s goal was his 26th this season & the 24th in the league & moved him alongside Westfields’ other main striker Aiden Thomas also on 24 goals & the two of them are joint 5th in the league table, both just 6 goals behind the top man.

The second half was not truly anything great to write home about, in truth some rather strange decisions by referee Mr Overthrow led to a couple of bookings, Billy Murphy being given 10 minutes in the sin bin. The game ended 1-1 which was a fair result. Despite the Westfields disappointment of not securing a win the fact remains that we are still unbeaten in the league, only ourselves along with Stowmarket Town from step 5 and above have achieved that.

Division One East

Risborough Rangers 0  Holyport  0 

The weather finally broke and football returned to the BEP Stadium with top of the table Risborough Rangers entertaining second placed Holyport. With Rangers scoring 66 goals in 21 games and Holyport on 71 in 22 it looked like being an entertaining game. With both sides also boasting three players each in the top ten goal-scorers in the division, the crowd of 145 could've been forgiven for expecting some spectacular goals too. So no surprise then that it ended nil-nil! In a game that the home side dominated possession wise, there were few great chances, the best of which came Rangers' way. Both defences played strongly with Holyport's the busiest, but neither keeper was properly tested. 

Five minutes in and Davis Haule had two shots blocked from close range, a shout for hand ball on the second to no avail. Shortly after a mix up in the Holyport defence almost led to an own goal as Kyle Faulkner threatened. The same player then shot across the face of goal after creating space to shoot. 18 minutes in and the first threat from Holyport saw a timely tackle by Ben Hammond on Drifill avert the danger. A minute later and Josh Urquhart headed straight at the keeper from Hammond's free kick. Sam Pekun began to torment the Holyport left back (a pattern that continued for much of the afternoon). His tricky run and cross was met by the impressive Gary Rymer whose header was blocked. Faulkner followed up only to see his chance blocked too. Rangers continued to press with Bertie Squire-Adams shooting over from the edge of the box. Rymer had another effort blocked by some excellent defending after more good work by Pekun. With half hour gone Holyport's first shot on target was easily gathered at his near post by Brooker. With two minutes to the break Rangers created the best chance of the game. A great move involving Hammond, Rymer and Brian Haule saw Hammond set up Pekun with a simple tap in, but somehow the normally dependable striker smashed his shot just wide of the post with the goal at his mercy! 

Four minutes into the second half and Hammond's corner was met by Squire-Adams, whose shot was arrowing into the bottom corner before a flailing leg diverted the danger. Faulkner hit the rebound only to see his effort also blocked. Another good move by Rangers saw Rymer through, only to be denied by a great tackle as he lined up to shoot. Holyport capitalized on a mistake by Squire-Adams and for a moment a two versus one situation developed with Alex Sethi doing brilliantly to hold both players up before Joel Read could get back to help clear the danger. From the resultant corner Brian Haule was on hand to clear. Holyport broke again with Brooker covering an easy shot at his near post before spilling the ball, needing Squire-Adams to clear. Rangers regained control with Hammond blazing a free kick over. Faulkner's clever turn and volley was well saved from 10 yards. Then Brian Haule should have done better with a free header from Hammond's corner, heading just over. Davis Haule followed suit when he also headed over when unchallenged. Rymer then almost punished a mistake, just failing to get the touch needed in front of goal. Brooker easily dealt with a shot straight at him with the game entering its final ten minutes. With Holyport seemingly happy with a point and both sides tiring on the heavy pitch the game petered out to its eventual conclusion. 

With a draw suiting Rangers more, one could have expected the visitors to show a bit more ambition to try to win the game. However, they defended well regardless, as did Rangers who have now conceded only 12 goals in their 22 league matches. 

Rangers Man of the Match: Josh Urquhart The centre-back was a class above as he won headers, tackles and made interceptions all afternoon. His quality and composure on the ball was excellent, bringing out the best in his team-mates around him. Made defending look easy against three of the best strikers in the division.   

Wallingford Town  2 Woodley United 1 (away view)

United came away from Wallingford feeling they done enough for a point and may have done so but for a freak first goal that saw a clearance hit a divot that resulted in a ball going out of play change direction into the path of Charlie Silkstone flat footing the United defence. Silkstone squared the ball to Euan Aitchinson to fire pass Craig McCreeth when one on one on the hour mark. 

The opening quarter of hour saw Woodley start positively but failing to capitalise on the chances created. The tenth minute saw Josh Millo show good skill in the right back position to pass the ball to Lamin Ceesay who in turn split the hosts’ defence for Ben Anderson to run onto but under hit his shoot that was comfortably stopped by Town’s keeper Garry Aulsberry.  Two minutes later Aulsberry did well to deny Max Laschok followed by Max Swift heading over the bar from a Ryan Alexander free kick. 

Wallingford gradually eased their way into the match and saw a shot go wide due to pressure from Chase Jewell and McCreeth saving well from Jake Smith in the nineteenth minute. A period then ensure of both teams creating chances. Ceesay fired over the goal, McCreeth stopped Luke Williams and Aulsberry turned an Anderson shot aside for a corner kick. Anderson set up Laschok but his angle was too tight and enabled Aulsberry to save, Williams headed wide while Laschok shot low but was denied by the advancing Aulsberry. United finished the goalless first half with a Millo free kick scrambled clear in the home penalty area and Ceesay shooting wide. 

The first chance of the second half came in the fifty seventh minute and requested McCreeth to make an outstanding double save to keep the match goalless before the fateful opening goal three minutes later. 

Almost immediately United had a chance to level when a quickly taken free kick by Ceesay evade Anderson but the same two players levelled the match in the sixty fourth minute when Ceesay’s pass found Anderson running behind Aulsberry unmarked to score into an open net. Silkstone went wide four minutes later while Aulsberry parried for another corner with eleven minutes remaining.  The deciding goal came two minutes form the end of normal time when Town broke down their right flank and were able to cross the ball to the far post which was met by Rio Burgoyne to head into the net. 

Division One West

Malvern Town 3 Malmesbury Victoria 1

A dominant second half performance saw Malvern Town secure three hard-earned points following a 3-1 victory over fellow promotion hopefuls, Malmesbury Victoria.

The visitors started with purpose and in the second minute, James Febery did well to block from Bumphrey as he lined up a strike at goal. Our first sight of goal came on eight minutes when a free-kick out wide for a foul on Kyonn Evans found its way to Louis Loader who dragged his low drive inches wide. An effort from Bumphrey for the visitors was hooked over before George Hayes fed Dave Reynolds at the other end and his effort was saved.There was a good chance for us when a deep cross from the left by Reynolds was missed by the ‘keeper but Matt Turner was unable to turn the ball home at the far post.

With 22 minutes on the clock, Evans showed good strength before getting in a shot on the turn that crept just wide of the target and then in the next raid, Harry Clark saw his effort saved. The visitors took the lead out of the blue just before the half-hour mark when Dibble failed to hold on to a long through-ball and the visiting player was able to tap home.

As half-time approached, Dean and King both tried their luck for the visitors, whilst Reynolds saw his low strike from outside the area saved at the other end. Right on the stroke of the interval, Hayes’ inviting cross was headed inches wide by James Febery at the far post before Bumphrey saw yellow for a late challenge as the half came to a close with trailing 1-0.

It took just three minutes into the second period for us to level matters when a low ball into the danger zone from Hayes was gobbled up by Reynolds. We started the second half with some good early pressure and a positive break from Hayes ended with him lashing just wide and then a stinging effort from Reynolds was kept out by the ‘keeper. A burst from Reynolds ended with his ball in search of Turner claimed in the nick of time by the ‘keeper.

There was a let-off for the visitors on the hour-mark when Turner and Clark went close in quick succession with the ball rattling off the underside of the crossbar and out.A low drive from Loader went close and Evans’ pull-back for Turner saw the visitors get numbers back to scramble clear. Another teasing ball went agonisingly across the face of goal, this time from Clark, before Reynolds was brought down for a penalty with 20 minutes to go. Clark stepped up and saw his spot-kick well saved by Langley, who then denied Matt Fusco from the follow-up.

We finally took the lead on 74 minutes when some great work in the build-up from Clark saw the ball fall to James Febery on the edge of the area and his curled home sweetly. Moments later, somehow the ball was scrambled off the line from Evans as we maintained the pressure. We were able to extend our lead with just over ten minutes to go when Smith broke through the visitors’ back-line and the ball found its way to Fusco who slotted home to make it 3-1. A free-kick in a promising position following a foul from behind on Reynolds saw Sam Hunt curl just wide of the target as we secured three precious points courtesy of a dominant second half display.

Malvern Town: Dibble, Smith, Hunt, Harris, J. Febery (J. Sauntson 88), Turner (Fusco 67), Hayes (Craven 80), Loader, Evans, Reynolds, Clark. Subs not used: A. Sauntson, B. Febery.

BOOKING(S): Loader GOAL(S): Reynolds, J. Febery, Fusco

 Division Two West

 Faringdon Town 3 Shrivenham Development 1 

Town welcomed local opponents Shrivenham Development to Tucker Park, with a number of former players in each sides squads. Town gave a full debut to striker Morgan Watts, who lead the Town frontline. 

Town opened with the first shot on goal in the 4th minute when Matty Pill drove at the visitors defence, but his shot was easily saved. Shrivenham had the next attack, which saw Connor Guinness-Smith make a double save during a goalmouth scramble. In the 10th minute Town’s Jack Green should have done better with two chances when failing to connect clearly with his head and left foot, whilst the away side were only attempting long range shots. Watts had his first Town effort at goal, as Adam Rudman seized on a loose ball from the visitors defence, before crossing for Watts to rise above his marker, but his header could only cannon off the top of the crossbar. With the winds at their backs and attacking the Playground End, the visitors exerted some pressure as Town struggled to get any flowing football going. With the half coming to a close, Shrivy took the lead on 43 minutes as an inswinging corner from the visitors left was met at the far post by the number 6 who volleyed home from six yards. To Town’s credit, they came fighting back and were awarded a free kick 10 yards into the Shrivenham half, on the left hand side of the ground. Pill’s ball into the box was punched clear by ex-Town keeper Yates over bodies, but the ball was volleyed back by Rudman who had been bombed out by the Shrivy management in pre-season, a fully 35 yards from goal and into the corner of the goal, for the deserved equaliser and giving the healthy Don crowd something to cheer and talk about in the bar later! Rudman will never hit a better strike and it was made sweeter against the opponents. 

Town knew the first half had been ok, but they could do better in the second half. Town started brightly and on 49 minutes Watts was fouled on the edge of the Shrivy penalty area. Sam Saunders stepped forward and brought out a great save by Yates, low to his right hand post. Three minutes later and Town thought they had taken the lead, when Watts made a great run along the goal line inside the visitors area, pulled the ball back to Saunders, who finished neatly. Unfortunately the sub linesman felt the ball had gone out of play, despite him being on the opposite side of the ground and 10 yards up the pitch! Moments later and more controversy, as Town had another goal chalked off by the match official, as skipper Josh Forth rose highest to head home a Saunders free kick, but it was ruled out for a fouled, much to most people’s amazement. Just after the hour mark and Town introduced Ryan Bradbury, back after suspension and his first involvement was to leave the left back spinning near the touch line, before placing the ball across goal, only for Adam Sly to slide in at the back post but fail to connect. Shrivenham were struggling to get out of their half, but a long ball over the top of the Town defence on 77 minutes saw Guinness-Smith hesitate to collect the ball and as he did so, fouled the visiting striker, with a penalty awarded. This looked like it could be a real smash and grab defeat for Town. However, Town’s number one made amends with a diving save to his left to deny the number 10. Town cleared their lines and as the ball was played back to Yates who was 35 yards off his line by a visiting defender, Yates failed to control the ball and it gathered momentum towards his goal. Yates sprinted back and attempted to cleared, but with Town celebrating that the ball had crossed the line, the match official awarded the goal, from a long distance away, much to the visiting benches dismay. Shrivenham were now disheartened and Town then took the game away from them finally with five minutes remaining as Liam Hares (another disgraced by the visitors) neatly headed the ball to Adam Sly on the edge of the Shrivy penalty area, Sly took on his marker before sliding the ball past Yates and Town gained a deserved three points. 

Town were not at their best today, but they deserved the three points and extend the unbeaten run to 8 games as we go into a cup quarter final with Adderbury Park next Saturday in the Chairman’s Challenge Cup. 

Faringdon Town: C Guinness-Smith, A Rudman, A Lynham, M Pill, L Davenport, A Goodchild, J Green (sub 63 R Bradbury), J Forth(c), M Watts (sub 63 L Hares), S Saunders (sub 86 J Evans), A Sly Sub Not Used: L O’Sullivan