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Hellenic League Match Report

8 February 2020

Berks & Bucks Senior Trophy - Semi-Final
Wokingham & Emmbrook 2 Sandhurst Town 4 (Report by Arthur Strand)

Sandhurst Town in a semi-final with Suma's meant an interesting local Derby at Lowther Road last Saturday. Since Sandhurst spent just a short time in the Hellenic League, the two Berkshire sides were not really old rivals with Sandhurst (Fizzer's) returning to the Combined Counties League. Sandhurst took the initiative from the start and went directly into Suma's’ defence. Only 5 minutes had passed when Suma's conceded a free kick within striking distance and the ball went directly into the goal with a bit of assistance from the far post. Bradley Brown had opened the scoring for the visitors. Josh Harris is a consistently industrious player and sometimes finds himself on the turf and Suma's were awarded a free kick when tripped. He took the free kick which would have most likely scraped under the bar had Andy Ryder not stretched and tipped the ball over the bar. Marcus Guest lashed the ball high over the top and Sandhurst worked the ball to Suma's’ end and Nick Bateman blocked the ball as it went out of play for a corner to the Fizzer's. Although the defenders cleared the ball, George Dawson-Clark then made it 2 – 0 in the 20th minute. A Wokingham Free kick went goal-wards but a good take by Ryder denied a goal for Suma's. Back came the Fizzer's, and Brown was available to add a third with 25 minutes gone. Two minutes later, Nick Bateman was involved in a clash adjacent to the touchline and received a red card. Suma's were down to 10 men with over an hour remaining. Jake White was then sent on to replace Elliott Rushforth A free kick was awarded to Suma's when Harris was fouled and then Jake White chased hard onside but Ryder won the race for the ball and cleared. Marcus O’Connell hit the turf and Josh Harris took the free kick as half-time was nigh.

After the interval, Fizzer's were better contained by the 10 man Suma's for a short while although a free kick was conceded which Jamie Mitchell took. Suma's sent the ball up-field and they gained a corner kick and Fizzer's cleared. Suma's broke through but Jake White was flagged off-side. Sandhurst then substituted Carl Prestige for Grant Kemp 55th minute. The game livened up as White and Luke Scope battled away in the forward lines with Jake White clawing back a goal for Suma's. Brown scored the 3rd goal for the visitors and White added a second and this all happened in the space of a few minutes. Grant Kemp who replaced Prestige, celebrated the Fizzer's 4th goal. Richardson replaced Bradley Brown for Sandhurst and Suma's introduced Will Good and Marcus Guest was not long after replaced by Ellis Day. Woodward made trade mark save again and Suma's began to fight harder to try and force a draw but Fizzer's were content to see out the time. There was a really well distributed ball to White but he was offside and the game ended with Sandhurst Town reaching the final. Next week, the Suma's are away at Wallingford in the League and at home to Didcot Town Development team next Saturday.

Wokingham & Emmbrook:Woodward. [GK], W. Day, O’Connell, Guest,Commuskey, Carter,[c] Edwards, N. Bateman, Scope, Harris, Rushforth, Substitutes: White, E.Day, Good, Rowland, Eggleston.

uhlsport football kituhlsport Hellenic League

Premier Division

Fairford Town 0 Westfields 2 (away view)

Westfields travelled to Fairford Town for a top of the table Hellenic League Premier Division clash on Saturday and recorded a superb 2-0 away win.  Westfields had to work hard for their result and it was a fine team performance as every player gave 100% and was committed to the victory. 

Westfields lost central defender Ryan Green in only the 6th minute with a thigh injury but substitute Paul Hurrell performed superbly at the heart of the Westfields defence alongside Kane Kahaki.  Westfields took a 17th minute lead when Matt Reeve burst into the penalty area and fired low into the bottom corner of the net to give Westfields a superb lead. 

Fairford came back into the game and Stephen Sarkodi produced a fine finger-tip save to keep out a close-range effort before Westfields increased their lead on the stroke of half time when Billy Murphy floated in a free kick which caught the home keeper off his line and sailed into the top corner of the net to give Westfields a 2-0 lead. 

After the break Westfields almost increased their lead to 3 when lively striker King Baidoo hit the Fairford upright and then in an end-to-end game Stephen Sarkodi produced a fine finger-tip save to deny Fairford a goal in the dying minutes. 

Westfields defended well with a sterling performance throughout the team.  Westfields now play Bromyard Town on Tuesday night away in the Herefordshire FA County Challenge Cup and next Saturday travel to Holmer Green in the Hellenic League Premier Division at High Wycombe. 

Division One East

Risborough Rangers 6 Woodley United 1 

An impressive scoreline for the league leaders did not reflect the whole truth in a game where the visitors tested a strangely uncertain Rangers back four. Woodley United, who arrived at the BEP Stadium third from bottom in the table, played some decent football and always looked a threat on the break. In fact, the Reading based outfit looked the better of the sides for the first 15 minutes and deservedly took the lead during that period. They had posted a warning in the sixth minutes when their right winger ran onto a great pass before lobbing the onrushing Jack Brooker in the Rangers goal, only to see the ball drop onto the roof of the net. Two minutes later and they made no mistake when they again threatened down the Rangers left, this time the winger squaring the ball to a colleague who had the simple task of slotting home to Woodley the lead. It was the first goal that Risborough had conceded in 360 (plus eight) minutes of football and United made it look so easy. Boro' did hit back with a good attack from the restart, with Sam Pekun shooting wide from a great position but Woodley soon regained their composure as Rangers struggled to break them down and continued to look suspect on the break. As the game entered the 20th minute the home side gradually began to find their feet with skipper Joel Read heading onto the crossbar from a corner. Some brilliant wing-play from the lively Pekun started to open up the Woodley defence . Boro' had a good shout for a penalty for handball waved away before Joshua Fox rattled the Woodley crossbar with a shot. Soon after Pekun had the ball in the net following a corner but this was disallowed for a foul on the United Keeper. As the half entered the final 10 minutes Bertie Squire-Adams made an important tackle in front of his goal to deny Woodley on a rare breakaway. Rangers continued to turn the screw with Brian Haule's overhead shot grazing the post. More pressure from the league leaders saw the United keeper pul 
l of a brilliant save of one of his own defenders, following Fox's cross-shot. Just as the Rangers fans started to fear the worst, Adam Morris's corner was fed back to him and he picked out Pekun at the far post who gleefully smashed home the equaliser, before launching into his customary celebratory somersaults. With five minutes to the break Morris again found Pekun who shot wide on the run. Rangers took the lead on the stroke of half time following another Rangers corner, the ball being worked to Brian Haule who made no mistake from six yards. 

Woodley looked lively from the restart and almost leveled after a misdirected pass from the usually dependable Ben Hammond was latched onto, with Brooker rushing from his line to save. Rangers were soon back in the driving seat however and went further ahead in the 53rd minute following some neat build up play. Brian Haule skipped past his marker to rifle the ball past the diving keeper and high into the net. A minute later and Haule put the game beyond the visitors to complete his hat-trick. Hammond's far post cross was headed back across goal by Read for Haule to head home from three yards. It was the big number nine's 30th goal of the season and rightfully, a finish to earn him the man of the match award. United fashioned a good break from their restart, a shot flashing just wide of the upright. It was business as usual however, with Haule almost getting his fourth, heading Pekun's cross into the ground, the ball bouncing over the empty goal. It hardly mattered though as a minute later the home side made it five when the impressive Fox latched onto a poor back pass in the Woodley penalty area and slotted home from the most acute of angles. The visitors were reduced to shooting from distance now with a couple of long range efforts into the trees at the Horsenden End of the ground. Pekun again wove his magic at the other end, before crossing to Kyle Faulkner, who flicked his header just wide. With ten minutes remaining Hammond's free kick was headed powerfully home by Davis Haule only to be ruled out for offside. It looked a harsh call for the veteran midfielder but Rangers were not done yet. Moments later Pekun was put through by Hammond and as the pacey winger raced clear he had two team-mates inside but chose to shoot, with the keeper saving at his near post. It was a let off for the visitors but shortly after Pekun was again set away, this time doing the right thing, drawing the keeper before squaring to Faulkner to tap into an empty net for Rangers' sixth. 

brian haule hellenic league risboroughA good win for the home side as they gear up for their big quarter final tie at Moreton Rangers on Tuesday night in the Bluefin Sport Hellenic League Challenge Cup. After a shaky start Risborough showed their quality and experience to overcome this promising young Woodley side. 

Man of the Match: Brian Haule (pictured). His hat-trick was a lesson in finishing to any aspiring young striker. Cool, composed and strong. It's not just the 30 goals so far that he brings to the team. His contribution in the build up play, especially with the excellent Sam Pekun, is so important to the functioning of this team. 

Risborough Rangers 6 Woodley United 1 (away view)

Today’s contest at Risborough was always going to be tough. Backed by a crowd of over 100, the hosts recovered from an early Woodley goal with a dominant second half showing to extend their league record to an impressive eighteen wins and two draws from twenty games. 

After an early shot by Rangers went wide, a fantastic crossfield ball by United’s Lamin Ceesay found Max Laschok on the left. Getting to the ball before the keeper the forward’s lobbed effort landed on the roof of the net. In the next attack, Laschok and Ceesay combined again after a clipped ball down the right touchline. This time the former turned provider squaring to Ceesay who placed a low shot into the left corner from ten yards. 

Following a goal mouth scramble that saw the away side hack clear, Ceesay missed to the right from the left of the box.  Risborough were a very physical team, with the majority of their side well over six foot. A corner from the right saw a Joel Read header clip the top of the bar. Following a sustained period of pressure, Woodley keeper Craig McCreeth did well to punch clear a left wing cross moments before Rangers had a goal ruled out. 

United were looking to hit their opponents on the counter using their pacey wide men. Another fine ball from left to right saw Ceesay pick out young winger Josh Millo, who was making his first start for the first team. After a couple of nice touches, Millo passed to Laschok who rolled in Ceesay whose shot from a tight angle on the left was blocked for a corner. There was a big let off for Woodley on thirty eight minutes when a dangerous cross was inadvertently turned towards his own goal by right back Jamaal Wright. Showing excellent reflexes McCreeth did superbly to palm away the ball destined for the left corner. 

United’s advantage only lasted for another sixty seconds as almost immediately after the save McCreeth was beaten by a low shot from Sam Pekun whose celebration was even better than the finish. Despite defending well for large periods, Woodley went into the break behind after Brian Haule fired home after a left wing corner wasn’t cleared. 

The second half started frantically with United clearing off the line and a golden chance at the other end spurned when Ceesay failed to control a ball that would have seen him go clear through on goal. Woodley were immediately punished on fifty one minutes when Haule smashed home after the ball broke to him on the left side of the box. Two minutes later Haule completed his hat-trick despite the best efforts from McCreeth who got a hand to a header that went into the top right corner following a header back across goal. 

After a couple of half chances for Laschok, one that went wide and the other blocked, a miserable thirteen minutes for United ended with Josh Fox rounding McCreeth and rolling into an empty net from a tight angle. Just after the hour, Harry Hawkins shot over after being teed up by Ceesay as Woodley attempted to get back into the match. A United double change took place on sixty six minutes when Tommy Boyd and Ben Anderson replaced Sam Wood and Millo. 

The home team were relentless and much more impressive than the game earlier in the season when they narrowly won. Some excellent play on the right by Pekun saw him beat his man and fizz a cross in that Kyle Faulkner couldn’t convert. 

Woodley made their final change with fourteen minutes to go when Pele Hagger made way for Bailey Hill at left back. With the match entering the final ten minutes, McCreeth pulled off a sprawling save to deny Pekun a second. The scoring was then completed sixty seconds later when Pekun unselfishly squared to Faulkner who couldn’t miss from close range. 

The final chances fell to United. Hawkins saw an effort blocked whilst Toby Briggs blazed well over in added time.  A difficult afternoon for Woodley against a very strong team. Max Swift and Wright were solid defensively and Briggs and Hawkins played well in the middle of the park. We go again in a fortnight’s time at home to Thame Rangers. 

Division One West

Malmesbury Victoria 1 Clanfield 1 (away view)

A late goal by captain Josh Gibbens ensured that in front of a crowd of 107 Clanfield's second visit to Malmesbury's Flying Monk ground in four days ended with a share of the spoils. Clanfield had previously won the last four league games between the clubs, but Malmesbury went into this match having obtained 21 points from 8 home league games, while having played 8 at home and 8 away Clanfield have only picked up 8 of their 28 league points on their travels,

Clanfield had a slightly stronger team out than they did on Tuesday, but they knew that they faced a stern test against a Malmesbury team above them in the table and averaging more than 2 points and 3 goals per game.

Malmesbury certainly had more possession in the first half. They forced several corners, and the Clanfield defence had to make some important blocks, notably ones from Craig Connor and Ryan Moore. For Malmesbury Mani Roper shot wide, Rob Dean just failed to get a decisive touch to a cross from the left and Josh Hughes created a good opportunity. For Clanfield Josh Gibbens cane the closest to scoring following a free kick and the Clanfield captain was always a threat at dead ball situations where he pushed himself forward, with the visitors having to otherwise rely on the pace of their strikers on the counter attack to keep the Malmesbury defence on their toes.

In the second half Shane Bumphrey shot narrowly wide for the home team and Malmesbury's number 11 playing on the right flank was not afraid to take players on, and from his cross Bumphrey opened the scoring, Although at times they allowed the home team a bit too much space Clanfield had defended well up to that point and ensured that any saves that Jamie Zoldan in the visitors goal had to make were mostly of a routine nature, although Zoldan had played his part in keeping the home team out for three quarters of the match,

Mani Roper shot wide for Malmesbury who were trying for a second, but they looked likely to take all three points until Gibbens's late intervention.

Unfortunately a late change to my own travel arrangements meant that I had to leave a couple of minutes before the game went into added on time and missed the equalizing goal, but it was nice to finally visit Malmesbury who are a club I have read a lot about over the years and it is the birthplace of striker James Constable whose goalscoring exploits for Oxford United over several seasons have ensured he is well known in the Hellenic League catchment area.
Malcolm Clarke

Malvern Town 6 Cirencester Town Development 1

Malvern Town ran out 6-1 winners over Cirencester Town Development. In front of another good crowd at the HDANYWHERE Community Stadium, we broke the deadlock on 26 minutes when James Febery got his name on the scoresheet.

Our visitors soon levelled matters before Kyonn Evans restored our advantage on the stroke of half-time.

Early in the second period, Matt Turner got in on the act as he extended our lead before Evans notched his second to make it 4-1. Two goals in quick succession from Dave Reynolds and Turner completed another convincing scoreline.

“We struggled to get any momentum during the first half against hard-working opponents,” admitted co-manager, Lee Hooper. “We managed to get our noses in front but then conceded a sloppy goal soon afterwards, which was disappointing. We were short on numbers today due to injury and unavailability. We asked a few of the lads to do a job for the team, which they did well and without question. It was pleasing to come out of the game having scored six goals, even though we weren’t at our best. Our second half showing was solid and other results went for us, as we were the only team in the top six to win, so we’re happy."

“To see a 258-strong crowd here to watch us was fantastic once again and I would like to thank you for this level of support. It was also a good day for the reserves who went to top of the table, Clee Hill United and won 2-1, so congratulations to all involved there."

“Now we turn our attention to the next game at Clanfield. They have picked up in recent weeks, so we know that we will need to be better if we are to bring home any points."

Malvern Town: Dibble, Hayes, Harris, J. Sauntson, J. Febery, Turner, Fusco, Loader, Evans, Reynolds, Moran. Subs: Craven, Skidmore, Hooper, Pinder.

Moreton Rangers 2 Cheltenham Saracens 1 

Things got off to a scrappy start today at Moreton Rangers.  The first real chance for either team came in the 10th minute when Moreton’s Jamie Wyatt had a shot easily saved by Nick Jones. 
Sarries replied 3 minutes later, when Sam Mason crossed the ball to Jordan Bryan, who was waiting in the box. His luck wasn’t in though as the ball bounced under the crossbar and back out again without fully crossing the line. 

And the bad luck continued when, in the 21st minute, Wyatt met a searching cross, cut in from the left and beat both our defence and Keeper and slipped the ball into the back of the net to put Moreton in front.  Just 14 minutes later, after we gave away a corner, the ball found the feet of Dougie Wallace, who duly converted the incoming ball to a second goal for Moreton. Moreton had been playing some decent football and, in all honesty, probably deserved to be in the lead at this point.  The 36th minute saw Wallace try his luck again, but this time Jones was down quickly to push the ball clear of the net.  Another chance came our way in the 44th minute when a neat little flick of the head from Bryan found the feet of our captain Harlie Price, who quickly found Mason out on the wing. Bryan darted into the box and met Mason’s cross, but his header just cleared the top left corner of the goal. 

Things did look up for us at the start of the second half when Harlie nodded the ball past Moreton’s Keeper Ollie Currill to narrow the gap to just 1 goal. Moreton’s Wyatt was relentless though, he tried a shot from distance in the 58th minute but Jones was this time able to push it out for a corner. In the 61st minute, Bryan absolutely fired a shot at Currill, but it wasn’t enough and the Moreton Keeper used his outstretched body to keep it out. The 87th minute saw us come close to equalising when a throw in from Nick Tilling found Price in the box. Price tried to sneak it under the Keeper, but Currill got down quickly, this time blocking the ball with his legs. Our last real attack came in the 1st minute of stoppage time when Jordan Bryan covered almost 2/3 of the pitch with a brilliant run. He was fouled just outside the box, giving us a free kick in a promising area. Mason hammered the ball into the box, but it was well defended by Moreton and soon came back out. 

Our second loss on the trot. Let’s hope it’s just a blip and we can regain our winning way we had just a few short weeks ago with Tuesday night’s home fixture. 
Match Report By Jemma Maeve 

Shortwood United  2  Thorbury Town  1 

shortwood jacob newell man of matchShortwood won this cracking game in dramatic style with a goal in the last minute but thoroughly deserved the win and the warm applause that greeted them at the final whistle. Playing with a style and discipline this win was even more remarkable given their depleted ranks. The winning goal was possibly the team goal of the season and fittingly rounded off an excellent game in which Thornbury more than played their part. The game was played in an excellent spirit and the ref, Sam Olhausan played his part letting the game flow as much as he could. 

Wood had two early chances with Harper flashing a volley wide and Philp firing over. Byrnes then floated a return from a goal kick just wide from the edge of the centre circle. After 11 minutes Philp had a golden chance when through but keeper Lippiatt saved with his legs. Thornbury then missed a great chance of their own when Wormwell went on a great run down the flank and at full stretch Lancaster could only turn the ball over from 6 yards. Wood were playing some great one touch football and the defence looked solid with man of the match Nowell and young full back Waddington looking particularly impressive.  

Wood were largely on top although Thornbury looked tricky up front and twice Philp was thwarted by Lippiatt before the break.  Avenell made a fine save to deny Brock after 50 minutes before Thornbury took the lead a minute later. A cross to the far post was headed back across goal by Lancaster and Brock finished off from close range. Still Wood pushed forward and Thornbury relied on hitting them on the break. Dylan Miles came on for the tiring Harper and made his mark just three minutes later. Wood had a free kick 25 yards and Miles drove the free kick over the wall only for a defender to raise his hand above his head and palm the ball. The penalty was obvious and Luke Soule sent Lippiatt the wrong way to level the scores. 

Wood went for the winner and Philp was inches away from getting a touch to a fine cross from Hudson. With 92 minutes on the clock Wood built from the back and Kalnins and Byrnes played a succession of one – twos as they worked their way up field. Kalnins’ cross was flicked on by Soule and Philp slammed the ball home. Wood’s celebration was long and loud and the final whistle came seconds later. 

Shortwood United: Alex Avenell, Langworthy, Waddington, Nowell, Kalnins, Halliday, Hudson, Byrnes, Soule, Philp, Harper (Dylan Miles 69)

DivisionTwo West

Clanfield Development 2 Letcombe 2 (away view)

Having beaten league contenders Highworth Town reserves the week before, Letcombe were brought back to earth against strugglers Clanfield development who nearly recorded their first league win of the season.

Letcombe were missing a number of regular players, and therefore gave Will Edwards and new signing Elliott King their first opportunities in the first team. A very soft pitch made passing difficult for both teams, and although Letcombe dominated the opening exchanges, they failed to test home keeper Luke Hayley. Letcombe took the lead after 25 minutes when an excellent free kick from Michael Annetts cleared the home defence, and Boyan Thorpe volleyed home from ten yards. Letcombe failed to capitalise on their advantage, and Joe Blackwell was sent to the sin bin as frustration grew at some decisions. Clanfield equalised as half time approached when hesitancy in the Letcombe defence allowed 16 year old Fin Baker to finish clinically.

Letcombe appreared to have regained the lead early in the second half when Boyan Thorpe netted, but the goal was disallowed for offside, much to the dismay of well positioned spectators. Letcombe continued to have most of the play, but a well organised Clanfield defence gave then no clear sight of goal. As often happens in this situation, Clanfield had one clear opportunity after 70 minutes when a mis-kick gave Elliot Heritage the chance to give Clanfield the lead, and he made no mistake from eight yards. Will Edwards was sent to the sin bin as was the wrong Clanfield player, and as time ticked away it looked as though Clanfield would record their first league win of the season. It was not to be, as Mikey Annetts sent a dipping shot over keeper Hayley in added time, and the visitors almost snatched the winner as a shot from Josh Fowler trickled inches wide of the far post with the last kick of the game.

A very disappointing display by Letcombe. Sam Mulvey again showed the desire which was lacking from some other players, but too many people had an `off day`, and their performance was affected by the difficult playing surface and general frustration. They will need to improve with two difficult away games at Newent and Wantage on the next two Saturdays.