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10 October 2020

THE BUILDBASE FA VASE Round Two Qualifying

Raunds Town 1 Risborough Rangers  4 (away view)
Risborough Rangers eased into the First Round Proper of the FA Vase, beating Raunds Town by four goals to one in a sometimes uninspiring match. Rangers travelled to Northamptonshire with a strong team, missing only Josh Fox and Steve Tavender from the usual squad, both with injuries. In the end it was a comfortable win for the Buckinghamshire team against an inexperienced looking Raunds. The former Southern League side, who reached the semi final of this competition back in the 1994/95 season, look like a club in the process of rebuilding, and credit to their young side, they battled all the way against their more experienced visitors. 

Rangers began brightly with Adam Morris and Ben Hammond combining to set up Marcus Wyllie, who shot over from 14 yards. Asher Yearwood then went on a mazy run, crossing low across the goalmouth with no one able to get the vital touch. Raunds then broke and Jack Brooker in the visitors goal dealt easily with the cross. Ten minutes and Morris' free kick cleared the bar. Five minutes later and a clever corner from Morris was dummied by Hammond, for Bertie Squire-Adams to fire just wide from the edge of the Raunds area. Raunds came back with a shot from distance that was high and wide. A good spell for Rangers after 20 minutes saw a corner flicked on by Yearwood, with Wyllie's diving header at the back post going wide. Wyllie then got onto a Morris pass before cutting inside, only to see his shot blocked by a desperate tackle. In the 25th minute Yearwood wins a header off Brookers' goal-kick before going for the return from Morris. His driving run into the box dragged defenders across before his low cross was handled by a Raunds defender. The referee took no time to award the spot kick and up stepped Brian Haule to convert. From the restart Brian Haule wins back possession and sets Wyllie away. His shot is parried and the follow up is fired just over the bar by Squire-Adams. Rangers doubled their lead on the half hour mark following the move of the match started by a neat header from Josh Urquart to Yearwood. Some neat interplay followed involving Yearwood, Hammond and Morris, before Brian Haule fed Wyllie with a deft pass. The in-form wide-man cut inside his full-back and sent a low shot into the net from 15 yards. Soon after, Raunds defended a series of corners as Morris and Urquart had chances blocked. With 15 minutes to half time, Alex Sethie found Wyllie with a raking pass and the youngster shot straight at the keeper at the near post, when he should have squared to Haule. With a minute to the break though, he made up for it with his second goal and Rangers' third. A good move down the opponents left and fine delivery from full back Squire-Adams saw Rangers' top scorer net with a diving header to send the visitors in at the break with a three goal cushion. 

Whatever happened at the half time interval, the second half never really matched up to the first with Rangers slow out of the blocks. The Town Manager must take some credit too, as his side gave a much better account of themselves, forcing Rangers onto the back foot at times and creating a couple of chances. The first 15 minutes of the half was dire at times with neither team stringing passes together, the best chance falling to Raunds when Rangers keeper Booker, kicked a clearance against a Raunds forward, with the ball rebounding off his back and bobbling just past his post. The visitors slowly began to re-find their form against a hard working Raunds, when Yearwood hit the post after being fed by Gary Rymer. The rebound was sliced wide by Wyllie. Soon after, a Rangers corner found Squire-Adams who was well wide of the target with his effort. With 15 minutes remaining Davis Haule was dismissed for a second yellow card and from the resultant free kick Raunds pulled one back. The cross was not dealt with and Raund's Morgan scored with a decent low shot into the far corner. The home team revival was short lived however and two minutes later Rangers got their fourth. Martin Griggs started the move with a fine ball to Wyllie. Griggs continued his run into Town's box and dived full length to head home Wyllie's cross for a great goal. Raunds came back with a couple of half chances with a good strike deflected for a corner that was easily dealt with by Brooker. In the final minute, Griggs and Rymer combined well before the home keeper saved at Rymers' feet. Griggs was again involved when he set up Yearwood, whose shot was cleared off the line. The final whistle came as a huge Rainbow appeared across the sky. Maybe there is a pot of gold waiting at the end, as Rangers look forward to Monday's draw.

Rangers Man of the Match: Marcus Wyliie. Two fine goals and an assist from Marcus. The University student is in great goal-scoring form and is always a threat with the ball at his feet. His cross for Rangers' fourth was superb. 

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uhlsport Hellenic League

Division One West

Malvern Town 6 Cirencester Town Development 2
Malvern Town secured a 6-2 victory over Cirencester Town Development as our opponents made us work hard for the win. The opening minutes saw a low cross into the danger zone from the visitors well claimed by Keiron Blackburn before a free-kick out wide from Joe Bates at the other end was driven in but cleared. We were able to take a fifth minute lead when Curtis Smith fed Joe Billingham who carved out a chance for Harry Clark which he gobbled up with no problem at the far post. An inviting through-ball from James Febery was grabbed right on the edge of his area by the alert Ross Milloy as Bates lurked with intent. It was Bates who turned provider for our second goal on 18 minutes when his break ended with him finding Joe Billingham who applied the finish.

There were chances at either end in quick succession shortly afterwards as firstly Harry Staddon went close for the visitors and then Nathan Chowns Higgs broke through only for the ‘keeper to block. As the rain started to fall, Clark just couldn’t get enough on his touch to divert the ball beyond the ‘keeper on the edge of the area. The visitors reduced the arrears on 25 minutes when a foul on Tom Phillips gave them a free-kick on the edge of the area which was well-worked as Jack Rockett found Max Lloyd who made no mistake.

Straight away at the other end, Bates had a chance but he headed over having found space in the area, then an opportunity was created for Lewis Platt who fired over. Great link-up play down the right between Smith and Bates ended with the latter getting in a cross which found the head of Billingham whose effort hit the post. We were able to add a third goal on 37 minutes when Chowns Higgs fired sweetly into the corner of the net to give the ‘keeper no chance. With the sun breaking through the clouds, Bates was denied by a timely intervention from Rockett as the clock ticked down at the end of the opening period. An inviting ball in from Clark just evaded Chowns Higgs in the middle before Clark himself was thwarted by a block from close range by the ‘keeper who then went on to make a good double save in stoppage time at the end of the half.

There were a couple of early chances for Bates at the start of the second period. The first he dragged wide then he was unlucky as he lifted the ball just over with the ‘keeper well off his line. Our opponents were getting men behind the ball but we were able to break through just before the hour-mark when Clark’s effort was blocked and Bates lashed home the rebound.

Further chances soon followed as Bates saw a strike hit the ‘keeper and then Clark saw an effort land on the top of the crossbar. A strike from Chowns Higgs was pushed out as Bates headed the rebound over with 20 minutes to go. Despite being under pressure for much of the half, the visitors broke and won a penalty as Phillips was adjudged to have been fouled. Max Lloyd stepped up and found the net to make it 4-2. With time running out, Clark saw an effort pushed away by the ‘keeper, who then did well from the resulting corner, but he couldn’t keep out Bates as his persistence paid off for our fifth goal on 86 minutes. There was a late chance for the visitors as Rockett’s low effort flashed across the face of goal but Bates completed his hat-trick in stoppage time as he fired home from Platt’s pass to complete the scoring.

Malvern Town:Blackburn, Smith, Wickett, A. Sauntson, Febery (L. Loader 68), Billingham (Fusco 79), Platt, Bullock, Chowns Higgs (J. Sauntson 83), Bates, Clark. Subs not used: Harris, J. Loader.
BOOKING(S): GOAL(S): Clark, Billingham, Chowns Higgs, Bates (3) ATTENDANCE: 176

Division Two

Letcombe 0 Wantage Town Development 1
This was a local derby with eight of the Wantage squad having played for Letcombe in the past, but the game was played in a good spirit, well controlled by referee Craig Davenport.

The only goal of the game came in the seventh minute when Jordi Davies cut inside and drove a low shot into the far corner of the net from fifteen yards. He almost increased the lead midway through the half, but home keeper Danny Joyce brought off a great low save, turning the ball onto the post. Luke Polding produced some dangerous crosses for Letcombe from the left, but nobody was able to get on the end of them to supply the finishing touch.

Wantage probably just deserved their interval lead, but Letcombe pressed forward for an equaliser in the second half. Wantage keeper James Farmer parried a cross straight to substitute Harry Green, but the keeper then reacted well to turn away the resulting goalbound volley. Farmer also turned a Josh Fowler effort round the post before Wantage were awarded a penalty with 15 minutes remaining when Ben Hummel fouled substitute Jack Badger. Jordi Davies took the kick, but his chip hit the bar before looping into the air and landing on the bar again before going behind. Letcombe had a great chance to equalise with 6 minutes left to play when they were also awarded a penalty when Hummel was pushed just inside the area. Luke Polding took the kick, but he appeared to slip as he made contact with the ball, which sailed high over the bar.

There were many good things for Letcombe to reflect on, and most spectators felt that they deserved a point, but they are finding it hard to create clear chances and to put the ball in the net at the moment. They face another difficult game next Saturday when they entertain Highworth Town Reserves.

 


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