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Hellenic League Match Report

banbury litho printers11 September

Banbury Litho Floodlit Cup

Chinnor 0 Marlow United 3 (away view)

Marlow came away from Chinnor with a comfortable 3-0 victory ten years since last playing in and winning the same competition 

Entering the game as favourites to progress Marlow didn't disappoint their supporters overcoming an enthusiastic home side with Ramel Sutherland stealing the headlines with an excellent hat trick and the welcome return of Ollie Flint for his first game of the season.  It was Flint along with Hardie, Davis and Singleston who took control of proceeding as they dominated midfield with Marlow gaining a corner from the kick off as kicked down the slope. 
On five minutes Alfie Lucas collected a through ball, his shot being saved by Chinnor keeper Joe Hitchens as he bore down on goal. 

Chinnor responded well, Marlow custodian Alex Partridge unable to hold onto a stinging shot with Al Mckie rescuing his team mate as he won the duel for the loose ball being fouled in the process. United continued to create chances with some slick passing, Sutherland, Singleston, and Lucas seeing efforts go unrewarded, Sutherland being picked out by Woodward but again Hitchens foiled United with an excellent save. 

Hardie saw an effort blocked but with the half hour approaching Sutherland broke the deadlock, picking up Waldron's pass he fired past a despairing keeper for the opening goal. With the half drawing to a close Chinnor almost snatched an unlikely equaliser with a cross come shot from the United left touchline evading everyone, bouncing off the crossbar to safety. 

Marlow put game beyond the hosts on fifty minutes with the elusive Sutherland beating the off side trap as he collected a Flint pass and slotting the ball into the net.  Two became three fifteen minutes later; Flint breaking down the right slipped the ball inside to Sutherland who calmly evaded two challenges before guiding the ball past Hitchens.  Alfie Lucas will wonder how he didn't notch a forth five minutes later with Sutherland picking him out at the far post, Lucas somehow managing to put the ball wide as Marlow threatened to run riot. 

A determined Chinnor ensured that event did not occur as they battled hard to contain the visitors who were unable to add to their score despite a number of efforts. Thomas and Dickens replaced Flint and Sutherland , Chinnor broke quickly on a number of occasions not being able to breach the United back line and Marlow saw Davis, Singleston and Thomas have efforts on goal, the score remaining 3-0 at the final whistle. 

Marlow: A Partridge, M Woodward, J Waldron, J Woodbridge, A Mckie, A Davis, O Flint, J Hardie, R Sutherland, A Lucas, C Singleston, Subs. Q Thomas, A Dickens

Didcot Town Development 2 Brackley Town Saints 0 

Didcot Town Development put Hellenic Premier Brackley Town Saints out of the Floodlit Cup at Loop Meadow Stadium. The home team no doubt felt they had something to prove playing against former manager Chris Hurley's Saints and more than matched the Premier team in a highly competitive encounter. 

Keiron Davies shot for the hosts was well saved and Matt Hammond for the Saints had a low shot just wide in the early exchanges. Both teams had a couple of free kicks each but could not fashion a clear chance as defences held firm. Didcot were keeping Saints danger men Ryan Knight and Alex Stott at bay and nearer half time Daryll Harris for Didcot had a fierce shot well saved by Saints keeper Piotr Jacucha. 

No score at half time but Didcot came out of the second half traps faster and a good move down the left resulted in a Harry Hudson cross hand balled in the box and a penalty given to the hosts. Ross MacDonald struck the penalty home to put Didcot a goal up in 48 minutes. 

The match was still fiercely competitive as play swung from end to end however it was Didcot who found a second goal when Ross MacDonald's fine through ball found Andy Noka. He initially seemed to have taken the ball too wide but suddenly hit a low shot under the keeper much to the home teams delight. 

The Saints came close hitting the crossbar with a header and from another Hudson cross Keiron Davies should have done better than head over for Didcot. The Saints poured on some pressure but the clear chance would not come as Didcot defended well. A breakaway from James Tanner ended with him crossing to Ty Hamilton but Jacucha foiled the 1 on 1 situation and the chance for a third goal was gone. Didcot saw out the final minutes well and progress to the second round with a good all round display. 

Reading City 1 Penn & Tylers Green 3 (away view)

After beating Woodley United at the Rivermoor ground in the league 6-0 on Saturday on Monday Penn & Tylers Green FC returned to the Rivermoor Stadium to play the Landlords, Premier Division Reading City in the Banbury Litho Floodlit Challenge Cup and caused an upset by coming home with a hard fought 3-1 win. 

Penn got off to the perfect start when after a minute’s play James Hancock burst down the right wing and put in a low cross which was met by the onrushing Dean Allen who bundled the ball over the line from 6 yards to put Penn 1-0 up.  
Penn were matching their higher league opponents blow for blow when, with 20 minutes gone, a corner from the right was targeted for Joe Dulieu’s head when he was obviously pushed in the back to give the referee an easy penalty decision to make. Dean Allen stepped up and dispatched the spot kick to the goalkeepers left to put Penn in dream land at 2-0 up. 

This spurred on Reading to up their game and for the next 15 minutes they created. Some good openings but the combination of poor finishing, some brilliant last gasp defending and some masterful saves from Sam Butcher in the Penn goal, somehow the score remained 2-0.  However, it was no surprise when in the 35th minute Reading pulled a goal back when from a cross the Reading forward expertly tricked the Penn defender to the floor and finished well from 12 yards to make the score 2-1. It remained 2-1 until half time. 

The second half was a defensive and goalkeeping masterclass from Penn as they repelled all that Reading threw at them with some more great saves from Sam Butcher and some brilliant “bodies on the line” defending from the whole Penn team. Penn were relying on a breakaway goal and some great work from the midfield and forwards did give the Penn some short-lived respite, but no clear chances. Eventually with 15 minutes to go you sensed that Reading were tiring from their efforts and somewhat resigned to the fact that they were not going to score. 

Then, on 80 minutes, the inevitable happened when a deep free kick from the left from Tom Stables was met by the towering Dean Munday who from the edge of the box sent in a thumping header which hit the post but Tom Stables was quickest to react and lopped the ball over his head and over the prone goalkeeper and into the net from six yards. 

Reading were never going to come back from that and so the last ten minutes were played out and Penn recorded a memorable Cup upset against higher league opponents and “on the night” a thoroughly deserved win, ensuring all connected with Penn made the long journey home delighted with the evenings performance and result. 

Tuffley Rovers 6 Thornbury Town 1

A week can be a long time in football. Seven days ago Rovers were still seeking to add to their solitary competitive win of the new season (a Hellenic League Challenge Cup victory over Division Two side, Letcombe) but suffered a heavy defeat at Shortwood in the FA Vase. Since then Mark Pritchett’s men had picked up four points from six, grabbing a narrow midweek win at Shrivenham before holding Windsor to a draw at Glevum Park when, for the second successive home league match, a 1-3 deficit was turned into a 3-3 draw with two late goals. Visitors Thornbury Town play in Division One of the Hellenic League West, where they finished a very creditable third in 2018-19 with only Cheltenham Saracens and Easington Sports above them. A year ago Tuffley suffered early exits from the FA Cup, the FA Vase, the Gloucestershire Challenge Trophy and the Hellenic Challenge Cup. This Floodlit Cup had seen home defeats by Brimscombe & Thrupp in both 2017-18 and 2018-19. So, this was an opportunity for the hosts to build on recent good league form whereas the visitors had no reason to be fearful of their short trip to Gloucester after starting their new league season with a 3-2 win over Clanfield 85 and a 5-3 defeat by Malvern Town, both at home. Having already been knocked out of the Challenge Cup at Adderbury Park, but having progressed in the Vase at the expense of Cheltenham Saracens, Thornbury would see this as a decent chance to make progress in another knock-out competition.

It was the hosts who cruised their way through to the next round of the Floodlit Cup after a commanding first-half performance which brought four goals without reply. Two more goals were added in the second period with only a penalty-kick bringing visitors Thornbury any reward from what turned out to be a chastening evening for them.
Rovers, playing towards the open end, started positively and nearly went ahead in the opening moments when Jack Beardsell’s good work on the right led to a square pass which Dominik Kent dragged narrowly wide of the Thornbury goal.

There was an early break in play when the visitors’ captain Toby Bennett went down injured and when play resumed an enormous kick by Scot MacLeod was chased deep into the Tuffley half by Craig Lancastle but Macaulay Herbert snuffed out the danger. Thornbury’s next attack was nearly profitable; two quick passes from Lancastle and Jim Brock left Asher Budd in space, with only Alex Avenell to beat, but he wasted the opportunity by shooting into the side-netting.
Rovers heeded this warning and were soon ahead themselves. Ross Langworthy chased a ball down the right channel and regained possession after briefly losing control of the ball. As he moved inside he saw Jack Beardsell in space and threaded the ball through to him. Beardsall took one touch, looked up and hammered a scorching drive into the top corner well out of MacLeod’s reach. The early lead was doubled only three minutes later. Rovers won a corner on the right which Paul Carter floated in with his usual dead-ball accuracy and Beardsell rose unchallenged to plant a firm header into the back of the net.

Thornbury were being pulled apart on both flanks and it wasn’t a surprise that the opening two goals were quickly followed by two more. Both were crosses headed into goal by Langworthy thanks to sublime deliveries from Ben Prictor on the left and Beardsell on the right. Langworthy, in a rich run of scoring form, nearly had a first-half hat-trick when he ran from halfway and cut inside a defender but hit his shot over the bar. A nasty clash of heads between Beardsell and Thornbury’s Ollie Rawnsley led to both players being treated on the pitch and the referee called for a short water-break while that was happening. When play resumed Rovers continued to press forward with Jeremiah Idowu having a shot turned away for a corner and Kent again shooting narrowly wide.

The Thornbury players looked shell-shocked as they headed for the dressing-rooms at half-time but there was little respite for them after the second half started, at which point they brought on Luke Franklin and he would soon be joined by Dan Bright. MacLeod was having a very busy evening and reacted brilliantly to save Kent’s follow-up after initially saving from Langworthy. But the next significant action came at the other end when referee Alan Robinson awarded Thornbury a penalty-kick as Prictor, played into trouble by Jack Phillips’ pass across the area, felled an opposition player as he attempted to clear. Lancastle didn’t hang about and buried the spot-kick straight down the middle leaving Avenell knowing that he would probably have saved if he hadn’t moved slightly out of the way.
Rovers’ four-goal lead was soon restored, however. Beardsell received the ball on the left following a corner on the right, spotted Mark Pritchett in space and played the ball carefully towards his central-defender. Pritchett’s control was perfect and he turned and lashed the ball left-footed into the net before MacLeod had properly sensed the danger.
In the wake of Tuffley’s fifth goal the hosts brought on Lewis Bainbridge for Idowu and, shortly afterwards, Jake Rhodes for Kent. But it was the final substitute who made the next telling contribution. Within seconds after coming on. for Beardsell, seventeen-year-old Niall Priday was in a perfect position to steer Bainbridge’s pass into the net after a quite wonderful run by the provider from wide on the right.

This was an evening when Tuffley’s defence was never seriously tested. The central-defensive pairing of Pritchett and Herbert have certainly had more difficult matches but to their sides both full-backs, Isaac Lawrence and Prictor, played with composure and maturity with the latter in particular nearly always available to help create meaningful attacks down the left in the second half.

So, Rovers won their first home match of 2018-19 at the fourth attempt. A year earlier that first home victory didn’t come until the eighth game so at least that awful statistic was not threatened with a repeat. With twelve goals scored in their last three matches Tuffley again proved that they have plenty of options in attack. Defensively they looked pretty solid too although not as tested as they are likely to be in most league games. Thornbury will have learned much from this evening as well. The scoreline does not flatter them because it was one-way traffic for most of the evening, but they kept their heads up and worked hard and, even in defeat, showed encouraging signs which ought to help them in the weeks ahead.

Westfields 3 Lydney Town 1 

Westfields went through to the Second Round of the Banbury Litho Floodlit Cup with an emphatic 3-1 home victory over Forest of Dean side Lydney Town at allpay.park last night. 

Westfields took their chances well in the first half which paid dividends and burst into a 3-0 interval lead with a superb curling shot from Ben Hayes in the 25th minute which was followed by another clinical finish by Joe Bates in the 28th minute. 

Westfields went 3-0 ahead just before the break when Keanu Cooper slotted home from close-range to give Westfields a comfortable 3-0 advantage at the break. However, after the interval it was the visitors who took up the running and produced a very strong second-half performance in which they pulled a goal back through Michael Thomas and then staged a really good late rally which saw them go close on a number of occasions. 

Ian Havard in the Westfields goal twice produced fine saves from point-blank range to keep the visitors at bay and both central defenders Kane Kahaki and Paul Hurrell got in excellent goal-line clearances to give Westfields a passage through to the Second Round of the Floodlit Cup. 

Westfields are without a game on Saturday as they are exempt in the next round of the Buildbase FA Vase and they now return to league duty on Saturday 21st September when they travel to Binfield in a top-of-the-table Hellenic League clash. 

Westfields’ next home game is Tuesday 24th September when they meet Brimscombe & Thrupp at allpay.park, kick-off 7.45pm.