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Hellenic League Match Report

12 October

Buildbase FA Vase First Round

Downton 0 Thornbury Town  4 (away view)

Another road trip in the FA Vase for Thornbury – this time to Wiltshire after the morning inspections deemed the pitch fit for play  With one enforced change - captain Toby Bennett missing out due to concussion sustained the week before - Thornbury were confident of victory despite being the bookies underdogs 

Downton claimed the first of their corners in the first minute only to be cleared by the first of many Brandon Benjamin headed clearances  The 3rd minute saw good work from Harry Brock down the left and Tom Webb continued his run into the box where he finished from close range 

The next half an hour saw Downton have most of the possession albeit mainly in their own half although the Thornbury defence, with Guest and Sage outstanding at the heart of it, had to work hard to contain the Downton numbers 8, 9 and 10 . Just after the half hour mark a Rhys Hodgson shot was well saved with a couple of shots at the other end saved by Kurtis Parkin 

On 39 minutes a long ball was not dealt with by Downton and Brock was able to lob the advancing keeper and Thornbury had doubled their lead with a goal out of nothing  Downton finished the half with a couple of tame efforts and at the break it remained 2-0 to the visitors. 

Thornbury, as they have recently, started the second half slowly but on 51 minutes the ball found its way to top scorer Craig Lancastle and he made no mistake, shooting low into the bottom corner for a 3-nil lead. Downton were never going to go down without a fight though and on the hour, Parkin was forced to make three saves in quick succession. Benjamin had a couple of efforts saved with ten minutes remaining, but Thornbury guaranteed their progress with a last-minute Luke Franklin goal from the edge of the box. 

So, the final whistle and 4-0 to the visitors, leaving the home supporters wondering how it had happened – Downton having edged the possession, shot and corner stats. 

But it’s the goals stat that matters, and Thornbury were in the draw for the second round made at FA HQ on Monday lunchtime. The outcome, a home tie with Cribbs FC from the Western League Premier Division to be played over the weekend of 2/3rd November 

GNP Sports 2 Malvern Town 4 (Away View)

Ten man Malvern Town have put in a display full of determination and resilience to run out 4-2 winners after extra-time in the Buildbase FA Vase first round at GNP Sports in a game which saw us two goals behind.

The first sight of goal fell to Curtis Smith whose effort was deflected out for a corner which the home side headed out at the far post. As we started to get into our stride, James Febery was unlucky in the eighth minute when he rattled the woodwork. A block from Harry Wickett denied Prinzel as he lined up a strike from the edge of the area for the home side as we managed to scramble clear the resulting corner. With 15 minutes on the clock, a good ball out of defence by Jay Sauntson picked out George Hayes who in turn fed Matt Turner but he was crowded out as he looked to get in a strike.

As the home side started to ask a few questions, Wickett got in a timely intervention before Haydn Whitcombe saved well from the resulting corner to deny Knight. Harry Clark was brought down in full flow as the home defender deservedly saw yellow as we looked to unlock our hosts’ rear-guard. On the half-hour mark Sam Hunt drilled in an effort from the angle which was saved before appeals for a penalty as Febery went down inside the area were waved away. A good spell of pressure ended with Ben Miller teeing up Hunt whose strike was deflected over as we pushed for an opening goal as the clock ticked down in the first half. The home side took the lead on 40 minutes when Hammond used his strength to break through and as his initial effort was well saved, he was alert to fire the rebound home. There was a booking for Febery at the end of the opening period for a foul as we went in at the break a goal behind.

The home side started the second period on the front-foot as Dickens flashed an inviting ball across the face of goal.
Wickett was brave to get in the way of a stinging drive from Prinzel as an edge started to creep increasingly into the game. The home side were able to double their lead on 64 minutes when Bryson forced the ball into the net.
A corner caused problems for the home ‘keeper as Prinzel had to hook the loose ball clear from in front of goal under pressure from Dave Reynolds.

On 75 minutes a foul on Turner gave us a free-kick in a promising position which Hunt stepped up and fired home to reduce the arrears. As we pushed for a leveller, Hunt saw free-kick gathered by the ‘keeper but then in stoppage time Harry Clark fired home sweetly from the angle to make it 2-2. There was still time for Hunt to be sent off and then Curtis Smith delivered a teasing cross which Turner headed just over right at the death.

It meant that the game went into extra-time and the home side caused early problems when Swinerton was denied before Febery did well to cover on the line in their next raid. Both sides were battling hard and showing plenty of determination. A sharp break on 105 minutes saw Clark feed Turner whose first touch saw the ball get away from him and this allowed the ‘keeper to make the block. A deft header from Reynolds went over at the start of the second period of extra-time as we looked purposeful despite having a man less. The offside flag came to the home side’s rescue when Clark’s low drive was pushed out and Turner turned the ball home but the celebrations were cut short.
It was end-to-end stuff as the home side went close but our pressure finally paid off when Ethan Moran slotted home following good work in the build-up by Clark and then Turner. Within seconds it was 4-2 as another break led by Clark ended with the ball falling to Moran who stayed cool to guide the ball home. The home side were inches away from converting on 118 minutes when a low ball found its way across the face of goal. At the death, Turner was unable to seize upon a cross as Reynolds fired well over but it mattered not as we secured a hard-earned 4-2 victory.

Malvern: Whitcombe, Smith, Hunt, Wickett, J. Sauntson, Febery, Hayes (Moran 75), Loader (Craven 61), Turner, Miller (Reynolds 65), Clark. Subs not used: Fusco, Weaver. 

Newton Abbot Spurs 0 Westfields 8 (away view) 

Westfields made a 300 mile round trip to Newton Abbot Spurs on Saturday and progressed safely into the Second Round of the Buildbase FA Vase with a resounding 8-0 away victory at the South West Peninsula League Premier Division club. 

Newton Abbot with an impressive home record this season were shaken in the 8th minute when Richard Greaves got on the end of a Sam Gwynne free kick to tuck the ball into the far corner of the net to give Westfields an early start and after a fairly even remaining first half Westfields increased their lead right on the stroke of half time, again from a cross which Ryan Green tucked away in a crowded goal mouth from 6 yards. 

This gave Westfields a really good interval lead and they were given an early boost in the second half when Matt Reeve put them 3-0 ahead with a 30 yard shot which flew into the top corner of the net. 

This signalled an avalanche of goals and Richard Greaves went on to complete his hat-trick with goals in the 52nd and then the 72nd minute and then Man of the Match Keanu Cooper grabbed a fine solo goal in the 80th minute. 

Westfields were then applauded with some fine play by the home crowd of 203 when Olly Butler tucked away the 7th goal before Ben Hayes lobbed in the 8th goal in the dying minutes to give Westfields a resounding 8-0 victory with a polished performance. 

Westfields now have 2 more cup fixtures this week when they travel to Bishops Cleeve on Tuesday night to play in the Banbury Litho Floodlit Cup and then on Saturday they travel to neighbours Wellington in the Third Round of the Bluefin Sport Challenge Cup at Wellington, kick-off 3pm. 

uhlsport football kituhlsport Hellenic League Premier Division

Tuffley Rovers 2 Holmer Green 1

Given Tuffley Rovers’ propensity to conjure up 3-3 scorelines this season, the visit of a team against whom they had shared that very same score at Glevum Park in 2018/19 might have been seen as an indicator of the potential outcome. However, the two teams met this season in very different situations to the circumstances associated with that fixture in January of this year. Rovers came into the game off the back of an excellent 4-1 victory over a high-flying Binfield squad seven days earlier, whilst Holmer Green arrived at Rovers’ home on a run of eight consecutive defeats, although they had recruited heavily since the appointment of their new manager, Matt Stowell.

What followed was a game that never looked likely to send in a 3-3 draw, as a lacklustre performance from Rovers – something akin to ‘after the Lord Mayor’s show’ given the victory the previous week – proved just enough to secure a third consecutive win against a visiting side who gave their all for their new manager but arguably lacked the quality to seriously threaten Rovers. Rovers handed a debut to Ollie Price, the former Cheltenham Town striker signed from Herefordshire club Westfields in midweek, and also recalled Ben Prictor, who was available after a two game absence, in the only changes from their last outing. By contrast, Stowell handed debuts to Luis Fernandes and Jan Greenslade, meaning Holmer Green have now used fifty-six different players in their seventeen competitive fixtures of the season.
It was the Rovers debutant, Price, who had the first real chance of note within three minutes, as he latched into an excellent pass from Dom Kent to break free of the Holmer Green defence but he shot across the face of George Hall’s goal, when he might have scored.

What followed that earlier opportunity was a contest played out in the middle of park, with neither keeper called into serious action, for almost thirty minutes. Hall was finally given some work, on 31 minutes, as he did well to ensure a relatively comfortable save from a Jack Beardsell free-kick was parried well away from goal. That proved to be a rare highlight in the first half, although in the closing moments of the first period Hall got down to smother the ball away from Price, as he almost capitalised on some defensive uncertainty, then, almost on the stroke of half-time, Rovers boss Mark Pritchett rounded three opposition players, before unleashing a venomous shot that beat Hall only to deflect away of the frame of the goal. Had it gone in, Pritchett might have struggled to recall having scored a better goal. The reality was that it was a positive piece of play to end a half that had rarely offered similar highlights.

The start of the second-half gave the home support more cause for optimism, as they launched a series of attacks, with the best opportunity coming via Ben Prictor’s powerfully struck effort, which flew across goal and narrowly over the bar.
Four minutes later, on 54 minutes, Rovers finally scored, as Kent finished off a move that saw the ball pass through several players, before Price rolled a beautifully weighted pass, so that the Rovers midfielder didn’t have to break his stride before powering a shot low and beyond Hall into the corner of the net. It was Kent’s twelfth goal for the club, on the day of his fiftieth competitive appearance and an excellent way to mark the occasion. Luke Merchant had been largely untroubled in the Rovers goal but he did everything necessary to keep out Luis Fernandes’ shot, when he was finally called into action after 58 minutes.

Just after the hour, Rovers made a first change of the afternoon, with Jake Rhodes replacing Adam Bloomfield, and although that would prove to be a pivotal moment by the end of the match, it was Merchant who made the next meaningful contribution for the hosts, as he made a good save to keep out Harrison Holbrook’s effort. As Rovers looked to regain a hold on the game, they went close as Beardsell shot narrowly over from 25 yards, on 70 minutes, after he cut inside two challenges before unleashing a trademark powerful shot. The decisive moment in the game came less than 10 minutes later. After Holmer Green had failed to clear their lines from a corner, Prictor swung over a superb cross that was met by a towering header from Rhodes and his effort looped over Hall, as well as two recovering defenders, to make it 2-0 to Pritchett’s team. When Holbrook pulled a goal back, in the dying moments of the game, heading home from 6 yards out to deny Rovers a first clean-sheet of the season, although there wasn’t another opportunity for him, or his teammates, to prevent Tuffley Rovers from earning three points that took them up to eighth in the uhlsport Hellenic League Premier Division table.

Division Two West

Letcombe 2 Shrivenham Development 1

Letcombe welcomed back keeper Danny Joyce, centre back Fraser Little and forward Kias Bonner-Shea, all of whom have missed the last two games, but were without skipper Chris Rivers.

Letcombe were slow to settle, and the visitors had the better of the opening exchanges. Home keeper Danny Joyce did well to turn a low cross round the post as well as handling two free kick confidently. He also had to race from his area to head away a long through ball, and came quickly off his line to block a shot from a narrow angle. Josh Fowler looked dangerous for Letcombe with his pace, but lacked the service he required before the hosts took the lead after 28 minutes. A long ball cleared the Shrivenham defence, and Fowler raced clear to place the ball past keeper Matthew Goldfinch. Letcombe almost added a second soon afterwards after good work on the left by Fowler, but James Wright saw his shot blocked on the line.

A much improved second half performance saw Letcombe take control of the game, and they increased their lead early in the half. Fowler raced away on the left, and his cross to the back post was volleyed home by Boyan Thorpe. Kias Bonner-Shea was a constant threat with his dribbling ability, but Letcombe were unable to score again and make the game safe. The well organised home defence of Jordan Smith, Mikey Annetts, Fraser Little and Luke Mulvey seldom looked like conceding a goal, but a great 30 yard strike from Zak Skinner flew over the head of Joyce with seven minutes remaining to give Shrivenham hope. They almost equalised with the last kick of the game when a cross from a free kick was headed goalwards from six yards, but somehow keeper Joyce managed to sit on the ball and secure three valuable points.

Letcombe were never at their best, and gave the ball away too easily in the first half, but probably deserved their narrow victory on their second half performance. The game was played in a good spirit, and the young Shrivenham side deserve great credit for trying to play good football for the whole 90 minutes.

Letcombe move to cup action for the next two weeks. They entertain Wallingford Town reserves on Saturday 19th in the Berks & Bucks Intermediate cup, and then travel to Faringdon on 26th for an Hellenic cup fixture.

Berks & Bucks FA Senior Trophy

Langley 1 Wokingham & Emmbrook 6 (Arthur Strand Independent Report)
Langley, a new team in the Hellenic League, took on the well established Sumas last Saturday at Summerleaze Village, North Maidenhead in the 2nd round of the Berks.& Bucks Trophy. Wokingham & Emmbrook went straight into the Langley half of the field and in the 4th minute, Luke Scope slotted the first goal beyond Harry Cushen's reach. In treu cup-tie fashion, Langley had re-grouped and their attack on the Sumas' defence produced a leveller 5 minutes later.after Jack Dawes retrieved the ball for a calm finish. A minute later, Sumas regained the lead with a long, low shot which slid inside the far post after 10 minutes, courtesy of Ben Broadhurst. Play resumed and Elliott Rushforth gave Harry Cushen a test. Langley took a free kick but Sumas collected the ball and went upfield again, producing a corner kick from which the header went wide. Langley countered and the ball deflected for another corner and Kamel Zielinski shot driven through the defenders but then they lost the ball when it was intercepted and so Sumas could return to Langley's half again. Langley missed out with a header by Jahdd Thomas which gave Woodward little bother and a couple of free kicks later, one each, Wokingham approached twice from the left wing, Scope's cross not connecting with Langley's Keeper, Cushen and with the second move from that direction, the cross took the ball too far. Nick Bateman played a useful ball through to Scope but off-side prevented a virtually undefended approach. Daniel Sharp took a shot from distance that went wide, his second miss in a couple of minutes and neither bothered Woodward. Scope then took a run along the left wing when he had two attempts successively, the second was successfully and Sumas had built a cushion at 3 - 1 before halftime, in the 43rd minute.

The second half began with Scope & Rushforth linking up together several times after the break and Scope continued his one-man domination up at the frontline although Cushen beat him to the ball at the end of that run. Langley players were trying to manouvre into a position to justify an attempt at goal but Woodward prevented that and Dean headed the ball clear from the next Langley approach. Callum Eagle was replaced by Josh Harris and Woodward saved twice more as Langley built up pressure. Sumas turned the table and Ellis Day sent a longish shot towards the further upright to add to the score in the 67th minute. Jake White and Josh Harris, both Suma substitutes, made their presence felt as White took a shot which deflected direct to Cushen then moments later White supplied an opportunity for Harrise but the ball glided over the bar. Langley wee clearly struggling by now but a free kick was deflected on the outside of the upright and a corner went Langley's way. Woodward saved the ball from the corner kick. It was Sumas attack that concluded the game in additional time as Wokingham took a corner kick. The aerial ball ended up with Elliott Rushforth finding the back of the net with so little time left that there was no restart from the centre spot. Wokingham & Emmbrook now go through to the next round of the Senior Trophy competition but have no fixture next Saturday. They visit Didcot Town Development on Tuesday 15th, however.

Wokingham & Emmbrook:Woodward,[GK], O'Connell, Broadhurst,C. Eagle, L. Eagle, [c], Dean, Byrne, N. Bateman, Scope, E.Day, Rushforth. Substitutes. White, Cummuskey, Harris, Carter, Edwards. Goal scorers. Luke Scope 3. Ben Broadhurst, Ellis Day and Elliott Rushforth.

Winslow United  3 Marlow United  2 (away view)

There will be no Berks & Bucks cup final this season for Marlow who fell to a late penalty in an exciting cup tie at Winslow. Having finished runners up in the previous three seasons Marlow embarked on a mission to make it fourth time lucky with a difficult away tie against a strong Winslow United. 

With central defender Jack Harding playing his first game of the season and knowing they were missing keys players Hurst and Hardie didn’t help the cause and that was exacerbated with the late withdrawal of Felix Prudden and Josh Fox on the morning of the game.  United’s bench consisted of coach Adam Dickens, 16 year old Charlie Flint and the injured Jack Woodbridge, the latter forced into running the line!  Still the starting eleven wasn’t too shabby and so it proved in an excellent game. 

The hosts gained the upper hand after a fairly even opening period, their midfield beginning to gain a grip of proceedings and the first real opportunity fell to Winslow on 12 minutes as United lost the ball on the right with Al Mckie then slipping as he attempted to clear, the ball being crossed where a dangerous header came close to opening the scoring.  Winslow didn’t have to wait long for that opener though with Marlow’s Lucas ending a run down the left with a cross being collected by keeper Ashmead, his clearance setting the hosts on the attack.  The ball eventually found Daniel Parsons on the United right and despite the close attention of a couple of defenders he curled a delightful shot across the stranded Partridge into the far corner of the goal.  A great goal that certainly gave the hosts a lift as they piled on the pressure, Partridge forced into good save from close range as Winslow looked for a second. 

It certainly wasn’t totally one way with both Lucas and the returning Bushay causing problems down either flanks but rarely did Marlow look like breaking their duck.  Lucas was on the end of a nasty challenge which resulted in a booking on 35 minutes and within a few seconds the same player gained retribution with a reckless tackle on his aggressor which resulted in him being cautioned.  Worse was to follow as from the resultant free kick Ryan Freshwater met the ball at the far post doubling Winslow’s lead with a firm header.  At this point another home goal could have resulted in a heavy defeat for the visitors , instead they stunned the home contingent by pulling back a goal with half time almost on us.  Bushay receiving the ball skipped past two challenges before pulling the ball back to JC Etienne who with his back to goal turned and fired a shot past the right hand of Ashmead into the corner of the net.  Buoyed by this Marlow attacked again, Woodward finding the keeper from an Etienne cross,  Bushay almost picking out Sutherland with a cross as the half concluded. 

Marlow came out full of purpose for the second half winning an early corner. Adam Dickens replaced an injured Jack Harding on 50 minutes as United began to gain the upper hand. Both Bushay and Lucas were proving a handful for the Winslow defence with Davis and Thomas now being the prominent in midfield. Etienne saw a 25 yard effort sail mightily close to the upright with Winslow retaliating through the ever dangerous Parsons bringing a save from Partridge. The keeper was again called into action following a quick break by the hosts with United’s Sutherland replying at the other end firing wide from Waldron’s cross when well placed. Daniel was replaced by Lynton Goss on 72 minutes for the hosts and three minutes later United pulled level. Qwam Thomas was fouled on the Marlow right, the same player swinging in a perfect free kick that was met by the head off Etienne who placed the ball firmly into the net. Fifteen minutes with all to play for and both teams went looking for that third goal. 

Winslow upped the pressure with Lucas relieving the visitors defence with a 50 yard run taking him into the area only for the ball to ricochet of the player for a goal kick after keeper AShmead fumbled the ball. The defining moment arrived on 86 minutes, Marlow losing control of the ball in midfield allowing a through ball to pick out Goss. He ran into the area to be confronted by Partridge who was adjudged to have fouled the player as he attempted to round him, the referee immediately pointing to the spot. Almond placed the ball on the spot and fired the kick into the left corner of the goal to seal the game. Waldron was forced into a desperate block a couple of minutes later with United then winning a free kick before the referee blew the final whistle. Marlow can feel they played a full part in an excellent cup tie against a very good Winslow team who will be one of the favourites as the competition progresses. 

Marlow:Partridge, Woodward, Waldron, Harding, Mckie, Thomas (C), Davis, Sutherland, Etienne, Bushay, Lucas  Subs. Adam Dickens for Jack Harding

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