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Hellenic League Match Report

15 September

Buildbase FA Vase Second Round Qualifying

Wokingham & Emmbrook 0 Thornbury Town 1 (An Arthur Strand Independent Report)
Suma's were at home to Thornbury Town in the F.A. Vase Preliminary Round 2 last Sunday at Lowther Road, Emmbrook. The visitors are 11th in the Division 1 West of the Hellenic League about equivalent with Wokingham & Emmbrook. The game got underway and an early corner kick produced nothing but Thornbury took a free kick and gained a corner from it. The ball came back to Thornbury and was passed back to Scott McLeod whose long range shot was blocked by Suma’s defence The forwards were up and down the field for a spell with Suma’s eventually sending in the ball which keeper, Kurtis Parkin claimed. McLeod was making his presence felt and the visitors missed a chance with another free kick following up just after that. Toby Bennett made territorial gain and the ball was switched back toCraig Lancastle who was battling away but off side stopped progress for the visitors. Luke Scope as industrious as ever supplied Jake White with a chance but the low ball missed the far post. Thornbury then countered and Sean Woodward Sean cleared the balls upfield. Although sporadic, spells of good passing by both sides broke up the the settled play, too settled at times.

Suma’s broke into the Thornbury half after a quick drinks break then Dan Carter went on a long sprint along the wing and found Jake White as Thornbury conceded a corner. Thornbury broke away but gave away a free kick, Carter finding Scope. McLeod was busy again but Woodward caught the ball from the bounce as a free kick from the other half went into his penalty area. Suma’s then followed this with a spell of accurate passes from midfield into the penalty area which came to a halt. Ollie Rawnsley sent the ball on to Luke Franklin as Thornbury found space but Woodward snuffed out that move. Carter went on another long run and sent the ball towards Luke Scope who could not connect with the ball. As Thornbury countered the ball was deflected out for a corner and half time no score.

After the break Thornbury started with a double substitution, Brock was replaced by Jacob Farthing and Viner by Rhys Hodgson. Wokingham earned the first free kick of the second half when Jake White was fouled and Suma’s lost possession followed by the ball being hoiked high over the field, leaving Woodward able to collect it. Woodward saved again and the ball was sent in yet again. This time offside gave Suma's a free kick Substitute Rhys Hodgson, was shaping up for an effort but the ball was deflected behind for a corner that was headed away by Suma's defence. From a free kick Nick Bateman found Parkin and the aerial ball was cleared eventually arriving at skipper, Liam Eagle's feet. He had taken throw-ins and worked hard throughout the game. Suma's still needed that one goal as time rolled on. Nick Bateman, after a free kick to Suma's, sent one in but Parkin saved it.

With 90 minutes in sight, Suma's missed wide of the upright and Thornbury had possession again when Woodward was required to save from Brandon Benjamin. Parkin sent the ball upfield where Woodward caught the ball off the bounce. McLeod hit the ball high and wide Thornbury took 3 free kicks and then broke through the Suma's defence with about 10 minutes to go when Craig Lancastle scored.

Suma's tried again to battle. Substitute, Elliott Rushforth got through into the penalty area but his cross was unsuccessful and the final whistle meant some disappointment for the Suma's. The first half was fairly even but the double substitution at half time made the difference for Thornbury. Rhys Hodgson and Jacob Farthing with fresh legs and a confident approach helped Thornbury through to the next round.

Wokingham & Emmbrook: Woodward,[GK], Carter, Edwards, C. Eagle, L.Eagle (c), Cummuskey, Harris, N. Bateman, Scope, White, Byrne. Substitutes: Ben Broadhurst, Elliott Rushforth, Connor Holland

14 September

Buildbase FA Vase Second Round Qualifying

Malvern Town 5 NKF Burbage 2

Malvern Town made progress in the Buildbase FA Vase with a 5-2 victory over NKF Burbage, in a game that was played in the sunshine at Stourport.

We made a bright start just like the weather and forced a series of early corners, which came to nothing before the visitors went close when a cross whipped in from the right was fired over. The 13th minute proved to be lucky for us when a long throw-in found its way to Harry Clark who cut inside and fired home. Within a couple of minutes of the goal we were able to double our advantage when a corner was half-cleared by the ‘keeper under pressure and as the ball came back in, James Febery looped his header into the net. Some neat link-up play between Matt Fusco and Ethan Moran ended with the latter flashing the ball across the face of goal but there was no-one on hand to profit.

As we stepped up a gear, Sam Hunt joined the attack and went close and then some more positive play saw Jay Sauntson find Clark who in turn threaded a ball through for Matt Turner but the visitors’ ‘keeper was alert to clear outside his area. There was a warning from the visitors when a low strike flashed wide but shortly afterwards we were able to make it 3-0 when Moran curled home a beauty. On the half-hour mark Moran fed George Hayes who was thwarted by the ‘keeper and then Clark saw a low cross blocked by the feet of the ‘keeper as the loose ball was scrambled clear.

In between the visitors saw a strike sail over and then a strike was straight at Haydn Whitcombe as they looked for a way back into the game. As half-time approached, we won a penalty for handball and Turner stayed cool to fire home from the spot. Within minutes, Turner was fouled inside the area to win another penalty and this time Fusco was on hand to find the net and in doing so give us a five-goal lead to take into the interval.

It was the visitors who started with purpose but they were almost caught on the break as Turner made progress before picking out Moran who was thwarted by the ‘keeper. Moments after entering the fray, Ben Miller lifted the ball just over following a good run.

Our opponents grabbed a goal back on the hour with a penalty – the third of the game – and as we looked to up the tempo once more, Turner was denied by a combination of the ‘keeper and covering defender. Clark went close twice in quick succession as firstly he strike was deflected over and then he showed good feet to break into the area only to see his effort hit the base of the post. With 20 minutes left of the clock there was a let-off when the visitors broke the offside trap only to squander the opening, but credit to them because they kept pressing and asking questions.

An acrobatic effort from Clark hit the underside of the crossbar and despite loud shouts for a goal, the game continued. Clark then tried another overhead effort shortly afterwards which was saved. With time running out, Fusco and Curtis Smith combined to set up Miller who went close with a low drive. There was still time for the visitors to pull another goal back as the ball was lifted home as the final action saw a free-kick in a good position fired over by Louis Loader but it mattered not as we secured out place in the next round with an impressive first half showing.

Malvern: Whitcombe, Hayes (Smith 82), Hunt, A. Sauntson, J. Sauntson, J. Febery, Moran (Miller 54), Craven (Loader 58), Turner, Fusco, Clark. Subs not used: B. Febery, Weaver.

Wellingborough Town 1 Holyport 0 (away view)

Holyport made the long journey to Northampton for the second qualifying round of the FA Vase. Port put in a solid performance for the full 90 minutes, it looked like it was going into extra time as nothing could separate the teams, however an unlucky own goal in the 85th minute led to Wellingborough Town progressing to the next round. Wellingborough had the first real chance of the game 15 minutes in, with a good ball delivered into the box, their number 11 had a good first touch but fired wide of the goal. Holyport's first chance fell after some good linkup play between Ackerman and Driffill, with the latter also firing wide of the post from the edge of the box. Port were unlucky not to take the lead in the 35th minute, with good play from Deverall on the wing crossing a great ball into the box, putting Wellingborough under pressure to clear their lines, narrowly avoiding an own goal.

The second half started with Holyport nearly scoring one minute in, Driffill weaved his way through the Wellingborough defence, whose pull back found Forisky's left foot, seeing another shot wide of the post. The only goal of the game came in the 85th minute when the ball was played through Port's defence, who had switched off as the linesman flagged for offside. The ref deemed no interference and allowed play to continue, the ball was crossed into Holyport's box, with Hyndman miss-hitting his clearance, placing the ball into his own net unchallenged from 10 yards out.

Port deserved to take the game to extra time after a solid 90 minute display against the higher level opposition but walked away at full time 1-0 down.

Wembley 1 Risborough Rangers 3 (away view)

Rangers wrote a new chapter in their history with a thoroughly deserved 3-1 win at step 5 Wembley in this F.A Vase 2nd Qualifying Round game at Vale Farm. Risboro’ started slowly against the Lions but once they found their rhythm there was only going to be one winner. Wembley had a couple of half chances in the opening exchanges but Rangers started to click, Kyle Faulkner had the reds first real chance but after setting himself up fired a chance just over, Risboro’ didn’t have long to wait to open the scoring when in the 10th minute Ben Hammond whipped a cross in from the Rangers left side between the Lions keeper and defenders and was met by Brian Haule who stroked the ball home to notch his 11th goal of the campaign but more importantly put Rangers a goal up. One nil soon became two nil when in similar fashion to their first this time Faulkner was the provider and with the goal gaping Sam Pekun was on hand to head Rangers into a 2-0 lead, cue Sam’s usual celebrations.

The Lions were stunned. In the 32nd minute a Laurence Clark through ball to put Pekun in again and with Wembley gloves man Karl Beaumont rushing out, Pekun calmly placed the ball past him and into the bottom left hand corner of the net to give the visitors a 3-0 lead. It was now Rangers who were roaring and not their hosts. 

The second half was largely a stop-start affair with the referee Robert Trinder taking centre stage which left most mystified by some of his decisions. Sam Pekun was poleaxed shortly after the restart, but the referee deemed it to be a fair challenge. Wembley reduced the arrears in the 55th minute when they won a penalty when in a crowded area, the ball hit Jason Castello in the stomach but was adjudged he handled the ball. Castello was then promptly given a yellow card for the offence. Yassine Femi-Gil stepped up and calmly placed the ball into the bottom with Jack Brooker diving the other side. This buoyed the step 5 outfit as they looked to claw back the two-goal deficit with the Lions seemingly winning all the decisions and the yellow cards flowing from the man in the middle. After another crunching tackle, this time on Joel Read which left the Rangers captain flat out, the Risborough players were outraged and as players from both sides squared up, Alex Sethi was pushed to the ground by an opposing player.

Once calm was restored the ref showed both yellows cards to the Lions player and to Sethi. With just under ten minutes to go Kyle Faulkner was sin-binned for dissent, when after a challenge from a Wembley player which meant Rangers were to see out the remaining time with only 10 men. To be fair to Rangers they doggedly stuck to their task of keeping Wembley out and apart from a couple of ‘near misses’ the Risborough lead stayed intact. There was great celebration when Mr Trinder blew the final whistle as Rangers for the first time in their history had booked a place in the Competition Proper of the FA Vase.

Sadly, for us Alex Sethi was shown a second yellow card then the red as they left the field and he will now miss next Saturday’s encounter with his former side Penn & Tylers Green. This did not dampen the spirits of the Rangers team who continue their unbeaten run but are more so they are creating their own memories by becoming a very special group of players the club have seen. 

Princes Risborough: Brooker, Castello, Read (c), Sethi, Urquhart, Hammond, Clark (Squire-Adams 80), Haule (D), Haule (B), Faulkner, Pekun

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Letcombe 1 Chippenham Town Development 1

This match was played on a very hard and dry surface which made ball control difficult for both sides. A very young Chippenham Town development side tried to play good football at all times, and always looked dangerous going forward, but well organised defences allowed few goal scoring opportunities during the first half. Kias Bonner-Shea was a constant threat on the right for Letcombe, as was his opposite number Marshall Thompson for Chippenham, although the latter was cautioned for simulation early in the game. Luke Polding had a chance for Letcombe as half time approached, but his well hit shot was straight at visiting keeper Ellis Parker. The hosts took the lead in the last minute of the half when an in swinging corner from Josh Thornton was headed into the net at the near post by Kias Bonner-Shea.

The visitors equalised early in the second half with a 30 yard drive from Luca Robinson after a partial clearance had fallen to him. A poor back pass allowed Dan Warre a clear run on goal for the visitors, but Letcombe keeper Ben Beasley blocked the shot. Fred Porter was sent to the sin bin for the visitors, and Josh Thornton headed just over the bar before a low cross from Alex Harrison evaded everybody as it flashed across the six yard box.

The game ended in controversy as Josh Thornton raced clear to place the ball in the net for Letcombe with five minutes remaining. The young Chippenham substitute who was acting as assistant referee then raised his flag after the ball was in the net. The referee had a long conversation with him before disallowing the goal. A draw was probably a fair result on the balance of play, but Letcombe were left feeling that they had been denied all three points under controversial circumstances.

berks and bucks fa logoBerks & Bucks FA Senior Trophy

Reading Town U23 2 Didcot Town Development 3

Didcot travelled to Rivermoor to meet Thames Valley Premier side Reading City U23. Missing six regular players through call ups injury and unavailability.The Railwaymen only had 13 fit available players for the tie , a matter which nearly cost them the game. 

Both teams had trouble controlling the ball on a hard pitch and as both closed down the opposition quickly chances to score were rare. Ty Hamilton and Ross MacDonald had two noteworthy shots each without hitting the back of the net and Reading went close with a shot just past the post on the half hour. Ty Hamilton who was seeing plenty of the ball battled past two defenders and was brought down in the penalty box in the 40th minute. Ross MacDonald converted the penalty to give Didcot a one goal half time lead. 

The lead did not last long in the second half as Didcot gave the ball away in the first minute and James Barnett cleverly kicked the ball off the line to prevent the hosts equalising. Just 2 minutes later though and the Reds had failed to learn their lesson again giving the ball away easily and this time Jehmeil McNeil shot home to equalise. 

Two minutes later though and Ty Hamilton scooped the ball over the bar for Didcot who were keen to regain the lead. This duly happened just before the hour mark when a Ty Hamilton free kick was headed back across goal by Ross MacDonald for Keiran Collins to flick the ball home from close in. 

At this stage Didcot started to suffer some injuries and the two substitutions were made however the injuries mounted up and Didcot had a couple of walking wounded for the rest of the game. Substitute David Michno had a couple of excellent shots saved by the home keeper. Didcot again lost the ball when a simple 5 yard pass should have been made and Reading capitalised on the break when Bub Touray shot home the equaliser with 7 minutes of normal time left. 

With many injury stoppages and a drinks break the match headed in to a lengthy stoppage time period. Hamilton took a swinging free kick which the home keeper could not hold properly and Ross MacDonald was on hand to hook the ball overhead and in to the net to restore the Didcot lead. All was not plain sailing though as Harry Moreton went off with a bad injury leaving 10 players to battle out a further 5 minutes for the win which moves Didcot in to the second round. 

Woodley United 0 Wallingford Town 1 

On a glorious September afternoon, United gave a much improved performance compared to the previous Saturday but went down to an eighty eighth minute goal by last season’s league leading goal scorer Charlie Silkstone when he found himself unmarked with only James Stroud to beat in the Woodley goal. 

The visitors started well and it was Silkstone who had the first effort on goal after twelve minutes to be denied by a one handed Stroud save for a corner. A clash of heads that saw Town’s Jake Smith suffer a broken nose coupled with a series of free kicks saw the half stop and start but gradually Woodley found their rhythm although their chances were few and far between with the best being a fine run and shot by Ben Anderson and Max Laschok firing over the cross bar. 

Sam McDermaid hired wide of Stroud’s goal five minutes before half time while Woodley’s Bailey Hill had a free kick tipped over the visitors cross bar by Camben Laver. 

United started the second half strongly with Anderson seeing a powerful shot rebound of the upright and Laschok getting into a good position only for the ball to get trapped beneath this feet. Stroud kept the match goal less when he parried a shot that he saw late after sixty four minutes. Hill saw a second goal bound free kick parried away by Laver while Stroud again saved and Conor Clarke cleared on his goal line as the game became stretched with both teams looking for a winner. 

Woodley survived a scare with fifteen minutes remaining when Town’s Ben Taylor hit the post while good play involving Laschok and Anderson saw the later shoot wide. 

With the game edging towards a stalemate and penalties, United became stretched in defense allowing Silkstone to score the decisive goal.