Binfield 1 Fairford Town 2 (Arthur Strand Independent Report)
Binfield were at home to Fairford on Saturday last which meant the probability of an entertaining game and this turned out to be the case. Early on Binfield went forward and created a corner kick which Fairford cleared and took the ball to the Binfield end where Elliott Legg thwarted the approach. Fairford then took to approach work along the left wing but offside prevented a finish. As Binfield countered a long aerial ball from the middle landed in an almost empty Fairford penalty area with no Binfield forwards in a position to run on to it.
The visitors then took a corner kick which the Moles cleared and the ball reached Josh Helmore took a shot but Harrison Ellis made the save with the following incoming ball from the wing arriving for Ellis to claim. Binfield pressed again but Fairford cleared and the next push forward was also prevented A Binfield free kick. was headed out and Binfield's next move was a chipped in well but was headed out for a throw in. The roof of the net was the next landing place for the ball from Binfield's next corner kick. Short and Moore were passing the ball but Fairford won the ball after soaking up a long spell of pressure from the Moles. Legg sprinted back into defence to control the ball, passing it into midfield. Jamie McClurg was able to fire the ball at goal but too high and still no goals. Ben Lodge was offside and Binfield's Tom Melledew had a crack but Ellis saved. Helmore took aim but without success and then Binfield had a free kick followed by a further free kick. From this McClurg began to run rings round several defenders in the vicinity of the penalty area but before assistance was available he was eventually beaten. A point blank shot brought out a superb save from Ellis and Binfield still had not scored. Josh Howell had a long range attempt and Ellis made another great save. Half time was not far away and Lodge provided Thompson with an effort which did not quite connect. Dan Bailey then hammered the ball over the bar. Binfield pressed forward and the half concluded after a free kick for a foul on the Fairford keeper.
As the second half started still with no score, Fairford had a free kick which was taken by Robbie James. Binfield cleared the ball and went back to the other end where McClurg tried a header. Although that bore no fruit, the next occasion brought along a scintillating shot in the 62nd minute by Josh Helmore. Fairford replaced Mason Thompson with Charlie Bailey Two visitors saw the yellow card, Bailey D. and Bennett as Fairford sought a goal which eventually arrived in the 83rd minute scored by Nathan Hawkins. Jemel Johnson replaced Helmore and then drama in Fairford's penalty area occurred when clumsy contact gave Binfield a penalty which was saved by Ellis. Once Fairford cleared the defence, they pushed hard for a winner that arrived in due course when the ball glanced off the cross bar and Harvey Scholes emphatically cracked the ball in from an angle.
Late in the day, Sean Moore was sent into the sin bin. Roger Herridge was also disciplined with a red card held high and Binfield knew that they lost the game by failing to take their chances but, overall, it was a closely fought game played in a very good spirit generally.
Binfield : Williams,[GK], Thomson-Wheeler, Legg, Melladew, Gallimore, Gavin, Howell, McClurg, Moore,[c], Short, Helmore. Substitutes: Shaw, Johnson, Kamara, Wheeler, Chamberlain.
Flackwell Heat 1 Shrivenham 2 (Report by Tom Burton )
Shrivenham continued their recent surge in the Hellenic League Premier Division by beating Flackwell Heath at Wilks Park on Saturday afternoon. The Wiltshire outfit put in a solid, workman-like performance to overcome the Heathens who lacked a bit of bite and creativity at times.
It was the away side who started well, pinning Flackwell back and looking for an opening. Antonio Gerrish had two efforts in the opening knockings. The first flew past the post, the second was well saved by ever-present Flackwell ‘keeper Aaron Watkins. Flackwell developed their first notable chance after 14 minutes. A fantastic flowing move which started with Watkins in goal. After 2 or 3 passes the ball ended up with frontman Dean Morgan. The ex-Wycombe man swivelled and slid the ball in behind for Taylor. The central midfielder, not known for his goals, hit his strike just wide of the far post. Flackwell proving yet again they’re dangerous on the break.
7 minutes later the deadlock was broken. Flackwell had settled into the game and started enjoying more possession as the half progressed. This time it was Taylor who turned provider. Simmo had jinked down the left-hand side, he squared the pass to Taylor who had his shot well blocked. The ball found itself nestled at Simeon Weekes’ feet. The striker was clinical with his finish, sliding it past Curtis Meare in the Shrivvy net. The away side furious that far side official Mike George had not flagged for offside.
Flackwell looked to push on but it was the away side who had a second wind late in the first half. Shrivenham probed the Heathens back four and a minute before half time their efforts were rewarded. Ryan Stanners robbed Flackwell full-back Tyler Gregory 25 yards from goal. He sprinted through on goal and slotted his chance past an advancing Watkins. A suckerpunch for Flackwell who will be kicking themselves as they continue to make unforced errors that lead to goals. The sides went in level at the break.
The game was halted on 47 minutes as the linesman’s flag seemingly fell apart before his eyes. Referee Jack Bloom assisted before play was resumed. 3 minutes later Meare was in action again as Khalid Simmo struck a rocket towards the goal. Meare saved smartly down to his right.
With Flackwell under pressure, a change of personnel was needed. James Mansfield came on for Tyler Gregory and made his 50th appearance for the Heathens. Mansfield is still yet to score for the reds.
The away side will feel hard done by as on the hour mark as Gerrish skinned Cameron Gray on the right-hand side and Gray brought the winger down in the penalty area. Both sets of sides seemingly stopping for a split second knowing there was only one outcome. To their amazement, both referee and linesman waved the penalty shouts away. Shrivvy rightly fuming for what was a stonewall penalty.
Shrivenham continued to turn the screw. Getting used to Flackwell’s style and the surface. With 18 minutes to play a lovely through pass found young Zac Skinner clean through on goal. Skinner rounded Watkins and tucked the ball home. His first league goal for Shrivvy. With their backs against the wall, Flackwell reacted positively. The bench and supporters encouraging the reds forward and their encouragement was almost rewarded with 15 minutes to play. A well-worked move gave Morgan half a yard and he hit a lovely curling shot which was well saved. The resulting corner amounted to nothing.
Flackwell pressed and probed but could not find the equaliser. The win sees Shrivenham rise to third in the Hellenic League table. Flackwell sit 13th albeit having played a few games less than their rivals.
Flackwell Heath : Watkins, Gray, Gregory (56’ Mansfield), Burrell, Bailey (c), Ceesay, Ushiro-Lumb, Taylor, Morgan, Weekes (70’ Sinclair), Simmo.
Flackwell Heath 1 Shrivenham 2 (away view)
Shrivenham recorded their fifth straight league win at Wilks Park on Saturday afternoon, with a workman-like performance to notch up 16-points in their last six league fixtures.
In another competitive encounter between the two clubs, the game looked to be pretty standard fare early on, with Antonio Gerrish seeing a first minute opportunity flashing just wide, before Aaron Watkins blocked another Gerrish effort just three minutes later. The home side saw their first real chance in the 9th minute, when Khalid Zacaria-Simmo carved out a fantastic run along the left flank to deliver a great ball to Dean Morgan – but he saw his effort drift just wide of the upright. Five-minutes later, the hosts almost broke the deadlock after a good spell of possession football, but this time it was Jack Taylor who saw his effort end up wide of the mark.
On 20-minutes however, the home side did take the lead – if be it, in fortuitous fashion when a deflected shot from Taylor fell to the feet of Simeon Weekes – who looked to have been offside added to a suspicion of handball, slid his effort past Curtis Meare and open the scoring.
Both sides continued to battle, however approaching the interval, it was Shrivvy who began to dominate proceedings as they looked to get a foothold back in the game, but no sooner had Tom Ballard seen his brilliant free-kick fizz narrowly wide with five-minutes to go to the break, Ryan Stanners made no mistake three minutes later when he slid the ball beyond Watkins after a rare mistake from Tyler Gregory handed him a simple chance to level things at the break.
As expected, the high standards continued after the intermission, with Meare being called in to action on 50-minutes and he produced a great stop from Zacaria-Simmo low down, while Stanners went down in the hosts box a minute later – and after nothing was given, Ollie Rejek went narrowly over with his follow-up effort.
James Mansfield entered the field for his 50th club appearance three-minutes later – replacing Tyler Gregory, before Steve Robertson almost put Shrivvy ahead on 56-minutes, but his flicked effort went just wide. Stanners was denied his second of the game on 58-minutes, but Watkins was up to the challenge and made a good save and when Gerrish was brought down in what the hosts described as a “stonewall penalty” two minutes later, it wasn’t looking to be their day when both the referee and his assistant, waved away the protests.
With 70-minutes gone, youngster Zac Skinner came on for Stanners, while Leius Sinclair swapped with Weekes before Gerrish made way for Danny Hale a minute later and with almost his first touch, Skinner managed to round Watkins after he picked up a through-ball and place his effort calmly in to the back of the net for his first ever Uhlsport Hellenic Premier League goal. Their tails up – Ballard almost made it three n 75-minutes, but this time Watkins was equal to the effort before the ball went down the opposite end of the field and Morgan agonised as he saw Meare produce another great save to produce a corner. Skinner had another opportunity to score with six-minutes remaining, but his effort went wide and by the time Liam Edmondson replaced Scott Chilcott (85-minutes) a hard fought three points had all but been secured for their second 2-1 win at Wilks Park in as many seasons.
Flackwell Heath : Aaron Watkins, Cameron Gray, Tyler Gregory (James Mansfield), James Burrell, Daniel Bailey ©, Mo Ceesay, Marcus Ushiro-Lumb, Jack Taylor, Dean Morgan, Simeon Weekes 1 (Leius Sinclair ) & Khalid Zacaria-Simmo. Unused subs: Patrick Phillips, Ben Vicos, Marcus Richardson.
Shrivenham : Curtis Meare, Scott Chilcott (Liam Edmondson), Jordan Morris, Sam Ockwell ©, Aaron Dainton, Antonio Gerrish (Danny Hale), Nick Stanley, Ollie Rejek, Steve Robertson, Ryan Stanners 1 (Zac Skinner 1) & Tom Ballard. Unused subs: None.
Holmer Green 3 Tuffley Rovers 4 (away view)
When you have a game between two sides who have jointly played twenty-five times this season, with an aggregate total of 113 goals, it is perhaps no surprise that by the end of 90 minutes a seven goal thriller ended with the slimmest of margins in favour of a team whose twelve preceding games have featured four goals or more goals on ten occasions.
Tuffley Rovers travelled to High Wycombe on Saturday to face a team who have struggled this season, including a 2-1 defeat when the two teams had met 35 days previously, but who were much improved on the side that had been beaten at Glevum Park. Despite concerns as to whether the game would go ahead on Friday, Rovers arrived at Holmer Green to find the pitch in excellent condition and playing for the second time in 8 days, for the first time since they had last played against their hosts.
Ryan Latter was handed his debut in goal for the hosts, whilst his opposite number, Freddie Lapworth, was making a debut for Rovers, having been signed on a work experience deal from Cheltenham Town a little over 24 hours earlier. Despite the final score, both keepers could probably reflect on their respective performances with a deal of satisfaction. The former, Latter, was kept busier in the early stages of the game, although the first chance of note, ten minutes in, saw him save comfortably from Dom Kent, as the Rovers midfielder shot from distance. No more than sixty seconds later, Mark Pritchett’s free-kick drew a save from Latter and when the ball ballooned into the air Adam Bloomfield’s header back across goal went a yard wide.
Those chances had been the closest Rovers came to opening the scoring during a period of relative dominance and they were made to pay for a failure to capitalise on those early chances, as a ball pumped deep into their territory found Lewis Workman in acres of space and he ran clear, before comfortably slotting the ball beyond Lapworth and into the Rovers net. It might have been 1-1 almost immediately after, but when Ross Langworthy met Ben Prictor’s excellent cross with a deft header low into the corner, Latter made a tremendous diving save to turn the ball away from the goal. The Holmer Green keeper made another terrific stop a few minutes later, a he turned Bloomfield’s shot over the bar from close range.
Prictor, who was a pivotal figure in most of Rovers’ attacks, had the next effort, but struck the ball wide of the goal from 20 yards, and that effort was the last before the hosts extended their lead, when Pritchett was adjudged to have fouled Workman, giving Denis Pepelimarkski a free-kick and the chance to curl a sublime effort beyond Lapworth and into the top corner. At 2-0 down, ten minutes before half-time, many teams might have struggled to see a way back into the game, but this Rovers team have mounted spirited comebacks on so many times this season, that it was no surprise that by the time the interval arrived Pritchett’s side would be level. First, Kieran Alder profited from Jack Beardsell’s excellent run and cross to bury the ball beyond Latter from six yards, then a terrific ball from Prictor found Langworthy, who chested the ball beyond his marker, Stone Muzinga, allowing Rovers’ skipper, Macaulay Herbert, to bundle the ball past Latter from close range.
When the second period started Rovers went straight on the attack and when Langworthy was fouled deep in Holmer Green territory, Alder stepped up to send a free-kick goalward, and beyond Latter, as it went through a crowd of players, to make it 3-2. Hopes that the lead would be something to build on were extinguished relatively quickly. Lapworth twice saved to keep out efforts on goal, before he was called on to make a third save and his block only fell to Green’s substitute, Paw Kotwica, who lifted the ball beyond the multitude of bodies on the line, to make it 3-3.
For all the pressure that then followed, Rovers couldn’t find a way past Latter and his defence, but their defiance was broken nine minutes from the end of the 90 minutes, when Rovers scored the crucial goal, as Langworthy produced an intelligent header that looped past Latter and into the net. Rovers continued to camp in the Holmer Green half for the remainder of normal time, but then seemed intent on giving their hosts a chance to find their way back into the game, conceding a series of free-kicks that enabled the Buckinghamshire side to apply pressure, but some superb defending from Pritchett, Herbert and Prictor, in particular, proved enough to ensure Lapworth wasn’t called into action and to take Rovers to a vital three points that propelled them to ninth in the Premier Division table.
Virginia Water 3 Bishops Cleeve 2
In an entertaining match against high flying Bishops Cleeve, it was the visitors who started brightly, with some crisp passing and movement, albeit they did not take advantage of their early dominance.
Indeed, the home side also found their rhythm, with the front three of Adam McNamara, Joel Drew and Lorenzo ‘Lenny’ Di Felice, looking the real deal with their speed and goal threat. On 21 minutes, Lenny was put through by a terrific pass from Josh Hennah, and his first time shot from 20 yards gave their keeper no chance.
Back came Cleeve, and from a quick throw in Kai Norton ghosted past two poor defensive efforts, to side foot the equaliser beyond Matt – a lead Waters' only held for barely 5 minutes. Soon after Cleeve could have gone ahead but for a point blank save by Matt, when we failed to deal with a long set piece.
Undaunted, Waters broke up the left side, forcing a corner, from which Josh collected the ball short, and crossed to the predatory Adam to side foot in from close range on 29 minutes. Waters made it 3-1 on 39 minutes, when a flowing move found Louis Sanders in the box, who dummied the Cleeve defence, for his shot to rebound off the post, but Lenny was on hand to tap home. It could have been more, with Adam and Joel going close, and Lenny seeing two further efforts fizz just wide. With the half petering out, a defensive lapse was punished by Jack Watts, to bring Bishops Cleeve back into the game. A real absorbing contest, with VW ahead 3-2 at the break.
It was a similar pattern in the second, but somehow with no further goals? Adam, Josh Hill, Finn Evered, all had chances that went agonisingly wide or saved by their keeper. Virginaa Water lost Paul Burrows to a second yellow card on 78 minutes, and had a terrific save from Matt to thank late on, for preserving our lead and deserved win on the day. A good day for the home side ahead of the long trip to Westfields next week.
Malvern Town 3 Hereford Pegasus 3
In front of a crowd of 232 ten man Malvern Town played out a hard-fought and highly entertaining local derby to share the spoils with Hereford Pegasus in a 3-3 draw in our first League game at the redeveloped HDANYWHERE Community Stadium.
The opening exchanges saw Charlie Weaver alert to make a timely challenge just outside his area as the visitors started with purpose. A neat ball from Ethan Moran saw him set George Hayes away and his effort almost looped over the ‘keeper then Louis Loader was wide as he tried his luck from distance as we started to get into our stride.
On the quarter-hour mark, an inviting ball in from Loader was headed just wide by Harry Clark, then Loader threaded Kyonn Evans through and he took the ball well in his stride before seeing his attempt blocked. There was no offside flag as Langford broke through for the visitors but his strike was weak. At the other end, a rasping effort from Moran went just over after he did well in the build-up.
The opening goal arrived on 27 minutes when Clark and Moran linked up well for the latter to guide the ball home. With ten minutes to go until the break, Febery was red-carded following a challenge on Jones. When play resumed, Clark’s low drive was saved by Powell. The visitors were able to level the scores on 42 minutes when a cross-come-shot from Ellis on the right found its way into the net. It was our opponents who ended the half strongly, however in stoppage time, Turner did well to tee up Moran who fired inches wide as we went in at the break level.
The second period started with Langford firing over from a good position for the visitors. Then the same player saw a strike deflected over as the resulting corner was scrambled clear from in front of goal. We regained the lead just before the hour-mark when a delicious cross from Turner was perfect for the head of Clark who made no mistake. After a low cross from Clark was scrambled away, the visitors equalised again on 66 minutes when Langford fired home from inside the area. It prompted a spell of pressure from the visitors which saw Ellis show good feet before curling inches wide and then Boyle almost profited from a loose clearance.
The visitors went ahead for the first time in the game when Worthing found the net with a powerful drive in the 71st minute, but soon afterwards it was 3-3 when Clark’s low cross wasn’t properly cleared and Matt Fusco was able to drill a low effort home. Both sides were pushing for the winner as a break from Turner ended with his low strike lacking the necessary power then Loader displayed some fantastic battling in the middle of the park to win the ball. A neat move ended with Turner failing to profit from Clark’s cross and as we entered stoppage time, both sides had chances with Clark and then Bryan Craven both denied as it ended all square in a hard-fought and highly entertaining local derby.
Malvern Town :Weaver, Hayes (Fusco 60), Wickett, A. Sauntson, J. Sauntson, J. Febery, Loader (Emblem 87), Moran, Turner, Evans (Craven 46), Clark. Subs not used: B. Febery, Griffiths. Red Card: J. Febery Goals: Moran, Clark, Fusco Attendance: 232.
Shortwood United 0 Cheltenham Saracens 2
This Wood side have only been together a few months and it takes time to gel and get that understanding that comes with time and patience is needed. We must also remember how far the club has come since last season.
At Meadowbank on Saturday Wood came up against a seasoned team who were resilient, hit Wood on the break and scored two goals that displayed that understanding perfectly. For all that Wood created enough chances to have won but for the most part their shooting was wayward. Wood may point at the possible penalty they may have had in the first half, the hit woodwork and two fine saves from keeper Jones but Saracens also had their chances and Adam Clark too made some fine saves. Wood had already had a couple of chances when Wilton raced through and keeper Jones appeared to bring the Wood man down but referee Dow was unmoved by the Wood pleas.
Cheltenham too had periods of pressure and Barnard came close with a strong header, Jones saved well from Wilton and from the corner Soule saw his flick header pass inches wide of the far post. Wilton and Byrnes both shot wide before Saracens took the lead after 26 minutes. Saracens broke and Harlie Price’s excellent low cross was turned home by Sam Mason. Seconds later Nowell shot from 30 yards and Jones turned the ball over. Wood should have learned from Price’s low driven cross as all too often they over hit high balls into the area. Snook had a header cleared off the line before the break.
Clark made a fine double save from Mason and Price shortly after the interval but then Wood took charge and dominated the proceedings with wave after wave of attacks Soule turned after fine work from Kalnins and shot straight at Jones, Black blocked Jones attempted clearance only to see the ball bounce wide and Jones saved well from Harper – Emerson. After 63 minutes Wilton slammed a 20 yarder against the post and the ball rebounded to Harper – Emerson but he could not keep his shot down and this was to be the turning point. Saracens broke at speed Jordan Bryan broke down the flank and Harlie Price was on hand to shoot home at the far post to double the score line after 68 minutes.
Wood still continued to press but the closest they came was dipping effort from Kalnins that Jones somehow managed to tip over. Wood could not relax however as Saracens always looked dangerous on the counter attack and in the last minute Clark saved well from Brignall.
Shortwood United : Adam Clark, Rendijs Kalnins, Jacob Nowell, Tom Hoskins, Josh Kerr, Ben Snook, Joey Wilton (Kenneth Mills 75), Fin Byrnes (Guy Halliday 60), Luke Soule, Tom Black, Max Harper - Emerson
Thornbury Town 7 Tytherington Rocks 0
The highly anticipated, perhaps worst named contest in local football, the A38 Derby, was played out on Saturday in front of a large crowd at the Mundy’s. Tytherington, with some new signings, have put in some improved performances of late so nobody at Thornbury was expecting to see the easy victories of recent seasons. However, Tytherington, who had to start the game in training tops as the referee saw a potential clash with their away strip, were on the back foot from the first whistle. The arrival of their more familiar black & gold striped shirts after ten minutes appeared to be the catalyst for sustained Thornbury pressure as two minutes later Harry Brock headed home a Marcus Wormwell cross swiftly followed by Craig Lancastle finishing from another by Jacob Farthing. Tytherington weren’t without chances of their own but with further goals on the half-hour from Lancastle and just before the break from Brandon Benjamin the result was no longer in doubt with the score 4-0 at half-time.
Thornbury laboured for the first period of the half and there was very little difference between the two sides – Tytherington having the best chance at 4-0 when hitting the crossbar and the follow-up saved by Parkin in the home goal. Thornbury made their three substitutions in a five minute spell with about 20 minutes to go and with three goals in the last ten minutes – Bennett to Brock for his second, a Tom Webb shot off the inside of the post and Lancastle completing his hat-trick from the spot – the score line slightly flattered Thornbury based on their second half performance. Another treble for Lancastle keeps him neck & neck with Matt Turner of Malvern Town in the race for the Golden Boot. Next up is a trip to newly promoted Bourton Rovers this Saturday where another three points would see Thornbury in a very tidy position with a third of the league programme played.
Faringdon Town 2 Kintbury Rangers Reserves 1
The Tucker Park pitch had held up well to the recent wet conditions as Town welcomed old North Berks foes, Kintbury Rangers Reserves for this uhlsport Hellenic Division Two West fixture.
Town gave 18 year old Dinesh Gurung his first start in a Town shirt and he had a full debut to remember, when in the 1st minute he overlapped down the right wing, crossed with perfection for Adam Sly to hammer home the ball, into the top of the net at the far post to give Town the lead. Town were in control in the early stages, not allowing the visitors to settle and Matty Pill had a shot on the angle saved by the keeper, but Town failed to react quickly to the rebound and the ball was cleared. Kintbury were gaining momentum and Connor Guinness-Smith had to be alert on two occasions saving well with his feet at the near post and from the resulting corner, he saved a volleyed effort. Midway through the half and Adam Rudman broke through the Rangers back line, but his attempted lob missed the goal, as it sailed past the far post. However, shortly after, Town seized on a misplaced Kintbury pass in their own half, Dan Courtney played in Pill, whose first touch took him wide, but he calmly placed the ball past the keeper with his left foot for 2-0. Town were still winning the midfield battle and looked dangerous going forward, but with the half coming to a close Kintbury did have a strike on goal after sloppy play by Town, but were saved by a deflection taking the ball wide.
To be fair to Rangers they upped their game in the second period, but Town were mostly in control. On 58 minutes Rangers missed a glorious opportunity to bring themselves back into the game as their substitutes first touch was to head a free kick, played deep into the Town penalty area, against the foot of the upright when unmarked, before Town cleared. Just after the hour mark and Town lost Courtney to a knee injury and this caused Town to lose control of the game for a period as the ball failed to stick up top. The visitors made Town pay on 66 minutes, when they grabbed a goal back as the small diminutive winger didn't give up on the ball and hooked it across goal, Guinness-Smith was back pedalling and managed to get a hand to the ball, but the Rangers number 9 was on hand to put the ball home from a yard out. Rangers pushed for an equaliser but the Town centre halves of Luke Davenport and Andy Goodchild held the back line together and despite a late onslaught of corners, one of which was handballed into the net and spotted by the referee, Town grabbed another three points for the season.
An impressive opening 45 minutes from Town, good to see a sizeable bench available with others unavailable due to injury etc, so selection headaches for the management. A massive plus was the late introducing of Will Bazen to the game, following an operation to his shoulder and six months out of the game. Good to have you back Baze!
Town will welcome Letcome to Tucker Park next Saturday. The two sides met three weeks ago in the Chairmans Cup, drawing 2-2 and Town winning on penalties, so the men in purple will no doubt be looking for revenge as they sit top of the league. Kick off will be 2.15pm.
Berks & Bucks FA Senior Trophy
Penn & Tylers Green 3 Risborough Rangers 0
Penn & Tylers Green progress into next round of the Berks & Bucks Senior Trophy. This was a character performance today, let us make no mistake about that. After three disappointing performances recently, this was a massive win for the boys from French School Meadow against the league leaders of the uhlsport Hellenic League – Division One (East), Risborough Rangers.
Good to see our ex-player Alex Sethi back (although in the wrong colours from our point of view), where he won two league titles with Penn & Tylers Green FC In front of a good crowd on an excellent pitch with the weather being just dull and with Radio service provided by Keith Higgins, Wycombe Sound 106.6 fm, this had the marking of a typical cup tie, and so it turned out to be.
The opening 30 minutes Penn & Tylers Green FC were under pressure straight away. Kitchen sink came early on and only disciplined defending brave goal keeping and the uprights in the right position ensured that after 30 minutes it was still nil each. The home side threatened on breakaways and nearly scored from one of them when the Risborough keeper managed to save the shot from Dayo Olufemi. Shortly after that Dean Allen crossed from the left and Dayo Olufemi was there to open the score for the boys in blue and white. It could have been two a couple of minutes later but it was not to be. Penn & Tylers Green FC somehow managed to keep the narrow lead until half time.
The second half started the same as the first and good defending and the upright saved us again but this time it lasted only 10 minutes or so. The home side got into their stride and created a number of good chances themselves and certainly took the game to the league leaders. Another breakthrough came when Dayo Olufemi got his brace with an excellent header after a free kick. Somehow, at this stage of the game, it was deserved, too. Still twenty odd minutes to go at this stage. One goal to Risborough and it could turn the game. I did not happen and when Curtis Stone scored with a superb free kick from about 20 yards into the top corner, that was game over. This was a disciplined and focussed performance; a deserved win because we kept a clean sheet and scored. Well done. Next game is at home at Holloways Park against Abingdon United in the league on Tuesday night, kick off 19:45. Good to see our Development Team winning away at Hazlemere in the league. They are now top of Division Two (South).
Penn & Tylers Green 3 Risborough Rangers 0 (away view)
If ever there was a game that could have gone either way, despite a 3-0 scoreline, this was it. Penn & Tylers Green must have sprinkled some magic dust in front of their goal as Rangers pinned them back for long periods. And when they did venture up the other end they capitalised in a manner that Rangers couldn't. Rangers only have themselves to blame and could easily have been three or four up themselves in the thirty minutes before Penn scored. Chances came and went for Faulkner, Pekun, Brian Haule and Hammond. The Penn keeper worked overtime making great saves from Rymer and again Haule. Pekun then hit a post with the rebound falling to Faulkner, whose shot was somehow brilliantly blocked on the line. Soon after Gordon's cross came off a post as Penn hung on. 25 minutes in something akin to a pinball game broke out in the Penn area as first Faulkner, then Haule followed by Rymer all had goal-bound strikes blocked by some desperate defending. The ball finally fell to Hammond on the edge who fired just wide. Somehow everyone of the 50 or so Rangers fans knew what was coming next, and sure enough, against the run of play Penn broke up-field and a good run and cross picked out the unmarked centre-forward who gleefully volleyed home from 10 yards. It was the home sides first real chance but one that was very well executed. A minute later and Penn's keeper again denied Rangers with a great save of Read's header. He was in action again soon after, saving Pekun's shot. Ten minutes from the break and Sethi’s free-kick was tipped over the Penn bar, only for the referee to bizzarly give a goal kick. It was not to be his best performance, as demonstrated later. 40 minutes in and Brooker in the Rangers goal made a great save during a rare Penn attack and three minutes later Penn hit the bar with a vicious strike. With one minute until the break Rangers' Hammond was sin binned for ten minutes for alleged backchat, which summed it up for the visitors somehow.
Rangers had to start the second half with 10 men as Hammond served out his remaining 9 minutes 'binning'but they came out fast and had the home side on the back foot, forcing several corners. It was Penn however that scored next as the referee awarded a free kick for what looked a fair challenge and as the ball was floated in the scorer of Penns first ghosted in to head home. Hammond returned to the pitch soon after and Rangers resumed their position in the Penn half with Pekun's shot spilled by the keeper but trickling wide. Another good move from Rangers saw Pekun in again and his low shot was just wide. Rangers hit the post for a third time in the 67th minute after Rymers great run and cross found Haule at the near post. His first time shot cannoned off the post from close range and Penn hacked away the clearance. Shortly after Penn went three up following another contentious free kick on the edge of the Rangers area after what looked a foul on Rangers defender Sethi!. Not to look a gift horse in the mouth the home side smashed an unstoppable strike into the top corner to make the result safe. Fiurther chances fell to Rangers' Squire-Adams, Read and Faulkner but with Penn's defenders throwing themselves in front to block chance after chance it was never going to happen.
Good luck to Penn in the next round, they deserved their win by showing grit and determination. It was certainly one of those days for Rangers, who certainly had most of the possession and chances, but sometimes that's just not enough.