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19 September 2020


THE BUILDBASE FA VASE Round One Qualifying

Clanfield 2 Tuffley Rovers 0 (away view)

For the fourth year in a row Tuffley Rovers’ FA Vase aspirations ended at the first hurdle, and for the second consecutive season they perished at the hands of a lower division opponent, as a lamentable performance away at Division One (West) Clanfield saw them exit the competition with a whimper.
The defeat by the Oxfordshire village side was the fourth consecutive defeat of Rovers’ competitive season and they have now failed to score since their exit from the FA Cup on 1 September, and on this occasion they failed to test the hosts’ keeper through the course of the 90 minutes. During the early stages both sides shared possession, although Clanfield had the first chance to shoot on goal, although Alfie Saunders’ effort, from distance, went well wide of Luke Merchant’s goal. Ollie Hunt, who was making a first start for Rovers, had the first effort on the Clanfield goal, but his header from Jack Beardsell’s corner went well over the bar.

Rovers then had a free-kick on the edge of the Clanfield penalty area, but Antoine Thompson’s effort was poorly struck and it became the catalyst for a swift counter-attacking move that ended with Isaac Oliver crossing just beyond the reach of Jozef Fullerton, who otherwise had the Rovers net at his mercy. Thompson then had a shot blocked, as Rovers tried to apply pressure, before Cameron Pirie might have scored for the hosts, only to head Craig Connor’s cross wide of the Merchant’s goal.

Fullerton then saw his shot blocked, at the end of another Clanfield move, as Rovers found a way to keep their hosts out. The hosts were using Oliver as their main outlet and he was causing a number of problems to Rovers on the right-hand side, with another excellent cross presenting Connor Tinsley with a golden chance to open the scoring, but he somehow contrived to turn the ball wide when under no pressure. That proved to be the last chance of the half that had started well for Rich Cox’s side but ended with them lucky to be on level terms. Beardsell managed to have a shot on goal, Rovers’ first on target, but it was a tame effort as Josh Gibbens got a block in, before Dom Kent had an effort from distance that went wide of the Clanfield goal.

That was to prove the last moment of positivity for Cox’s side, as some woeful defending, on 55 minutes, gave Tinsley to finish past Merchant, having been given the chance by Connor’s pass, and the lack of a response prompted Cox to make a first change of the afternoon, as Joe Shutt was introduced in place of Jacob Geddes.

Shutt’s first contribution of note was to set a good pass back into the path of Jake Rhodes, only for the Rovers midfielder to skew his shot horribly wide of the Clanfield goal, but Rovers slipped back into a familiar rut shortly after and they were fortunate that Saunders wasted a gilt-edged opportunity a few minutes later. That was to prove a temporary reprieve and with 18 minutes remaining Saunders didn’t waste a second chance, as he made the most of time and space 25 yards out, to drive a low shot into the bottom corner, to make it 2-0.

A series of substitutions followed but Rovers looked spent and their hosts seemed the more likely side to score, as they saw out the game, booking a home tie against Fleet Spurs in the process, as Rovers were left to reflect on another soulless performance that has brought a premature end to their FA competition interest for yet another season.

Virginia Water 0 Reading City 1

On Friday night Virginia Waters came up short at the first hurdle, against our good friends and neighbours, in a terrific match that we all felt we should have won. The game was dominated by both defences, with the only goal coming from a direct free-kick good enough to grace any match – the fact that the free-kick given in the first instance was highly debatable.

In a very fast flowing game, VW had numerous chances in both halves (even if not that clear cut), with Josh Dillon, Paul Burrows, Jake Baker, Josh Hill, Casey Bocarro all having attempts on goal. The home side’s best chance falling to Joe McBride, following a mistake by the away keeper, who fumbled a clearance, straight to Joe’s feet, but on his weaker side, could not get his shot away. It would be wrong not to mention how the officials missed the most blatant red card offence in the first half, when their CM kicked Casey in open play after he had won the ball from him, and beat him along the touchline.

Appreciated you can’t give what you can’t see, but ALL of the rest of the bumper crowd saw the incident, but we move on. Let’s not detract from a good game in good spirits, and we really wish Simon and Reading City the best in the next round, but for the home side it will be remembered for a strong performance minus a number of players, at the end of 3 games in six days, and crucial decisions that could/should have gone our way.

Rushden & Higham United 0  Flackwell Heath 4 (away view)
The Heathens travelled to Northampton to face Rushden & Higham United FC in the First Round Qualifying of the FA Vase coming off the back of a well earned 1-0 League win at home to Windsor FC.  

The opening 20 minutes of the game saw Flackwell dominate, with most of the play in the opponents half. But with chances coming and going with no end product the score remained 0-0. Gradually the home team started to find their feet and get into the game but with the Flackwell defence marshalled by James Mansfield any home attacks were stopped before they could get a strike on goal. 

On the half hour mark a through ball found it’s way through to the Rushden centre forward who had got the better of Ceesay, as he raced towards goal, O’Sullivan the Heathens young keeper, rushed out of the 18 yard box and collided with the forward, taking out Ceesay at the same time. It looked by all accounts like O’Sullivan was heading for an early shower but after talking to his assistant, the referee decided to show only a yellow card, much to the dismay of the home team and their supporters. 

The game continued and in the 42nd minute Heath claimed the opening goal. A corner was swung in and Rushden failed to clear it from the box, after two scruffy shots on goal both of which were blocked on the line, the ball fell to Ezio Touray who poked the ball into the back of the net for his first goal for the Heathens in what was his first start for the club. 

Half Time 0-1 

The second half started much the same as the first with the Heathens on the ball and controlling the pace of the game. 
Josh Baines scored the second from the penalty spot on 65 minutes which seemed to deflate the home team completely. 

Substitute Howell pinched one on 87 minutes after some good build play involving the Flackwell forward, Adam Thomas. Baines added his second of the day in the 90th minute, finishing off the game. A well deserved win for the Reds. 

Flackwell Heath Team: O'Sullivan, Marcus Ushiro-Lumb, Phil Pryor, James Burrell, James Mansfield, Mo Ceesay, Josh Baines, Jack Taylor, Adam Thomas, Ezio Touray Khalid Simmo, Ahsley Howell, Cory Hathaway, Cameron Gray, Patrick Phillips

Next up in the Vase Flackwell will face Desborough Town FC at home on Saturday 10th October in the Second Round Qualifying.

Winslow United 0 Risborough Rangers 3 (away view)
Risborough Rangers overcame Winslow United for the second Saturday in a row, dumping them out of the FA Vase with a comprehensive win at Elmsfield Gate. Following on from Rangers' home win in the FA Cup the previous week, Mark Eaton's team travelled to north Bucks for this Vase tie in confident mood.

The tie had many hallmarks of the previous weeks' encounter with United enjoying much of the possession in the opening twenty minutes and Rangers keeper Jack Brooker was called upon to make several early saves. With Rangers' back four stretched both Adam Morris and Josh Fox were forced to make timely tackles as Winslow piled on the pressure. Rangers slowly clawed their way back into the game with Brian Haule fluffing a good chance and Davis Haule's shot being saved at the near post. On 20 minutes Rangers took the lead against the run of play when Gary Rymer won the ball just inside the Rangers half and put Marcus Wyllie away. With the Winslow defence caught cold, Wyllie raced through to score with a fine shot. Two minutes later and Joel Read's header was tipped over for a corner and from the resultant kick Sam Pekun's volley was cleared off the line. Soon after Lee Parrack in the United goal was injured, forcing the home side to bring on his replacement. For much of the remainder of the half Winslow enjoyed good possession and should have equalised after a mix up in the Rangers back line, but somehow the normally dependable King fired into the side netting. Brooker made another save at his near post with two minutes remaining before Pekun nearly had the last word of the half for Rangers, forcing a good save.

It was almost de ja vue for both sets of supporters for the second half with the visitors dominating for long periods. In what seemed a relentless stream of attacks, United were never allowed back into their stride as chances fell to Fox, Wyllie, Read and the lively Pekun. 15 minutes into the second half Rangers doubled their lead when Morris picked out Pekun with a great pass. Pekun squared to Brian Haule who was bought down as he lined up to shoot. A penalty was awarded and Haule dusted himself off to calmly stroke the spot-kick home. Straight from the restart Rangers nick the ball and could have made it three when Pekun was through. Further chance fell to both the Haule brothers. Asher Yearwood's dribble and cross saw Wyllie's volley well saved by the busy United keeper before Brian Haule forced a good save with his spectacular overhead strike. Fox then set up Pekun who looked to be fouled inside the box , but the strikers appeal was ignored. Pekun was in unstoppable mood now as once again Rangers' superior fitness showed. The winger had several more chances to score and was a little unlucky not to get on the score-sheet. Further opportunities fell to Davis Haule, Wyllie and Morris whose free kick around the wall was parried away to safety. The final nail in the home sides coffin came with two minutes remaining. The excellent Davis Haule forced a bad back pass into the path of Yearwood. The Rangers midfielder raced clear, drawing the keeper off his line before squaring to Martin Griggs to score in only his second appearance since his return to the club. It was a well deserved win following a dominating second half display. Rangers now look forward to a trip to Raunds Town in the next round, and of course, the little matter of an FA Cup tie at Cobham on Tuesday night.

Rangers Man of the Match: Davis Haule. One of the few to shine in a poor first half, along with Alex Sethi and Gary Rymer. Davis was a colossus in the second half, driving his team on and getting involved all over the park. He defies his years with his fitness and his experience is invaluable.

Wokingham & Emmbrook 3 Cheltenham Saracens 0 (Report by Arthur Strand)
The visitors for the 1st round of the F.A. Vase last Saturday were Cheltenham Saracens from Division 1 West of the HFL. Dan Bateman and Matt Eggleston had a full squad lined up and must have instilled positive ideas into the team because they set off with determination from kick-off. Although Saracens took an early goal kick and reached the hosts penalty area, the Sumas quickly returned and put the defence under pressure in their penalty area and when there was a man down, Sumas appealed for a penalty but play continued with Dan Carter in a crowd close up easing the ball over the line in the 3rd minute. Saracens found themselves back in the Sumas’ half and Sean Woodward made a useful save. Sumas worked their way back into opposition territory and with Jake White close to goal and with some space around him, he was toppled over by Luke Hitchman. White converted the penalty from the spot in the 10th minute. Saracens seemed somewhat subdued but edged up into the Sumas and Paul Holmes picked his target, missing by inches with his mid distance shot at te top corner of the near post. Marcus Guest took a free kick which Sumas chased along the right wing as Joe Cummuskey rose to meet the incoming ball, he was beaten to it and Sumas took a corner kick. Somehow the Saracens continued to counter but Woodward was in the right place to clear and the visitors were forced back into the middle of the field but countered once again with Iain Sercombe rising for a header which went direct to Woodward who was injured in the next approach by Saracens following a free kick to them. Sumas advanced busily along the right wing then Chris Byrne was clear of defenders and took a shot at the Saracens goal but missed. Sumas concluded the first half when a free kick was steered behind by a defender for a corner kick. With a 2 goal lead at half-time, Sumas had to anticipate sustaining similar pressure for the second-half.

Wokingham & Emmbrook 3 Cheltenham Saracens 0 - Image courtesy of Andy White


Saracens started positively and Sercombe leathered the ball from close range unsuccessfully. Sumas used the space available to move up-field with a counter attack by Saracens being halted by off-side. Josh Harris was fouled and Sumas took a free kick and lost possession when Saracens mounted a counter. Regaining the ball, Sumas pushed forward until Will Day netted the ball from close range in the 58th minute. The visitors lost some composure and Jake White was tripped by Hitchman but after the Sumas’ free kick, Saracens took control of the ball and had a good chance of scoring but a hoof out of the area cleared the ball although the visitors made another approach with a free kick as the players pushed up-field and thus missed another chance. When Saracens had another free kick, they missed again when the ball was over-hit. From a free kick, Saracens introduced substitutes and Sumas made changes as the game progressed through the last quarter and the Cheltenham substitute missed a real sitter from right in front of goal which rose as high as a Garyowen and nobody else could have achieved that when all it needed was a tap into the net. Elliott Roberts, in goal for Saracens prevented a 4th goal with a good save and followed that with a diving save from a shot by Jake White. James Clark was Sumas’ 3rd substitute replacing Luke Scope with a mere few minutes plus additional time. Wokingham & Emmbrook move on to the next round as Saracens returned to Cheltenham somewhat crestfallen. Next fixture is away to Holyport on Tuesday 22/09/20 in HFL Div. 1 East.

Wokingham & Emmbrook: Woodward. (GK), Carter, Day, Guest, Cummuskey, Mullan, Byrne, Scope, White, Harris.
Substitutes: O’Connell, Rushforth, Clark, Badshah, Collier.

uhlsport Hellenic League

uhlsport football kitPremier Division

Binfield 2 Westfields 0 Report from Dave Wright

Binfield ended Westfields' long unbeaten run in the uhlsport Hellenic League stretching over 19 months by beating them 2-0 in a high-octane encounter at Hill Farm Lane.

The Hereford side had gone an impressive 26 games without losing before last season was abruptly ended due to the coronavirus pandemic. At the time, they were 13 points ahead of Binfield, who had moved into second place on the back of a fine run of results.

However, the Moles had played four games fewer than Westfields and believed they were capable of overhauling them in the title race. So they must now believe their confidence was well justified following Saturday's hard-earned victory. On the evidence of this game, there must be a good chance these two talented sides will again emerge as the main contenders for honours this season.

In front of a crowd of 260, they battled it out toe-to-toe for the whole 90 minutes, with every player chasing and harassing to close down their opponents at every opportunity. There was no hiding place and it wasn't a day when even the most skilful player was able to dwell on the ball. But Binfield just possessed the sharper end to their play and deserved to take all three points as they followed up their 4-0 win at Ardley United in midweek. They created more openings than Westfields, who had beaten Bishops Cleeve by the solitary goal the previous Tuesday. That made it 27 games unbeaten, but their hopes of extending the impressive run suffered an unexpected early blow when they found themselves a goal down inside the opening four minutes.

For Westfields, it was a bad one to concede as hesitant keeper Steve Sarkodie panicked as he came under pressure from the onrushing Jamie McClurg, the ball ran loose, and Moles' player-manager took full advantage to roll the ball - rather slowly - into an empty net. It silenced the Westfields bench as shortly before instructions were being shouted out to their players to take advantage of any Binfield mistake. Strong challenges went in early on which could easily have led to a yellow card for each side from referee Lee Hodgkinson, a newcomer to the Hellenic League list.

The visitors came close to equalising in the 28th minute when Olly Butler's curling effort from a long distance out on the right hit the far post with keeper Chris Grace beaten. Two minutes later, Binfield went equally as close with Asa Povey seeing his shot strike an upright, while home skipper Sean Moore fired just over the bar from outside the area. But Povey made no mistake close to the 50th-minute mark, sliding in to meet a left-wing cross from Ollie Harris following good work by Joel Valentin. Povey nearly had another in the 76th minute. Sarkodie raced a long way out of his area on his right to challenge Moore, but the striker got the better of the keeper and struck a low cross towards an empty net with Povey, sliding in, just inches away from turning it over the line.

Westfields, with three substitutes giving them fresh legs, worked hard to get back in the game and a good chance fell their way when Billy Murphy's struck a dangerous free-kick into the goalmouth which just eluded two of his colleagues well placed in front of goal before being cleared. The visitors continued to threaten but the Moles fought valiantly to keep them at bay to secure three valuable points. Binfield finished with 10 men as midfielder Jack Broome appeared to raise his fist as he reacted to a challenge shortly before the end and was shown a straight red card for violent conduct.

That incident apart, the game was an excellent advertisement for the league.

Binfield 2 Westfields 0 (away view)

Westfields were well beaten 2-0 away at Binfield on Saturday when the home side gave an impressive strong performance against a Westfields side that had gone unbeaten all last season in the Hellenic League Premier Division.

However Binfield were ready for Westfields and took a lead in only the 4th minute when Westfields’ goalkeeper Steve Sarkodie made a hash of a clearance which went straight to Binfield player/manager James McClurg and he had the easy opportunity of putting the ball in the net. Westfields tried hard to come back into the game but were kept out by a big, strong physical Binfield defence although on the half hour Westfields almost pulled level when overlocking fullback Olly Butler rifled a fine shot against the far post with the Binfield keeper well beaten.

Defences were on top in the first 45 minutes but after the break Binfield started the second half as they did the first half and scored within 3 minutes of the restart when a fine ball down the left hand side was sent across the face of the Westfields goal and Asa Povey raced in to tap the ball over the line from 6 yards. Westfields tried to come back and then introduced substitutes Sirdic Grant, Richard Greaves and Billy Murphy into the fray and this did see an improvement in their style of play and one or two more opportunities arose although Grant fired twice into the side netting and the home keeper was called into his first real save after 75 minutes when he kept out an effort from Baidoo King.

Westfields really could not break down the Binfield defence and with a crowd of 262 shouting on the home side Binfield looked formidable and it was only the agility of Steve Sarkodie who made a fine save from point-blank range to keep out a third goal for the home side late in the game.

Westfields now play Worksop Town at home on Tuesday in the FA Cup First Round Qualifying and next Saturday are on the road again in the Hellenic League when they play their 3rd away game of the season away at Easington Sports.

Division One West
Malvern Town 5 Stonehouse 0

Malvern Town made it three League wins in a row with a 5-0 triumph over Stonehouse Town in a game which we had to work hard initially to get the victory.

We saw the majority of the early ball without testing the visiting ‘keeper as Harry Wickett’s cross was easily gathered and then Jay Sauntson was wide from distance. As the visitors looked to make an impact, Curtis Smith was alert to defend well against James Ratcliffe.The offside flag ruled out Joe Bates’ 11th minute strike before the quarter-hour mark saw a deft header from Gael Basana following a long throw-in saved by Keiron Blackburn without too many problems.

It was the turn of Adam Sauntson to try his luck from distance and whilst his attempt was on target, it was saved by the ‘keeper. We were finding it hard to break down well-organised opponents, that was until just before the half-hour mark when a teasing ball into the danger zone from Curtis Smith was gobbled up by Matt Turner to open the scoring. Buoyed by the goal, Turner cut inside in our next raid only to see his powerful drive well saved by Will Pedrick.

The visitors were punished for their failure to clear their lines on 33 minutes when Bates lashed home to double our advantage.There was a chance for the visitors following a corner but Lee Keveren was unable to turn the ball home and then Joe Bullock headed over as we launched a counter-attack. A foul on Bates gave us a free-kick right on the edge of the area which saw Joe Billingham inches wide with his low effort then moments later he went close as Wickett pumped the ball back into the area. Right at the end of the opening period, Blackburn blocked well to thwart Ratcliffe before we were able to add a third goal in stoppage time when Hunt’s deep cross was powerfully headed home by Jay Sauntson.

We came out of the blocks brightly for the second half as Wickett had a goal ruled out for offside before a delicious pass from Clark picked out Bullock’s great run and he was just over. Our fourth goal was soon to follow, though, when more good wing play from Clark resulted in Lee Keveren turning the ball into his own net. Clark curled over before a corner for the visitors had to be scrambled clear as they searched for a way back into the game. After Bates had hit the base of the post, a foul on Bullock gave us a free-kick right on the edge of the area which Hunt fired through the defensive wall only for the ‘keeper to save.

Ratcliffe went close to reducing the arrears and then with 20 minutes to go, Wickett linked up well with Bates who made room for a low drive which was saved. Clark saw a shot well watched by the ‘keeper before the visitors went down the other end and rattled the woodwork through Liam Orchard. Another sweeping move ended with us adding to our lead on 85 minutes as Wickett laid a chance on a plate for Nathan Chowns Higgs who made no mistake not long after being introduced into the action. It completed a good win for us to keep us at the top of the early League table.

Malvern Team: Blackburn, Smith, Hunt, A. Sauntson (Hayes 61), J. Sauntson, Billingham (Fusco 55), Bullock, Wickett, Turner (Chowns Higgs 81), Bates, Clark. Subs not used: Craven, L. Loader.
GOAL(S): Turner, Bates, J. Sauntson, OG, Chowns Higgs                    
BOOKING(S): -
ATTENDANCE: 184

 


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