uhlsport Hellenic League Premier Division
Ardley United 3 Virginia Water 1 (away view)
VW completed over 300 miles of travel within 3 days, with an arduous midweek trip minus a number of regulars, to face an excellent Ardley side. We were second best on the night, but left to feel aggrieved by another crucial officiating decision when 2-1 down.
The home side were ahead after only 28 seconds, when from a long hopeful ball, we completely missed a simple header, for their brilliant striker to chip in over Matt’s head.
It could have been a couple more but for some terrific saves, which kept us in the game.
VW grew into the first half and some of our football at times was excellent, even if again, we failed to take our chances.
Joel Drew went close, as did Jack Hall and Jake Baker, who both were thwarted by last ditch defensive tackles. On 31 minutes we deservedly got level, when the excellent Paul Burrows, crossed for Jake to volley home from close range. All square at the break, and the visitors in the ascendancy.
But sadly, not to be, we gave away another sloppy goal, when we allowed the ball to run under our feet, and their striker rifled in his second. Ardley then had some chances to extend their lead, all saved by Matt, whilst at the other end the match turned as a contest, when Paul hit a great shot that went in off the underside of the bar, and as our players peeled away to celebrate, only the linesman and referee can explain why the goal was not given?
From the next VW corner, we lost the ball on the edge of the penalty box, and Ardley countered to score their third. Deflated, VW kept going and Paul hit the bar once more, and went close with some shots on goal, as did Josh Hill, Louis Sanders, Steve Williams and Jack Hall, but to no avail.
Bishops Cleeve 6 Shrivenham 1 (away view)
Shrivenham’s misery continued at Kayte Lane as they lost 6-1 to Steve Cleal’s promotion hunting side for a second embarrassing defeat in as many seasons. Despite an early penalty claim waved away for our hosts, it didn’t take long before Elliot Kennedy opened the scoring for them after Liam Wright found him with a perfect ball and exploiting acres of open space at the right back position, he rolled the ball in to an empty net from a tight angle after just 4-minute was gone.
Nick Stanley almost got Shrivenham back in it when he tested out-of-retirement keeper Sam Gilder shortly after the restart, but it was Shrivenham’s defence who were half asleep again when Tristan Haswell lobbed a ball in to the right-back position once again and with Jamie Prictor on the wrong side, it was Wright who was on hand this time, with a comfortable first time header which looped over the onrushing Mike Alexander to place the ball in to the back of the net for number two.
Thing’s quickly went from bad to worse, in defending reminiscent of the first half of last season, when on 22-minutes, Alexander kicked the ball from the edge of his own penalty area only as far as Sam Ockwell who was midway inside his own half, however he was facing away from goal and the ball cannoned straight in to his back and fell to Wright who quickly passed it back to one of his own players before sprinting down the left channel and with the ball passed straight back along the floor to his feet, he easily evaded two Shrivenham challenges, before steadying himself and rolling the ball across the penalty area beyond Alexander and in to the bottom right hand side of the net.
At 3-0, it felt like a riot but Josh Morse got one back for Shrivenham on 28-minutes when he saw his low long range effort evade the tip of Gilders fingers as he flung himself to the floor in an effort to tip the ball away to no avail and it crept inside the right-hand post to give Shrivvy a glimmer of hope.
That hope was short lived however, and soon after Wright put Lee Llewellyn through – again in the Shrivenham right-back zone, and he only just saw his effort flash wide of the post.
A long defensive clearance almost led to goal number four for our hosts a short time later, with Alexander out of his area, he was forced to head the ball out of danger as Wright added pressure and it only fell in to space. Wright raced back and collected the ball on the half volley, spinning and unleashing a fantastic effort – but fortunately, Liam Edmondson was on the goal line and headed the ball out of play.
The onslaught continued, and the fourth goal finally came with four minutes remaining – as was perhaps the most embarrassing of the lot. From a Shrivenham corner, a shot was eventually sent in but it ricocheted off the boot of a Cleeve defender and to the feet of an un-marked Llewellyn 20-yards out. A simple turn saw him thrust down the centre of the pitch and with plenty of available options, he threaded the ball through the centre of the pitch and straight to the feet of Watts who took three paces before hitting a shot from just inside the Shrivvy penalty area, leaving Alexander with no chance.
With massive amounts of work to do in the second half, to their credit the team talk worked and the effort was much better in the second period, however Shrivvy were forced to scramble the ball off the line midway through the half and some non-existing marking led to Ryan New scoring from inside the box on 73-minutes and with frustrations setting in, the referee finally had no options but to award a penalty in the final minute when Jack Watts was brought down a foot inside the penalty area by a late Macauley Dodson challenge and although Alexander went the right way, Watts sealed his hat-trick and number six for the home side for three of the most comfortable points they’re likely to secure this season.
Bishops Cleeve: Sam Gilder, Luke Payne, Adam Mace ©, Ben Maguire, Tristan Haswell, Richard Thwaite, Liam Wright 1 (Y) (Lucas Price), Lee Llewellyn, Eliot Kennedy 1 (Ryan New 1), Michael Davis (Lee Davis) & Jack Watts 3. Sub: Robert Reid & Michael Stephen.
Shrivenham: Mike Alexander, Jamie Prictor (Nathan Blackford), Rob Hendry (Lewis Petrie), Sam Ockwell © (Y), Liam Edmondon, Macauley Dodson (Y), Josh Morse 1, Tom Ballard (Ollie Rejek), Nick Stanley, Antonio Gerrish and Matt Horsell (Y). Sub: Dan Lawrence (GK)
Brimscombe & Thrupp 0 Fairford Town 1 (away view)
Fairford Town kept up their winning streak on Tuesday evening with a hard fought 1-0 win at Brimscombe & Thrupp, notching up their fourth win out of four in all competitions this season.
Ben Lodge’s third minute effort was enough to separate the two sides at the Meadow, as both sides lacked composure in the final third during a tough first half. Lodge’s third goal of the season came when forward Connor Thompson picked the ball up 30 yards from goal and was allowed the time and space to thread a neat through ball into Lodge, who calmly slotted past Ash Gale to give the visitors the lead.
Fairford maintained control of the game throughout the first half and made Brimscombe work hard to regain the initiative. Ollie Pitt went close for the hosts, as his effort was saved by Harrison Ellis in the Fairford goal.
Brimscombe came out for the second half nearly five minutes before Fairford as it was clear watching the game that manager Sam Prior would not have been happy with what he had seen. Brimscombe were sloppy in possession and in particular in the final third were quite wasteful at times.
Brimscombe had two massive chances to salvage a point, but frustratingly both opportunities went begging. First a delightful cross in from the right was curled perfectly onto Sam Blackie’s head, but the forward could only head straight at Harrison Ellis. Then in the dying moments Ollie Pitt was slipped in down the right side of the box, but with Campbell square and a great chance to level in front of him, Pitt fired over to sum up a poor night for the Lilywhites.
Burnham 0 Binfield 2 (away view)
Binfield made the short journey up the M4 to The Gore at Burnham on Tuesday for what is probably a local derby hoping to extend their Hellenic winning start.
The 'Moles' once again started with young keeper Sam Szymczyk in for the maternity leave absent David Lyons. This turned out once again to be a game of two halves and the Burnham side with a good mix of youngsters and experience started by far the better side and probably should have scored in the 3rd minute when Liam Gavin twice cleared off the line. Binfield were caught cold and were under the cosh by Burnham's start with Ash James pushing them forward and looking to get behind the Moles back four. Binfield slowly grew into the game and first Joel Valentin and then Sean Moore forced saves at the other end.
As has been the case in recent weeks the Moles second half performance was in contrast to their first half struggles with Valetine shooting wide early in the half, but it wasn’t until Manager Herridge made a double change introducing Callum Wright and Danny Horscroft for Eddie Lee and Kennie Chamberlain that the breakthrough came with Wright feed the ball to Jamie McClurg on the edge of the box. McClurg took one step and buried his effort into the top corner giving the home keeper no chance. The second goal came on 78 minutes and it was Valentine who robbed James Tripp and finished from the edge of the box making it 2-0 .
Burnham had a couple of late chances but the game well refereed by Martin Mitchell ended 2-0 to the Berkshire village club who now move on to a mouthwatering FA Cup tie at home on Saturday vs Wessex League side Lymington KO 3pm at Hill Farm Lane RG42 5NR.
Longlevens 3 Tuffley Rovers 2 (away view)
Longlevens ran out winners by odd goal in five, as they secured a second Hellenic League Premier Division victory of the season, against a Tuffley Rovers side with a solitary point from their three fixtures. Rovers’ manager, Mark Pritchett, bolstered his squad with the signings of Ross Langworthy and Tyreece Briscoe, following a first competitive victory at Letcombe the previous weekend, with Yate Town striker Langworthy added to a front three that included Warren Mann and Dom Kent. In the early stages neither side was giving much away, but Longlevens shaded affairs, with Harry Emmett causing Rovers’ full-back Jai Maisey a number of problems from his position wide on the right. The visitors grew in confidence, though, and Langworthy was the first to have an effort on goal, testing Ash Wintle, after receiving Jack Beardsell’s long ball, before beating his man and firing an effort across goal that the Levens keeper did well to turn away. It continued to be a cagey affair, with neither side dominant, but Rovers were beginning to exert a little control and as the thirty-minute mark approached, Rovers took the lead, as Kent latched onto a mistake from James Barnett, before stroking the ball home under the advancing Wintle, to make it 1-0. Rovers’ Alex Avenell had rarely been called into serious action, but Longlevens mounted a repost and Jaybe Kennedy might have equalised but for a good stop as the keeper pushed the effort up and over the bar. With renewd energy, the hosts did beat Avenell a few minutes later, as Ben Williams’ excellent cross-field ball found Emmett in space, and he made now mistake as he powered a header over the Rovers keeper from 10 yards. Avenell again came to Rovers’ rescue, as half-time approached, producing a spectacular block to keep out a Brad Martin effort, although, in truth, his save owed as much to his positioning, as the ball cannoned off his chest and over the bar. The final chance of a competitive first period came when Langworthy found himself in a one-on-one situation with Wintle, but his shot went across the Levens keeper and narrowly wide of the far post. With neither side making a change at the interval, the game continued in a similar vein during the second period, with both teams trading blows, without either keeper being particularly busy. Kennedy had another chance for the hosts, only to shoot wide when well placed, before Wintle produced a spectacular volley to keep out Macaulay Herbert’s half-volley, with the power of the shot knocking him off his feet. With sixty minutes gone, the game appeared to take a decisive turn in the hosts’ favour. The prolific Brad Martin, who had been well marshalled until that point, was given too much space on the edge of the box and his exquisite chipped effort sailed up and over Avenell, before landing in the top corner of the Rovers goal. Rovers appeared to be rocked by the effort and some desperate defending followed for 5 or 10 minutes, before the regained a foothold in the game. Kent might have done better, when they did launch another attack, but Wintle denied him again, with an excellent stop. If Wintle had been Levens’ hero on a number of occasions, his stock fell rapidly with 20 minutes remaining. A huge Rovers clearance saw Wintle race to meet it well outside his area, but as he charged to make the punt away, he made a hash of it, standing on the ball, leaving Rovers’ Langworthy with a clear goal and the experienced striker made no mistake, as he stroked the ball home from 25 yards into the unguarded net. Once again, though, Rovers lost momentum and handed the game to their hosts, with nine minutes remaining, as Emmett was given the freedom of Saw Mills, left one-on-one with Avenell, before producing a composed finish that ensured his side secured three valuable points and leaving Pritchett’s squad with little to cheer.
Abingdon United 2 Woodley United 1
After a late winner in their last league match and then taking uhlsport Hellenic Premier Division side Windsor to penalties at the weekend, Woodley went into their midweek fixture with recently relegated Abingdon United looking to make it six points from nine.
The opening stages saw the home side have the better of the play. A Charlie Bateman effort from long range went over before Woodley centre back Joe Sissons recovered from a miss-kick to block a Henry Horton strike. Ten minutes in saw a good spell of United (Woodley) possession end with Toby Briggs unable to direct his header goalwards.
Abingdon took the lead on eighteen minutes when a deep free kick found Horton on the left of the box. His low shot beat Woodley keeper Adam Thomson. Midway through the half saw both teams trade chances. A Sam Guze cut back found Briggs who had his well struck effort blocked, whilst Thomson did very well to tip a Bateman shot onto the bar.
United winger Teddy Thomas had the visitors’ first shot on target when he forced a save in the bottom left corner from Abingdon stopper Daniel Savin before Harry Hawkins took a slight knock in the process of shooting from the edge of the box. The final chance of the half saw a let-off for Woodley when a right wing corner found unmarked Harry Firkin who headed wide.
Moments after the restart, Thomson pulled off a very good save to keep out a Bateman effort from a tight angle on the left. The save seemed to spark United into life, as they went on to dominate large parts of the game. Freddie Barron dragged a half chance wide whilst Guze fired a shot straight at Savin. It was one apiece on fifty one minutes when Guze converted after Barron had headed on a free kick.
Woodley were now playing with real confidence. A good run and cross from left back Pele Hagger ended with a defender getting to the ball ahead of Briggs who couldn’t get his shot away. The following corner saw Briggs being denied point blank by an excellent save. A really good spell ended with Guze being bundled over in the box but no penalty given.
At the other end, a couple of quick fire chances saw substitute Zachary Field missing from twenty yards before testing Thomson from slightly further out. The game was getting really stretched with both teams throwing bodies forward. A fine United move involving Guze and Thomas ended with the latter’s low cross to Briggs being slid away by a defender who prevented the forward having an open goal to shoot at.
With thirteen minutes to go, the visitors made a change when captain Adam Barnard made way for Max Lashcok. Five minutes after the change, Abingdon retook the lead and once again it came from a free kick. Horton got his second of the game when his looping header beat Thomson. Moments later, Laschok missed to the left from the right whilst a further change saw David Stevens replace Barron.
With Woodley throwing men forward, Hagger did brilliantly to thwart a two on two counter attack with an excellent tackle. A final change was made with a minute to go when Conor Clarke came on for Briggs who had put in a real shift. This saw Jon Malone move into midfield and Clarke play at right back. Despite six minutes of injury time, United couldn’t get the equaliser their second half showing merited.
Langley 0 Penn & Tylers Green 5 (away view)
In their third attempt the Penn & Tylers clocked their first win of the 2019/2020 season. The boys in blue & white stripes, playing in unfamiliar white shorts due to a potential colour clash walked away after 90 minutes with a 5:0 win. Manager Gareth Williams can be happy with the score line. The supporters and officials where happy with that and the three points gained at Summerleaze Village.
It was not, however, all as plain sailing as the score line suggests. In the first half the away side had the better of the game overall and had four good opportunities but the home keeper made solid saves. During this period Langley had very good break away chances, mainly coming down their right-hand side, but Jamie Britnall did well to keep a clean sheet. Also, Ethan Holland made some timely interventions at the right moment. It was in this spell, that the ever-busy James Hancock set up Dean Allen for his first goal to make it 1:0 at half time.
The second half started with an excellent move by the visitors only for James Hancock’s attempt to be brilliantly saved by the home keeper. After that the home side took control of the game and at one stage it looked like “it is only a matter of time” before they score. We somehow managed to survive this spell and with the introduction of Rashid Hamid the emphasis changed.
It was in this spell that Joe Dulieu scored with a powerful header after a superb Curtis Stone free kick. Shortly after that Tom Fifield slotted the ball home with an excellently taken penalty. This was game over. Dean Allen managed to get two more goals for his hat-trick. One was set up by Rashid Hamid, who certainly made a difference when he came on and the other one was set up by Oliver Saunders, which was his first contribution after coming on as a late substitute.
We certainly take the points and look forward to our home game on Saturday versus Marlow United at Holloways Park, for a 15:00 kick off.
Marlow United 3 Didcot Town Development 1
Marlow got their league campaign up and running at the third attempt with an impressive win over joint league leaders Didcot Town Development. In the process they took their opponents undefeated record and moved themselves off the bottom of the division.
A decent crowd of around a hundred saw a well contested opening with both sides looking to play on the front foot. United had a couple of weak efforts early on but it was the visitors who threatened to open the scoring on the quarter hour with Marlow struggling to clear a corner from their right, the ball being scrambled away from the six yard box.
The hosts began to look the more dangerous team though with Hurst, Bushay and Sutherland troubling the Didcot defence and after a number of half chances the goal arrived on 25 minutes, Woodward finding Bushay, his through ball releasing Adam Harman who took the ball in his stride and smashed the ball past keeper Eeles.
Didcot barely had time for breath before they found themselves two down this time Bushay being picked out by Hardie and running clear he guided the ball past the bemused keeper from 18 yards. Two goals to the good and Marlow were in control of the game, the back four snuffing out any Didcot threats so much so that keeper Partridge was barely troubled. The visitors weren’t helped by Walton receiving a yellow card and ten minutes in the sin bin for dissent but were given a lifeline rather out of the blue on 40 minutes as a free kick from the left resulted in Willment fouling his opponent in the area, Ross McDonald converting the resultant penalty.
Didcot certainly came out in determined mood for the second period, pushing back United as they looked to get back on even terms.
The game degenerated with a number of niggling fouls disrupting the flow of the game but after efforts from both teams came nothing Marlow restored their two goal lead in somewhat comical fashion on the hour. Marlow attacked down the Didcot left with efforts from Bushay and Hurst being blocked from close range, the ball finally being cleared off the line only to hit a defender and rebound into the goal.
A diving save from Partridge soon after resulted in an unnecessary scrum of shoving players which resulted in two bookings as the game became yet again bogged down in too many stoppages, a total of eight players receiving yellow cards, with five from United, far too many as a number of players showed a lack of discipline.
Despite this the hosts played out the remaining time with relative ease to record their first win of the season. They now face a tasty looking local derby against Penn & Tylers Green this Saturday , venue Holloways Park, Beaconsfield KO 3pm.
Marlow: A Partridge, M Woodward, J Gray, A Mckie, T Willment, J Hardie, R Sutherland, Q Thomas, C Hurst, L Bushay, A Harman, Subs. JC Etienne, A Lucas, C Shingleshurst.
Marlow United 3 Didcot Town Development 1 (away view)
Didcot competed well in this game with Marlow for long spells . Although Marlow had some tricky forwards the game turned on a referee decision in the first half and a cruel piece of luck in the second half. Didcot had some good early pressure winning an early free kick outside the box and a few minutes later a goalmouth scramble followed a Didcot corner where two players failed to get a decent connection in the six yard box and it was cleared.
Marlow were looking threatening going forward however it was a sin bin for a Didcot player that kicked the ball away that turned the match. The decision was disapointing as the home team continually did the same throughout the match without being penalised. Marlow shot home the opener not long after and just 90 seconds after that a mix up in the Didcot defence left an easy chance for Marlow to score a second goal within the 10 minute sin bin period.
Back to 11 players and Didcot looked threatening and from an encouraging move Jack Hollister was brought down in the box and Ross MacDonald converted the penalty 2-1. Just before half time and MacDonald played a good 1-2 with James Tanner and his powerful shot was well saved by the Marlow keeper.
Didcot came out in the second half fired up and a Harry Hudson cracking shot just sailed over the bar. This early dominance fizzled out when Didcot cleared the ball off their goal line but the clearance hit a defender and cannonned in to the net for 3-1. Jack Hollister was clean though on goal but the Marlow keeper made a fine save.
A Marlow defender headed off the line as the game fizzled out with the main point of note was a series of Marlow bookings towards the end.
Cheltenham Saracens 4 Hereford Pegasus 2
Wednesday’s match against Hereford Pegasus started well for us when, in the second minute, Kai Mahon made a great run down the left wing before crossing into the box and finding Liam Brignull, who dutifully sunk it into the back of the net.
But the elation didn’t last long. Pegasus responded just 3 minutes later through Zac Sirrell, whose long range shot tore through the bottom corner of our net.
Hereford Pegasus really started to turn the screw, with attack after attack. Unfortunately, it paid off for them in the 20th minute when Connor Davies-Austin found George Andrews after we lost possession in our own half. They capitalised in our error to put them 2-1 in front. We got lucky when Pegasus had a goal disallowed after 27 minutes. They managed to break through our defence, but the flag was already up for offside. Adam Loveridge had some of the best chances for us in the first half, but Pegasus’ Keeper Brandon Powell was on top form.
We trailed in at half time with a 1 goal deficit. We needed to come out much stronger in the second half. We started out well, when Harlie Price had a couple of tries at lobbing the Keeper. We were starting to threaten and looked dangerous. We had a shout for a penalty turned down after 60 minutes. Loves was clearly fouled in the box, but the flag was already up for offside. We caught it all on video though, so make up your own mind on that one.
Finally, after 70 minutes, substitute Ben Tunnicliffe, who’s one to watch this season, connected well with a searching corner ball and buried it in the bottom corner of the net. We followed it up just 4 minutes later when another sub, Jamie Hammond, managed to convert a period of Sarries pressure into a 3rd goal. The managers’ subs were spot on today, with all 3 subs making a real impact.
A frustrated Pegasus team were trying to kick Kai around, with nasty tackles on him throughout the second half. But he had the last laugh when he used his fancy footwork and lightning pace to outsmart the Pegasus defence, before he found Hammond once again who sealed the deal with a belter of a goal. 4-2. After an extended period of stoppage time, the whistle finally blew. This match, which looked as though it was slipping out of our reach at half time, was turned around with high energy, high impact subs, as well as a strong and reliable back line. A much more positive game than our last outing, proving we have both the physical and mental skills needed to turn a tough, physical game around and snatch a victory from a strong opponent.
Match Report by Jemma Maeve