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Hellenic League Match Report

22 October

Banbury Litho Floodlit Cup

Flackwell Heath 2 Binfield 1
Flackwell Heath recorded their second cup victory in three days last night as they overcame a strong Binfield side in the Banbury Litho Floodlit Cup.  Marcus Richardson made eight changes to the side which beat Virginia Water at the weekend. He handed debuts to Hassan Jibreel, Patrick Phillips and Cory Hathaway. Whilst some regulars returned to the side in the likes of Tyler Gregory, Simeon Weekes & Khalid Simmo. 

The opening knockings of the game were fast & furious. End-to-end action which was matched with a furious tempo. Each side failing to create any clear cut chances. The real chance of the game fell to Sean Moore. The Binfield number 9 set his sights on goal from a free-kick around 20 yards out, just off centre. He struck the ball around the wall and forced Watkins down to make a smart save. The rebound was met by a Binfield player following in but Watkins made himself big and made a superb recovery save to keep the sides level. Three minutes later Binfield were made to pay as a lovely flowing move set Baines hurtling down the left-hand side. He squared it into Simmo who found Leius Sinclair. The Flackwell number 9 forced a scramble in the box and a Binfield clearance seemed to strike Sinclair and rebound into the back of the net. Six minutes after the goal, the Heathens had the ball in the net again. Sinclair pouncing again following a good save from the Binfield ‘keeper. However, the assistant referee, Adam Jackson, had his flag aloft to rule the goal out for offside.  With nine minutes until the break Flackwell doubled their lead. Captain Dan Bailey making amends for his red card at the weekend sent a rocket of a header into the back of the Binfield net. The half time lead was nothing less than Flackwell deserved. Sinclair, in particular, having a superb half. 

The second half was a quieter affair. On the hour mark, Baines forced a diving save from Williams in goal. 
With twenty minutes to play, Binfield pulled one back and it was then game on from there. Flackwell had two opportunities to put the game to bed when Williams shanked a clearance which fell to Sinclair who went through but put the ball wide of the net. In an unbelievable turn of events, Williams then proceeded to mishit the resulting goal kick and gift Sinclair the ball again. Once again Sinclair went through on goal and this time Williams made up for his error with a good save to force a corner. 

Flackwell made three substitutions in quick succession, bringing first-team regulars; Jack Taylor, Mo Ceesay and Ashley Howell on for Cory Hathaway, Stone Muzinga and Sinclair.  Binfield continued pressing the ball and trying to develop a chance. At the end of the tie the referee added four minutes on. In the first of those four minutes, Watkins made an unbelievable save. The ball seemingly behind the Heathens’ stopper was subsequently clawed out for a corner.  Flackwell held firm and progressed to the next round where they’ll face Marlow United. Should they win that they set up a tie with Kidlington Development. 

Flackwell Heath :Watkins, Jibreel, Gregory, Phillips, Bailey (c), Muzinga (Ceesay ‘77), Baines, Hathaway (Taylor ‘72), Sinclair (Howell ‘83), Weekes, Simmo. 
Binfield : Williams, Thomson-Wheeler, Wheeler, Short, Kamara, Gallimore, Johnson, Melladrew, Moore, Regragui, Helmore. 

uhlsport football kituhlsport Hellenic League Premier Division

Brimscombe & Thrupp 0 Longlevens 3 Report By Severn Sport 

A sensational first half display from Longlevens was enough to see them beat local rivals Brimscombe & Thrupp at the Meadow on Tuesday evening, 3-0. 

An early Brad Martin header followed by goals from Isaac Johns and Harry Emmett saw Longlevens lead at the break and realistically, the hosts were lucky to only get away with a 3-0 scoreline.

After Harry Emmett’s shot was well saved by Ash Gale, the resulting corner was cleared and recycled by the visitors. Emmett crossed from the right and it was met by a Brad Martin header – with the forward stood in the six yard box all on his own. Just two minutes later Emmett was slipped in down the left side of the box, but Gale did well to stand tall before saving down low to his left. Gale saved against moments later, when Longlevens countered down the right and the ball fell to Brad Martin who drilled in low from the 18 yard line.

The Brimscombe keeper was called into action once more when Shaun O’Connor’s near 35 yard rocket of a free kick was palmed over as it flew goalwards. Longlevens were having plenty of chances and there was only 11 minutes gone. Sixty seconds later after a neat one two, Tommy Callinan found himself in on the corner of the six yard box and could only blast against the side netting. Longlevens were flying but surely they couldn’t afford to keep missing chances? Harry Emmett fired wide before Isaac Johns saw his shot from about 15 yards saved by Gale. Johns would beat Gale just before the half hour mark though, when a ball in fell to the Levens man on the edge of the box and was easily dispatched to finally double the visitors’ lead.

Brimscombe lost Chris Pates to injury just after half an hour as he was replaced by Elijah Simpson. Simpson had barely settled into the game before Longlevens had made it 3-0. Emmett, who could have had a hattrick on the night, found space on the right corner of the box before cutting back and seeing his shot deflect into the bottom corner. Ash Caldwell summed up the feeling around the Brimscombe side moments later when Emmett threatened to break at pace. As the Longlevens man charged over the half way line he was absolutely sliced down from behind. The Levens bench were furious and the yellow card came out. For many, Caldwell was lucky to stay on the pitch. There was still time in the first half for Dave Merrick, who scored two long ranged strikes in this fixture last season. Merrick played a one two with Martin before seeing his shot well saved again by Gale.

Former Longlevens striker James Campbell came on for Brimscombe at the break and he had the hosts’ first meaningful shot of the half, but it was tame and easy for Ash Wintle. Ash Gale pulled off another decent save to stop another 30 yard Shaun O’Connor strike, with the Lilywhites stopper palming over to his left.

Isaac Johns was slipped in down the left side of the box but couldn’t add to his earlier goal, as he skied his shot onto the hill behind the goal. Joe Haswell came on to replace Harry Emmett for his Longlevens First Team debut and did a good job at pressing the Brimscombe defenders.

In the end Longlevens had done the job in the first half an hour or so, but Brimscombe were poor all over continue to look very disjointed as a team. Brimscombe stay winless and bottom of the league ahead of a proverbial six pointer with Holmer Green on Saturday. For Longlevens, they move up to 8th in the league ahead of the visitor of Windsor at the weekend.

Brimscombe & Thrupp : Gale, Marks, Bremner, Parrott, Pates (Simpson 31′), Pitts, Major (Campbell 46′), Welch, Pitt, Caldwell (Underwood 84′), Woodfield Subs Not Used: Pass
Longlevens : Wintle, Dunn (Emery 66′), Barnett, Long, Williams, Merrick (Cornell 86′), T Callinan, O’Connor, Johns, Martin, Emmett (Haswell 75′) Subs: G Callinan 

Royal Wootton Bassett Town 1 Tuffley Rovers 1 (away view)

Having conceded thirty-six goals in their sixteen competitive fixtures this season Tuffley Rovers have not developed a reputation for defensive solidity. However, they arrived at Royal Wootton Bassett Town’s home, the Gerard Buxton Sports Ground, on Tuesday evening on a run that has seen them record only one defeat in the last nine games in all competitions and looking more solid since the return of Luke Merchant in goal, with an improvement evident, as they had conceded just three times in the previous three games.

By the time the match official called time on proceedings, the point that Mark Pritchett’s team earned, with their manager’s superb performance at centre-half pivotal to their fortunes, was probably deserved albeit it an outcome from a game that lacked quality and would not have been celebrated by the neutral. Pritchett handed a first ever Hellenic League, Premier Division start to Niall Priday, who has been prolific in the club’s youth and reserve team set-up, and there was also a recall for Jake Rhodes and a rare start for Lewis Bainbridge, in the only other changes to the team that defeated Holmer Green ten days previous. The hosts had encountered a difficult start to their season, with just eight points from their opening eight games, but Sam Collier was able to call upon an experienced side, with former Highworth Town men Callum McGhee-Parsons, Wayne Turk and TJ Bohane all in his starting eleven, alongside the talented Gio Wrona, who had been a thorn in Rovers’ side when Collier’s side dished out a 6-1 thrashing on the Rovers’ last visit to Bassett.

Perhaps evidence of two sides who might have feared losing, more than having confidence of securing three points, the game started in cagey fashion and there was little action to speak of until the eleventh minute, when McGhee-Parsons found space, only to shoot wide of Merchant’s goal when well-placed. That was the first real test of the Rovers defence and they failed their second audition just sixty seconds later. After Isaac Lawrence had been penalised for a foul on Wrona, the hosts’ winger dusted himself down and delivered a well measured and low free-kick into the front post and Turk, who was given too much time and space, stooped low to head the ball past Merchant before the Rovers keeper could react, to make it 1-0 after 12 minutes.

Thereafter, for almost twenty minutes, the game settled into a pattern where neither team looked capable of breaking down their opponent and the goalkeepers were at risk of being charged admission as spectators. During that period, Rovers failed to record a shot on target and looked to be short of ideas on how to force their way back into the game. If anything, the hosts looked more likely to add to their lead, as they played a neat, crisp passing game, although they struggled to create chances and even the usually prolific Bohane, who had scored two hat-tricks against Pritchett’s side in 2018/19, failed to produce an effort of note. It was, therefore, something of a surprise that Rovers equalised, 26 minutes into the game, although the goal itself was perhaps illustrative of the action that preceded it, as Lewis Bainbridge swung over a cross, which turned into a shot and went beyond Declan Lehmann and into the top corner of the Wootton Bassett goal to make it 1-1. Bohane then had a chance, after Aaron Oakley’s long pass caught the visiting defence square, but is first time volley was underhit and drifted wide of Merchant’s goal. In the remaining moments of the half, Rovers demonstrated their improved defensive resilience, as they produced a series of good blocks to keep the hosts at bay and they headed into the interval with the scores level at 1-1.

The second half started with Lawrence making a great block to keep McGhee-Parsons first shot out but that was a moment that wasn’t to be repeated, although the hosts continued to pose the greatest threat, with Rovers confined to playing on the break. Rhodes’ free-kick, on 65 minutes, almost deceived Lehmann, before landing on the roof of the Bassett net, and four minutes later Bohane netted but his effort was ruled out for offside. Ben Prictor was then sin-binned for his protests to the linesman when a Bassett player looked to be offside in the next attack, and the both sides introduced substitutes, with Brad Paglioroli immediately causing Rovers problems and drawing a good stop from Merchant.

What followed in the next fifteen minutes was a tremendous defensive display from Pritchett, his centre-half partner Macaulay Herbert and the Rovers team, as they threw themselves in front of every Bassett effort, as the hosts mounted a concerted effort on the visitors’ goal. That Merchant was barely called into serious action served as testament to the workrate of those in front of him. Rovers might have stolen the points as Bainbridge, Jeremiah Idowu, Adam Bloomfield and Dominik Kent all had half-chances, but Lehmann and his defence stood firm, and when the officials called time on proceedings the result might have been considered a fair and equitable reflection of the 90+ minutes that had preceded it.

Virginia Water  1 Brackley Town Saints  1

 Virginia Water are quickly becoming the Division draw specialists after this excellent match failed to produce a winner, which on balance, was deserved by the home side.

Waters almost went ahead within a minute, when the returning Lorenzo ‘Lenny’ Di Felice, rounded their keeper, only to drag his shot wide. In fact Lenny almost scored soon after, from a free kick and a short corner, both shots fizzing just past the right hand post.

Waters defended really well against the great football played by Saints, but Matt hardly had any real shots to save. At the other end, Louis Sanders, Joel Drew, Martin Peters and Joe McBride, all had efforts to open the scoring. The first goal, a little against the run of play, was very harsh, when a long cross popped up and hit Mark Lansdowne on the arm, for the referee to see fit and award a penalty, which was converted on 29 minutes. Waters fought back and again went close, but were 1-0 down at the break.

The second half was almost all Virginia Water, with Louis, Mark, Joel, Lenny all again going close, but the equaliser when it came, was worth the entry money. Some real sharp passing ended with Joe squaring the ball for Joel to slot home. Waters well on top and pushing for what would have been a deserved winner, but not to be, with honors even in the end.

Bishops Cleeve 0 Westfields 2 (away view)

Westfields travelled to second in the table Bishops Cleeve last night for a vital top of the table clash and returned home with 3 valuable points from an excellent 2-0 away win over a busy hard-working Bishops Cleeve side.  Westfields made several changes from the side that were beaten on penalties at Wellington in the League Cup and put in a hard-working, non-stop end-to-end performance for 90 minutes and got their just rewards. 

In the first half defences were on top and Sam Plane and Ollie Butler both got in timely tackles to thwart a dangerous Bishops Cleeve side.  Twice Aidan Thomas got free down the left-hand flank but his dangerous crosses were cut out by the home keeper. 

After a goal-less first half the game sprang to life in the 75th minute when a long clearance from Harvey Rivers in the Westfields goal found Dan Stoneman on the right and his cross created havoc in the Bishops Cleeve defence and Craig Jones was on hand to rifle home a shot from 10yds. 

This gave Westfields a great lift and 7 minutes later they sealed the victory with a fine goal from Dan Stoneman when the lively winger cut inside and beat the home keeper with an acute-angled drive.  In the final minutes Bishops Cleeve threw everything at the Westfields goal in an effort to reduce the arrears but at the back Ryan Green and Kane Kahaki were outstanding to give the Westfields side a fine 2-0 away win and to open up a 7 point lead at the top of the table. 

Westfields now have a home game on Saturday when they play Easington Sports at allpay.park, kick-off 3pm, and next Wednesday, 30th October, they travel to Longlevens for another away Hellenic League Premier Division game. 

One West

Cheltenham Saracens 2 Malvern Town 1 (away view)

On a difficult surface, we started the game with purpose and a positive run from Harry Clark within the opening minute ended with his cross claimed by the ‘keeper. There was a yellow card for James Febery in the tenth minute as we managed to clear our lines from the resulting free-kick just outside the area. Malvern opened the scoring on 12 minutes when Matt Fusco did well in the middle of the part and as Matt Turner flicked on, Clark showed good pace to get into the area and lash the ball into the roof of the net. As the home side looked for a response, Jay Sauntson did well to clear a corner to the far post in front of goal and then just past the half-hour mark Charlie Weaver had to be alert to head clear outside his area. There were shouts for a penalty for the home side as they started to ask a few questions as the opening period went on. We were in need of a spark as the first half came to a close and it almost came on the stroke of the interval when we did well to win the ball back in midfield and Ethan Moran fed Fusco whose powerful strike from distance flew narrowly wide. Holding a one-goal advantage going into the second period, an early free-kick from Louis Loader on the far side of the area was on target but saved by the ‘keeper, whilst at the other end, Weaver pushed out an effort from Price. Fusco fired over before an effort from Clark almost deflected into the path of Harry Wickett as the home side managed to scramble clear. We were starting to build up some pressure as Wickett did well before Clark dragged his attempt wide but we were pegged back when the home side levelled matters as Bryan forced home from close range from a corner. Our woe continued soon afterwards when substitute, Dave Reynolds, was sent to the sin bin for comments that he made to the referee and then Phil Harris, also on as a sub, was booked for a strong challenge. As the clock ticked down, the ‘keeper did well to thwart Fusco as Febery headed the resulting corner wide. A long range effort from Louis Loader on 86 minutes was pushed onto the roof of the net by the ‘keeper as the game looked to be heading for a draw. That was until with two minutes to go some careless play in the middle of the park ended with the home side hitting us on the break and Price applied the finish to snatch all three points for Saracens.

Malvern Town: Weaver, Hayes, Wickett, Febery, J. Sauntson, Loader, Moran, Craven (Harris 55), Turner (Reynolds 57), Fusco, Clark. Subs not used: Griffiths, Emblem.

Division Two West

Wantage Town Development 2 Faringdon Town 2 (away view)

Faringdon Town made the nine mile journey to Alfredian Park on Tuesday evening for their latest uhlsport Hellenic League Division Two West fixture. With both sides in the higher reaches of the table, it was always going to be a tight affair and so it turned out to be. On arrival, the ground had a lot of grass, probably too much and it was certainly bobbly! The hosts had dragged in a number of 1st Team players to bolster numbers, whilst Town welcomed back Dan Hoskin, Sean Creeley and Adam Rudman to the starting eleven from the weekend. 

The match was immediately a midfield battle, but the 'Freds' were in the ascendancy as Town struggled to get into their rhythm and conceded numerous free kicks in their own half allowing unnecessary pressure. Town's first effort on goal came on 20 minutes when Creeley cut in from the left and his goal bound effort was deflected past the far post for a corner, which unfortunately came to nothing. Soon after and Wantage's number 8 drove at the Town backline and hit an effort at goal, however Town number one, Connor Guinness-Smith was equal to it, getting a finger tip to the ball to send it over the bar. On 26 minutes the deadlock was broken, as Town took the lead. A terrific ball from Rudman at right back down the side of the home centre half, found the run of Ryan Bradbury. He held off the defender and his initial effort was saved at his feet by the Wantage keeper, however Bradbury was alive to the loose ball and scored his fifth of the season. The home side now had to apply more pressure and this they certainly did, as they first had a good turn and volley effort straight at Guinness-Smith and then Luke Davenport had to be quick footed to block a shot off the line to prevent an equaliser. On 40 minutes Town skipper Josh Forth went in for a tackle and despite winning the ball, hard but fairly, the match official decided to show the first yellow card of the tie. Just as the half was coming to a close, the home keeper had to be alert as he managed to block-save at the feet of Creeley, when a second goal for the Town looked probable. 

The second half started just a frenetically and the referee was very one sided in his decision making, which was clearly frustrating the Town players and management. Due to a number of these decision, Town had to remove skipper Forth before a second yellow card was shown for a culmination of alleged fouls. Josh Vaughan was his replacement and his first touch in the game, was in the Alfredian's penalty area, as he linked up and shot at goal, which went the wrong side of the near post. The next twenty minutes went by without incident and on 77 minutes the home side were level. A long throw into the penalty area wasn't dealt with by Town and the substitute winger managed to get a touch on the ball to divert past the stranded Guinness-Smith. Town made their next substitute with Andy Munns replacing Andy Lynham with 10 minutes remaining. Munns was then involved in the build-up to Town taking the lead for a second time, as he took Bradbury's ball down the right wing, cut inside his marker, passing the ball to striker Dan Hoskin. He laid the ball off to Creeley who side footed the ball home around the keeper from 20 yards with three minutes of normal time to play and Town's squad enjoying their celebrations. Town's management tried to get the message across that the lads had to play sensible football, but unfortunately the ongoing trend of cheap free-kicks made us pay yet again. Wantage awarded a retake 10 yards into the Town half, an excellent ball was played into the area and Wantage's top scorer half-volleyed the ball into the far corner for the equaliser. The game came to a close, a draw was a fair result with both sides being very competitive, but frustrated by the match officials decision making.

Faringdon Town:C Guinness-Smith, A Rudman, A Lynham (sub 80mins A Munns), M Pill, A Goodchild, L Davenport, S Creeley, J Forth(c)(sub 55mins J Vaughan), D Hoskin, R Bradbury, A Sly - Subs Not Used H Platt, M Morris, J Broadfield 

Gloucestershire FA Senior Amateur Cup (North)

Shortwood United Development 3 Staunton & Corse 1

Manager Chris Hicks & Shane Mathews could not have been more happy with the performance of the young Shortwood side who progress into the 3rd round of the Gloucestershire County Cup. This time the development side came up against Staunton & Corse from the Gloucestershire Northern Senior League. Expecting another physical battle and long periods without the ball Chris and Shane set the team up with clear instruction to press high, hunt in packs and counter attack. 

It took only 3 minutes for wood to find them selves 1-0 up, Ryan Carden won the ball back in the opposition half and sprinted past 2 Staunton players down the left flank with his driven ball across the goal met by Shortwood captain Aaron Lowe who was on had to tap home from 2 yards.  Wood continue to press the ball with energy and could have found them selves two up when a great ball from Lewis hicks in the center of midfield cut open the Staunton defence. Jake Lowe met the pass but his 25 yard effort came back out of the cross bar. Jake went on to hit the cross bar another 2 times in the half. Stauton had a few chances but the young Wood keeper Alex Sukosd pulled of some wonderful saves to deny the visitors. 13 minutes in and wood got there 2nd of the night through Jake Lowe who finished well to extend the lead. Things got worse for the visitors on 20 minutes when Levi Mathews picked the ball up just inside the Staunton half skipped past the defender and went on a 40 yard run ending with a fine finish past the out coming keeper.  Wood continue to press high and win the ball back and should of had a penalty when skipper Aaron Lowe was brought down in the area but the ref waved on to the frustration of the Shortwood bench.  

2nd half Staunton came back in to the game and put the young wood under pressure for large periods but the home team defended well with Tom Hoskins and Wayne Bown commanding the back line. Chances for both teams where minimal with the game become scrappy but on 63 minutes the visitors pulled a goal back giving them a much required lift. On 75 mins the Staunton number 4 was sin binned for decent. With the one man advantage it allowed Shortwood to slow the game down and get a foot hold back in the match. 85 minitues the advantage swung in the visitors favour when Cam Fry was sin binned for decent towards the Referee.  With the visitors tails up the Shortwood needed to dig in and have believe they could manage the game and see it out.  This they did and on the final whistle you could see what it ment to the players.