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Hellenic League Match Report

uhlsport football kit26 August

uhlsport Hellenic League Premier Division

Shrivenham 5 Fairford Town 1 

Shrivenham bounced back to winning ways in spectacular fashion at Barrington Park on Bank Holiday Monday to record their second derby win of the season.  On the back of a four game losing streak, a derby against local rivals – with just one defeat in their opening five games – and that was a narrow 3-2 defeat in the cup against higher league opposition, was always going to be a tricky task, however boss Gareth Davies had moved to strengthen his side ahead of the match-up and drafted in striker Jordan Morris on loan from Cirencester Town along with former Reds striker Jack Allan from the Sunday League and Dave Bampton was brought back in from Swindon Supermarine for his second start since seeing red in the previous derby against RWBT at the start of the month. 

A lively start from Shrivvy saw pressure pay off when with just 4-minutes on the clock Tom Ballard headed the ball in to the area and with Allan stood in front of Harrison Ellis, and his back facing the net, he flicked a wonderful ball off the outside of his right foot and in to the back of the net.  Ballard continued the pressure with a great cross in to the box little over a minute of the re-start but after it found Antonio Gerrish, he volleyed agonisingly wide. With the visitors failing to settle, goal two wasn’t far behind. A superb cross from Gerrish on the left flank located Allan totally unmarked inside the visitors penalty area and he despatched a perfect first time volley for his – and Shrivenham’s, second of the game. 

Fairford began to settle and despite some good passing, couldn’t manage the end result and Ellis was called in to action with 17-minutes gone to deny Allan his hat-trick with a save with his foot to deflect the ball around the post.  It took until the 23rd minute for Fairford to begin to make their mark on the game when Callum Preece saw his decent effort matched by a save from Dan Lawrence – and the signs were beginning to show, that Fairford could get themselves back in to the game and make a contest out of the remaining 63-minutes. 

Those signs paid off ten minutes later when the visitors peppered the home sides defence and Preece finally struck home an unstoppable effort after taking three touches inside the Shrivenham box to make it 2-1. In truth, Fairford were now looking the better and more composed side at this point but a water break and early substitution of Ollie Rejek replacing Nathan Blackford managed to frustrate the rhythm of the game it was the home side who maintained their lead going in to the interval. 

Both sides began the second on a more even footing but it was Allan once again who proved the difference and on 53-minutes, he found a flick on from Ballard and with his back to goal, he made a quick turn and lost his marker before ramming the ball home courtesy of his left foot. Four minutes later, a Rejek strike went narrowly over however the Allan show continued on 65-minutes when Ballard fed another perfect ball through the visitors defence and found the new signing, wo again lost his marker and fizzed an unstoppable ball beyond the diving Ellis for number four. 

Despite the lead, the visitors continued to press and a late challenge from Bampton saw reaction from most of the Fairford side and referee Paul Herbert issued a straight red – the players second in the two games he’s played for the club.  Harsh – maybe, but you couldn’t fault Bampton's efforts during the game in breaking down the Fairford play and the home side dug deep to maintain the example he’d been displaying for the remaining 23-minutes. 

The visitors nearly decreased the gap on 75-minutes, but the effort cannoned off the bar and more game management in the form of a substitution on 77-minutes (Luke Cordery came on for Scott Chilcott) helped to kill off a little more time and with ten minutes of normal time remaining, Gerrish won the ball on the halfway line and threaded a great ball through a tiring Fairford defence and you guessed it, Allan picked it up – again unmarked, and ran down the centre of the pitch and as Ellis tried to narrow the gap, Allan knocked an easy ball in off the left post and in to the back of the net. Lawrence managed to maintain the score with a great stop using his leg on 83-minutes and by the time the referee had added on time for injuries and a second half water break it was closer to 5pm than 4:45pm, but the three points were staying at Barrington Park. 

Shrivenham: Dan Lawrence, Scott Chilcott (Luke Cordery), Matt Horsell (Y), Sam Ockwell ©, Liam Edmondson, Dave Bampton (SO), Nathan Blackford (Ollie Rejek), Tom Ballard, Jack Allan 5, Antonio Gerrish & Jordan Morris. Sub: Jamie Prictor, Alex Stanley & Mike Alexander (GK). 

Fairford Town: Harrison Ellis, Callum Preece ©, Kallum Thomas, Nathan Hawkins, Ellis Dunton, Robbie James, Mason Thompson, Danny Bailey, Connor Thompson, Harvey Scholes & Ben Lodge. Sub (TBC): Mason Hathaway, Charlie Bailey, Biag Mazzotta, Danny Gudger & Gavin Jones (GK). 

Tuffley Rovers 3 Brimscombe & Thrupp 3

The three league points Sam Prior’s team left behind them at Glevum Park in March were crucial to Tuffley’s resurgence towards safety in the second half of the 2018-19 season; and were also points Brimscombe just could not afford to lose as they battled with other clubs at the top end of the table and would ultimately fall one victory short of the points needed to move up into the Southern League from the Hellenic.
The Stroud club opened the season by losing at home to Binfield and followed that up by losing to early pace-setters Fairford Town, also at The Meadow. Rovers had also started a new season disappointingly by only taking a single point from two away matches before narrowly losing to their city rivals from Longlevens in a third fixture on the road. Irrespective of any early results in cup competitions this meeting on a Bank Holiday Monday afternoon gave one or both teams the opportunity to show that their early form in the League was not typical of the way they could play.
Both teams are still looking for a first league win of the season. On an afternoon of high drama when the entertainment value matched the glorious weather, Rovers somehow snatched a draw from the jaws of defeat by scoring two late goals right at the end of a second period in which they had trailed by two for all but the final few, crazy minutes.

An injury during the warm-up meant that the visitors were forced to bring in Chris Pates for Tom Pass in a slight change to their originally nominated starting eleven. It didn’t stop Brimscombe from making an explosive start. With barely two minutes played Jamie Bremner’s cross from the left was met by Jack Smith, who timed his run perfectly and directed a firm, downward header into the corner of the net well out of the reach of debutant goalkeeper Brad Newman.
With Rovers trying to immediately recover from this dreadful start, Warren Mann worked really hard on the left to force a corner. Jack Beardsell took the corner before when the ball was recycled a long pass forward by Declan Earwaker was grabbed gratefully by Brimscombe goalkeeper Ashley Gale. As Rovers continued to pressurise their visitors Mann’s shot was blocked but Dominik Kent’s follow-up was handled and referee Josh Brookland pointed to the spot. Before the penalty-kick could be taken the referee instructed one of his assistants to check on the welfare of Brimscombe’s right-back Elijah Simpson, who had had to leave the field of play with a head injury. Simpson was passed as fit to continue by the assistant and trotted back on wearing a headband and, confusingly, a number seventeen shirt. Possibly Mann was unsettled by the delay but his kick was too close to the goalkeeper, who dived to his right to make an excellent save.

The first of three water-breaks on a sweltering afternoon was called after 26 minutes. Upon the resumption of play Brimscombe nearly increased their lead when Jonty Welch headed a corner narrowly over the home crossbar. It was only a temporary reprieve. Rovers conceded a free-kick in a dangerous position just outside their penalty-area. It looked as if Ollie Pitt would take it but Welch stepped forward instead and curled a terrific effort around the wall and away from Newman’s right-hand side into the net. Mann’s afternoon came to a premature end and he was forced to make way for Lewis Bainbridge. Ashley Bird then sent Kent clear but saw Gale make a good save low down. Within seconds Kent went clear again and this time finished coolly by placing the ball away from Gale’s right side into the corner of the net.

The visitors restored their two-goal lead right at the end of the first half. It was déjà vu for Rovers. Another free-kick conceded twenty yards out, another successful Jonty Welch effort followed, although this one was credited to the unfortunate Newman, who saw Welch’s effort bounce in off him, after it initially hit the frame of the Rovers goal.
Rovers had much to think about during the interval. If Bird was expected to play in the traditional number nine role the shirt he wore indicated, he was becoming an increasingly lonely and isolated figure. But the centre-forward’s role has evolved over time. The lime-green clad figure of Jack Smith gave a perfect exhibition of what a modern centre-forward is expected to do, leading the line with pace and skill, forcing defenders to dance around to keep him away from the ball and creating space for his team-mates. When Brimscombe won three corners quickly, early in the second half, two were cleared but the third was met by an unmarked Smith who headed the ball over the crossbar. A few minutes later it happened again, before Smith also had several shots which went wide. On another day with a bit more composure it is not an exaggeration to say that he could easily have scored half a dozen goals.

After a water-break on 63 minutes Rovers brought on Brett James and Adam Bloomfield for Ashley Bird and another full debutant, Ross Graham. Brimscombe responded by replacing Elliot Green and Ollie Pitt with Ed Major and James Campbell; their third change came shortly afterwards when Ashley Caldwell came on for Sam Blackie.
Rovers had not threatened much in the second period. Kent had sent Bird away down the right but the latter was crowded out. Another attempt to make ground by Kent was halted unfairly by Henry Birkett, who received a yellow card for that challenge.

However, this game still had two amazing twists. A long ball forward reached Bloomfield but it looked as if the chance had gone until the Rovers substitute regained his balance and stabbed the loose ball into the goal. There were two minutes left. Rovers mounted one final attack in an attempt to save the game. When the ball reached Jack Beardsell out on the left, there didn’t seem much on, but the former Fairford Town man had other ideas and his fierce right-footed shot seemed to go through Gale as much as under him. Astonishingly, Rovers had drawn level. The extra few minutes caused by five second-half substitutions and two water-breaks were not as frenetic as the minutes which had led up to them. An astonishing afternoon had seen both teams take one point each. Based on the fare produced at Glevum Park this afternoon, it can only be a matter of time before both Tuffley and Brimscombe start turning one point into all three. This was breathless entertainment and non-League football at his best played out in front of a bumper Bank Holiday crowd of nearly two hundred.

Virginia Water 3 Windsor 3

The bumper crowd, reported as 230, at Stag Meadow were treated to a thrilling derby between Landlord and Tenant, with neither team deserving to be on the losing side. VW edged possession, chances, etc, and have some grievance on the wrong end of key decisions, but probably a fair result overall – just! Windsor started the better in stifling heat, and went close a few times, before VW grew into the game. Scott Jackson saw a goal bound shot saved brilliantly by their keeper. Then we had a stonewall penalty denied, when Finn Evered was upended in the box, for the referee to give a free kick outside the box? The resulting Josh Hill shot, saved well. On 32 minutes, and probably VW’s best move, a fluent passing move, saw Jake Baker cross for Scott Jackson to tap in from close range. Our defence had a few scares, and they and  Matt in goal held firm to see us through to 1-0 up at the interval, with Windsor also hitting the bar and seeing a header cleared off the line.

Early in the second half, with VW in charge, we sloppily gifted the ball to their striker, to hit a great shot from distance beyond the advanced keeper. Soon after it was 2-1 to Windsor, when again, we gave the ball away, and allowed their wide player to ghost passed some challenges and square the ball for a simple tap in. Back came VW, and all square on 72 minutes, when the excellent Adam McNamara curled a great shot beyond their keeper.VW in the ascendancy, but from a Windsor counter attack, more controversy, when Josh produced a great block, and Jack Simmons winning the rebound, only for the referee to award a penalty without an appeal from Windsor. 3-2 to WFC on 84 minutes, and VW feeling hard done by. VW showed great character to bounce back, and Adam Mills saw his shot hit a post, then a goal line clearance off the line. With time running out, Scott played the ball inside to Joel Drew, who took in his stride, only to be brought down for an undisputed penalty. Joel stepped up to level the scores. A great game and fair result on the day.

Westfields 0 Lydney Town 
Westfields drew 0-0 in the local derby with visiting Lydney Town in the Hellenic League Premier Division when former Westfields striker Richard Kear, now manager of Lydney, brought a strong side to allpay.park who put up a sterling defensive performance to go back to the Forest of Dean with a valuable point on Bank Holiday Monday. 

Westfields again were guilty of some poor finishing which should have put them into a comfortable and commanding lead to give them 3 valuable points but Richard Greaves and Aidan Thomas both failed to convert superb crosses by Ben Hayes who put in menacing balls into the goal mouth which were not seized upon. The Westfields attack had opportunities to have opened the lead in the first half before the sides went in at the interval goal-less. 

After the break a similar pattern flowed and again Hayes provided several crosses which Westfields failed to get on the end of and then Aidan Thomas twice had good goal-scoring opportunities but fired wide of the target. Substitute Ollie Price was then brought into the fray and he too had an opportunity to have seized the points but shot wide when well placed.  

In a frustrating afternoon Westfields had to settle for a home point against a big strong Lydney side who worked hard and nearly in the dying minutes seized the opportunity when on a counter-attack they raced clear but their striker fired over the bar when well placed. 

Division One East

Didcot Town Development 3 Woodley United 0

Top marks to both teams for trying to play football in the most searching conditions at Loop Meadow Stadium on Bank Holiday Monday afternoon. Not only was it scorchingly hot but there was not a breath of wind as the teams kicked off.

Woodley were first off their marks and some early pressure had a forward scooping the ball over the bar from close in. Sam Eeles in the Didcot goal was called on to make a good save when George Gilmore was dispossessed and Max Laschok tested Eeles with a low shot. Shortly after Eeles was on hand to smother another attempt at goal all within 6 minutes of kick off.

Didcot though started to get more on the ball and Ross MacDonald was brought down 20 yards out for a free kick. MacDonald took the kick himself which fairly blasted towards goal and appeared to hit the stanchion in the top corner inside the goal and bounce back out however neither official near the goal agreed and play raged on, Not to be denied shortly after the ball was fed to Bradley Walton out wide and he smartly beat his man before cracking a fine shot home to put Didcot one up after 12 minutes. Woodley barely had time to settle before a cross from the left was met by Daryl Harris who shot first time low into the corner of the net to put the hosts two up in 15 minutes.The game just could not be played at this pace for long and sure enough play slowed with both teams having periods of play. Before half time Didcot had a succession of corners but stout defending from Woodley kept the score at 2-0 by half time as players visibly wilted in the extreme heat.

After a much needed liquid intake for both teams at half time the visitors started well in the second half. Max Laschok looked the most likely to fashion the chance that might haul Woodley back in to the game and a snap shot was well saved by Eeles. Despite more Woodley pressure a goal would not come as the game was fractured with regular substitutions and a drinks break. Didcot came back in to game and were holding the ball well. Ty Hamilton shot over the bar for the Railwaymen when a cross may have been the better option. Any lingering doubt as to where the three points were going was settled in the 85th minute when a chip from wide was forcefully headed home low in to the net from Ross MacDonald for Didcot's third. The win keeps Didcot at the right end of the table and leaves Woodley with one league win so far.

Didcot Town Development 3 Woodley United 0 (away view)

On a sweltering hot bank holiday, Woodley headed to a Didcot side who had started well, winning three out of their first four games.  United started the match well, bossing the opening stages. A David Stevens corner was missed by the Town keeper presenting both Woodley centre backs opportunities at goal. The first saw a Conor Clarke effort blocked; the ball then broke to captain Luke Axton-Hall who hooked over from close range. 

The game’s next chance fell to Max Laschok who had a frustrating afternoon playing up front with little support. Showing determination, he chased down a Didcot defender, won possession and forced the keeper to save at his near post.  Laschok had a further chance on ten minutes when he latched onto a fine Harry Hawkins pass. Testing Sam Eeles in the home goal, the Town keeper gathered the loose ball ahead of Harry Swabey. 

The away team were left to rue these opportunities as Didcot went on the offensive. Ross MacDonald was desperately unlucky to see his free kick slam off the inside of the left post before Bradley Walton got the game’s first goal, cutting in from the right and finding the left corner from just inside the box.  Fifteen minutes in saw Town double their advantage. A left wing cross wasn’t cleared, allowing Daryl Harris to beat Adam Thomson in the United goal with a low shot into the right corner. 

Looking for a response, a Stevens free kick picked out Laschok at the back post. Drilling the ball back across goal to Sam Wood; the midfielder had his effort saved. A quiet spell followed with neither team able to string three passes together and a much needed drinks break. When play resumed Stevens had a half volley saved whilst Harris failed to hit the target on two separate occasions when well placed. 

The second period started with a couple of half chances for Laschok. The first saw him unable to get his shot away after a good run before the forward just missed to the right after a Sam Guze pass. Further opportunities fell to Hawkins then Swabey. The former had his shot blocked whilst the latter missed the target following a nice pass from man of the match Clarke. Woodley made a double change on sixty two minutes. Stevens and Wood made way for Toby Briggs and Ben Purcell who almost instantly had a shot saved. 

It took till the seventieth minute for the hosts to create anything of note. Walton had an effort saved by Thomson after a long ball before substitute Jack Hollister was off target from the right of the box. 
United made their final change with fifteen minutes to go when Joe Sissons replaced Swabey. This saw Freddie Barron move into a more advanced role and Sissons take over at right back. 

Didcot ended the game strongly. Thomson kept out a MacDonald strike but could do nothing about the header from the same player that went into the left corner. A frustrating afternoon ended with Woodley contesting the last few minutes with ten men after Purcell went off with a nasty looking injury. 

Wokingham & Emmbrook 5 Milton United 1 (Arthur Strand Independent Report)

Wokingham & Emmbrook faced Milton United in the league on Monday and, in searing heat, after a wayward attempt at goal, Nick Bateman found the target after 8 minutes. With a ready response Milton worked quickly forwards but the finish saw the ball rise over the crossbar. Milton forced a corner kick when Sean Woodward tipped an angled shot over his bar. A further corner followed but Brad Chalmers shot wide. Wokingham moved into an advancing position passing well, winning the ball back when intercepted and the wing shot bounced off the Milton cross bar. A short break for drinks, then Wokingham took a free kick. Jake White worked well with Elliott Rushforth throughout the game but on this occasion, Jamie Prescott, Milton's keeper, ended up with the ball.. Mid-field play meant that keepers saw little of the ball but Woodward was able to claim a pass in the penalty area. After 40 minutes, Wokingham gained a second goal with half-time looming, from a long pass from deep in their own half and a cracking shot. Two nil at the break.

Wokingham brought on Josh Harris for the 2nd half and settled down promptly. In the 52nd minute the forwards had worked the ball over to the left wing and Ben Broadhurst cracked in the 3rd goal for the hosts. A second drinks break halfway through the second half when the ball was out of play enabled all players to take on fluid in the heat. Josh Harris was fouled and Wokingham took a free kick. A corner kick was claimed by Prescott then Harris was fouled again with a free kick eventually giving Liam Eagle a chance with a header which went wide. Working well together, Luke Scope and Elliott Rushforth were attempting to gain ground but lost possession. Milton took a free kick but Josh Harris ended up with the ball although he missed the target. Sumas' defenders were being pressured and Milton took a corner which was headed out for another corner but the Milton header missed the upright. Jordi Goddard made a tremendous effort for Milton, surging forward and taking a shot which Woodward dealt with effortlessly. With only minutes left,Wokingham added a fourth goal but Milton stormed forward with Taylor Janes scoring a consolation goal for Milton. Jake White made it 5 for Wokingham just before the final whistle. .
Wokingham & Emmbrook: Woodward,[GK], Carter, Byrne, Day, L. Eagle,[c], Comusky, Broadhurst, N. Bateman, Holland, White, Rushforth. Substitutes: Scope, Harris, C. Eagle, Guest, Dean.
Goal scorers. Wokingham & Emmbrook: Nick Bateman, Ben Broadhurst, Elliott Rushforth, Jake White 2 Milton United Taylor Janes.

Division One West