Banbury Litho Floodlit Cup
Shortwood United 3 Bishops Cleeve 2
Shortwood met Bishops Cleeve for the 3rd time this season at Meadowbank on Tuesday evening and it was certainly not a case of familiarity breeds contempt as these two sides produced a rip snorter of a cup tie. It will be difficult to find a better game this season. The management took the brave course to switch things around and Wood’s performance, especially in the second half was stunning! Joe Wilton scored all three goals and rightly took the plaudits as man of the match but there were fine performances all over the park and Guy Halliday certainly pushed him for the award. Make no mistake Wood thoroughly deserved their win!
Wood started the brighter and had a couple of early shots blocked and after 7 minutes Kalnins sent a fine header against the bar which rebounded to safety. Straight from this escape Cleeve broke at speed and with Wood appealing for off side (rightly waved away) Luke Payne had time to sweep the ball home. Cleeve took the initiative and game to Wood and Payne, Davis and Llewellyn all had chances but Wood did not buckle and slowly but surely began to assert themselves and create chances of their own. Wilton had a flick header cleared off the line with Mills closing and Harper – Emerson sent a shot narrowly over. After good work from Harper – Emerson and Black Wilton came close. Just before the break Wood were fortunate as Davis had a real chance as Wood dithered but Clark managed to deflect his effort round the post.
Wood came out of the blocks for the second half determined to push Cleeve back and they were enjoying the better possession when after 63 minutes they were given a lifeline. Halliday swung in a free kick which found Hoskins at the far post. Facing away from goal he controlled the ball turned and went down. Cleeve were aggrieved as referee Gregory pointed to the spot and it did appear to be a soft award but after the fuss had died down Joe Wilton sent keeper Wieczorek the wrong way to level the scores. Just four minutes later Wood were in front with a superb goal. Halliday stopped Hancock in his tracks and his excellent pass found Wilton. A quick swift interchange between Wilton and Soule put Wilton free and as the keeper came out Wilton calmly shot into the bottom corner. Wood’s lead lasted less than 5 minutes as Cleeve came back with a fine goal of their own after 71 minutes. Jack Watts on hand to shoot high into the net from 8 yards finishing off a fast move. Wood were not to be denied Wilton and Kalnins forced Wieczorek into saves before finally Wood got their deserved winner as the game went into added time. Wood constructed a superb move right from the back and when Finn Byrnes sent in a low cross Wilton fired home and Wood celebrated.
Shortwood United : Clark, Kerr, Kalnins, Hoskins, Halliday, Snook, Harper (Soule 65), Black (Nowell 86), Wilton, Harper Emerson, Mills (Byrnes 76)
Tuffley Rovers 3 Bourton Rovers 0
When Bourton turned up in Gloucester almost exactly a year ago to play Tuffley Rovers in the Hellenic League’s Supplementary Cup, they arrived in good form having taken 21 points out of 24 from their eight league matches up to that point in Division Two (West); but what a difference a year makes! On their return visit to Glevum Park they had taken just 2 points from 11 games in Division One (West) which included conceding six goals to both Malvern Town and Hereford Pegasus plus another seven to the Hereford Lads Club. However, they had acquitted themselves well when losing at Glevum Park in early-December 2018, a match in which Bourton had taken the lead inside the opening ten minutes. Tuffley’s higher status made them firm favourites for this latest cup-tie but that they would win it comfortably, or even win it at all, was certainly not a foregone conclusion.
The Gloucester version of the two Rovers beat their county namesakes as comfortably as the scoreline suggests. That they did so was because they made a fast start, racing into a two-goal lead with only seven minutes played. The bonus for the hosts was that they kept a first clean sheet of the season at the twenty-second attempt; and that was particularly pleasing for goalkeeper Luke Merchant, who had played in ten of those matches, because it quickly got out of his system the two goals which had been conceded to Reading three days earlier.
Tuffley gave a first start to Joe Shutt, who had been a scoring substitute against Reading. Another newcomer to the first team, Rudi McKinnon who was making his debut for the club, was involved in his team’s early opener when, after receiving a short pass from Dominik Kent, he shot against Simon Flower’s right-hand post and then watched as Shutt pounced on the rebound to drive the ball neatly into the net before Bourton’s goalkeeper could recover in time. Tuffley doubled their lead only two minutes later. When Kent was fouled out on the right, Sam Hill lofted the free-kick into the visitors’ penalty-area but not really in the direction of any of his team-mates who were waiting there. Maybe Flower was caught out of position or maybe he was dazzled by the floodlights as he tried to claim the ball. Whatever the reason, the ball dropped over his head and into the back of his net to give Hill another Tuesday evening goal to follow the one he had scored at Westfields a week earlier.
Tuffley might have been out of sight less than five minutes later, when Jake Rhodes and Shutt exchanged passes on the right before the former fired a fierce shot against the near post. In their next attack another Hill free-kick was headed over by Macaulay Herbert; then Rhodes and Shutt combined again with the latter’s shot being blocked this time. In a rare Bourton attack Phil Colmer and Steve Nurse worked the ball down the left before Daniel Smith’s shot was comfortably grabbed by Merchant, then Dominik Kent received a yellow card for committing a foul in midfield but the punishment seemed severe because stronger challenges by Bourton players had not been penalised in the same way.
Shutt was heavily involved in Tuffley’s offensive play all evening until he was substituted with ten minutes to go. He was always looking for the ball and relishing the chance to go past defenders to get crosses in. This was an extraordinarily mature performance from someone so young. As half-time approached Bourton’s Jack Robson needed treatment after being accidentally hit in the face by the ball at close range and the visitors nearly conceded again just before the interval. Shutt won then took a corner on the right but McKinnon could only head the flag-kick wide of the far post.
Tuffley started the second period as they had ended the first; on the offensive with Shutt soon setting up Adam Bloomfield who shot wide. As the second half started Bourton had brought on Jake Oakey for Daniel Smith and Danny Way for Jack Robson as they tried to find a way back into the game. Tuffley waited longer before making their own changes and increased their lead at the mid-point of the second period when Shutt was again heavily involved before setting up Bloomfield for a tap-in from a yard out. Only then did the hosts make changes, probably aimed at protecting their lead rather than adding to it. The two Birds, Josh and Ashley, came on for McKinnon and Shutt with Charlie Holliday, another debutant, given the final fifteen minutes as a replacement for Lewis Bainbridge.
Bourton worked hard to create something positive from a losing position. Adam Webley shot high and wide from a good position after breaking through Tuffley’s defence on the left; and, right at the end, an exquisite through-pass by Connor Teague reached Webley but the Bourton forward ran out of space and Merchant was able to smother the ball safely.
The winners knew before the game that victory would be rewarded with a tricky trip to Malvern Town in the next round of the competition. Tuffley deserve to be making that trip up to Worcestershire to test themselves against another club from the division in which Bourton Rovers ply their trade. This was a good performance by the Gloucester club, who were so fast out of the blocks that their opponents had a mountain to climb before even ten minutes had been played.
Cirencester Town Development 3 Shrivenham 1 (away view)
A disastrous second half performance from the visitors saw Shrivenham crash out of the Bluefin Sport Supplementary Cup at the Corinium Stadium on Tuesday evening, and with it, their final hopes of bringing any silverware back to Barrington Park for another season.
In a brighter First Half a mixture of First Teamers, players returning from injury and talented youngsters, gelled quickly and from defending a corner the ball was threaded up field to eventual Blunsdon Mortgages sponsored Shrivenham Man of the Match - Zac Skinner, who demonstrated his skill by powering in to the host penalty area before dispatching a left footed shot from a tight angle and beating Joe Wright at his near post on 9-minutes, but for all their bluster, Gareth Davies men wasted a hatfull of half chances in the first half, which ultimately cost them the game.
After the break it was almost all one-way traffic in favour of the lower league hosts. Macauley Dodson gave away a penalty on 68-minutes following a clumsy challenge on Levi Irving, and he stepped up to level the scores with the resulting spot kick.
New signing Vinicius de Silva Pereira was easily dispossessed just outside of his own penalty area while attempting to shield the ball from Irving six minutes later and as he tried to make amends for his error, his nudge inside the area was always going to leave the referee with no other decision than to award a second spot kick as soon as Irving hit the deck and Irving stepped up to secure his second from the spot.
Irving could have grabbed his hat-trick three minutes later, but his audacious effort somehow hit the crossbar from yards out, but a place in the next round was sealed with a little over ten minutes of the tie remaining when an unmarked Max Lloyd picked up a perfect pass down the middle of the pitch and comfortably slotted the ball home leaving the on rushing Curtis Meare with no chance.
Surrey FA Senior Cup
Virginia Water 1 AFC Croydon Athletic 2
Virgina Water tumbled out of the Surrey Senior Cup in sickening fashion, conceding from a free kick in the third minute of added time minute of an excellent match.
The visitors started well and went close, before the home side got a foothold with some terrific build up lay and passing, with the excellent fullbacks, Josh Hill and Josh Hennah prominent in attack. A little against the run of play, from a long throw, Matt failed to gather and they were gifted a tap in from close range.
VW fought back and went close a number of times, with some last ditch defending and poor finishing costing us dear.
At the other end, Croydon almost went 2-0 up, only for Matt to tip over a goal bound shot. Josh Dillon was dominant in the air, and provided VW with a number of good attacking positions, but as alluded, we failed to take our chances, with Joe McBride, Jake Baker, Steve Williams, all going close. We also had numerous corners and free kicks, but Croydon defended really well to their credit.
Most of the second half belonged to VW, although the visitors were always a threat on the counter. Marc Lansdowne hit the post on 63 minutes, then after it looked like it was going to be one of those games (it was later on!), up stepped Josh Hill on 71 minutes, to smash home a great free kick and deserved equaliser. VW then constantly attacking and all out for the Win, with Croydon seeming to settle for penalties or the threat of the counter.
It was the latter in the second minute of added time, when from a VW attack, a cross was cut out and as we back peddled, conceded a free kick on the edge of the box. From the resulting free kick, we gifted a winning goal, when turning our back in the wall, to a shot that gave Matt no chance. The whistle went immediately from the restart.
Water's wish Croydon well in the next round, VW will bounce back and take some consolation from the terrific football they played for the majority of the game.