30 September 2020
Binfield 2 Flackwell Heath 1 (By Dave Wright)
Elliott Legg lashed home a magnificent late goal to earn Binfield a 2-1 win over Flackwell Heath in their uhlsport Hellenic League clash at Hill Farm Lane on Tuesday. The left-back sealed a spirited fight-back by the Moles, as they had been outplayed for the first half-hour by the Heathens who came into the game top of the table with a 100-per-cent record after three games.
There was a confident swagger about the men in yellow, playing with great confidence and looking sharper than their opponents on and off the ball. They were also given an extra boost of a goal inside four minutes. Winger Khalid Simmo, whose speed caused Binfield problems, saw his effort pushed away by keeper Chris Grace, but the ball fell kindly for Ashley Howell, who wasted no time in blasting it into the net. Howell and Simmo both got in further attempts and Binfield had to thank Grace for keeping their deficit down to just the one goal.
The hosts were strangely lacking spark despite being driven on by midfielder dynamo Jamie McClurg, while there was often a lack of cohesion between midfield and attack.
However, as half-time approached there were signs of an improvement with defenders Legg and Calam Gallimore having the confidence to move further upfield in a bid to support their forwards with Elliott not far off from finding the net as he looked to follow up his goal at Longlevens last Saturday.
Stern words must have been said during the interval as the Moles looked a different team right from the start of the second half and it took them less than four minutes to get on level terms. Ollie Harris unleashed a 25-yard screamer from out on the right that curled in the air on its way around keeper Aaron Watkins and inside the far post.
The equaliser spurred Binfield on and they took charge of the game, only being denied by two clearances close to the Flackwell goal-line.
Heathens manager Marcus Richardson tried to stem the tide by making a double substitution, but Moles joint-manager Carl Withers responded by replacing Adam Cornwell with Jemel Johnson to add fresh legs to his side's attack. The hosts were also forced to make a change with injured right-back Dave Hancock giving way to Jack Thompson-Wheeler. Binfield were throwing more men forward and the pressure paid off on 80 minutes. Flackwell managed to head clear a right-wing cross, but only as far as Legg, close to the edge of the area on the Binfield left, and without any hesitation, he thundered home a shot which took a bounce on its way last Watkins. Binfield, however, still could not relax as the Heathens fought hard for a late equaliser and they would have got it had not Thompson-Wheeler been well placed in the goalmouth to clear his lines.
It was an excellent game between two competitive sides and played in a very good spirit without any nasty challenges. Without doubt, it was a great advertisement for the Hellenic League with Binfield officials deserving credit for hosting a game under difficult circumstances with social distancing being largely respected by the crowd of more than 160. Injuries are piling up for Binfield as on Tuesday they were missing centre-back Tom Willment, who had cracked a bone in his foot during the cup tie at Whyteleafe a week earlier, Asa Povey and Josh Helmore, in addition to being without the suspended Jack Broome.
Lydney Town 2 Westfields 1 (away view)
Westfields lost their 3rd game on the trot with a disappointing 2-1 away defeat last night at local rivals Lydney Town managed by former Westfields favourite Richard Kear. However, it was his namesake Brad Kear who was the thorn in Westfields’ side during the evening as the Lydney striker scored a goal in each half to destroy Westfields’ hopes of taking the points back home.
Westfields started bright enough and in the early period forced 5 corners without success and opportunities did fall to Joel Edwards, Keanu Cooper and Sirdic Grant who all had opportunities to have opened the scoring for Westfields. However, it was a little against the run of play that Lydney Town took the lead when they broke away on the left hand side and from a good cross Brad Kear was on hand to stab the ball home from close range. On the stroke of half time Westfields lost dangerman Sirdic Grant with an injury to be replaced by Ben Miller.
The second half saw Westfields take up the running and produce a much better display early on and Dan Stoneman pulled a goal back after a great run by Paul Hurrell put Stoneman in space and Stoneman fired low into the corner of the net to put Westfields level.
Westfields then threw everything at the Lydney goal and twice the Lydney keeper made breath-taking saves to keep Westfields at bay and then Ben Miller had a great chance to put Westfields ahead but he fired over the bar. Then with just 6 minutes left and following a number of corners Lydney took the lead when Brad Kear was again in the right place at the right time to score from close range and put the Foresters ahead. Westfields then pushed men forward in an effort to draw level but the Forest of Dean side held firm to register a 2-1 home win and 3 valuable points.
Westfields, having now played 3 successive away league matches, have 3 home matches on the bounce and this Saturday they entertain 5th place Brimscombe & Thrupp at allpay.park, kick-off 3pm.
Division One East
Wokingham & Emmbrook 2 Kidlington Reserves 0 (Report By Arthur Clarke)
Suma’s visitors from Oxford on Tuesday night were Kidlington Reserves. The game started quite tentatively and a free kick to Suma’s went direct to Max Dunmall in the Kidlington goal. Suma’s went through phases of accurate passing throughout the game. Jake White and Luke Scope both battled away without either scoring. Kidlington missed a chance and which was headed away by a Suma’s defender. Suma’s pressurised and pushed up again but the ball went back into midfield until the off side flag. Scope and White combined and the shot was palmed over the top by the keeper. A series of free kicks culminated in the yellow card for Ethan Merry. Jake White curled one over the crossbar then another Jake White free kick sailed harmlessly over the bar. Before half-time Harry Sturgess was shown the yellow card.
Two free kicks started off Suma’s campaign in the second half during which Kidlington were reduced to 10 men after a second yellow card was produced to Merry. Breaking out of defence, the Suma’s reached the opposition box zone and Liam Eagle rose to crash the ball into the net with a perfectly timed header. After the restart from the centre spot, Suma’s did just about everything but score from each approach which was headed away or cleared without any addition to the fragile single goal lead. After 64 minutes, Will Day cracked in a low shot to double the total. Substitutes appeared replacing selected players as the game progressed. It was not always obvious that Kidlington were only 10 men since Tariq Yousef was playing like two men at times. Time ran out and Suma’s claimed 2 goals, 3 points and top of the table. Next game: 03/10/20 Long Crendon at home.
Wokingham & Emmbrook:Woodward,[GK], O’Connell, Day, Guest, L.Eagle,[c], Cummuskey, Mullan,, Byrne, Scope, White, N. Bateman.
Substitutes: Clark, Badshah, Carter, C.Eagle
Tuffley Rovers 2 Ardley United 1
The vagaries of the fixture-list had seen Rovers given three away fixtures to start the new league season but they had lost all three and only scored once. Ardley United had lost to Bishops Cleeve and Binfield before defeating one of Rovers’ conquerors, Virginia Water, three days before this visit to Glevum Park.
Although early-season League-tables do not necessarily mean much, there was already an urgency for the Tuffley club to start picking up points. The two clubs had only met once in the 2019-20 season before it came to a shuddering halt, an entertaining 3-3 draw in Oxfordshire at the end of September. The only other form guide was that Rovers had won comfortably (4-0), the last time the two teams had met in Gloucester.
A really gutsy display saw Rovers claim their first points of the season at the fourth attempt in coming from behind to defeat an Ardley team that fought just as hard for the points themselves.Tuffley made five changes from the team which had started at Flackwell Heath three days earlier and that meant a debut for Luke Soule after his transfer from Shortwood United. He was into the action almost immediately with a low shot which Adam Rimmer saved fairly comfortably. The other goalkeeper, Luke Merchant, was also in early action as he parried a shot from Caelan Isaac; Bradley Walton should have done better from the rebound but the chance went begging. The next opportunity for United saw Liam Tallboys’ free-kick from twenty yards clip the crossbar and go over.
Ardley were breaking quickly and dangerously and Ryan Barney was at the heart of most of these breaks. After a corner on the left, a clumsy challenge from Antoine Thompson saw the visitors awarded a penalty-kick. Barney stepped up and hit the ball firmly left-footed but Merchant guessed the correct way and made a stunning save to push the ball aside for a corner, but the reprieve was only brief. As the flag-kick came in low and hard, Barney made amends for his spot-kick miss by turning the ball into the Rovers’ net.
Any fears that Rovers might suffer from going behind for a sixth consecutive match were soon dispelled by a quick equaliser. A cross from deep on the right reached Thompson on the far side of Ardley’s penalty-area. The full-back brought the ball under control and then fired in a shot which found its way into the far corner of the net, possibly with the aid of a deflection, to atone for his earlier misjudgment and record his first Rovers goal. Barney’s free-kick from thirty yards out just cleared the Tuffley crossbar by inches as the visitors swiftly sought to regain their advantage. Then a quick break on the left involving Bradley Singh and Dan Middleton saw Merchant forced into action again to save from Bradley Walton. But the next incident of note saw Jake Rhodes receive a severe talking-to and a yellow card from referee Chris Bounds after felling an Ardley player just inside the Tuffley half.
Merchant had to make another save, this time from Singh, before play was halted as the referee’s Assistant running the west touchline needed treatment after a fall. He was unable to continue and following an announcement for any qualified official to make himself known, a member of the Ardley staff took over this responsibility until the interval.
The second half was feisty and at times ferocious as both teams went for the win. Isaac had an early shot which went high and wide but then Rovers’ skipper, Macaulay Herbert, needed treatment on the pitch before he hobbled off to be replaced by Dominik Kent. Thompson looked to repeat his earlier score but this time his shot was blocked.
There was then an ugly confrontation between the two Number Elevens, Warren Mann and Isaac, which ended with both players being cautioned and Rovers being awarded a free-kick close to the left corner-flag. James Sunley drove a sumptuous cross at pace across the penalty-area which was met at the far post by a thumping header from Jake Rhodes which Rimmer could only push into the roof of his net. It was a goal worthy of winning any match; and it won this one.
Ardley replaced Jordan Godfrey with Callum Convey and almost immediately Tuffley brought on Rudi McKinnon for Mann which meant that the captain’s armband passed to a third Rovers player during the match, Jake Rhodes. The hosts’ final substitution saw Sunley replaced by Henry Birkett and, as the match moved into its final quarter, Ardley brought on two more replacements of their own, Lewis Middleton and Ty Hamilton. Ardley were sometimes over-enthusiastic in the way they tried to find an equaliser, as shown by Tallboys’ petulant push on Ollie Hunt for which he was rightly booked. Joe Shutt also received a yellow card as the match moved into its closing minutes before Walton went through one-on-one with Merchant only to see Rovers’ ‘keeper make another wonderful save to protect his team’s lead.
Ardley captain Drew Boyd was the final name in Mr Bounds’ book; this one for dissent. Then the final whistle went to be greeted with huge joy and a celebratory huddle by the home players. When you have started the season poorly, that first win is all-important, but the Oxfordshire club contributed hugely to an exciting and incident-packed game.
Rovers gladly took the points but Ardley played a full part in making this such an excellent match to watch.
Division One East
Risborough Rangers 3 Milton United 1
Manager Mark Eaton rested several key players for this game against a strong Milton United team. Top scorer Marcus Wyllie was given the night off and centre back Alex Sethie was also rested, along with a fit again Ben Hammond. Left back Josh Fox was out with an injury although looks likely to be fit for Saturday. It was a gamble for the manager, against a Milton side with plenty of Step Four experience in the team, but with one eye on Saturdays big FA Cup game at Chichester, he showed faith in his squad , who ran out three-one winners. It was not an easy game against an impressive Milton who probably contributed to their own downfall when they went down to ten men just before half time. In fact, the visitors played with nine men for 10 minutes when the United player manager was sin binned immediately after the sending off.
Rangers started brightly with Asher Yearwood just failing to get a touch on Bertie Squire-Adam's low cross with the goal gaping. Moments later and Yearwood burst through and was seemingly pushed over in the area. It looked a clear penalty! Five minutes in and a good move from Milton saw a shot deflected for a corner. The ball was played to the edge of the Rangers' box with the home defence relieved to see the subsequent shot fizz passed the upright. Milton were enjoying a good spell and Jack Brooker was forced into decent save low down on the quarter hour mark. United continued to press and another Milton corner saw Brooker save a headed chance. Rangers came back and Yearwood's near post shot was saved by the outstretched foot of the visiting keeper. Sam Pekun then went on a mazy run before shooting just wide. A minute later and Pekun again raced clear, this time to be denied by a good save at his feet. Rangers were on top now and several chances were well blocked in a mad spell, the ball ricocheting around the United box. Five minutes from the break and a good move by Milton saw Josh Urquart make a saving tackle at the expense of a corner. The defining moment came in the 45th minute when Sam Pekun was put in by Brian Haule's quick free kick. As Pekun closed in on goal he was hauled back by a chasing defender just outside the box. A free kick was awarded and the player received his marching orders. Milton felt hard done by, arguing that the free kick was taken from the wrong place, with the visiting player manager being sin binned for ten minutes. It was harsh on United as they had a good argument; the free kick clearly was not taken from the right place. Adam Morris took the free kick, only to see it deflected for a corner. On the stroke of half time Yearwood cut inside to shoot low, his strike being saved at the near post.
The second half began with the sin binned player still on the bench and Rangers took full advantage when two minutes in skipper Joel Read slammed home a half cleared corner to give his side the lead. With Milton back to ten men Rangers continued to create with Squire-Adams shooting across the face of the goal. Soon after and Pekun's cross was headed against the bar by Brian Haule. Four minutes later and a melee in the visitor's goalmouth defied logic as the ball finally ended up in the grateful arms of the grounded Milton keeper. The home crowd of 109 were stunned into silence soon after when ten man Milton drew level. A mistake on the halfway line saw Milton's Jack Powell nick the ball and race away to score with a cool finish. It was a deserved goal but one that seemed to spur Rangers into action. First, Pekun shot straight at the keeper, then Gary Rymer's shot was well blocked with Squire_Adams firing the rebound over. Yearwood followed with a shot into the side netting. Urquart should have done better with a far post corner before a dangerous cross by JJ Lofthouse Smith was punched clear as Brian Haule threatened. Davis Haule followed this up with a decent strike straight at the goalkeeper. Rangers finally got their reward with 79 minutes played when Yearwood's header was brilliantly cleared off the line only to fall to Pekun, who made no mistake from eight yards; cue an acrobatic celebration for the tricky winger. Two minutes later and the home side made sure of the three points when the impressive Lawrence Clark was fed by Morris and his shot from the edge of the box alluded the unsighted keeper to make it three-one. United never gave up though and two shots in quick succession were easily dealt with by Brooker, before the home side slowed things down to see out the game and secure the all important three points.
An under par performance from the Risborough team and Milton made them fight all the way. The visitors should be up there this season by the look of it and had they not lost a player on 45 minutes it may have been a different story. Rangers will look at the positives however and will no doubt be happy enough to not play so well, and still win. Saturday beckons and with Wyllie back anything could happen!
Rangers Man of the Match: Joel Read. The skipper put in a faultless performance and scored a goal. Defensively sound and his distribution was quality.
Division One West
Thornbury Town 2 Malvern Town 0 (away view)
Malvern Town succumbed to our first defeat of the season as we lost 2-0 at Thornbury Town. We were given an early let-off when Brock fell inside the area under the challenge of Jay Sauntson but nothing was given.
Both sides were looking to get the ball down and play but clear-cut chances were limited at either end. Some good work out wide on the right from Curtis Smith ended with him feeding Harry Clark who failed to make a proper connection, then at the other end, Keiron Blackburn did well to deny Farthing. A timely challenge from Fowler thwarted Matt Turner as we looked to get into our stride, whilst a series of corners in quick succession gave our hosts plenty to think about. On 25 minutes, Clark saw an effort blocked before Jay Sauntson was crowded out as he looked to profit from the rebound. In our next attack, Harry Wickett was denied by the legs of the ‘keeper who then recovered to smother the rebound.
The home side saw Franklin fire well over as half-time approached. Just before the break, a foul on Joe Bates gave us a free-kick in a promising position which Sam Hunt curled onto the crossbar and as Turner headed goalwards, the offside flag was raised as the ball was bundled over the line. There was still time for the home side to win a threatening free-kick of their own in stoppage time at the end of the opening period as Curtis Smith was adjudged to have obstructed Franklin. It was the same player who stepped up and put his effort well over.
We started the second half brightly as Turner stayed on his feet following a heavy challenge before curling a shot beyond the ‘keeper but onto the post. The home side went close in quick succession through Brock and then a header that dipped over before thy took the lead just before the hour-mark courtesy of a deft header. An offside flag ruled out Harry Wickett’s effort soon afterwards, whilst the home side had a chance to extend their lead at the other end. Clark did well to shake off his marker before seeing his strike lack the power to trouble the ‘keeper and then after the home side had a player sin-binned, George Hayes saw his effort well tipped over by the ‘keeper.
The home side were getting plenty of men behind the ball as the clock ticked down and they were able to block from Jay Sauntson before Febery fired well over as the attacked stayed alive. An inviting ball from Joe Bullock caused problems as we pushed forward in numbers and then right at the death, Turner saw a powerful drive blocked and the rebound allowed the home side to launch a counter-attack which resulted in them doubling their advantage to complete a frustrating night against well-drilled hosts.
Malvern Town: Blackburn, Smith, Hunt (Hayes 70), A. Sauntson, J. Sauntson, Febery, Loader, Wickett, Turner, Bates (Bullock 72), Clark. Subs not used: Paddock, Craven, Parker.