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Hellenic League Match Report

28-30 October

Worcestershire Senior Cup
Malvern Town 5 Worcester City 5
Malvern win 5-4 on penalties

There was drama aplenty on Monday night as we (Malvern) played out a 5-5 draw with Worcester City in the Worcestershire Senior Cup in a game which saw defender, Harry Wickett, forced to go in goal and then save a spot-kick in the penalty shoot-out, which we won 5-4.

We fell behind within the opening five minutes when Brett fired home after latching onto a pass from Harrison. It took us only a couple of minutes to get back on level terms when Ethan Moran did well to set up Matt Turner who applied the finish. With 11 minutes on the clock we won a penalty when English brought the lively Moran down and Turner, oozing with confidence, fired home from the spot. Turner almost added another moments later but he was denied by a smart save and City went on to take full advantage as they made it 2-2 on the quarter-hour mark when a strike from Brett from the edge of the area found its way into the net.

The pendulum swung back in City’s favour when Harrison put them 3-2 in front on 19 minutes, but again our response was perfect as Bryan Craven did well to find Turner who turned sharply before completing his hat-trick to make it 3-3. With six goals in the opening 21 minutes, it was certainly a lively start to proceedings and after James Febery was booked for a strong challenge, Moran flashed an effort just wide. A high cross from Curtis Smith was met with an acrobatic effort from Turner that went well off target and then Febery looped a header just over. City regained the lead with ten minutes to go until the break when Harry Wickett tripped Harrison inside the area to concede a penalty which Harrison stepped up himself to convert.

A minute later we came agonisingly close to an equaliser as the ‘keeper saved well, but sure enough, a leveller followed when Moran fed Smith who arrowed a strike into the far corner of the net. As half-time approached, Charlie Weaver was clattered as he went to claim a high ball into the area. He required lengthy treatment which ultimately forced him out of the action with a shoulder injury. It meant that with no ‘keeper on the bench, Wickett was forced to don the goalkeepers’ gloves.

In stoppage time at the end of the opening period, Wickett did well to thwart Harrison, whilst a neat passage of play saw Turner go close for us. An eventful first half ended with Smith putting an inviting ball across the face of goal as we went in at the break level at 4-4.

City had the ball in the net early in the second period but the offside flag came to our rescue and then in their next raid, Wickett blocked the initial effort as Brett fired wide from a good position. We went back in front on the hour when Craven slipped an intelligent ball through for Turner who lifted the ball over the advancing ‘keeper for his fourth goal of the evening – the second game in a row that he has bagged a four-goal haul. As City looked for a way back, we survived a goalmouth scramble before their appeals for another penalty were waved away.

The drama continued when Smith was handed a straight red card to leave us down to ten men for the final 22 minutes. Despite having a man less, we managed to carve open the City defence on a couple of occasions, with Turner going particularly close. Then a free-kick to the far post from Craven saw Febery’s stooping header tipped over. Brown failed to turn the ball goalwards for City, who then failed to capitalise on a loose clearance from Wickett.

As the clock ticked down, a great challenge from Phil Harris epitomised what we were all about as we continued to dig in and work hard. On 86 minutes English headed inches wide before there was last minute heartbreak when a free-kick to the far post was poked home despite Wickett’s best efforts to keep it out. The equaliser brought City to life and they had a couple of chances to snatch the tie late on, but we held firm to finish 5-5 and so we went straight to penalties.

The shoot-out saw Turner, Fusco, Loader, Sauntson and Harris all find the net as City also scored their first four until Wickett produced a great save from their final spot-kick to secure a memorable and hard-earned 5-4 triumph.

Malvern Town: Weaver (Hayes 44), Smith, Wickett, Harris, J. Sauntson, J. Febery, Fusco, Loader, Turner, Craven (Saunders 80), Moran (B. Febery 88). Subs not used: Emblem, Hooper.

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Premier Division

Easington Sports  2 Virginia Water 1 (away view)

 Virginia Water slumped to defeat after a long and difficult midweek journey to Easington.

Sports were the better in the first half, albeit Waters should have gone ahead early on, when Josh Dillon rounded their keeper only for his goal bound effort to deflect off a last ditch tackle, and sail agonisingly wide. ES first goal came when their striker cut inside our Right Back to hit a worldy into the top corner, giving Matt no chance.

Soon after it was 2-0, when Waters sloppily gave away a corner after failing to clear, and the resulting set piece saw their CB nod home a free header at the back post, VW huffed and puffed without creating too much.

The second half belonged to VW, and got back into the game on 63 minutes with a great team goal finished off by Louis Sanders.

Either side of this Joel Drew, Lorenzo Di Felice, Louis all went close, but shots too often, were from long distance, as indeed was the case at the other end. Waters lost Ryan Whyte on 78 minutes to a harsh second booking, when most thought the free kick went the wrong way, but still we pressed for an equaliser, but just failed to do so whilst down to 10 men.

A long hard battle lies ahead, although am sure we will be up for the task. We wish Easington well after our third encounter already between the sides this season.

Holmer Green 0 Flackwell Heath 2 (away view)  

Flackwell Heath completed the double over Holmer Green FC on Tuesday night as a Jack Taylor  screamer and a clever header from Khalid Simmo was enough to take all 3 points back to HP10. The Heathens were back to full strength for the game, the only absence was club captain, Dan Bailey, who began his 3 game suspension after his red card at home to Virginia Water.  

Flackwell centre midfielder, James Burrell, was in the starting lineup to face the club he spent 3 seasons at prior to joining the reds.  On a cold night, the Heathens started really well. Shifting passes around on a pitch that would only 
get worse as the game went on. Simmo & Ushiro Lumb seeing plenty of the ball in the opening periods. 

The breakthrough for the Heathens came early, after just 9 minutes. A scrappy bit of play around 35 yards out saw the ball pop out and break nicely for the captain on the night, Jack Taylor. The ball sat up slightly for Taylor who hit a lovely looping half volley over the goalkeeper who could only admire the strike as it hit the back of his net.  Flackwell continued to pressure Holmer Green but the home side fought their way back into the game. Alex Colverd unlucky on a couple of occasions due to some excellent recoveries from both Josh Edwards and Mo Ceesay. 

9 minutes before half time and Holmer should’ve had a penalty. A blatant push inside the box saw the Holmer striker tumble to the floor. In all honesty, the referee should’ve pointed to the spot and given Holmer the chance to level. At the break, it was 1 nil to the Heathens. 

The second half kicked off and a long drive from the kick-off by Taylor saw the Holmer central defender Ben Booker in all sorts of trouble and proceeded to haul Weekes to the ground. It was immediately clear that Booker had landed funny and was in some discomfort. Both physios responding quickly to treat Booker who was sent to the hospital with a suspected dislocated shoulder. 

After the lengthy stoppage, the game continued and Flackwell carried on where they left off. With just over 20 minutes to play the reds were awarded a penalty. Slightly soft, but the Holmer players could have no complaints. Sinclair stepped up and blazed the penalty high over the bar. The little bit of luck that Holmer needed to potentially see themselves back in the game. 

Marcus Richardson made a couple of quick subs. Weekes & Ushiro-Lumb departing for Baines and Howell. Baines had an instant impact. With 10 minutes to play Flackwell had a free kick on the angle around 40 yards from the goal. Baines hit a lovely curling ball into the near post which saw Khalid Simmo glanced a header home at the near post. Questions will be asked of the Holmer ‘keeper as he should’ve done better at his near post. The goal was Simmo’s 7th in 8 games for the Heathens in all competitions. 

There was just over 9 minutes of stoppage time at the end of the game which saw Flackwell come away with all 3 points at the end of it. The win takes Flackwell to 14th in the table. The Heathens are however 3-5 league games behind. The Heathens next fixture is on Tuesday night as they face another local derby, this time at home to Marlow United in the Floodlit Cup.

Flackwell Heath:Watkins, Eaton, Vicos, Burrell, Ceesay, Edwards, Ushiro-Lumb, Taylor (c),  Weekes, Sinclair, Simmo. 

Longlevens 1 Westfields 3 (Away View)

Westfields travelled to Longlevens in Gloucester last night (Wednesday 30 October) and recorded an excellent 3-1 away win and this also gave Westfields their first Hellenic League double of the season as they had beaten Longlevens earlier at allpay.park.  Westfields had to battle for 90 minutes against a very strong Longlevens side that defended well and also caught Westfields on a couple of occasions with quick raids. 

Westfields however opened up well and took a 20th minute lead when excellent work by new signing Ben Miller and Richard Greaves set up an opening for Aidan Thomas who crashed home a shot from the edge of the penalty area to give Westfields a dream start.  However, 4 minutes later the home side drew level with hesitancy in the Westfields defence and Brad Martin seized on an opportunity to hammer the ball past Harvey Rivers.  

Rivers had earlier stopped a shot from Martin at point-blank range and then after the break it was Rivers again who came to Westfields’ rescue.  Westfields trying to deal with a high cross saw Kane Kahaki handle the ball on the edge of the penalty area and the penalty was given which Harvey Rivers saved brilliantly at full stretch.  

This really gave Westfields a lift and they went further ahead when Aidan Thomas seized on a hesitant Longlevens defence to chip home the ball in the 65th minute and then it was Thomas in the latter stages of the game who was brought down on the outside of the box and Dan Stoneman curled in a fantastic free-kick into the top corner of the net to give Westfields a resounding 3-1 away win. 

This win puts Westfields 5 points clear at the top of the Hellenic League and bodes well for their second round tie in the FA Vase on Saturday when they visit Leicester Nirvana. Westfields are back in Gloucestershire next Tuesday when they visit Tuffley Rovers, kick-off 7.45pm, in the Hellenic League Premier Division. 

Windsor 0 Binfield 5 (Report by Dave Wright)

Brilliant Binfield outshone Windsor, winning 5-0 at Stag Meadow on a night when the kick-off was delayed for 30 minutes due to problems with the floodlights. Both sides held a top-six place in the uhlsport Hellenic League, but there was a wide difference between them over the 90 minutes.

Binfield, having won 1-0 at Royal Wootton Bassett the previous Saturday thanks to a Sean Moore goal, took just 72 seconds to take the lead with Josh Howell firing home from close range. George Short missed a golden opportunity to quickly double the advantage, blazing the ball over an open from a central position. Windsor went close to replying, first when Kingsley Etefia broke clear down the right flank and then Luke Appleton saw his effort strike the foot of the post.
It was a swift counter-attack down their left featuring Howell and right-back Jack Thompson-Wheeler which saw the latter, taking a return pass, going in to make it 2-0 in the 34th minute. Five minutes before half-time Moore took advantage of a slip by keeper Nojus Trinovas to add the third goal.

Windsor made a promising start to the second half, but their hopes of hauling themselves back into the game disappeared when skipper Moore powered through the heart of the Windsor defence to make it 4-0 in the 57th minute. It takes Moore's tally to 16 goals in as many games. Both sides introduced substitutes and it was one of them, Jemel Johnson, who within three minutes of his arrival provided the cross for Josh Helmore to tap home Binfield's fifth goal after 73 minutes.

Division One East

Thame Rangers 4 Woodley United 1

On a cold October night a decent crowd came to the ASM Stadium to see a Rangers side buoyed by the addition of several players dual signed with partner club Thame United. Rangers started on the front foot & took an early lead when leading goal scorer Pat Buston was given time in the box to turn & slot home after barely five minutes were on the clock. This early goal led to Rangers dominating possession but despite having the majority of the ball they were twice indebted to keeper Archie Davis for smart stops when Max Laschock broke free for Woodley. Towards the end of the half Rangers doubled their advantage when Joe Brittain was able to smash home from close range after a deflection in the Woodley box.

 The second half started with Rangers again on top & it was no surprise when the third goal came, this time from a well struck Calvin Evans free kick. A fourth goal soon followed when youngster Lewis Thorne capped an encouraging display with a neat finish into the bottom corner. Understandably Rangers eased off & Woodley were able to capitalise with a consolation goal before the game petered out. Rangers next game is this coming Saturday when they entertain Wallingford

Division One West