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Hellenic League Match Report


31 August

Buildbase FA Vase First Round Qualifying

Holyport 3 Unite MK 2 

Holyport made it through to the next round of the vase overcoming Spartan South midlands football league side Unite MK. What can only be described as a very poor first 45 minutes from Holyport failing to dominate possession and struggling to make any foot hole in the game. The game sprung into life in the 32nd minute where Unite MK number 10 Jamie Parker turned well and scored a screamer from 30 yards out.  

Unite MK extended their lead on the 36th minute with Holyport again getting caught playing out from the back with the pass being intercepted and Unite MK playing through, with Cole Rawson finishing well to chip over Jake Quelch’s head. 

With the riot act read, Holyport started the second half much brighter forcing early corners and dominating the play. Good chances fell to Josh Lowther and Fabian Driffill. Holyport finally got themselves back in the game on 68 minutes with a through ball from Steven Deverall finding Andy Forisky, who finished well off the near post.  
The first of Holyport’s subs was made with Wes Sutherland replacing Josh Lowther. Sutherland made an instant impact getting Port’s equaliser, he started with the ball out wide and driving at Unite MK’s defence, playing a one two with Alan Akerman, finishing well over the keeper’s head. 

Unite MK had an opportunity to regain the lead with a freekick in a good position but struck straight at the wall.   Holyport completed the turnaround with 10 mins to go with a long ball played forward by Josh Masters that was chased down by the ever running Andy Forisky who got to the ball just before the on rushing keeper to knock it past him and finish well from a tight angle.  Holyport managed to comfortably see out the rest of the game and progress to the next round, final score 3-2. 

Malmesbury Victoria 3 Woodley United 0 (away view)

Woodley went into their final game of August looking to get back to winning ways after back to back defeats. Having been drawn away to Hellenic Division One West Malmesbury Victoria, the decision was made to move the match to Rivermoor as Malmesbury’s ground was unavailable. 

After an uneventful opening ten minutes that saw the weather worsen and little goalmouth action, Victoria took the lead under controversial circumstances when Andy Baker netted after United cheaply gave up possession. With the lineswoman’s flag up, the ref seemed to initially rule out the goal; however, after further consultation with his assistant, the goal was given much to everyone’s confusion. 

Looking for a reply, Sam Guze missed from distance before Woodley’s afternoon worsened when Pele Hagger was shown a straight red card for a reckless challenge that later saw the Malmesbury player go off injured.  Midway through the half saw United keeper Pete Davies save from Shane Bumphrey following a headed pass from captain Sam Parker. 

Despite the numbers disadvantage, Woodley were at times playing some nice football. A fantastic move that started on the right, deep in United territory, was worked to the left of the pitch and involved half the team ended with a Teddy Thomas shot blocked. Thomas was part of the next passage of play. Picking up a Guze pass, his low cross was cut out at the near post. Thomas then swapped wings with Freddie Barron as Woodley looked to change things up. Following a Parker shot that didn’t trouble Davies, a lovely bit of skill out on the right wing by United forward Toby Briggs saw him get away from several players. Exchanging passes with Guze, a promising move came to nothing. A final kick to the teeth was delivered in stoppage time when Victoria doubled their lead. Taking advantage of Woodley giving up the ball, Parker cut back to Bumphrey who found the top corner. 

Before the second half got underway, United made a change when Bailey Hill replaced centre back Joe Sissons who took a knock in the final stages of the first half. The first chances of the second period went to Malmesbury who saw multiple shots well blocked. Woodley were the better team for the majority of the second half. Thomas and Briggs combined on the right with the former’s cross cut out by the keeper, then Guze forced a save. 

Ten minutes after the break United had a fantastic chance to get back into the game when Briggs took advantage of the goalie taking too long on the ball. With the angle to shoot too tight, a couple of quickfire passes in the box saw Sam Wood’s shot cleared off the goal line. A double change was made two minutes later when Barron and Wood made way for Ben Anderson and Harry Swabey. This also saw Woodley change to a very effective 3-4-2 formation, with Anderson partnering Briggs up top, Swabey on the right, Thomas on the left, Jon Malone and Guze in the middle and a back three of Conor Clarke, skipper Luke Axton-Hall and Hill. 

The subs were instantly in the thick of things; Swabey had a shot from the right punched clear whilst good movement from Anderson saw him receive a throw in, spin away from his marker and fire a shot on the half volley wide of the left post. With fifteen minutes to go, Swabey was cynically hacked down just outside the box. Guze’s free kick went over but he got a lot closer with his following set piece from further out when he hit the bar. 

The game was put to bed with ten to go when Baker got his second with a well taken finish. Picking up a Kyle Witt pass, he found the right corner with a low shot. United showed character in the final stages. Axton-Hall did superbly well to clear off the line at full stretch after Bumphrey had gone round Davies before three half chances at the other end. Guze had an effort tipped over after an Anderson cut back, a back post Thomas header deflected wide for a corner whilst the resultant set piece was headed wide by Clarke.

Risborough Rangers 6 Easington Sports 0 

Risborough Rangers progressed to the next round of the FA Vase with a convincing six nil drubbing of Premier Division side Easington Sports with new signing, Kyle Faulkner grabbing three. Brian Haule added to his already impressive haul this season, grabbing a brace and centre back Josh Urquhart waded in with a superb finish. Manager Mark Eaton had been busy in the transfer market during the week with the signing of Faulkner from Leighton Town and midfielder Ollie Jones from Burnham. With three regulars missing and Ollie Woodall and Tom Gibbons still injured the manager has been quick to strengthen his squad for this important Vase game and some very tough league fixtures coming up. 

Rangers went off like a steam train and Easington Sports must have wondered what hit them. In the first minute Dan Rawson looked to have been tripped in the area, however, the referee was having none of it, to the surprise of everyone! Three minutes later new boy Faulkner showed his intent, latching onto an error and volleying over from close range. Rawson's shot from the edge of the box just cleared the bar as the home side pinned Easington back. Soon after, Haule headed straight at the keeper from a good position. He followed this up with a good strike in the ninth minute that was well saved before Sam Pekun followed up and smashed home the rebound, only to see the flag raised for offside. On the quarter hour mark Rangers took the lead through Faulkner when he timed his run to perfection to head home Pekun's cross. A few minutes later Faulkner received a ball from Joel Read before shooting inches wide. Soon though it was two nil following a flowing Rangers move started by Urquhart. Faulkner cleverly chipped through into the path of Urquhart, who had continued his run and the big centre back took the ball in his stride, drilling it into the far corner. Ten minutes later Rangers added a third when Pekun beat his man and pulled the ball back to Brian Haule who rifled home from 15 yards. As the half time break approached Easington had a close range header easily saved by Jack Brooker as Rangers saw out the half with few problems. 

The second half began with Rangers continuing to press and eight minutes into the half Faulkner got his second and Rangers' fourth. Receiving the ball in the left wing position he beat his full back before unleashing an unstoppable shot into the roof of the net. Three minutes later and it was five after Pekun's run and shot was parried into the path of Brian Haule. Haule adjusted his feet, evaded a tackle and slotted home his second. Middway through the half Easington tried to rally with a couple of long range efforts, the latter flying just past the upright, but it was to no avail as the Rangers midfield, ably led by the excellent Davis Haule, continued to control the game. In the 66th minute Ben Hammond's pass found Faulkner clean through and the striker finished off his hat-trick, coolly sliding the ball past the despairing Easington keeper to make it six nil. Chances came and went for Read, Urquhart and Tavender before, late on Easington forced Brooker to make a good save with his finger tips, pushing the ball away for a corner. In the final minute Rangers could have made it seven after Marcus Barnes' clever flick found Brian Haule 12 yards out but the tall striker was denied a hat-trick by a good save. 

Rangers move on into the next round of the FA Vase where they face the winners of Chalvey Sports or Wembley. It was a complete performance from the team and it looks as though they came through without injuries. With a tough game at Marlow United on Tuesday quickly followed by Didcot Town Development next Saturday it is key that Eaton has a strong squad. Hopefully new boy Ollie Jones will be available for selection Tuesday. 

Shortwood United 5 Tuffley Rovers 0  (By Harry Ash). 

Relative to the opposition, Shortwood’s emphatic win over Hellenic Premier League side Tuffley Rovers has to rank as one of their best performances in years, and it takes Wood through to the second qualifying round of the FA Vase, where they will visit Fairford Town on 14th September. 

fa vase hoskins scores for shortwood against tuffleyShortwood made it 1-0 after fourteen minutes, with the irrepressible Lee Bowles clipping a pass in behind the Tuffley defence for Joe Wilton to run onto, before side-footing low past Alex Avenell. Tuffley’s first real chance came six minutes later, as Jacob Nowell was caught in possession on the edge of the penalty area, but the unmarked Dominik Kent was unable to guide his header on target, having met Jack Beardsell’s cross. Unfortunately for Wood, an injury to Wilton forced him off just a few minutes after he had opened the scoring. But his replacement, new signing Max Harper-Emerson, followed in Wilton’s footsteps quite literally with half-an-hour played, as he latched onto Guy Halliday’s through ball and showed great composure to take it round Avenell and tuck the ball home. 

Although Tuffley offered a little more threat to the Shortwood goal in the second half, any hope they had of a comeback was muted by three Wood goals in just ten minutes, including two within a minute for Bowles. That Tuffley threat produced a chance two minutes after the restart when Brett James’ long shot was parried into the path of Lewis Bainbridge, but Adam Clarke recovered well to smother his shot at the near post. Tuffley had another chance to halve the deficit 55 minutes in, as Ross Langworthy’s cross was headed across the face of goal by James, but despite Kent’s best efforts he was unable to connect. 

Shortwood’s flurry of attacks began when Luke Soule, breaking into the box, was denied by the right boot of Avenell. A minute later, with just over thirty to play, Tom Hoskins scored Shortwood’s third. A Bowles corner was worked back out to him by Hoskins, before Bowles pulled the ball back for the defender just inside the box, allowing him to place a shot into the top left-hand corner. Two minutes later, Soule was released again, this time after a slip by Sam Hill, but Soule, bearing down on goal, fired wide of the right-hand post. 

Bowles capped an excellent personal performance by adding to his two assists with two goals of his own. His first, and Shortwood’s fourth, came when Nowell, having charged down the left wing, squared to Soule, who found Bowles to his right. Predictably, Bowels then cut inside onto his left foot before firing a slightly deflected shot into the top corner. A minute later, a sharp one-two between Bowles and Tom Black released the former, who again cut inside from the right, before this time finding the bottom right-hand corner, making it 5-0 before the seventieth minute. 

With the game won, Black and Bowles were withdrawn shortly after the fifth and final goal, with a testing fixture to come next Saturday, when Wood host Malvern Town.

Shortwood: Adam Clarke, Ben Langworthy, Jacob Nowell, Tom Hoskins, Joe Tryner (C), Ben Snook, Joe Wilton (Max Harper-Emerson 19’), Guy Halliday, Luke Soule, Tom Black (Finn Byrnes 71’), Lee Bowles (Finn Blythe 71’) 

Shortwood United 5 Tuffley Rovers 0 (away view)

Tuffley Rovers’ poor start to the season reached a new low on Saturday, as the Uhlsport Hellenic League Premier Division side were comprehensively dispatched from the FA Vase by Division One (West) side Shortwood United. Having produced a stunning comeback in their league game, five days earlier, when they scored twice in the closing moments to secure a 3-3 draw with Brimscombe & Thrupp, Rovers came into the game against one of manager Mark Pritchett’s former playing clubs, with a degree of optimism and despite a bright opening, by the end of the afternoon they were on the end of a 5-0 thrashing that ended their FA Vase campaign in emphatic fashion.

The hosts had bolstered their numbers in the run up to the game, with Ben Snook a notable addition, having signed from Fairford Town, whilst Rovers made several changes, perhaps as a reflection of the overall performance in the previous game. Lewis Bainbridge, Sam Hill, Luke Troke and Ross Langworthy were amongst those recalled, with the latter player’s selection seeing him up against his sibling, Ben, who was playing in the back four for Shortwood. Rovers came out looking the higher division side and had Bainbridge or Pritchett made better connections with early Langworthy set-pieces, the afternoon might have played out differently. Alex Avenell, recalled in the Rovers goal, made smart stop from Joe Wilton, after seven minutes, and that might have served as a warning to Pritchett’ side, but it clearly wasn’t enough and on 13 minutes they took the lead, as Lee Bowles’ superb cross was brought down by Wilton, who took a touch before hammering the ball beyond Avenell, to make it 1-0. Dom Kent should have equalised after 20 minutes, only to head Jack Beardsell’s cross wide from inside the six-yard box, and Rovers remained competitive, despite the hosts’ lead. However, the decisive turn came just before the half-hour mark, when another new Shortwood player, Max Harper-Emmerson (who had replaced the injured Wilton) was set away by a ball over the top and he produced a composed finish beyond the advancing Rovers’ keeper. As the half played out, Rovers looked increasingly vulnerable but the held out until the interval and must have gone into the break with hopes of salvaging something from the game.

Those hopes looked to have some potential at the start of the second period, with United keeper Adam Clark called into serious action, as he produced a good stop to deny Brett James, before his defensive colleagues used their determination to keep out Bainbridge’s follow-up. Ten minutes into the half, Kent had another glorious chance, as James’ diving header from Bainbridge’s cross flashed across the goal, but the former Gloucester City U18s player was unable to get a touch on the ball and Shortwood’s lead remained intact. That was to prove almost the last moment of positivity for Rovers, although they had to be grateful to Avenell, on 60 minutes, as the young keeper denied Luke Soule after James’ misplaced pass had presented him with a great opportunity to score. That was to prove a temporary relief, though, as the corner-kick that followed was only half-cleared, before centre-half Tom Hoskins stepped forward to smash the ball across the goal and into the side of Avenell’s net. Pritchett responded by making a change, with attacker Jake Rhodes introduced for defender Sam Hill, but what followed was disastrous, as Bowles scored twice in successive minutes, to take the tie completely away from the visitors.

Two further substitutions followed for Rovers, but by now the tie was over and the momentum was entirely with Shortwood, who would consider themselves unfortunate not to have increased the score against a visiting side that had produced a lamentable final half hour of football. When the match official, Mr Overthrow, finally sounded the game finishing the hosts advanced to the next round, whilst Rovers were left to lick their wounds; and not for the first time this season.

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Brimscombe & Thrupp 3 Westfields 3 (away view)

Westfields played their first away game in the uhlsport Hellenic League Premier Division when they travelled to Brimscombe & Thrupp at Stroud on Saturday and came home with a point from a 3-3 draw. 

It was a game where Westfields clearly should have taken maximum points but they didn’t take advantage of the wonderful opportunities that were presented to them by fine wing play from Ben Hayes and Aidan Thomas who both produced good approach work. Westfields played some good football but were also guilty of some poor defending which resulted in a high scoring match against a lively Brimscombe & Thrupp side who had failed to win their opening league matches. 

Westfields started well and scored in the 16th minute through skipper Sam Gwynne who overlapped on the right and got on the end of a cross to put Westfields ahead from 8yds. However, Brimscombe came storming back and were level within a minute when Ed Major bent a super shot past Harvey Rivers to put the home side level and then 4 minutes later the home side took the lead when Kane Kahaki deflected a cross into his own net to give Brimscombe & Thrupp a 2-1 lead.  

However, Westfields came storming back and scored the best goal of the game when Aidan Thomas got free down the left hand flank, put over a beautiful first time cross and Ben Hayes came racing in from the right to head powerfully home at the far post. However, right on the interval Brimscombe & Thrupp produced a corner kick and Jack Smith headed home unchallenged to give the home side a 3-2 interval lead. 

After the break Westfields opened up smartly and drew level with another fine goal when Aidan Thomas shot home from the edge of the penalty area to put the sides level. This signalled an onslaught of the Brimscombe goal as Westfields pushed forward in search of taking the lead but both Kane Kahaki, Richard Greaves and Aidan Thomas all saw shots saved by the home keeper Ashley Gale who had an amazing game throughout and produced a string of fine saves to keep his side in the game.  Westfields then saw Dan Stoneman go close with another shot cleared off the line as they piled on the pressure. 

Brimscombe & Thrupp did come back into the game and Harvey Rivers produced a fine finger-tip save to keep Westfields level before late in the game Gale in the home goal produced another fine save to keep Westfields out and preserve a precious point for the home side. Westfields in their opening 4 games have now won 2 and drawn 2. Tuesday night they go to Royal Wootton Bassett Town before they play at home to top six side Ardley United on Saturday.

Division Two West

Letcombe 2 Newent Town Development 1

This was not one of Letcombe's better performances, but sometimes you have to ‘win ugly’, and this was one of those occasions.

Letcombe chose to play with the wind behind them, but although they had most of the possession throughout the first half, they found it difficult to create chances against a well organised Newent defence. The hosts took the lead midway through the half when a free kick on the left from Luke Polding found James Wright at the far post, but his shot deflected into the net off a Newent defender. The visitors had a great chance to equalise two minutes later when the ball bounced over the head of the home defenders leaving Jordan Ralph with a clear run on goal, but he shot over the bar.

An even second half saw Newent looking more dangerous with the wind behind them, and they equalised six minutes into the half. A long ball through the middle found Jordan Ralph, who held off the challenge of Luke Mulvey before firing the ball past keeper Ben Beasley. The best move of the game produced the winner for Letcombe just after the hour mark. A run and cross from the right by Luke Polding found Boyan Thorpe at the far post, and he headed the ball back to Josh Fowler who drove it low into the far corner. Letcombe were forced to replace centre back James Wright with 16 year old Aidan Ormrod after the former received a blow in the stomach.

Letcombe were left to reflect on three hard earned points despite not playing well. They were guilty of making the wrong decision on too many occasions, but there were also some pleasing performances, notably from Josh Fowler in attack who never stopped working. Chris Rivers and Sam Mulvey won the midfield contest, and centre backs Mikey Annetts and James Wright were solid at the back, giving the visitors few clear openings. Keeper Ben Beasley handled the ball well, particularly from dangerous in swinging corners in the second half.

Letcombe have two more home league games in the next fortnight, entertaining Shortwood United development on 7th September and then Chippenham Town development on 14th.