Friday 24 August
FA Cup Preliminary Round
Wootton Bassett Town 1 – 0 Hamworthy United
Wootton Bassett Town hopefully won’t be playing too much longer at Rylands Way. But when the club does move on to pastures new, there’s no doubt that they will miss the transformative effect the ground seems to consistently supply to Bassett when faced with a game of magnitude.
More often than not Bassett have risen to the occasion when granted a home tie in the FA Cup. Upset victories against Highworth Town and then-Southern League Bracknell Town saw Paul Burke’s team reach the First Qualifying round for the first time in the club’s history. Since assuming the hot-seat, Dave Turner has tasted similar glory at home with heroic displays resulting in triumphs against Bradford Town and, most recently Calne Town.
That latter win set up the prospect of a visit from Hamworthy United; a team plying their trade in a league whose teams have constantly had Bassett’s number. For the cynics this could mean only one thing: Bassett’s elimination. But that home advantage, the one which has so often seen the hosts fight off the underdogs tag, spurred Turner’s team onto another stirring victory as Mark Barnes’ solitary goal and a colossal team display booked Bassett’s passage through.
From the off the home side matched, and bettered, in long patches, their Dorset visitors. And an early impression was made on seven minutes. Jack Ellis found space on the right wing, delivering a testing cross that forced ‘keeper Shane Murphy to challenge for the ball near the edge of his box. Under pressure from Barnes he spilled the ball and Bassett’s in-form forward was gifted with the easiest of tap-ins. Rattled, Hamworthy found themselves susceptible to the break and it would have been two on 18 minutes had Barnes been able to get the ball out of his feet and square to Shaun Terry with the visiting defence stretched. Matt Bown then almost doubled the advantage on the half hour. Going for the spectacular, his dipping half volley from in excess of thirty yards had Murphy scrambling and eventually relieved to see the ball sail inches over the bar. Eventually the visitors were able to settle. For the remainder of the half they looked likeliest to score too. Highly impressive youngster Stefan Penny was pulling the string in the centre of midfield, while forwards Sam Pekun and Liam Murrell both caused problems with their pace and power. When the latter was scythed down by Craig Bowden on the edge of the area the visitors were afforded a golden opportunity to equalise. Stuart Cannie’s firmly struck free kick had James Domm beaten, but the hosts retained their lead as the ball smashed the bar. Ellis then had a half chance to extend Bassett’s lead, forcing a save from Murphy after a swift counter. But Hamworthy appeared more decisive on the break. Seven minutes before half time Aaron Corby surged down the right, creating enough room so that Matt Bown’s sliding tackle could only shift the ball into the path of Pekun. Lurking inside the box, the forward sent a snap shot towards goal that forced a fine parry behind from Domm.
Following the restart Bassett forced Hamworthy onto the back-foot. The quickness with which defence was turned into attack enabled the home side to get in behind the visiting defence. In the 47th minute a delicious Bown cross from the left was met with a powerful Terry header that almost found the bottom corner before the veteran forward saw a powerful effort blocked when a simple square ball to Barnes would have gifted his partner a one-on-one opportunity. Unable to extend their advantage, there was plenty still to do at the other end. Ceding more and more possession, Bassett were backed up ever deeper in their own half. Luckily, however, imperious defending – particularly from centre half Liam Edmondson – helped limit Hamworthy to two headed efforts, which Ross Hampton-Brown and Murrell both saw narrowly miss the target. Able to stave off the threat, with less than ten minutes to go Barnes was presented with a golden opportunity to kill the game off. An innocuous clearance should have been dealt with by Murphy, but he once again saw the slick ball slip from his clutches on the edge of the area. Bassett’s leading scorer hurried his finish though, skewing his first time shot well wide despite the open goal in front of him. This helped make the game’s final moments feel like an eternity. On 85 minutes, patient build up play down the left helped fashion an opening but Hampton-Brown’s teasing cross went across the face of goal without the necessary touch. In injury time Domm was forced to parry at Ryan Murray’s feet before an unmarked Murrell headed wide from twelve yards. The final whistle soon brought relief and the sense that a fabulous performance had got its due reward.
Saturday 25 August
FA Cup Preliminary Round
North Leigh 6 - 0 Thame United (away)
Thame United were ’blown away’ by a more skilful side at North Leigh on Saturday when they were defeated 6-0. The hosts are mid table in the Southern League division one (South and West) which is a league higher than Thame. Fairy tales do happen in the FA Cup, when a higher league team are defeated by minnow but, on Saturday, Thame were simply outclassed by a better team. Although Thame started brightly the home side soon started to gain control and went ahead in the 16th minute when a soft penalty was awarded. Ellis Hercules was harshly judged to have fowled in the box and Stuart Hole buried the spot kick. After 24 minutes a sloppy Thame pass was intercepted near the halfway line, and after a brief passing move, John Mills hit a well-placed 15-yard shot pass Thame keeper Lee Farrow. With ten minutes of the first half remaining it was 3-0 when Jimmy Deabill headed in a cross from the right from 5-yards. Up to this point United had been playing with only one striker, but after the third goal Mark West brought the hard working Cameron Lagan on to partner Alex Stewart. Just before the break Ben Connelly played a ball to Lagan whose acutely angled shot was just wide.
United came out fired up after the break but it was business as usual for the home side in the 59th minute when the impressive Mills beat two Thame defenders to score the home team’s fourth. Deabill got their 5th goal from 12-yards a few minutes later. North Leigh went down to 10 men with about 5 minutes to play when, having used all their substitutes a defender limped off the pitch. With 2 minutes left Lewis Coyle completed Thame’s misery by scoring the home side’s 6th goal. It must be said that goalkeeper Lee Farrow was not at fault for any of the goals. In fact he made some fine saves which minimised the damage.
Fleet Town 0 - 2 Marlow
Marlow progressed through to the next round of the F.A Cup against a side that had, unlike themselves, retained (just) their position in the Southern League at the end of last season but who had lost their two previous competitive games to date. Despite missing Richard Witt, skipper Danny Lingwood, Seve Mayberry, Dave Stevens and Chris Hatton the side that took to the field rarely looked in trouble against the hosts who are having the greatest of difficulty in finding the net. The first real chance came to the visitors in the 6th minute when a driven free kick from Ben Gladwin saw Michael Bartley's flicked header go a yard wide of the far post. Bartley headed down to Graham Lewis inside the box 12 minutes on but he fired just wide of the target too. The first response from the visitors came soon after when Mark Vockins cut in from the right and was denied by the legs of Iain McCulley at his near post. The game was now played in monsoon conditions up till the break with home keeper Ryan Price doing well to push away a Gladwin free kick destined for the corner after zipping off the wet surface with McCulley doing likewise to deny Vockins (again) at the other end. The end-to-end nature of the game continued with Marlow looking the more likely to open the scoring and when Price pushed out another Gladwin effort Phil John lifted the loose ball way over when shooting as he slipped on the edge of the box. However the pressure was building and when yet another free kick was cleared to James Knight he curled a delightful ball back in which Price again could only palm away but this time Michael Bartley was closing in and his touch found the corner of the net to put Marlow ahead.
The second period saw an improvement in the weather and the home side gathering a little more momentum playing down the slope and Marlow were grateful to see a shot just clear their bar three minutes after the restart as they had difficulty in clearing their lines. A second goal came in the 56th minute following which the result was rarely in doubt. Maybe it came as a result of a little local knowledge as Phil John having played here for the home side struck a free kick from around 25 yards just under the bar up the slope. A first time volley from Ben White caused some problem to McCulley in the 70th minute and resulted in a corner but immediately Alex Salmon broke forward, slipped the ball to Lewis who found Bartley free in the box only to see his shot pushed away by Price to keep home hopes just about alive for a little longer. Fleet pushed till the end but without real threat on goal the final result never really likely to be changed.
Highworth Town 1-0 Shortwood United (played Sunday 26th Aug)
Two crucial saves and a confidently taken goal were the turning points of a keenly contested FA Cup tie between old protagonists, Highworth Town and Shortwood United. In competitive fixtures between the two clubs, the Wood have not beaten Highworth since their league encounter in September 09 and this position was maintained this afternoon after the Worthians scored the only goal of the game on 71 minutes through Brad Clarke. From the off, the Wood put the Worthians on the back foot with a series of attacking moves and they created a number of chances, the best of which was only just cleared off the line by Kevin Coles. Highworth began to settle after the ten minute onslaught and as the half progressed, they took the game to the Wood and created a number of chances themselves including an unstoppable Craig Whitbread volley which only just went over the bar, a Talif Hamza shot which was saved by Tom King and a Richie Saunders header from a cross by Darren Smart which crept past an upright. Midway through the half, after pressure from the Wood, a corner was not properly cleared and the ball fell at the feet of Jake Parrott who shot from two yards out but Elliott Jackson instinctively dived to his right to keep the ball out of the net with an unbelievable save.
The Wood had a reasonable shout for a penalty when Liam Williams upended a forward in the box but to be fair on the player he was in the process of booting the ball to safety when the Wood forward came in for a challenge from nowhere.
The Worthians had survived the early onslaught from the Wood but had shown in the remainder of the half that this was not going to be a one-sided affair and overall, honours were even at the break.
Highworth played well for the opening period of the second half which saw Brad Clarke hit two shots, one of which was well saved by Tom King. The Wood also pressed forward but were unable to capitalise on some good approach work and then in the 71st minute a great through ball from Craig Whitbread found Brad Clarke with just the keeper to beat and he calmly rounded the Wood stopper and slid the ball into the net. The Wood now started to play with real determination and put the Worthian defence under a lot of pressure, culminating in a free kick from Jake Parrott which was pushed over the bar by Elliott Jackson. With the Wood pressing forward for the equaliser, they left themselves exposed to the counter-attack and after one such foray, Brad Clarke drove into the box and was up-ended with a mistimed tackle which looked like an easy penalty decision to me, but play was waved on. Soon after, Richie Saunders played in Craig Whitbread who unleashed a thunderous shot which was well saved by Tom King. Shortwood’s pressure continued and in the final ten minutes the Worthians were under siege. A poor clearance saw a Luke Gullick shot saved by Elliott Jackson, but a corner saw the ball fall to the feet of James Singh who fired a rocket of a shot from six yards out but the Highworth stopper got his finger tips to the ball whilst at full stretch and pushed it onto the post. The rebound rolled agonisingly along the goal-line and was then cleared harmlessly away. Another superb save and this was not going to be Shortwood’s day. Shortwood may be disappointed with the result today but it was great goal-keeping and good play which saw Highworth through to the next round and delicious derby day tie against local rivals Wootton Bassett Town.
Newport Pagnell 6 Ardley United 2 (away)
This FA Cup preliminary round tie was full of Drama, Controversy, and Incident. The spectators for their modest £5.00 were treated to 8 goals, one red card, and one dismissal from the dugout, 3 penalties, and a little blood for good measure. After just 3 minutes of the match Ardley’s front man Steve Howkins saw his chance, and let fly from some 35 yards only to see his effort rebound off the post. Minutes later Ardley were forced to replace John Gardener the other half of the strike force with Jack Welch when a previous injury flared up again. It was to be Newport who opened the scoring on 14 minutes when following a good move down the left Matt Broomes jinked a defender and slotted home. Ardley rallied from the blow and had two good chances, youngster Patrick Starrett headed just wide of the post, and Carl Standen saw his effort well saved by Josh Mc Adoo in the Swans goal. Newport got back into the game and was unlucky not to go 2 up when Dom Lawless curled one onto the post. Standen suffered an elbow to the nose, and left the field of play to get the flow of blood stemmed, whilst the perpetrator Richard Armstrong was lucky to receive only a yellow card caution. Just passed the half hour a free kick by Newport was mishandled by the advancing visitors keeper, and it was 2 -0. Ardley lost concentration and within less than a minute Newport made it 3 -0. The visitors managed to pull one back on the stroke of half time from the spot. An appeal for handball on the line saw referee Wetherall blow up, he adjudged there had been a foul on the Ardley keeper before the hand ball incident, much to the relief of the home side who thought they may be reduced to 10 men.
The start of the second half saw Harry Brock replaced by Adam Beckett, but the later lasted less than 2 minutes when he limped off, making room for James Kirk. With Ardley in a bit of disarray Newport took full advantage, Matt Broomes went on a run into the box beating 3 defenders and coolly slotted home the fourth for the home side. It was 5 two minutes later when a cross from the right was volleyed home by Darren Dykes, Ardley were clearly rattled, and when Standen was adjudged to have pushed Richard Armstrong in the box the rout was completed from the penalty spot. A second penalty came Ardley’s way on 86 minutes, which Howkins dispatched with ease. Minutes later Howkins suffered a blow to the head by Dave Baker, and after consultation with his linesman he was shown the red card. A clumsy tackle by Matt Brandish in front of the home dug out had them baying for another red to be shown, but when the yellow was produced a comment to the referee saw one of the Newport management team sent to the stand to end an eventful afternoon.
Wantage Town F.C. 4 - 1 Hartley Wintney F.C.
Wantage opened brightly, Tom Butler just failing to find Richard Claydon in a scoring position in the 5th minute. Claydon went close as the home side maintained the pressure and similarly Tony Joyce and Tom Austin combined well but were ruled offside. Tom Lovett in the Hartley Wintney goal was being kept busy, saving well from a corner.
On 20 minutes, Tom Austin had an opportunity to put Wantage 1 – 0 up but Lovett saved well. In the 26th minute, a flowing move from Wantage undid the visitor’s defence, Joyce finding Claydon, who in turn slipped the ball to Austin, whose neat through pass found Tom Butler, who slotted the ball past Lovett to put the home side into the lead. Two minutes later Wantage increased their lead, Tom Austin free kick delivered accurately to Tom Rowe to head home. Rowe is enjoying his time supplementing the attack, after missing the start of the season sitting out a ban from last season. As the half closed, a torrential downpour accompanied by thunder and lightning forced the Match Referee to sensibly take the players off of the pitch. Upon resumption, Tom Butler’s great pass to Austin, enabled the Wantage winger to thread the ball through to Rowe, Tom Lovett in the Hartley Wintney goal saving well from the makeshift striker.
The second half saw more pressure from the home side, Richard Claydon being brought down but the Referee brushed aside Wantage penalty claims. In the 63rd minute, Sam Parish crossed, picking out the lively Rowe who netted his second of the game, and his fourth in two games. To their credit Hartley Wintney kept pushing forward, and were rewarded in the 66th minute when Adam Jefferies slotted the ball past Gareth Tucker in the Wantage goal. Wantage responded with more pressure, Brad Chalmers going close with a header in the 75th minute, and Richard Claydon striking the visitor’s bar in the 78th minute after great work from Tony Joyce. Two minutes later Tom Lovett saved well from the industrious Tom Rowe. Adam Jefferies slipped a clear cut opportunity just past the post for the visitors. As the game came to a close, Chalmers threaded a great pass through to Rowe, but the part-time attacker rounded the keeper but slid the ball wide of the post. In the 88th minute, Brad Chalmers’ hard work was rewarded as the tall defender rose to head home substitute Mark Threlfall’s well delivered corner to seal the game for Wantage at 4 – 1. This was a great display from Wantage, following on from their fine mid-week performance away to Wokingham and Emmbrook. This victory gives Wantage the opportunity to progress further with another game at North Leigh, this time against the Landlord, not the occasional tenants, on Saturday, 8th September. Before that there is more League action, against Highworth at home on Wednesday evening (29th August) and then away the Highmoor Ibis on Saturday, 1st September.
BINFIELD 1 – 1 SLIMBRIDGE (home)
At the end of a disappointing week for the Moles harshly losing the points to Marlow on Monday night and then striker Ian Davies to the same club on Friday, manager Mark Tallentire would have been looking for a positive reaction - and he got one! On a positive for the squad, Carl Davies returned to Binfield from Hungerford Town this week and along with Jos Millar and Jemel Johnson up front, they showed an understanding, quality and passion for the match that promises better results ahead. Changing his side around as he has promised to this season, Tallentire brought in Callum Whitty for Carl Withers and Ryan Millward came in for Paul Shone, who was missing today after the birth of son, Bronte and congratulations to Paul and Sam on their first child.
The chance for Millward though was welcome and many Moles fans will have enjoyed seeing his assured performance alongside captain Gary Callaway in the heart of defence. The Moles took the lead on 15 minutes and had already shown signs of opening the score before then. Danny Wing got forward from left back almost at will and his ball in on 8 minutes only just evaded Carl Davies. Slimbridge too had an early chance and the Moles were relieved to see Karl Nash pull his shot across the face of goal after a mix up presented the opportunity.
Binfield's lead was a gift when it came. Callum Whitty got to a near post corner first, but with no Moles player near, Jamie Inch and Tom Speers collided in mid air and the ball dropped in at the far post.
From then the Moles grew in confidence and played some of the best football they have managed this calendar year. James Suarez and Ben Sturgess dominated the ball in midfield and Sturgess's energy in midfield has made a huge difference since he moved up from right back three matches ago. Millar, Johnson and Davies all had plenty of the ball, the only slight criticism would be the quality of finishing from clear chances.
A minute after taking the lead, JJ stabbed wide from a great Millar centre at the end of a super move. 4 minutes later only a brilliant double save from Dave Evans kept his side within one goal, when a Danny Wing run past 4 defenders fed Davies to shoot low to Evans left, but he saved that at full stretch then got up and across goal to divert Millar's effort wide.
Two minutes later, Millar's attempted lob with just Evans to beat was collected by the keeper and another 4 minutes on, Millar again got in a shot after Davies broke free and squared, but this time straight at Evans. Before half time, Carl Davies had shot just over when set free by Johnson and James Suarez shot was again saved by the busy Evans and Slimbridge went in just one down after being pegged back for most of the half.
But half time served the visitors well and the Moles were less dominant as the second period started. All the same, a Carl Davies shot at Evans and a couple of corners had already been won by Binfield before Slimbridge equalised with their first chance for 40 minutes. Evans collected a corner, and two passes after his throw out, Stuart Gates was facing Chris Adams and deftly rolled the ball under the Moles keeper.
Just after the hour, the Moles were down to ten men, perhaps a little harshly in the context of the match. Already booked for a hard tackle early on, Shaun Wanklyn got in the way on the left wing and saw a second yellow to end his afternoon. Prior to that, Wanklyn had been effective at right back.
But with Ben Sturgess dropping back and Carl Withers replacing Millar, the Moles didn't appear to be a man short and had the better chances to take all three points. On 70 minutes Suarez spotted a ball that left Withers with a free shot from 10 yards on the angle, but he hit high and wide. And Danny Wing created two good chances as time ticked away, but his cut back was collected by Evans and his shot straight at Evans collected too.
The Swans too had some pressure and if Gates had scored with 8 minutes left when free in the box in a similar position to his goal, it would have been a travesty on the balance of play, but Adams did well to block his shot.
Both sides had dangerous crosses into the box well cleared, so honours even in another very entertaining match that showed this Binfield squad can be a match for any side in the division.
With Monday's match at Ascot United postponed due to United's FA Cup draw today, next for Binfield is Flackwell Heath's visit next Saturday (1st September) kick off 3pm.
Binfield 1 -1 Slimbride (away)
Slimbridge were glad to return from Binfield with a point as they remain undefeated after 5 Hellenic League Premier division games. An own goal by centre half Tom Speers after 20 mins was cancelled out when Stuart Gates levelled on 56 mins. With loud claps of thunder welcoming both teams onto the pitch it was the Swans who had the first chance on 2 mins when Stuart Gates put in an excellent cross from the right which was cleared for a corner. On 11 mins a good free-kick by Fred Ward found Shaun O'Connor whose low shot was well held by Adams in the home goal. As Slimbridge continued to press forward it was Liam Harding who had the next opportunity to open the scoring but his volley went high and wide. O'Connor robbed keeper Adams of the ball in the 17th min and laid it back to Karl Nash but the latter's shot was weak. As Binfield started to settle the Swans appeared to take their foot off the Gas and allowed their hosts far too much time and space on the ball. In the 20th min Binfield took the lead, Will Wellon lost possession of the ball and Jos Millar ran into the box he was superbly tackled by Jamie Inch who put the ball out for a corner. From the resultant kick Inch and Speers both jumped for the ball and it was Speer's unfortunate header that flew past Dave Evans to give Binfield the lead. This seemed to inspire the hosts as the Swans were put under pressure, Carl Davies who was making a return to Binfield after a short spell at Hungerford Town, was guilty of missing three good opportunities to increase their lead but the swans defence held firm. A spectacular double save from Dave Evans was the highlight of the first half, Carl Davies was clear and looked certain to score but Evans parried his shot, Davies had a second bite of the cherry but Evans somehow managed to get an outstretched hand to the ball and it was cleared away by Wellon for a corner. Karl Nash and Shaun Wanklyn were lucky not to find themselves in the referee's notebook right on half time when they tangled but the referee decided a stern lecture to both would suffice.
The second half saw an improved performance from the Swans, Gates was causing the home side problems right from the off with his pace up the wing. Gates thought he was clear through on 52 mins but an offside flag brought play back. However 4 mins later the Swans were level, Fred Ward threaded a superb defence splitting ball through to Gates who fired low past the keeper much to the delight of the following away supporters. The game was starting to get a little niggly now and Referee Oli Denne was struggling to keep control. After issuing 6 yellow cards, 3 for each side, the Home team found themselves down to ten men when on 65 mins Wanklyn brought down the pacy Gates with a hefty challenge and the referee showed Wanklyn his second yellow card of the afternoon. As the Swans continued to compete a superb tackle by full back Shane Anson, robbing Suarez of the ball when in a dangerous position, and the driving a lovely pass up the line to Inch brought warm applause from both sets of supporters. As the game drew to a close both sides still had chances to take the three points, Gates fed Nash but his shot was straight at the keeper whilst at the other end Suarez played a good ball through to Withers who shot well over. A welcome point for Slimbridge and manager Leon Sterling must be delighted with four wins and a draw from their opening five league matches.
Oxford City Nomads FC 0-0 Cheltenham Saracens FC (away)
Saracens travelled to Oxford with having to contend with last minute cry off’s and no less than 8 players unavailable through Injury and suspension. Still with the added benefit of strength in depth it needed a big task from Saracens manager, Gerry Oldham's players to go to last seasons league winners and get something from the game, not only did Saracens achieve such a feat, they were unlucky not to come away with a deserved win. Key defensive players Slender, Paddock and Oliver all missing, the creativity of midfielder Pat Sayce nursing a groin injury & the experience of Rhodes and Crosskey have all been denied to Manager Oldham. He was though pleased to see Joe Donaghue back from injury who slotted into the defence with 18 year old Ben Tunnicliff being the experienced defender, midfielders Lorcan Sheehan and Jack Oldham was asked to drop back into defence and these four players didn’t put a foot wrong all game.
The first quarter of the game started in a low key affair with both sides content in keeping possession, but credit to both sides, they used their midfield players well in play creation, and an excellent performance by the referee Stewart Beekman was allowing the game to flow, from this Saracens had the first taste at goal. A strong run from Carl Griffiths fizzed a good low cross, across goal for Ethan Moore and Jamie Hammond who were both denied chances by the City Nomads keeper. Saracens main threat was from Ethan Moore playing as a lone striker with Hammond running from deep, and in the 20th minute this partnership nearly came to fruition.
Ben Tunnicliff playing one of his finest games for Saracens was relishing the responsibility given to him, won possession of the ball on the edge of his box and exchanged good passes from Raysen and Jordan Bryan before Tunnicliff found Moore was an exquisite pass. Moore then put Hammond through who fired across the goal keeper, but only for the slightest of finger tip saves denied Hammond and Saracens the lead. Sheehan and Jack Oldham was constantly looking composed in their unusual defensive positions, but their experience and vision was a useful tool and created good possession for their midfield colleagues. Saracens for all their good work nearly paid the price for loss of concentration when they lost possession in their midfield; this was seized on from the Nomads player Smith, whose diagonal pass was hit on the turn by the Nomads forward but Saracens keeper Tim Griffiths pulled off a good save. With half time looming, Hammond fired a strong shot again across goal from a superb Donaghue pass, then a succession of corners, Tunnicliff, Raysen and Sheehan all went close. HT: 0-0
From the second half, Saracens came out with more purpose and spring in their step and took the game to Nomads. As early as the 48th minute Saracens should have scored when a strong run on the right by Carl Griffiths saw him sprint pass two City players but his final ball let him down, sending the cross behind the unmarked Hammond. Josh Swales then collected a good pass from Donaghue, and from a one-two phase of passes, with Donaghue & Raysen, Swales first time shot was comfortably saved by the City keeper. Griffiths then had an opportunity in the 55th min to deliver a cross to the unmarked Moore in the city area, but again a mixture of uncertainty and confusion saw the chance go begging. Saracens left back, Donaghue was having the freedom of the left hand side, his darting run resulted in a last ditch tackle from the City defence. From the corner, Tunnicliff rose above everyone else but was unable to direct his header down, resulting in a goal kick.
Manager Oldham replaced Carl Griffiths with 30mins to go with Deco Chick and it was Chicks delft flick saw a first time Moore shot tipped around the post for a corner. Saracens then went through a period of sustained City attacks but remained strong and formidable at the back, though keeper Tim Griffiths did well with a point blank save from the City forward. Oldham then gave u18s captain Scott Gourley his first team debut replacing the tiring Hammond. With the game coming to a close Swales and Saracens were the more likely to score, for which Swales went agonising close when he cut across his marker and slammed a strong shot at the keeper who turned the ball around for yet another Saracens corner. With the amount of players missing before the game Oldham would have been pleased with a point, but what would have pleased him more was how his players responded to their midweek defeat and how well his players kept their discipline and composure during the game.
A much better performance from his players resulting in their first clean sheet of the season. Saracens now look forward to their Bank Holiday Monday fixture, against Thame United at home KO: 3PM
Division One West
BRIMSCOMBE / THRUPP 1- 0 NEW COLLEGE SWINDON
Brimscombe retain their top spot of the Hellenic League Div 1 West but they were given a real hard battle by the College Boys from Swindon before they ran out 1-0 winners thanks to a 75th minute goal by Captain Mishey Green. Both teams played excellent football at quite a fast pace with the home team still lacking that cutting edge needed that was missing at Fairford on Tuesday night,luckily the visitors had not brought their shooting boots either while Woodfield and Pritchard were missing the target so were Loffts and Stanners at the other end. Somehow Beckingham managed to beat the College keeper and lose control of the ball all in one movement and with Underwood hitting the bar it was a frustrating 0-0 score line at half time It continued in this vein for much of the second half with attractive football coming from both sides with no end product both Pritchard and his opposite number Loffts missed sitters and Thomas made a great save to deny the College captain Blackford Chris Underwood. became the local hero and again substitutes came to the rescue Underwood broke clear down the right and his cross found Craig Cole who had only just come on as a substitute and he cleverly headed the ball back into Mishey Green's path and the Brimscombe captain rammed in the only goal of the game in the 75th minute.
Cricklade 1-0 Lambourn Sports (away view)
Lambourn went into the game without top scorer Benham and manager Clark having to change the side again as the Manager's searches to find the spark to kick start Lambourn's season. On arriving at the ground it was clear the playing surface wouldn't suit a passing game as the grass hadn't seen a lawn mower for a few weeks.
Cricklade created the first chance of the game on 7 minutes when lively front man Ben Carter snatched his effort after some sharp passing found him unmarked on the edge of the box. The home side were the better side and it took Lambourn half an hour to create a chance. This was given to them though when the Cricklade Fullback Bragg slipped allowing Guy a free run on goal. The striker never looked confident and smashed his effort over the bar with only the keeper to beat. The next chance came quickly but Mooney was in worse finishing form than Guy. A flick from Guy released Wickens wide on the right the winger drove forward and pulled the ball back to Mooney six yards from the goal, his scuffed effort gave the Keeper a simple save when he should of been given no chance. This was Lambourn's best passage of play in the game and it didn't last long. The Home side looked to push forward again only a super stop from Keeper Howe and a goal line clearance from Tingle prevented Lambourn going behind on 34 minutes. Cricklade didn't need to wait long and took the lead on 37 minutes. Thomas & Carter applied the pressure to the Lambourn back four. A short square ball from Mandry put Bone under pressure and his heavy back pass was to powerful for Howe his heavy touch feel straight into the path of Carter and the striker had the simple task of rolling the ball into an empty net. 1-0 and Lambourn with only themselves to blame. Guy managed a strike just before half time that gave Brown the chance to show his worth with a full stretch save
The second half was a very dull affair as neither side really had any efforts on target. Keeper Howe and full back Gregorace both picked up bookings for late tackles. The only real talking point of the second half was when the assistant referee gave a penalty kick for a handball by Greorace. Only for the referee to have a long chat and then over rule his assistant and start the game with a drop ball.
Lambourn must show a much greater desire in games if they are to fulfil the clubs expectations of the talented squad. Manager Clark said. "I brought in Willmoth and Pearce for the bench this week but I'm not sure they are fit enough to start yet. They will play for the reserve team Tuesday and we will go from there. I hope to bring in a couple of new faces again this week as the players aren't giving what is expected at the moment."
Letcombe 2 -2 Hook Norton
With two goalkeepers not available, Letcombe played full back Luke Faircloth in goal, and he had an excellent game. This was a match which left both teams feeling that they could have taken all three points, but a draw was probably a fair result.
An even first 20 minutes saw both sides shooting from long range, but Letcombe should have taken the lead midway through the half. A good run and cross from George Thatcher was parried by visiting keeper Joe Murrell, leaving Tom Stone to side foot the ball home from 8 yards. He decided to go for power, and saw the ball rebound from the crossbar. Soon afterwards George Thatcher had the ball in the net after an interchange of passes with Adam Bruce, but he was offside.
Letcombe took the lead after 55 minutes. A shot from Adam Bruce was saved by Joe Burrell, but Tom Stone swept home the rebound from close range. George Thatcher hit the upright soon afterwards, and Hook Norton immediately broke away to equalize. A left wing cross found its way to Richard Oakey, whose low drive went inside the far upright giving Luke Faircloth no chance. Hook Norton took the lead with 15 minutes remaining, Jason Tillcock scoring with a low shot from 25 yards, but Letcombe equalized almost immediately. A Tom Eatwell shot was parried by Joe Burrell, and again Tom Stone was on hand to score.
Hook Norton thought that they had won the game in the last minute when a right wing cross was turned into the net at the far post, but the assistant`s flag denied the visitors all three points.
A final mention for referee James Bird who had an excellent game.
Tytherington Rocks 4-0 North Leigh Reserves
The Rocks found their first win of the 2012/13 campaign in eventual emphatic circumstances, in a rather one sided affair at the Hardwicke Playing Fields. A brace from Justin Bishop in the first half was the least the home side could have expected from dominating the opening 45 minutes, and after a penalty miss from Joe White late in the second half, he made up for his blushes in added time with two quick-fire goals to seal the first three points of the season.
Manager Gary Powell made three changes from the side that were held to a draw against Hook Norton last Saturday, with Andy Criddle, who returns from suspension, Mark Hughes and Dale Emery returning to the starting line up on a thundery afternoon in Gloucestershire.
Just four minutes into the game Rocks looked to have opened their account, with the first chance of the game. White slipped Toby Colbourne through for a neat header, which was adjudged to be offside, a decision met with mixed emotions from both benches. As a looming thunderstorm began to teem down, Hughes well guided through ball found Colbourne unchallenged who slotted home on 12 minutes, but for the second time the linesman flagged for offside, and the goal did not count. Finally, minutes later Rocks opened the scoring as Bishop picked up the ball on the edge of the box and had time to take aim, and guide his curling shot acutely into the top corner for his first goal of the season. On 20 minutes Colbourne had yet another golden opportunity, as a quick free-kick from the edge of the box found its way to the near post. The ex-Cadbury Heath striker timed his run to perfection, but flashed his effort just wide of goal. With the half-hour mark passed the relentless Rocks pressure continued when Bishop guided a well judged cross into the six-yard box, where White scrambled over from close range. The second goal was eventually found on 35 minutes from Bishop, who viciously cut inside the box and drilled home from ten yards to double the clubs, and his tally, for the afternoon. The difficulty of playing in heavy rain was telling for both sides in the remainder of the first half, with possession retention becoming an issue, meaning the first half ended at 2-0 to the home side.
As expected a rejuvenated North Leigh side returned and Gareth Beale had probably their best chance of the afternoon for the visitors, flashing his ricocheted shot just wide from the edge of the box on the hour mark. Ball retention continued to be a problem for both sides, with neither side really offering threat in front of goal in the opening 20 minutes of the second half. On 70 minutes ex-Real Thornbury midfielder Sam Taylor made his debut for The Rocks, replacing Toby Colbourne. The change brought about the first chance of the half for Rocks, as Joe White rounded a helpless defender but his shot fell straight into the keepers’ hands from close range. With just two minutes remaining on the clock, White advanced into the area but was tripped from behind, and referee Ainscow pointed immediately to the spot. White took the resulting penalty, but his effort fell directly into the keepers’ hands, diving to his right. Into added time White made up for his earlier miss by running onto a misjudged back pass and coolly slotting over the keeper and into an empty net for his third goal of the season. The Rocks turned a relatively positive performance into a thrashing in virtually the last kick of the game, as Tony Perry’s looping Free-Kick found the White, who guided his header into the top corner of the net, for the fourth of the afternoon. Even though the amount of chances was worthy of a more emphatic victory, North Leigh’s resilience could have meant just a narrow margin of victory until the final minutes. The Rocks will face a much tougher task in the coming days, as they head to Wootton Bassett Town on Tuesday (7:45pm) and New College Swindon next Saturday (3:00pm).
Divion One East
Chalfont Wasps 1-0 Milton United (Abandoned 80 mins)
The match started under the threat of thundery clouds which luckily passed on all sides until the 70th minute mark when everyone needed to run for cover as a severe hailstorm deluge engulfed proceedings causing a delay and then ultimately abandonment.
This was unfortunate for the Wasps who had enjoyed much the better of the match, had 75% of the possession, and had taken the lead through Michael Wilson on the stroke of half time. Wasps continued to push the visitors back into their own half during the second half and did well to mop up any threat from the long ball when Milton attempted to break forwards. In short, the Wasps were in control and looking forward to their second victory on the season. Ryan Sweales had returned to bolster the mid-field and when Tom Kaill sadly retired with an injury after 32 minutes, Wilson was pushed up top and the impressive Duncan Foster came on alongside Sweales. Tom Seddon, powerful angled header, and Kaill’s run and shot, both just wide, were good chances either side of the successful Wilson strike. Then came the deluge . . . Players, officials and spectators ran for the sanctuary of the stand; the hail was large and arrived with some velocity! 20 minutes were needed for the storm to reside and then a further 15 minutes was consumed deliberating if play could continue on the now sodden pitch. Eventually the match restarted, Wasps again got on top, but alas the Referee, probably making the right decision, abandoned the match with 10 minutes remaining on the clock.
Headington Amateurs 1 - 1 Woodley Town (home)
Woodley snatched a point with a late equaliser, Headington unable to sustain a fine first half performance. Ben Green gave Headington a ninth minute lead with a confident low drive after fine work from Luke Cuff & Aftab Hafiz down the right wing. When Hafiz saw a header flash just wide of the near post two minutes later from Yannick Nkwanyuo's cross, it appeared a question of when, not if, that a flowing Headington would increase their lead. A second goal was however, elusive as the home side fluffed their lines & Woodley began to get into the match. It was Woodley who came closest to scoring at the start of the second half, Headington's Aaron Williams heading out from under his own crossbar & 'keeper Harry Jenkins having to make a reflex save to keep out a close range effort from Darryl Fairbrother. As the match wore on Woodley grew in confidence & Fairbrother eventually got their goal with a simple far post tap-in to finish off a well executed move down Headington's left flank. In the final minutes Benji Cuff & Shaun Jacob both had chances to secure all three points for Headington with close range headers but neither could take advantage.
Headington Amateurs 1 - 1 Woodley Town (away)
For the second successive week Town visited Barton Recreation Ground, this time to play another club for the first time in Headington Amateurs who had been moved to Division One East from the West division during the close season. Town started the lively with Ben Lyden putting a thirty yard free kick wide of the upright after five minutes followed by Darryl Fairbrother failing to connect with a low Lyden cross following good work by Jordan Tallett. However, when left back Mitch Cooper hesitated and got caught in possession, the resulting cross to Ben Green saw the forward open the scoring for the home team after ten minutes. With Tom Payne at the centre of much of Headington’s play and Luke Cuff showing why he has already scored five goals this season Town were on the back foot and struggling to create any danger in the home team’s penalty area as they defended in numbers and attacked with pace. Aftab Hafiz could have extended the lead during the next ten minutes but he first headed wide, then drove a Karl Simms clearance over the cross bar before Dan Smith comfortably caught a third effort. A fifteen minute downpour dampened Headington’s play as both teams struggle in the driving rain before Town had the better of the final minutes of the half which saw Lyden find the home keeper Harry Jenkins on thirty four minutes following a Victor Sesay cross, before the forward saw a chip shot deflected for a corner five minutes from the break and a free kick blocked. However, it needed Smith to show save hands as half time approached in handling Simon Jacob’s shot.
The second half saw Town continue with the greater purpose displayed just before the break with Jamie Fairchild seeing his lob of Jenkins headed of the goal line and Lyden’s under hit shot parried by Jenkins and cleared to safety. However, as the tempo of the game dropped so did scoring opportunities with both teams only able to muster a header over their opponents’ cross bar from a corner kick apiece. However, Town continued to search for an equaliser which came after eighty nine minutes when Lyden found himself in in the Headington penalty area and passed to the unmarked Fairbrother to tap home from inside the goal area. This sparked the game into life with both teams leaving gaps as they pressed for the winning goal in stoppage time. The home team twice put headers wide of Smith’s goal while Lyden shot wide and Fairchild had a goal bound shot blocked before match ended with the pointes shared. This coming Saturday, Town play their first home game of the season when they entertain Chalfont Wasps.
Old Woodstock Town 2 Fairford Town 0
In this very even game OWT were out to get this Bank Holiday weekend off to a winning start, in the first half of very few chances, OWT could only create two goal scoring chances their self the first coming in the 8th minute when Daniel Bone beat the Fairford back four and just put the ball wide of the goal, the second chance came in the 43rd minute of the first half Danny Roberts put in a good cross only for Daniel Bone to head over, OWT keeper Ryan Watt did not have a save to make in the first 45 minutes.
With the John and Eddie doing their bit in the changing room OWT came out on the front foot and took the game to Fairford and created three good chances but could not make them count, was it going to be one of those games? But in the 53rd minute with some good play from OWT the ball fell to Daniel Green to shot and make it 1-0. OWT carried on playing the ball around creating more chances but could not make them count until the 58th minute when Murray Nicholls broke from midfield to make it 2-0. In the 62nd minute of the game Fairford Tn J Blackford brought down OWT Rob Johnson and was given his 2nd Yellow card, now down to ten players Fairford Tn were lucky not to be down to nine players when Ben Saunders took out Rob Johnson and was very lucky only to receive a yellow card.
OWT now had a man advantage and started to create more chances but just could not get the third goal to make the game safe.
Division 2 West
Shortwood United Reserves 4 – 2 Gloucester City Dev. 2
Shortwood Reserves made a fine start to their new Hellenic career with a cracking win over last year’s champions as thunder rolled around Meadowbank on Saturday. This was a cracking match played in an excellent spirit, well refereed, played by two sides who liked to play football on the floor. The entertainment value was high and if this is the standard then spectators to Reserve games are in for a good season. Wood made a bright start and Ryan Meredith sent over some excellent crosses from the right and Ryan Thwaite caused problems down the left. City also looked dangerous and the only real surprise was that it took 42 minutes for the first goal to arrive. Bakewell heading City into the lead, after an excellent cross. The lead didn’t last long however as Cairns put Meredith through and with City waiting for an offside Meredith finished coolly.
If the first half was good the second half was better. With just 4 minutes gone Mace smashed home an unstoppable free kick from 25 yards to give the visitors the lead and the game ebbed and flowed with both sides having chances but it was the Wood who levelled on the hour. Rymell created space in the area and fired home a great shot but the referee had already blown for a penalty as he was hauled back as he was about to shoot. No matter – Craig Mills sent the keeper the wrong way from the spot. Within 10 minutes Shortwood were deservedly in front. A lovely flowing move ended with Cole squaring the ball to Rymell and this time he was not to be denied, curling a shot into the top corner from 20 yards. Lang headed a chance wide before things got even better for the Meadowbank outfit after 74 minutes. Another good move saw the ball go wide to Meredith and his cross was met first time by Ryan Thwaite 8 yards out at the far post and his low shot flew home. Mills forced keeper Thommason into a good save, Rymell had another shot tipped over and Ryan Thwaite came close before the end and both sides were warmly applauded from the field after an excellent 90 minutes.