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24 November

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Bluefin Sport Supplementary Cup

Woodley United 2 Pewsey Vale 0
United brought an end to an excellent November that has seen four wins and a draw in six outings by progressing to the second round of the Bluefin Sports Hellenic Supplementary cup.

Like Woodley, Pewsey Vale has been enjoying good form in Division One West with four wins in their last five outings and it was the visitors who enjoyed the opening quarter of hour with Tom Bryant twice parrying shots while Josh Fowler headed against the home cross bar only to be flagged off side.

United gradually got a foot hold in the match with Max Laschok having a good run only to be blocked in the penalty area and Pablo Fernandez seeing a cross go through the goal area and a shot wide.   It was Laschok who opened the scoring on twenty seven minutes when another run saw him withstand a challenge to slot pass the visiting keeper Sam Tuttle.

Ryan Thomas shot at distance to Bryant as Pewsey sought to equalise before Leon Mannion broke from a Vale corner to force Tuttle into a save. Vale was again flagged off side from a free kick while Jon Malone was fouled as he headed clear a cross in the penalty area. A minute before half time Freddie Barron had a good run to find Fernandez who was fouled in the penalty area. Unfortunately Mannion put the spot kick over the cross bar. Again Vale responded with Malone required to clear of his own goal line to preserve the half time lead.

Woodley started the second half well with Mannion being tackled by Liam Edmondson as he was preparing to shoot and Edmondson was called up on to clear Fernandez’s goal bound shot that had been Tuttle two minutes later.   The fifty fifth minute saw Pele Hagger called upon to prevent Vale’s Ryan Thomas from shooting before the influential Fernandez set up Laschok who saw his shot blocked. The sixty sixth minute resulted in United doubling their lead as Fernandez passed to Mannion whose cross was headed home by Laschok as he out jumped Tuttle.

Harvey Tooth was to prevent Laschok completing his hat trick ten minute later while Bryant did well to keep the visitors goal less with fifteen minutes remaining. The closest Woodley came to scoring again was three minutes from full time when Mannion’s cross saw substitute Toby Briggs turn and see his shot rebound off the base of the up right. United then saw the match to an end with good possession that frustrated their guests.

uhlsport football kitPremier Division

Abingdon United 1 Brackley Town Saints 3 (away view)
Saints arrived at Northcourt Road with a few injuries forcing manager Gordon Kille to shuffle his pack a little. However this performance showed that Saints have strength in depth and a flexible squad with players that can cover a number of positions.

They made a confident start and were soon knocking the ball around patiently, and took an early lead after only 4 minutes when top scorer Ryan Knight coolly chipped the keeper after an astute pass from Jordan Godfrey. The home side had an immediate chance to level the scores when Tom Butler took advantage of a defensive slip and found himself through on goal but a good save by Ali Worby maintained Saints advantage.

Abingdon were happy to play out from the back and Saints pressed well putting keeper Jake Pritchard under pressure on a number of occasions. George Ball was very prominent in these early stages putting in a couple of dangerous crosses and finding plenty of space.

Saints extended their lead in the 27th minute with a great team goal full of short passing and great movement ending with a cute pass from Alex Stott who played Chris Jordan through and he finished precisely past Pritchard into the bottom corner.
Although Saints had enjoyed the upper hand for the first 30 minutes Abingdon were lively on the break and on 33 minutes they pulled themselves back into the game finding space in behind the left hand side of the Saints defence and when the ball was fed back to Lester Davies he was given too much time to size up a shot which he duly smashed past Worby and into the top of the net.

Saints showed composure and resilience and cleverly took the sting out of the game. There was a period of 40/50 consecutive passes where Abingdon seemed happy to sit deep and so Saints kept the ball and passed and probed and although this passage of play did not finish with a shot on goal Saints did finish the half with a good header by Ball just over the bar following a good run and cross by Curtis Green and a further header from Lewis Baldwin from a Knight free kick that was well saved by Pritchard.

Abingdon had a great start to the second half. Within a minute of the restart Worby was forced to make a great reflex save from Davies and almost immediately the left winger was through on goal. He should really have squared the ball but shot from the tight angle and could only hit the outside of the post.

As so often this season Saints reacted positively. They won a free kick just outside their penalty box in the right back area. Worby fired his kick across to Ball on the left wing. Ball did not have to move as the ball arrived directly at his feet. His first touch was sweet allowing him to be on the move immediately. He committed the right back, cut in then cut back out again onto his left foot and shot and although his shot was off target the ball ran through to Alex Stott who calmly slotted past the keeper. The wind was taken from the Abingdon sails and Ball again cut in on his right foot and delivered a dangerous dipping cross which was tipped over the bar by Pritchard.

Abingdon were still in the game and Lewis Baldwin was on hand with a great saving clearance after a swift break down the right wing. Worby was then forced to be on his toes to save well from close range with Harry Brock being in the right place at the right time to tidy up the rebound.

Saints continued to look dangerous coming forward. James Watts had a great burst down the left wing and his cross was nearly turned into his own net by the centre half. On 73 minutes there was almost a second goal for Jordan but he slipped as he shot at the end of another fine passing move. Abingdon replied with an excellent left foot strike from the edge of the box which whistled past Worby’s right post.

On 83 minutes Saints caught Abingdon on the break and Ball nearly settled matters with a shot that he pulled a foot wide. There were a spate of bookings in the last 10 minutes as players tired. On 89 minutes Abingdon had their last chance from a well worked free kick but the striker failed to hit the target with a free header at the far post.

So a fully deserved 3 points for Saints. Another great team performance but special mention to the defence with different set of personnel but with a very solid performance backed up by the ever reliable Worby. Abingdon gave an excellent account of themselves in what was a very entertaining game to watch.

Ascot United 4 Windsor 2
Nathan Minhas and Jean-Claude Etienne both scored twice as Ascot United finally shrugged off spirited Windsor in an entertaining local derby on Saturday. The Yellamen led 2-0 and 3-1 before being pegged back to within a goal, although Minhas netted late on to finally end the Royalists’ resolve.
Windsor arrived in fine form having been unbeaten in seven matches – conceding just one goal in the process since their 2-0 reverse against the Yellamen in October - whereas Ascot were looking to build on their midweek win over Reading City and end their recent patchy form.

And, Ascot made a mockery of the visitors’ defensive record by racing into a two-nil lead inside five minutes, only to be left clinging on to a single goal advantage at the break as Windsor fought back.

The first goal arrived in the third minute when Chris Ellis’s long throw was flicked on by Louis Bouwers, Minhas rifled the ball back across the box, and Etienne tapped home at the far post. Their second goal moments later was a more difficult effort, Etienne showed great technique to spin and shoot into the left corner; Harry Laflin this time the provider.

In a crazy opening spell Windsor hit straight back when George Gould nodded home unmarked from a corner – seven minutes played – although the half was devoid of further clear chances for fully twenty minutes.

With that spell the visitors knocked the ball around well - largely inspired by ex-Yellamen Paul Coyne - and his 35th minute pass into the box picked out Andrew Ingram, only for Lee Allen to block his effort. Before that, Windsor defender Victor Ocansey was fortunate to escape unpunished when he handled on the ground as Minhas tousled for possession, and Minhas would later volley wide when given the chance to make it 3-1 after an errant defensive slip in the Windsor defence.

Bouwers blocked Dan Roberts’ angled shot for Windsor late in the half, but Ascot clung onto their lead at the break.

The Yellamen were gifted a third goal two minutes after the restart when Huge Sobte miskicked his drop-kick clearance, the ball rolled to Minhas, and he nonchalantly scooped the ball back over the embarrassed Sobte. Windsor continued to probe, and cut the arrears again midway through the half when defender Victor Ocansey slammed home from close range following a melee in the Ascot penalty area.

However, the Yellamen defended resolutely and finally wrapped up the game when Minhas raced onto Bouwers’ thunderous clearance late-on had too much strength for defender Luke Brooks-Smith, before tucking the ball past Sobte.
It was a well-earned win for the home side, whereas Windsor will need to improve when their FA Vase adventure continues next week at Erith.

Ascot United: Allen, Lock, Haworth, Sullivan (Price), Bouwers, Ellis, Kassim (Carey), Denton, Minhas, Laflin, JC Etienne(Kibaki). Subs unused: F Etienne, Hodges

Bishops Cleeve 2 Tuffley Rovers 1 (away view)
Tuffley Rovers extended their poor run in all competitions, as they finished their ninth consecutive game without a win, but they will once again rue a series of missed opportunities that cost them the chance to record a much needed victory. Mark Pritchett came into the fixture at Kayte Lane off the back of two draws in the previous seven days, the first an excellent rearguard performance against Wantage Town and the second a more disappointing outcome, after they had conceded a last minute equaliser, following an excellent display at Abingdon United. Coming off the back of an excellent performance at Abingdon, Pritchett may have been disappointed to have been forced into two changes, with both Sammy Dodoo and Ryan Dobbins injured, meaning that Jake Rhodes and Brett James returned to an otherwise unchanged starting line-up.

The game started at a frenetic pace, with the bite that isn’t always evident in the many ‘derbies’ between Gloucestershire clubs – perhaps reinforced by the presence of three former Rovers players in the Cleeve line-up, and three former Kayte Lane men in the visiting line-up – and although early chances were few and far between, it was a positive opening from both sides. Rovers began to exert a little more territorial advantage and when they broke, with almost 20 minutes on the clock, Brett James looked to be beating Cleeve’s Ben Tunnicliff to the ball, but the defender did enough to block the run, only to fall awkwardly as he cleared, bringing a delay to the proceedings before the centre-half was stretchered from the field with a hip injury. James was proving something of a handful and when he produced another trademark run, half-way inside the Bishops Cleeve half, Tunnicliff’s replacement, Ryan New, made clumsy challenge that presented Rovers with a free-kick and earned the substitute a caution.

Kieran Alder, one of the former Bishops Cleeve players in Rovers’ line-up, floated in an excellent free-kick that fell to Paul Carter, who found himself in acres of space, and the former Hardwicke player connected with an excellently controlled finish that left Lewis Clayton, in the Cleeve goal, with no chance and Rovers with a 22nd minute lead. Rovers were very much in control of the game but were reminded about the quality in the hosts’ squad, as Brad Martin went close with a ferocious shot, before they had another fantastic opportunity to extend their lead just past the half-hour mark. James, who was a thorn in the Cleeve side, beat Clayton to a loose ball and although he initially fell as the two players collided, he got up quickly, turned and looked to guide the ball home, only to see it rebound back from the inside of the post roll across the goal, before Jordan Staten cleared.

Despite another spell of Cleeve pressure, when they might have scored through Liam Wright and via another Martin effort, it was still the visitors who looked most likely to score and they had a glorious chance, almost on the stroke of half-time, as James stole possession from Aaron Drake, before playing the ball into Rhodes, whose deft first-time pass presented Alder with space on the edge of the box, but the Rovers man chose to chip a shot, rather than driving the ball low toward goal, and it drifted harmlessly wide, leaving Rovers to rue their wasted chances, albeit after entering the interval with a single goal lead.

The hosts’ manager, Steve Cleal, was clearly riled by the first-half performance and his team came out looking every bit like a side who had a point to prove, almost immediately equalising, as Jack Watts beat his man, before squaring to Brad Martin, who blazed the ball over from 8 yards out. Rovers regained their momentum almost immediately and continued to create chances, only for Cleeve’s Clayton to make two fantastic save that would ultimately prove decisive. First, the Bishops Cleeve man pulled off an excellent diving save to beat away a James header, before a cross/shot from Alder that had him back-peddling to push the ball away. Carter then went close with an excellent 30 yard shot that rose narrowly over, before another smart piece of thinking from Alder almost paid dividends, as he swung a free-kick narrowly wide of goal.

As the 80th minute mark arrived the pressure was starting to build for the Rovers defence and that eventually told as Iddles’ shot bounced back of the post, before landing straight at the feet of Watts, who drilled a powerful shot into the top corner of Kane Winman’s goal, to make it 1-1. Within five minutes, Rovers were undone again, as the referee deemed Joel White’s challenge on Watts to be a foul and once the protests had been heard, substitute Joe Bates stepped up to fire the resultant penalty home, despite Winman’s desperate attempt to keep the ball out of his goal.

Although the visiting squad looked to find a last gasp equaliser that would rescue a point, it came to no avail and it was Bishops Cleeve who took all three points from a game that was full of incident, a huge amount of effort and one or two moments of controversy.

Virginia Water 1 Brimscombe & Thrupp 1
It was a deserved draw (just) that felt like a win against high flying B&T.

With a very strong wind in our favour in the first half, VW dominated proceedings, with Jake Baker, Scott Jackson and Lorenzo ‘Lenny’ Di Felice all going close. We took the lead on 21 minutes, when a stray back pass was intercepted by Lenny, who calmly rounded the keeper to slot home.

There were only sporadic attacks at the other end, which the home defence comfortably dealt with, in particular the excellent Finn Evered, Adam Mills and Matt Jones in goal.

VW knew they would need more than the one goal before the break, with the elements against them in the second half, and were unlucky not to go two up, when we hit the post from a long throw wide on the left. Despite our efforts and numerous quality corners, that saw both Finn and Jake narrowly head over at times, we held a precarious 1-0 lead at the break.

To be fair to B&T they threw everything at us in the second half, and got an early equaliser within 15 minutes of the restart. But VW weren’t finished, and thought they had gone ahead on 70 minutes, when Lenny went through and smashed a left foot drive into the top corner, only for Scott to be ruled off side in the build up.

Scott too had another couple of good attempts on goal, as we battled for something from the game. As time wore on, we had Matt to thank for a number of saves, one exceptional in particular from a brilliant volley by the B&T striker, that was parried away with his right hand.

Also, there were a couple of last ditch tackles by Liam and Joe in midfield, but with the CBs holding firm, Waters got a point from an excellent match that could have gone either way. We wish B&T the best of luck for the remainder of the season, and can not praise them enough for the way their squad and management enjoyed our hospitality – a great bunch of lads.

One East

Wokingham & Emmbrook 3 Abingdon Town 2 (report by Arthur Strand)
The visitors at Larges Lane last Saturday were from Abingdon Town, a notch below the Suma’s in the table. Burnham are top with Aldermaston second and the latter may drop as the season progresses since they have played more games than the other teams in the Division.. Sean Woodward is still out injured so Owen Holland was selected in goal again. Abingdon took the ball up into the Sumas area but Sumas took a free kick which reversed the direction of play. Jake White put in a wing shot but in doing so, Abingdon regained the ball and returned to the proximity of the Suma;s area but his finish passed the far post on the wrong side for a goal. Will Day positioned himself centrally but Abingdon were awarded a free kick. Ellis Day made it into the Abingdon area but the attack was fruitless and, on the counter, Abingdon took a free kick once nearer goal but the ball went direct to Holland. Early on, James Clark had to replace Jake White, [probably hamstring]. The Suma’s put together a good one/two and Ellis Day ran through to the ball but Kieren Beasley (GK) won the race. Suma’s then went on to miss a chance when the ball sailed over the bar. Abingdon got the ball back with a free kick but then gave away possession. After trading free kicks Elliott Rushforth cracked a shot which was blocked by an Abingdon defender. Josh Harris was making ground into Abingdon's area but was run off of the ball and the visitors made a break again a corner kick which Holland claimed. Up to the opposite end and James Clark could not quite connect with the incoming ball from the wing. Next surprise; Suma’s crack in the 1st goal by James Clark after 35 minutes. The last few minutes of the half saw breakaways by both teams with counter attacks by both until on the dot of half time, Ellis Day made it 2 - 0 to the hosts.

After kick off for the second half, Abingdon took a long shot which Holland dealt with accordingly. With another opportuinty looming, Ellis Day was in a good position but then Wokingham lost possession and within 3 or 4 minutes of the restart had added a 3rd goal from Elliott Rushforth. Abingdon felt a sense of urgency although Suma’s had the advantage and sent two shots over Holland's crossbar. Abingdon took a free kick which was close to the near post but Holland saved it. In the 66th minute, Courtney Lawrence was directly in front of goal and finished clinically. Suma’s still had a 2 goal cushion and a good run upfield brought about a corner for the Sumas. Elliott Rushforth's header was saved by Beasley. Then a blocked effort created another corner for the Suma’s although Abingdon gained a free kick. Moments later hand ball by an Abingdon man in midfield gave Suma’s a free kick which was forwarded onwards into space for a wing chase by Wokingham.. Josh Harris.was shown yellow but the effort sustaining the winning instinct began to fluctuate and, although Suma’s kept Beasley busy at times, much energy was directed to defending breakaways and when an Abingdon free kick was cleared and Elliott Rushforth provided another save by Beasley which deflected off the crossbar for a corner. The end game became frenetic with Abingdon pressing hard and Suma’s defending and the nightmare horror on full-time as a penalty went to Abingdon, scored by Jamma Smith then Holland booted the ball off the park and received a red card but before the referee could reach him, he was getting grief from his own defenders. Dan Bateman came on as substitute and went in goal. He had a couple of saves to deal with but his clearance kicks went high and to beyond the half way line, hang time eating up precious seconds!!! 3 - 2 was the final score and 3 points putting them in 5th place.
Wokingham & Emmbrook: Holland, Robson, W.Day (c), Commuskey, Marsh, Dean, Harris, N. Bateman, White, E. Day, Rushforth. Substitutes: Clark, D. Bateman. C. Holland, [Winship.Rowland: not used].

County Cups

Oxfordshire Senior Cup

Easington Sports 5 Freeland 1
Easington dominated the game against Oxfordshire Premier League table toppers, and playing some good football and through a good all round team performance, Sports can now look forward to the next round of the competition. This was almost the perfect display with a brace from Callum Convey and further goals from George Coombes, Lloyd Sabin and Charlie Hill. Ben Milner also had the chance to rest some players to keep the squad fresh and competing for their shirt.

That said, the game did not start too well for the hosts conceding the opening goal of the game in the opening minutes of the match. Freeland started brightly and hurried Sports in the early stages. Moving the ball quickly they worked the play across the pitch before Tom McCrudden finished from the edge of the box calmly slotting his left foot shot into the top corner.

Easington didn’t seem to panic and played their way back into the game well controlling the game after the goal went in. Joe Eyre out paced the Freeland defence numerous times and might have had a hatrick in the opening 20 minutes. Some great save and a goal line clearance prevented Sports from getting back on level terms. Both Wing backs were also showing good attacking intent. Mike Spaull fired into the side netting at the near post from one side whilst Conor Grant saw his diving header glance past the far post from the other flank.

Just when it was looking to be one of those frustrating afternoons for the home side, George Coombes was knocked off balance as he was about to take a shot and Easington were awarded a penalty. Callum Convey stepped up to convert the penalty on the half hour mark.

Sports continued to dominate play and it was only going to be a matter of time before the breakthrough was going to happen. George Coombes showed his alertness in the box and controlled a scuffed effort that came his way before clipping a finish decisively into the corner of the net with just the keeper to beat. 2-1 half time.

Attacking the clubhouse end, Sports started the second half moving the ball much quicker and it was not long before they got the first of three goals in the second half. Following some good early pressure Charlie Hill was on hand to volley in a half clearance from the edge of the box on 49 minutes which virtually ended Freeland’s chances of getting back into the game. Lloyd Sabin grabbed his first goal for Sports around the hour mark before Callum Convey scored the goal of the game driving past two Freeland defenders before calming placing his shot into the bottom corner of the net. Manager Ben Milner rung the changes bringing on all substitutes and after a few minutes of settling down into the game, Sports resumed full control of possession. There was still time for Sports to be awarded their second penalty of the game after Joe Coleman was brought down in the box. Unfortunately Coombes saw his spot kick well saved by the keeper.

Sports now face Adderbury Park in a local derby next week in the Hellenic Supplementary Cup. With 15 players in the squad for this weekend and a further 5 out injured, Manager Ben Milner is certainly going to be faced with a headache picking his squad leading up to Christmas after a strong performance from all 15 players in this game. Nice problems to have they say!

 

 
 
 
 
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