Flackwell Heath 3 Binfield 5 (away view - 29 April)
The Moles signed off for the summer with a fifth win from their final six matches that secured a 3rd place finish and a fourth season running at the top of the local teams in East Berkshire.
Right from the start, this match was never going to be an end of season stroll as both sides went all out for the win, with full blooded challenges all over the park. It's been said before that the Moles could not grind out wins on difficult surfaces, so this latest Mark Tallentire team can certainly confirm that's no longer the case as Binfield grabbed their first points at Wilks Park since arriving in the Premier Division four seasons ago - and in some style.
After an even opening half hour, Binfield started to look the more likely to open the score. Carl Withers continued his own late season fine form and his pinpoint cross was met perfectly by Jemel Johnson who headed into the corner of Ollie Brown's net on the half hour.
Seven minutes later, Danny Wing nipped in front of Hitcham Benadini to steal the ball on the halfway line, ran through Jeff Brown's tackle and set Seb Bowerman running into the box wide on the left. Showing his usual calm on the ball, Bowerman cut inside and curled into the far corner to double his side's lead.
Now in full flow, Binfield almost scored again from three quick chances as first captain Gary Callway's header was cleared off the line and onto the bar by Jon Case, with Jemel Johnson's shot on the rebound again cleared off the line as Case made a second block in quick succession. From the resultant corner, Callum Whitty, playing his 300th match for the Moles, flicked on and another goal line clearance kept out Johnson's point blank header.
But the Moles weren't to be denied a third time. Just before the break, Havermans rose highest to find Carl Withers, who expertly controlled and hit a thunderous volley for a sensational goal and a 3-0 lead for his side at the break.
Andy Vaughan replaced Garry Sargeant at half time and almost had an immediate impact but saw Seb Bowerman shoot at Brown after good work.
With the half ten minutes old, it was the Heathens who found a lifeline in the match, when Adam Harman capitalised on some sloppy defensive play and hit a superb drive from 20 yards that Dan Weait almost kept out but could only palm into the roof of the net.
Callaway and Millward had dealt well with the threats of Riccardo Cannon's pace and Lee Thomson's keen eye for goal for the most part. But when Cannon got goal side of Callaway just past the hour, Callway's effort to nick the ball ended with Cannon going down in the box and the inevitable penalty. Tom Mudge blasted in from the spot to make it 3-2.
But any Moles nerves were settled soon afterwards, when Andy Vaughan was pushed from behind when shaping to shoot and the Moles had their own spot kick. Callum Whitty blasted into the roof of the net to celebrate his appearance milestone with a goal.
Adam Morris replaced Whitty shortly after his goal and later Richard Massingham replaced the tiring Johnson who received a deserved ovation for an energetic performance. And the chances kept coming for the Moles to restore their three goal lead, with Massingham's side foot from 6 yards somehow squirming wide, from the the best of those openings.
With the game seeming to drift to the final whistle, a final flourish still remained. With 90 minutes already played, Thomson latched onto a looping ball into the box, but saw Weait make a brilliant point blank save when a goal looked likely.
Moments later, the Moles were on the attack again. Andy Vaughan set the ball back to Bowerman 25 yards out, but instead of shooting he turned inside the attempted block, ran into the box and the 17 year old finished his fine first season in senior football by calmly rolling the ball into the corner of the net for his 10th goal.
And there was still time for one more goal, when again the Moles defence were too casual on the ball and Stuart Glynn's brilliant curling finish from 30 yards found the top corner after he robbed the ball wide on the left.
Afterwards manager Mark Tallentire paid tribute to his loyal group of players who have stuck together, changed their style of play and forced their way into a very respectable end of season position, after a disappointing spell early in 2013. Without having reached the heights of last season's cup successes, Binfield have established themselves as a force in the Hellenic Premier Division and will go into the new season in August with promotion to step 4 of non league football high on their agenda.
Marlow 4 v 1 Wantage Town
For the second time in a matter of weeks Marlow came out on top of their nearest challengers by a 3 goal margin to extend their advantage at the top of the league table.
Showing changes from Saturday with Jorden Eggleton in goal, Devonn Reid making his first start at left back and Phil John coming off the bench, the home side were soon into their stride with Marcus Mealing getting his head to a Ben Gladwin cross to go ahead in the 9th minute. A Gladwin corner was headed out to Simieon Howell 10 minutes later and his first-time volley flew past Gareth Tucker but was headed away off the line.
Minutes later Ray Spence got behind on the left to cross in to Gladwin but his shot was pulled wide from 10 yards while the first attempt from the visitors saw a 25 yarder from Jack Daly clear the Marlow bar by a yard or so soon after.
Just past the half-hour Mealing helped a ball into the path of Ian Davies who saw Tucker do well to parry his cross away with the keeper doing well to do likewise to prevent Mealing adding another after receiving an excellent diagonal pass from Richard Witt. This just seemed to be delaying the inevitable and Mealing got onto the end of a volleyed cross from Davies to find the net in the 38th minute and then went on to grab his hat-trick 2 minutes after by turning in a cross from Chris Ovenden.
By contrast the second period seemed more low-key although Marlow did put together some fine movements to slice through the Wantage defence but without finding that final killer blow and they had to wait until the 70th minute and a shot from Spence from the edge of the area to add their fourth after a neat sidestep had created space.
The visitors were enjoying more possession than hitherto at this stage and a quick break presented an opportunity to John MacMahon in the 73rd minute but he side footed into the hands of Eggleton.
A delightful back-heel from Phil Cousins set up Davies who pulled wide and both he and Mealing were unable to get shots on target from close-in as the game neared its conclusion but it was the visitors who claimed the final goal of the season at Oak Tree Road with Tom Butler making use of the space allowed him to just get the ball past the hand of Eggleton and the foot of Danny Lingwood with 3 minutes remaining on the clock.
Division One West
Malmesbury Victoria 0 Letcombe 0 (away view)
Letcombe finished their league campaign with a spirited performance at Malmesbury.
Both sides had chances to win the game, but a draw was probably a fair result. The first 30 minutes was fairly even, with Adam Pendell and James Glover working tirelessly in midfield.
The best chance of the match fell to Adam Bruce soon afterwards. He appeared to push a defender, but no free kick was given, leaving him with a clear run on goal. He rounded keeper Joe Snell, but somehow Richard Gee had recovered to clear off the line. At the other end, keeper Danny Joyce made an excellent low save and then recovered well to dive on the loose ball.
Malmesbury were on top at the start of the second half, and only good defending by centre backs Luke Stone and Tom Doig kept the game goalless.
With ten minutes remaining, Letcombe created two chances in quick succession. Alex Thomas had a shot pushed over the bar by Joe Snell, and then Adam Pendell was inches away from connecting with a defence splitting pass from Adam Claydon. Adam Bruce was sent clear in the final minute, but the assistant`s offside flag prevented a late winner.
Purton 1 Tytherington Rocks 4 (away view)
With both teams playing their final game of the season and with nothing but pride at stake it took the Rocks 37 minutes before getting on the scoreboard, when Tim Baker from the right crossed to Joe White who scored from close in.
Purton got an equalizer within a minute when a miss kick by Rocks keeper Kevin Freeman went straight to Dave Gee who lobbed the ball back over Freeman into the net. The Rocks playing without five regular first team members gave chances to some young players from the reserve team and they performed at this level with great promise.
The second half started with some changes, this included Justin Pritchard who has missed many games this season through illness and injury, he scored a fine individual goal in the 59th minute to put Rocks two goals to one up.
The 75th minute brought Rocks their third goal when Pritchard spilt the Purton defence with a pass to Justin Bishop on the right who unselfishly passed to White in the six yard box to score and bring his goal tally to 29 league goals for the season, in doing so, the award of The Golden Boot for the highest individual total in Division 1 West of the uhlsport Hellenic League.
The Rocks completed their scoring for the season when Bishop got his just reward for his tremendous contribution to the game and season when taking the ball from midfield and scoring a peach of a goal from 25 yards to make the final score 4 - 1 which consolidated their position in third place by 4 points for the season.
Division One East
Bracknell Town 0 Headington Amateurs 0
Bracknell Town missed out on promotion back to the Uhlsport Hellenic League Premier Division at the first attempt in front of a bumper crowd of 140 at Larges Lane on the final night of league action.
Needing to defeat Headington Amateurs to stand any chance, the Robins could not find a breakthrough despite bombarding the goal and Taylor Elliott-Money’s strike which struck the post in the third minute of stoppage time summed the evening up. In any case, Woodley Town’s defeat of champions Rayners Lane guaranteed them third place with that result meaning even a Bracknell win would not have seen them secure third.
Amateurs defended resolutely for the entire match but offered very little in an attacking capacity, in fact home goalkeeper Martin Brotherhood only had only to make one routine save early on. The chances were fairly regular for the hosts with Danny Oliphant forcing a save from Harry Jenkins in the fifth minute.
Jake White had the ball in the back of the net on 21 minutes but the strike was controversially ruled out. As the ball was lofted over the defence, Shane Cooper-Clark who was in an offside position did not play the ball but was flagged offside even though onside White collected the ball and rounded Jenkins to score.
Jenkins had to be alert to claim the ball from White’s feet before Tom Barratt’s cross-cum-shot went just past the far post.
In the second half substitute James Rogers pulled his right sided efforts wide of the post on three separate occasions whilst Oliphant headed narrowly over.
As time was running out, captain Matt James played a one-two with Rogers but could only watch as the ball agonisingly rolled past his outstretched leg. The final action in stoppage time saw Oliphant’s ball met by Elliott-Money but the marauding full-back’s hot struck the post and rebounded to safety.
Woodley’s win coming hot off the back of a nineteen game unbeaten run gave them third place in the league for their highest ever finish whilst Bracknell ultimately ended up fifth in joint managers Oliphant and Steve Nebbett’s first full season managing at this level. There was obvious disappointment at coming so close and ultimately falling short but the management team are geared up for an onslaught on the league next season.
Reserves Divison 2 West
Brimscombe & Thrupp Reserves 0 Shortwood United Reserves 5 (away view)
Shortwood United Reserves sealed a second successive Championship with an emphatic 5-0 win at Brimscombe on Thursday night. This time last year it was the Glos Northern Senior League, this time it is the Hellenic League Division. 2 (West) title. A bumper crowd of 178 turned up at the Meadow to see this end of season decider, and the Wood didn't let down the travelling support, with this dominant performance.
Wood put their cards on the table and got about Brimscombe from the off. After just 3 minutes Liam Meredith's free kick was scrambled away, followed up by a corner which Bevan headed down to Rymell. His fierce shot was well saved by Crowest in the Brimscombe goal.
Matt Bennett's good work down the left started to pay dividends, and a good deep cross was met by Rymell, who blasted his shot across the goal. Bennett then had a shot of his own saved at the near post. Shortwood keeper Marklove was called into action for the first time after 15 minutes when he had to punch away a cross from the right. Shortwood continued to press and were finally rewarded after half an hour. Joe Rymell sprinted down the right, after what appeared to be a lost cause. He managed to cut the ball back from the by line to Liam Meredith who scored his first goal of the season. This was soon followed by his second as Bevan held up the ball inside the box, a good pass backwards to Meredith was buried into the net with aplomb!
Shortwood's constant pressure down both flanks now had the Brimscombe defence flustered and Wood's third goal was not long in coming. After 40 minutes Matt Bennett went flying down the left wing, his cross was met by Rymell at the far post, and he finished off the move with a powerful header.
Brimscombe came out for the second half with a renewed vigour and started to push for a goal. Andy Boot was put through, but could only drag his shot wide. Wood's reply was instant with Rymell cutting in from the right and stinging Crowest's hands. Marklove was needed again on 55 minutes. Stu Tarvido's free kick from the left was well gathered by the keeper amongst a gaggle of players.
After an hour Wood got a decisive fourth goal which really took the wind out of Brimscombe's sails. Craig Mills won the ball in midfield and went on one of his rampaging runs forward. He beat 2 defenders and was upended just inside the box. Mills stepped up to take the resulting penalty and drove his shot straight down the middle to the delight of the Wood fans, who knew the game was over as a contest.
Wood were now full of beans and stepped up a gear, hunting for a fifth. Ted Parsloe's shot from a Rymell cross was saved by Crowest. He was called on again when Underwood's shot needed tipping around the post. Shortwood completed the route with a fifth goal on 75 minutes. Marklove's long punch clear resulted in a free kick for the Wood wide on the left. Liam Meredith's nippy in swinging cross was finished by Pawliszak with a glancing header. Right at the death it was nearly six as Joe Rymell hit the post.
When the final whistle came there was jubilation from the players and supporters alike. They left the field of play to rapturous applause whilst drinking the finest champagne that Sainsburys has to offer.
The Club and fans would like to congratulate the players and management on another outstanding Championship winning season. Under the leadership of Des Meredith and Nick Ackland, Shortwood United Reserves have enjoyed their most successful period in their history. Hopefully this will mean promotion to Hellenic League Division. 1 (West), subject to approval at the Hellenic League AGM, the highest level of football they have ever reached.