11 January 2020
Highworth Town Reserves 3 Letcombe 0 (away view)
These two teams met again after their match seven days before was abandoned after one minute because of an injury to the Highworth goalkeeper, with Letcombe already leading 1-0. Letcombe had three regular players missing, including the league’s top scorer Josh Fowler, but they welcomed new signing Joe Blackwell and promoted young Aidan Ormrod from the reserves. Highworth were strengthened by the inclusion of defender Leon Morrison as their first team did not have a game.
It was difficult to play a passing game because of a very strong wind, and Letcombe elected to play with the wind behind them. The visitors controlled the game for most of the first half, but created few clear opportunities. A cross from Kias Bonner-Shea was headed over the bar by Joe Blackwell mid-way through the half, and shortly afterwards a low cross from James Wright found Bonner-Shea, whose shot was cleared off the line. Highworth took the lead just before half time against the run of play when Letcombe gave the ball away in attack, and a long clearance eluded the Letcombe defence, allowing Jamie Sheppard to race clear and score. Letcombe looked in vain for an offside flag, but none was forthcoming.
Highworth opened the second half brightly and created four chances in the first ten minutes. Max Slinn shot straight at keeper Danny Joyce, and a minute later Jamie Sheppard curled the ball into the top corner of the net from 18 yards after Letcombe failed to clear their lines. Arron Dale shot over the bar from a good position, and Luke Adams also shot high when clear. The remainder of the half was fairly even, and the hard-working Ali Thorp was denied the goal he deserved by home keeper Simon Randlesome. Michael Annetts replaced the injured Christy Whelehan for the visitors, but Letcombe could not find the net, and substitute Harrison Edwards added a third in the final minutes, side footing home after a good break and low cross on the right.
Whilst Letcombe were disappointed at the result, there were still positives to take from the game. Recent signings Ali Thorp and Joe Blackwell looked great additions to the squad, and there will be competition for places when everybody is available. Letcombe visit Fairford Town reserves next Saturday 18th January, and then travel to play Shrivenham Development on 25th, both games kicking off at 3.00.
Fairford Town 4 Tuffley Rovers 2 (away view)
Fairford Town quickly recovered from a shock defeat against Longlevens seven days previous, as they stormed into an early lead against Tuffley Rovers, before holding off a spirited fightback from their visitors to claim three points that will reinvigorate Jody Bevan’s hopes of a promotion challenge and ensure that Mark Pritchett’s squad will still be looking over their shoulder as they slipped down the league table.
The hosts made three changes to their starting line-up, with Danny Gudger, John Watson and Kallum Thomas making way for Jack Bown-Porter, Callum Preece and Connor Thompson. Rovers had won a County Cup tie at Hardwicke seven days’ previously but made several changes themselves, as Joe Shutt returned after injury, joining Warren Mann and Dom Kent in the team, with Jake Rhodes, Lewis Bainbridge and Niall Priday all unavailable. There was one final change, ten minutes before kick-off, as Isaac Lawrence picked up an injury in the warm-up and was replaced by Sam Hill.
Fairford Town’s team featured Ross Langworthy and just two minutes into the game, he capitalised on being given too much space on the left – although Rovers appealed, in vain, for an offside decision – and fired low beyond Luke Merchant and in to the corner of the net.
Things went from bad to worse, just two minutes later. Rovers dealt with an initial attack, as they cleared a cross from Aiden Bennett, but the ball flew out to Bown-Porter and he struck the ball first time with such tremendous power, from 30 yards, that Merchant was barely able to dive before the ball had passed him, making it 2-0 inside four minutes.
It might have got worse for Rovers on ten minutes, as Langworthy was sent clear by Preece’s superb cross-field pass, only to fire narrowly wide, before Merchant’s miscued clearance almost gave Bennett a goal, only for the former Cirencester Town man to shoot wide of the goal. It was almost half an hour before Rovers conjured a first effort on goal and, even then, Shutt’s effort was ambitious and ultimately well wide of Harrison Ellis’ goal. Moments later, Merchant did brilliantly to keep out another Langworthy effort, courtesy of Nathan Hawkins’ long pass, but it proved to be to no avail, as the resultant corner found Bennett completely unmarked at the back post and he headed home, to make it 3-0 with just 31 minutes played. Not for the first time this season, Rovers seemed to be spurred into action after finding themselves seemingly out of the game and just three minutes later, Jack Beardsell made it 3-1, as he powered home a back post header, from Shutt’s corner.
What followed was a first serious spell of Rovers pressure and there were appeals for a penalty as Dan Bailey appeared to block Sam Hill’s shot with an arm, although it would have been an incredibly harsh award, and then Beardsell drew another save from Ellis, before Harri John fired a follow-up effort wide of the Fairford goal. Further pressure followed, without either keeper being seriously tested, and the interval arrived with Rovers trailing 3-1 and with a mountain to climb.
Mann had a chance early in the second period, but couldn’t lift his shot over Ellis, after a clearance fell to the Rovers veteran, but the hosts then found improvement and only excellent defensive blocks from Macaulay Herbert and Ben Prictor kept the hosts at bay. Herbert left the field injured shortly after, to be replaced by Pritchett, and there were further changes to follow, as Jeremiah Idowu and Antoine Thompson came on to replace Shutt and Hill. With fifteen minutes remaining, the game took a decisive twist, as Thompson produced a composed finish to make it 4-1, and although Beardsell got his second of the game, as a low free-kick, from a tight angle, went across Ellis and into the net and although the Rovers goalscorer went close with another set-piece in injury time, with the Fairford Town keeper making a fantastic one-handed save to keep the curled shot out and moments later the game ended, with Bevan’s side able to celebrate another three points, whilst Pritchett’s side were left to reflect on the calamitous opening five minutes that ultimately dictated the outcome of the match.
Reading City 0 Virginia Water 2 (away view)
A terrific win and performance for VW on the road at Reading City. In a match played in good spirit and a difficult wind, the away side dominated for large periods, and did all the hard work in the first half playing into the elements.
The excellent Jake Baker caused the home defence many problems, at crossed early on, only for Joel Drew to be denied from close range. Jake and Dale Wright both saw efforts saved by their keeper.
At the other end the defence were strong, well led by Marc Lansdowne and marshalling by Matt in goal. On 24 minutes VW went ahead, when Josh Hennah and Joel combined down the left, for Joel’s effort to be blocked, but the rebound slotted into the bottom corner by Dale. Waters continued to play some good football, and on 39 minutes got their second, when Joel got in behind their defence, for his low cross to be volleyed in first time by Josh.
2-0 up at the break and wind in our favour, things were looking good. The second half saw RC create more chances, some efforts well defended and some well saved by Matt. VW could and should have extended their lead, with Jake going close when through on goal, their keeper forced into a good save from Josh D, and Finn Evered (a makeshift striker) having his one on one saved, as well as another shot that was parried just wide.
There were no further goals to report, with the second half more even, with RC throwing everything at VW, but it was to no avail, as VW comfortably saw out the game to record back to back wins, clean sheets, and move into the top half of the table. A great Win, attitude and squad performance by the lads.
Home Score*: 1
Away Team*: Westfields
Away Score*: 1
Report*: 13th January 2020
Windsor 1 Westfields 1 (away view)
Holyport 2 Risborough Rangers 4 (away view)
Rangers continued their push for promotion with a trip to fourth placed Holyport and left Summerleaze with the three points as the unbeaten League run continues.
For the first time in a while Risboro’ started on the front foot and it was no surprise that Rangers took the lead in the 10th minute when a ball over the Holyport back line on the Rangers left for Sam Pekun to use his blistering pace to leave the Port defenders for dead and as he advanced on the on-rushing Michael Rundle in the Holyport goal struck his shot into the far corner to put the visitors a goal up and a cue for Sam’s usual summersault celebration. Rangers extended their lead just two minutes later with a near identical goal for the Rangers forward but on the opposite side of the pitch.
This stunned our hosts into action as Boro were now cruising but fair play to Holyport they worked hard to get a foothold in the game and were rewarded with a goal albeit a bit fortunate but fully deserved. Port won a corner on Rangers right side, up stepped Holyport’s top scorer Fabian Driffill to deliver an in-swinging corner which was poor defended with shouts of leave it, the ball curled into the net to reduce the arrears. The remainder of the half saw Holyport looking for the equaliser and pushing Rangers back which Boro successfully achieved.
Three minutes after the break and the game was all square, Holyport won a free kick out wide on the Rangers right, up stepped Driffill to whip the free kick in with some pace on it into the crowded box, Ports Daniel Rapley managed to get a flick on the ball to send it into the bottom corner, 2-2. Like Holyport in the first half this spurred life into Boro who looked to restore their lead but despite having a majority of possession and with the wind at our backs Rangers pushed on, but with Holyport defending manfully, chances were limited as both sides cancelled each other out even though there was still twenty odd minutes to be played a draw was the likely outcome but on 75 minutes Rangers got their noses in front, after a bit of head tennis in the Port box Davis Haule forced the ball over the line at the back post to give Boro a 3-2 lead. Once again Holyport upped their game as they once again looked to restore parity but in injury time Brian Haule sealed the win for Risborough by scoring at the near post to make certain of the three points, harsh on Holyport I suppose but once again Mark Eaton’s side ground out the result in a game which could of gone either way.
Risborough Rangers : Brooker, Squire-Adams, Read ©, Urquhart, Sethi, Hammond, Morris (Rymer), D. Haule, B. Haule, Wyllie (Faulkner), Pekun (Fox) Subs unused: Tavender, Castello
Milton United 5 Marlow United 1 (away view)
Marlow were simply blown away, not by the howling gale at an exposed Potash Lane but by the hosts Milton as they inflicted the heaviest defeat for many a season on the Blues. In truth Milton completely dominated a lacklustre Marlow who despite having the elements in their favour in the first half failed to threaten the hosts who after the opening few minutes laid siege to the United goal.
They were quicker, committed and showed more desire and only a number of excellent saves from Partridge in the Marlow goal plus luck and poor finishing kept the score even until 37 minutes when Blatchford tripped Steele in the area and Bloomfield stepped up to convert the penalty. This was no more than Milton deserved having had a goal ruled out for a marginal offside and hitting the post from a fee kick with numerous other chances going begging. As is the way they almost paid for this profligacy with the half running out Marlow won a rare corner with James Tripp seeing his header cleared of the line with a scramble following before the ball was cleared.
Marlow replaced Bull and Blatchford with Flint and Lucas at half time as they attempted to get a foothold in the game which should have been long out off site. Milton had other ideas though as with the wind now in their favour they contained the Marlow attacks with some ease before hitting them on the break with clinical efficiency.
They should have extended their lead on 49 minutes but Joyce fired wide when clear on goal. Marlow’s Bushay was shown a yellow for trip a minute later, a booking which would later come back to haunt him. Milton doubled their lead on 56 minutes with a quick break and cross from the Marlow right being headed home by Miltons man of the match Ollie Nadin. Two became three within a minute as another through ball caught out the Marlow defence and Nadin ran on to plant the ball past a stranded Partridge. Flint saw a shot deflected for a corner as Marlow battled to get back in the game but it was the hosts who again caught out the struggling back line with Nadin completing his hat trick by again collecting a through ball and notching the fourth goal on 67 minutes.
Marlow’s problems only increased soon after with Partridge injured as he defended a corner that was cleared of the line, this resulting in the custodian being replaced in goal by Flint. His first task was to pick the ball out of the net following Barney’s corner kick with the wind helping the ball directly into the net the for number five.
Bushay was then shown a second yellow card for a needless foul reducing the visitors to ten men for the final ten minutes. The one bright moment for the visitors arrived with four minutes of normal time to play as Alfie Lucas collected a Hurst pass before running on and planting a consolation past keeper Griffith. All in all a chastening afternoon for Marlow who have seen a promising start to the season evaporate with a winless run now topping six games.
They looked like a team shorn of all confidence this with defeat and with two massive games coming next, Penn at home this Tuesday followed by a trip to runaway leaders Risborough Rangers on Saturday they certainly need to rediscover some of that early season form.
Marlow United : Partridge, Holland, Mckie, Tripp, Davis, Blatchford, Hardie, Thomas, Bull, Hurst (c) Bushay Subs. O Flint, A Lucas, C Flint
Malvern Town 6 Thornbury Town 1
It was a memorable afternoon for Malvern Town as we secured an emphatic 6-1 victory over fellow high-flyers, Thornbury Town, in front of a crowd of 217 at the HDANYWHERE Community Stadium.
Our purposeful start was rewarded in the sixth minute when the in-form George Hayes found the net with a sweet strike from distance. Buoyed by the goal, we went on to double our advantage just past the half-hour mark when Kyonn Evans was on hand to turn the ball home. It was a commanding first half display and it was fitting that it ended with Matt Turner further increasing our lead on the stroke of the interval.
We went into the second period in a commanding position and within ten minutes of the restart, Dave Reynolds had added his name to the scoresheet. As we continued to ask the questions, Evans notched his second to make it 5-0 before our opponents’ afternoon got worse when Bennett was dismissed for a second yellow card to leave them down to ten men. Matt Fusco added a sixth goal with ten minutes to go before the scoring was complete late on when the visitors found the net from a free-kick to grab a consolation goal.
It was another swash-buckling performance by The Hillsiders with everyone playing their part and providing plenty of entertainment for the home crowd. “It was a good all-round display,” purred co-manager, Lee Hooper at the end. “We never let our opponents get into the game and ran out worthy winners. We pressed high and starved them of the ball. Thornbury can be a good team, but we scored goals at important times and made it hard for them to get any momentum. George Hayes hit a wonder-goal to set us on our way; he is playing with a lot of confidence at the moment and fired home from over 25 yards. We were able to push on after the opening goal and got ourselves into a three-goal lead going into the second half. Going into the second half, we knew that there was still room for improvement. It was key that we kept up the work-rate and desire against a strong wind, and that is exactly what we did."
“We looked solid at the back and we were disappointed to concede right at the death from a long-range free-kick. We are on a good run at the moment and the lads are giving us absolutely everything. They are playing some really neat football and the effort off-the-ball is superb. We’re not letting our opponents get a foot-hold in games and whilst we know that there are things for us to work on, it’s gives us a platform on which to build. We’re setting ourselves high expectations as a club so that we keep improving. To have over 200 people through the gate was brilliant and it helped to up our game. We’re regularly in the top five attendances for this level of football in the whole country and it is a great effort from the local community. Hopefully more and more people will come along to see what is happening here and this level of support will really help in our quest to take the League title.”
Malvern Town : Dibble, Smith, Hunt, Harris, J. Febery (Skidmore 71), Turner, Hayes, Loader (Fusco 76), Evans, Reynolds (Wickett 82), Clark. Subs not used: J. Sauntson, Hooper.
BOOKING(S): Turner, Hunt, Hayes GOAL(S): Hayes, Turner, Evans (2), Reynolds, Fusco
Berks & Bucks FA Senior Trophy
Penn & Tylers Green 11 Mortimer 2
Goals from Dean Allen (3), Gary Lines (3), Dean Munday, Olufemi Dayo, Rashid Hamid (2) and James Hancock secured Penn & Tylers Green a 11:2 victory against Mortimer and eased Penn through the semi finals of the Berks & Bucks FA Senior Trophy.
It did not look as straight forward as that until the second half. In fact, the visitors went ahead 1:0 within 5 minutes of the kick off and at half time it was “only” 3:1 with the third goal scored at the stroke of half time. The second half, however, was exactly what the doctor ordered.
Penn are now looking forward to the semi-finals of the competition. The draw has yet to be made, but also in the hat are Hellenic challengers Wantage Town Development and Wokingham & Emmbrook, along with Combined Counties Sandurst Town.
Wokingham & Emmbrook 1 Buckingham Athletic 1 (Wokingham win on penalties)
Report by Arthur Strand
Saturday's visitors to Lowther Road were from Buckingham Athletic Sports & Social Club. The Football Club compete in the Spartan, South Midlands League Division 1 and are placed 10th in that League Table. The quarter-final of the Berks. & Bucks. Senior Trophy was played with no extra-time but straight to penalties in the event of a draw after 90 minutes.
The game itself began with the Sumas having the potential to dominate proceedings and moved forward until they gained a free kick and, later, a corner kick. The header just missed the bottom corner of the Buckingham goal. A strong counter attack along the Swans' left wing down towards the corner flag by Jason Crawley who passed the ball back a few yards to begin a series of passes in a midfield space but Buckingham had no finishing touch. The next approach saw a shot followed by a corner kick which brought about a crucial block from Sumas defence. Sean Woodward made a good save but the Swans returned with a header by Matt Cruse blocked. In midfield Sumas soaked up the time getting so far then losing possession and it was similar with the Swans until Dan Lawless who was placed directly in front of Woodward's goal but near the edge of the penalty area blasted the ball over the top. Buckingham made progress again when they gained 3 free kicks in succession. The last of these was blocked and cleared only to turn into another free kick to the visitors although the next free kick went Sumas' way. After an injury stoppage, Sumas had a free kick for a misdemeanour committed in their own area. This was taken by Sean Woodward just before the half-time whistle.
The second half continued with much midfield play since both teams who have possibly never met before play at Step 6 and there was no absolute domination by either side but Buckingham [Swans] broke away after 10 minutes and Matt Cruse managed to hit the back of Sumas' net to take the lead in the 50th minute. Play resumed and very soon the ball was flying over the top of Woodward's net and the next attack by the Swans earned them a corner kick with the ball reaching one of their men whose shot was denied by Woodward's outstretched leg and then cleared away. After Luke Scope went on one of his runs that usually takes him through the defence, the ball was in the Swans penalty area and the clash was deemed an infringement and in the 56th minute the spot kick was taken by Josh Harris. and struck the back of the net bringing the scores level. The corner kick that Sumas earned after the restart showed promise but the Swans were tough in defence and Luke Scope had an awkward moment when beaten off the ball but at the other end, Sumas were also having to make an effort in defence when the next corner was taken by Buckingham. From that episode, Woodward made a crucial save. Sumas took a free kick and the connected head could not find the target. Substitutions went ahead as there was no extra time if the score stayed as it was. Woodward made another save then Sumas took a free kick with the ball reaching the Buckingham penalty area but the shot curved wide of the target. As Woodward made an effort claiming the ball at Sumas end, Sumas made some excellent passes and forced a corner kick. The incoming shot from further back was saved off the line by a defender who was stationed by the upright. The whistle blew and the game reached penalties. Wokingham secured the penalty shoot out.
Wokingham & Emmbrook : Woodward.[GK], Carter,[c], O'Connell, Byrne, Best, C.Eagle, Good, N. Bateman, Scope, Harris, Rushforth,
Substitutes: Cummuskey, E.Day, Clark, [Winship. Not used].