16 September 2020
Bishops Cleeve 0 Westfields 1 (away view)
Westfields opened up their away Hellenic League Premier Division season with a fine 1-0 away win at Bishops Cleeve last night. Westfields start with a very hard league programme having 4 of their first matches all away from home and they gathered 3 points with a hard-working performance over a very strong Bishops Cleeve side.
Westfields had a great start when they scored in the 10th minute when overlapping fullback Olly Butler fired home low from an acute angle to put Westfields ahead. Westfields then had a couple of opportunities to have increased their lead but the home keeper made fine saves from Baidoo King and Basit Umar. Bishops Cleeve then forced a number of dangerous free kicks which Steve Sarkodie dealt with brilliantly taking high crosses underneath the crossbar and then Joel Edwards made a fine blocking tackle to thwart dangerman Davies in putting Bishops Cleeve level just before the break.
After the interval both sides gave everything in an end-to-end game but defences were on top but the Bishops Cleeve keeper was booked in a rash challenge as Baidoo King sped through the home defence with a one-on-one situation with the keeper who then brought down the Westfields striker outside the penalty area. Sirdic Grant put in a couple of dangerous crosses and then in the dying minutes Westfields had to defend stubbornly as Bishops Cleeve threw everything at the Westfields goal in an attempt to draw level but Westfields’ defenders Sam Rawlings and Joel Edwards were outstanding.
Westfields now travel to Binfield on Saturday for another away game and then next Tuesday face Worksop Town at home in the FA Cup First Round Qualifying, kick-off 7.45pm at allpay.park.
Brimscombe & Thrupp 6-0 Tuffley Rovers (away view)
Tuffley Rovers slipped to their heaviest Hellenic League defeat since April 2018 and slipped to a third consecutive defeat to start the 2020/21 playing season, as Brimscombe & Thrupp scored three times in each half to leave Richard Cox’s side bottom of the table, albeit with only two games played.
Rovers made two changes to their starting line-up from their defeat at Virginia Water four days previously, with talented youngster Rudi McKinnon replacing Warren Mann and, perhaps more notably, outfield player Liam Wright having to don the goalkeeping gloves due to Luke Merchant falling ill earlier in the day and various deputies being injured or otherwise unavailable at such short notice.
The game started fairly evenly, with both sides showing attacking intent, and with two close encounters still fresh in the mind from 2019/20 it was perhaps a poor indication of what might follow.
When Jacob Geddes made a strong tackle on Ollie Pitt, just outside the Rovers box, after 12 minutes, he was perhaps harshly judged to have made a foul and to then receive a caution, but it was less of a surprise that, from such a promising position, Jonty Welch stepped up to bend a low free-kick around the visitors’ wall and beyond Wright, who was planted to the spot on his goal-line.
Just four minutes later, Rovers were properly set for a difficult evening, as Dylan Morgan’s run into the penalty area ended with what was ultimately a fairly soft penalty decision, but one that seemed inevitable as full-back Lewis Bainbridge made several attempts to end the foray, without ever getting close to the ball. The Rovers man was playing as an emergency full-back and his challenge was more akin to that of someone familiar with his usual striker’s role.
Wright could do nothing to keep out Pitt’s penalty, but did do well to deny Jack Smith, who looked set to make it 3-0 from yards out on 29 minutes.
That provide to be in vain, as did his next demonstration of his goalkeeping prowess, when kept out an effort from Smith, before full-back Antoine Thompson then blocked Pitt’s effort, only to see the ball fall to David Woodfield, who smashed the ball home from close range, on 42 minutes.
Half-time might have given Cox the chance to rally his troops and inspire a fight-back, but a team who had failed to test the opposition goalkeeper at Virgina Water, and then followed suit in the opening 45 minutes, started the half in a manner that wasn’t likely to see a drastic change in their fortunes, as the hosts cut them open from the kick-off and only a good stop from Wright, to deny Welch, prevented the deficit being extended.
Rovers did muster a chance, albeit one that didn’t trouble Nick Jones in the Brimscombe goal, as Jack Beardsell created space for himself, but good only fire narrowly wide and into the side-netting.
Sam Prior’s side continued to cause Rovers problems and they eventually extended their lead on 56 minutes, as Jack Smith took advantage of a failure to clear their lines, albeit with the benefit of a significant deflection off Thompson, before Cox made three substitutions in an effort to freshen up his side’s rear-guard effort.
Beardsell then looked set to score, but Jones produced a block that forced the ball onto the frame of his goal and away from goal, before Toby Lawrence made two good interventions as Rovers showed an improved resolve to keep their hosts at bay.
With seven minutes remaining that resolve disappeared again, as Kyle Pitts found himself in acres of space to head home at the far post, to make it 5-0, before the rout was completed four minutes later, as Chalmers Phin found himself on the end of a good move, to make it six goals without reply and send Rovers to the bottom of the Hellenic League, Premier Division table.
Rovers may now welcome the distraction of an FA Vase tie at the weekend, although a defeat in that game will mean that their next league game, at home to Longlevens on 22 September, will have far more importance than many of the previous games between the two local rivals.
Virginia Water 2 Shrivenham 0
Virginia Water recorded back to back wins and clean sheets after an entertaining game against a good Shrivenham side at Stag Meadow.
The home side started a little slowly, and indeed the visitors had three early chances, one well saved by Matt in goal.
From then on, Waters found their feet, and dominated the game with some terrific football at high intensity. The first goal, and worth the wait, came on 26 minutes, when Matt fed Josh Hill, who played inside to Dale Wright, overlapped by the excellent Jake Baker to cross first time, and volleyed home by the equally excellent Josh Dillon. We could have added more, and the second came after Dale saw his shot tipped on to the bar, looked to have crossed the line, but Joe McBride made sure to tap in the rebound on 39 minutes.
In the second half the defence was very strong, and Matt was fairly inactive, whilst in attack we had numerous chances, Casey Bocarro going close twice and hitting the bar (in the first half), Paul Burrows having a number of shots, Dale and Josh creating and having their own efforts saved and going narrowly wide. Sam Cooley saw two great shots just skim over, and Josh Hill seeing a free kick brilliantly saved by the Shrivenham keeper.
All in all a very pleasing performance and clean sheet, that gives VW momentum going into the FA Vase match on Friday night against Reading City.
Division One West
Shortwood United 1 Malvern Town 3 (away view)
Malvern Town were worthy 3-1 winners in our first League game on the road at Shortwood United on Tuesday night.
Neither team were able to get into their stride in the opening exchanges on a pleasant September evening. With ten minutes on the clock, George Hayes did well out wide and his teasing cross was cleared in front of goal and from the resulting corner, Adam Sauntson planted a header home.
An offside flag halted the progress of skipper, Matt Turner, before the home side went close at the other end with a Budd header.
We doubled our advantage just past the quarter-hour mark with a sweet strike from Joe Bates that gave the ‘keeper no chance.
After Hayes hit the top of the goal, we further extended our lead on 19 minutes when the ‘keeper spilled the ball and as he lay on the floor, Joe Billingham stroked home to make it 3-0.
A corner from Sam Hunt flashed agonisingly across the face of goal with no-one able to get the all-important touch. Some good inter-play between Harry Wickett and Harry Clark almost saw us break through, but the home side defended well on this occasion. We were proving dangerous at corners and a flick off the head of Adam Sauntson went close. At the other end, a free-kick in a promising position saw Beadle curl over. On the stroke of half-time, a game of head tennis in the area ended with the home side going close through Beadle and then Joe Bullock was over with a strike from distance at the other end.
The second period started with some positive play from Clark out wide and as his cross was half-cleared to Billingham, his venomous strike was bravely blocked.
Some more alert defending, this time from Treyner, denied Clark as he lined up a strike on goal. A loose pass was seized upon by Walsh for the home side and his strike rattled the woodwork before deflecting away from goal.
Another corner gave the home side cause for concern as Jay Sauntson saw a towering header land just over. With both teams struggling to get hold of the ball, Clark looked to make something happen as the home side cleared his threaded pass and then Hunt was over from distance before he had another effort gathered by the ‘keeper soon afterwards.
On 70 minutes Bates had a goal ruled out for offside before a low drive from Clark was blocked. As the game became a little frantic, Wickett broke into the area only for Bates to be denied and then after Hunt was booked for a late challenge, Keiron Blackburn did well to save on the line under pressure.
In stoppage time at the end, a loose pass was seized upon as the home side broke through to make it 3-1 through Soule.
Thornbury Town 0 Hereford Lads Club 0
Malvern Town: Blackburn, A. Sauntson, J. Sauntson, Hunt, Hayes (Fusco 64), Wickett, Billingham, Bullock (Craven 64), Bates (Smith 85), Turner, Clark. Subs not used: Chowns Higgs, J. Febery.
GOAL(S): A. Sauntson, Bates, Billingham
Thornbury’s next game is away to Abingdon Town in the Buildbase FA Vase on Saturday 19th September with the next home match on Saturday 26th vs Shortwood United in the cup.