16/17 October 2020
Malvern Town Development 5 Bourton Rovers Reserves 3
Malvern Town Development made it through in the Bateman Sports Challenge Cup courtesy of a 5-3 added-time victory at Bourton Rovers Reserves.We started the game well and had our hosts on the back-foot in the opening exchanges. We created a few half-chances and the crossbar also saved Bourton. The home ‘keeper was in fine form, saving well from the impressive Ameer Khan, who was making his debut, whilst we looked solid in defence with Flint, Febery and Paddock keeping our hosts at bay. It was goalless at the break and we looked sluggish at the start of the second period as the home side took advantage to get in front with their first real effort on goal after 50 minutes.
We were able to level matters through Khan with a good finish on the hour-mark but soon afterwards a mix-up in defence saw us fall behind once more. Khan got his second goal of the game on 74 minutes with a cool finish after beating the offside trap and then we took the lead when a surging run from Ben Febery ended with him being brought down inside the area. He picked himself up to convert from the spot.
In the final minute we were pegged back by an equaliser to make it 3-3 and send the game into extra-time. We took the game to our opponents and Khan was rewarded with his hat-trick, whilst Febrey bagged his second to put us well in command. We saw extra-time out well after that and our fitness levels looked good as we progressed into the next round of the competition.
“It was great to be playing again after having games postponed for various reasons,”said manager, Peter Daffin. “The lads have been working really hard in training and it showed as we finished the game strongly. There were a lot of positives to take out of the performance; it was great to see striker Ameer Khan get a hat-trick on debut. He caused problems all afternoon with his movement and pace, meanwhile Tom Emblem had his best game since returning from injury. There was also another assured performance from 17 year-old Elliot Flint. Our first half display was good but with no end product and then in the second half we were sluggish and lacked concentration at times, but showed a never-say-die attitude. Our fitness was key in extra-time and now we will look to build on this when our League campaign finally gets underway next weekend when we play host to Evesham United Development with a 3.00pm kick-off.”
Wallingford 0 Wokingham & Emmbrook 0 (Report by Arthur Strand)
Wokingham & Emmbrook visited Wallingford last Saturday in the Hellenic League in second place because Holyport played on Friday, the night before, and leap-frogged over Suma's having played one game more.
With no goals to describe, I can take you through the general run of play from the kick off to the final whistle. An early attempt to breach the host’s defence by the Suma's was quickly thwarted but they gained a free kick which was taken by Nick Bateman. With Liam Eagle, captain of the Suma's, close enough to make an effort, the ball hit the post but soon afterwards, Dan Collier was flat on the turf, ham string injury, and he was substituted by Dan Carter. Wallingford’s Darrell Wearn received the first yellow card of the game and Suma's next attempt after a free kick sailed over the crossbar from a header by Liam Eagle. Sean Woodward cleared up after a brief visit by the ball into his area. After a frre kick to each side, Suma's were working together in the opposition half but when two players clashed they had a free kick. There were some clumsy tackles throughout the game but fortunately there were no serious injuries. Suma's moved up again but Wallingford made a breakaway, losing possession at the other end but after that the hosts regained the ball and advanced with another breakaway which ended when Woodward collected the ball. Mark O’Connell was fouled and Nick Bateman took the free kick As the first half was drawing to a close, Laurie Aitchinson, Wallingford’s goalkeeper, collected the ball but Suma's gained a free kick for handball. They produced a session of accurate short distance passing of the ball as Callum Eagle’s effort was directed at Aitchinson, the hosts’ goalkeeper.
The second half began with Wallingford taking the ball deep into Suma's’ defence and once cleared there was activity at both ends. Woodward was in action with a reasonably safe ball to clutch. Between that and the next strike by Wallingford, was a visit to the opposition area with a free kick to Suma's and a header was blocked. Switching play back to Suma's half the home team a scorching shot when direct on goal but rebounded off the keeper back into the field of play. At the other end, Nick Bateman had a crack but the ball went wide. Wallingford then moved back towards the Suma's end but to no avail as the raid fizzled out although they returned and sent in a ball which Woodward claimed. Two free kicks later to Wallingford, Woodward was forced punch the ball clear and Luke Scope was able to take the ball once it was in the opposite half but was deemed offside. Back to Suma's end and Woodward had to take a high aerial ball incoming. Suma's took the ball and Scope chased the ball to the end of the field not quite catching up with it. Carter got the ball and followed up with Aitchinson receiving the ball. The Suma's moved again into Wallingford’s half but their approach work was blocked once more and the counter attack was sorted out and cleared by Liam Eagle. Suma's replt to that counter attack culminated in a corner kick which Aitchinson managed to claim. Wallingford then passed the ball up-field but Suma's raced back to defend although the home team tried a shot the ball screwed wildly wide. At the end of the game, a zero score put the Suma's back on top with Holyport level on points but a game ahead.
Wokingham & Emmbrook:
Woodward. (GK), O’Connell, Day, C. Eagle, L. Eagle (C), Cummusky, Collier, Badshah, Scope, Clark, N. Bateman.
Substitutes: Guest, Byrne Carter, Winship.
Division One West
Malvern Town 5 Bourton Rovers 1
Malvern Town chalked up a 5-1 victory over Bourton Rovers in a game which saw Harry Clark help himself to a hat-trick.
It was a positive start as we burst out of the blocks with Lewis Platt firing straight at the ‘keeper within the opening minute before we soon took the lead when Joe Bates’ ball in was converted by Harry Clark. Clark went close with a strike shortly afterwards as we began with real purpose. As our opponents started to stem our early flow, their skipper, Dan Way, saw a strike well watched by Keiron Blackburn, whilst at the other end, an inviting cross from Nathan Chowns Higgs was headed just wide at the far post by Platt. Just before the half-hour mark, a teasing cross from Platt was intercepted in front of goal by Chris Mills as Chowns Higgs lurked with intent. Another inviting ball in, this time from Harry Wickett, forced a corner which was eventually headed over by Adam Sauntson as the visitors failed to clear their lines properly.
With the visitors starting to get into their stride, they were able to level matters when Callum Trott guided the ball into the net with ten minutes to go until the break. Conceding the goal brought us back to life and within a couple of minutes we were back in front as Chowns Higgs showed good determination to beat the advancing ‘keeper. The youngster had another chance moments later, but this time it was Simon Flower in the visitors’ goal that came out on top. In stoppage time at the end of the half we were able to further extend our lead, this time from the penalty spot, after Bates was brought down by Mills and Clark coolly slotted home. There was still time for Blackburn to save well to deny Jack Robotham from a free-kick right on the edge of the area as we went in at the break 3-1 to the good.
It was the visitors who asked the early questions at the start of the second period as firstly a strike went just wide and then Way’s effort was blocked in their next raid and as we failed to clear our lines, the loose ball was fired well over. After Blackburn had saved well to deny Mills, the visitors were awarded a penalty. Way stepped up and saw his effort saved by Blackburn who then clattered into the post as he kept out the rebound and had to receive lengthy treatment. That incident acted to give us a wake-up call and we added a fourth goal on 62 minutes when a neat break down the left ended with Clark turning the ball home from in front of goal to complete his hat-trick.
Jay Sauntson was sin-binned on 65 minutes and a free-kick out wide soon afterwards saw Blackburn make another good claim to relieve the danger. Some good play from Chowns Higgs saw him carve out a chance for Joe Billingham in front of goal but his close range effort was deflected over. With 85 minutes on the clock, a pull-back from Joe Bullock found Matt Turner who fired into the roof of the net not long after entering the action off the substitutes’ bench. The closing stages saw us put our opponents under pressure and some good link-up between Turner and Clark ended with the ‘keeper saving before he was alert to thwart Platt in our next foray forward. Deep into stoppage time, Turner was off target from close range then Blackburn did well to tip over an effort as we secured another three points.
Blackburn, A. Sauntson, J. Sauntson, Wickett, Platt, Loader, Bullock, Billingham (Febery 79), Bates (Fusco 57), Chowns Higgs (Turner 80), Clark. Sub not used: Smith.
BOOKING(S): Platt, J. Sauntson GOAL(S): Clark (3), Chowns Higgs, Turner ATTENDANCE: 194
Division Two South
Letcombe 0 Highworth Town Reserves 0
These two sides were riding high at the top of the league last season when the coronavirus intervened. They both recorded one victory over their opponents in 2019/20, so this was always going to be a close game between two well matched sides.
The visitors had slightly the better of the opening exchanges, with the lively Jack Allen and Daren Regis looking dangerous in attack, but they were well marked by Letcombe central defenders Sam Mulvey and Nathan Haresnape. Mulvey put three excellent free kicks into the Highworth six yard box, but no Letcombe player was able to capitalise. At the other end, home keeper Danny Joyce did well to block shots from Allen and Regis. Luke Polding looked dangerous on the left for Letcombe, and one mazy run produced a dangerous low cross which was cleared.
Letcombe had the better of the second half, and Highworth keeper Luke Kuczynski had to block shots from Josh Fowler and Greg Nutley as the hosts pressed forward. Man of the match Ben Hummel was starting to control midfield, well supported by Michael Butler and Chad Abrams, but that elusive goal would not come. Highworth saw two fierce long range efforts clear the bar, and at the other end, substiture Harry Green had a shot well saved by Kuczynski, Green had the best chance of the match with seconds remaining when a through ball left him with only Kuczynski to beat, but his shot went just over the bar as the keeper advanced, and the referee immediately blew the final whistle.
These two sides will both be in the scrap for honours at the end of the season, and Letcombe had many positive performances to be pleased with, but they are still finding goals hard to come by. In four games, Letcombe have failed to find the net in three of them, but there is too much ability in the team for this to continue.