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Pre-Season September

uhlsport football kit13 August 2016

Premier Division

Brimscombe & Thrupp 4 Flackwell Heath 0
Man of the Match Jack Smith makes his Debut for the Lilywhites with a fantastic two goal burst in the second half to destroy last seasons Uhlsport Hellenic League Premier Division form team, Flackwell Heath.

The Buckinghamshire side started as if they were looking for revenge from last season’s defeat at the meadow and right from the kick- off produced frightening pressure on the Brimscombe back line  but  nothing materialised.

But in the fifth minute the home side showed their opponents the way to goal, when new boy Jordan Yeo fired in from close range  only minutes later however a further shock for the visitors a great cross from Josh Jones found Ben Snook's head as he arrived to place the ball into the corner of the net past Dan Weait and Brimscombe were 2-0 to the good.

The Heath keeper was having a busy time as he saved his side from  further embarassment when he denied Ollie Pitt diving at his feet. It wasn’t until the second half that Flackwell looked dangerous at times and an acrobatic save by the Lilywhite’s keeper Steve Sparrow who prevented Dan Molloy last seasons' top scorer from  finding the net, and in another attack Dan Burnell went very close.

But this was going to be the Brimscombe’s day pushing the ball around very confidently in the later stages a move involving Josh Jones and David Woodfield created a great opening for newcomer Jack Smith who drove the ball accurately past Weait to make the score 3-0.

In the 70th minute, Sam Blackie and Ben Deakin came off the substitute bench and between them caused further havoc as Jack Smith took advantage of a tiring defence  to poke  in a fourth goal in the 80th minute.

Burnham 0 Tuffley Rovers 2 (away view)
Tuffley Rovers made it two wins from two Hellenic League, Premier Division games, as Ashley Davies and Warren Mann scored in a 2-0 win against eight-man Burnham. The hosts were without their manager, David Tuttle - who didn't appear in the opposition dug out - leaving former England international Luther Blissett, Burnham's Sporting Director, in charge of their team. Conversely, Mark Pritchett returned to the Rovers sideline following his absence the previous week.

Pritchett handed starting places to keeper Dave Evans, defender Macaulay Herbert and forward Shayne Bradley, following last week's FA Cup defeat at Ardley United and his side started brightly, controlling most of the possession, although early chances were at a premium.

Mann, who is adapting well to a new striking role, created the first chance of the game, in the opening minutes, as we produced an excellent teasing cross which just eluded Jamie Goodwin’s run to the back post. It was Mann who had the first shot on goal for Rovers, as he turned Burnham’s Alex Mwetaminwa before firing goalwards, although his shot was comfortably saved by keeper Joe Broadley. Rovers’ diminutive front man was causing Burnham’s defence all sorts of problems and he almost opened the scoring, on 23 minutes, when his effort from Sam Hill’s corner was cleared off the line by defender Danny Wilson.

Five minutes later, Evans, who had largely been a spectator in the Rovers goal, produced a superb double-save to deny first Elliott Amadeau and then Josh Blackwood, with the second stop coming with the Rovers keeper on the ground as the Burnham forward struck the ball towards the goal. Shayne Anson, Davies and Bradley all went close for Rovers, who were in control of the game, but they were unable to take the chances that came their way and the game looked to be heading for a half-time stalemate. However, when Sam Hill latched onto a loose ball and looked set to score with one minute remaining, his profligacy, as he completely mishit his effort, only resulted in Davies stroking the ball low into Broadley’s net, from twelve yards.

If Pritchett would have been happy to reach the interval with a one goal lead, Burnham lost the ball from the re-start and Mann was hacked down by Uridon Daka, who was cautioned for his overzealous challenge. The resultant free-kick was half-cleared and Burnham looked to break but they lost possession again and the ball found its way to Goodwin, who looked to have set Bradley in on goal, only for Wilson to haul the Rovers forward down before he could shoot. A penalty was awarded and Mann, who had netted from the spot against Highworth, struck another excellent effort to make it 2-0 with the last kick of the half.

Mann was forced off at half-time, with a dead leg, with Pritchett introducing Brett James to the game and the second half started in a similar vein, with Rovers controlling much of the possession, without necessarily creating chances to reflect their superiority. The flow of the games was then disrupted by indiscipline from Burnham, as first Daka saw red, for a second caution, and was followed, shortly after, by Mwetaminwa, who also received a second yellow card. Goodwin went close to scoring, although his shot went wide of Broadley’s goal, before referee Tom Simmons adjudged Seve Maybury’s challenge on Tristan Haswell as reckless and issued a straight red-card, reducing the hosts to eight men.

The eight men of Burnham then produced a spirited performance and restricted Rovers to only a handful of chances, although Bradley and Haswell might both have scored, only to be denied by desperate last ditch challenges, and the game ended 2-0 to Pritchett’s side.

Despite failing to increase the lead, the win ensured that Rovers returned with a maximum haul of six points, ahead of the visit of last year's Runners-up, Thatcham Town, on Tuesday.  Pritchett is hoping to have most of his squad available for selection for that game, with Mann likely to be okay after a dead-leg in this win. Kieran Squires gashed shin might rule him out after he missed the win at Burnham and Brett James is unavailable. 

Carterton 0 Ascot United 3 (away view)
A solid defensive display backed up by goals from Charlie Samuels (2) and Ben Knight boosted Ascot United to a 3-0 win over Carterton. The Yellamen were impressive throughout, snuffing out anything that a disappointing home side could muster, to record their first league points of the season.

Early pressure from the visitors saw Jesse Wilson head Paul Coyne's header wide at the near post, although Carl Dennison's well-timed save at the feet of Corey Forbes kept Carterton at bay.

The eager Samuels then struck two long range efforts off-target for Ascot, before Carterton nearly undid themselves when Jesse Wilson charged down 'keeper Max Dunmall's clearance, although Knight couldn't convert in the ensuing passage of play.

Then came a fine passage of play for the visitors. Louie Gilpin bludgeoned his way through two Carterton tackles, fed Luke Wilson, and after Wilson's perfectly weighted pass had set up a return from Samuels, the same player was muscled off the ball when bearing down on Dunmall. At this point, Ascot looked like a side who had played more than two competitive matches since their Summer rebuild, although it still required Dennison to use his head - literally - to thwart Rob Johnson midway through the half.

At the other end, Samuels might have punished more hesitant home defending with a difficult lobbed chance, but it remained goalless through the half-hour mark.

At that point, Carterton had credibly muscled their way back into the game, although their only threat appeared to be through the lively Johnson. Gilpin then saw a rasping effort sail just right of target after good work from Remy Meyers, but the Yellamen carved out a 41st minute lead which they would ultimately take into the interval. Luke Wilson threaded through to Knight, and with the home defence’s offside trap sprung, Knight kept his composure to slot past Dunmall. Knight should have doubled Ascot's lead ten minutes after the restart when a combination of Samuels and Luke Wilson created the chance; sadly Knight blazed over with the goal at his mercy.

Chances were fewer and further between than in the first period - partly due to the heat - although Forbes’ snapshot for Carterton after 65 minutes reminded the visitors they were still in it, albeit his effort was comfortably over the crossbar.

However, that was as good as it got for the hosts who were stung just one minute later. This time, they thought they had done enough to avert danger when Jack Kennedy shepherded Samuels away from goal, but Samuels charged down his hesitant clearance, Luke Wilson played Samuels back in, and Samuels drifted across the penalty area before ramming into the bottom left hand corner.

Ascot substitute James Goodey - returning to the ground where his heroics had helped the Yellamen to cup success last season - fired straight at Dunmall with a quarter of an hour remaining, but his inadvertent miss led to a third goal on 82 minutes. Samuels' turn of speed paved the way for a cross to Goodey at the far post, Goodey somehow missed, but Samuels was on hand on the other post to slot home. Goodey then chipped over as another Ascot chance went begging, but the game was as good as over, and Dennison and his side soon exited with a well-deserved clean sheet.

Highmoor Ibis 1 Ardley United 0 (away view)
Ardley suffered their first defeat of the new season at Highmoor-Ibis on Saturday, with a cruel eighty ninth minute heartbreaker, in a game that neither side really created enough to claim all three points. The United defence were finally breached after having not conceded in over five hundred and fifty minutes of league football, carried over from last season. On another sun baked afternoon the few chances that did come along just could not be converted, and the visitors were made to pay so late it was impossible to get anything from the game.

Highmoor started brightly, and in the seventh minute a throw on their left saw the ball bounce across the area to Jamie Piercy who headed for goal but Lee Farrow got down well to his left to save. The home side then huffed and puffed to get through the ranks of yellow and red but with little joy, and were almost caught out on twenty one minutes when Ade Talabi got to the bye line and crossed to Jack Ross, his shot was blocked just inside the area but the loose ball fell to Chris Jackson who fed Luke Cray on the wing and his cross flashed across goal but with no one able to get a touch it rolled aimlessly out for a goal kick.

On the half hour mark a corner to Highmoor was sent over the bar, and with no other match balls available, Farrow was forced to jump over the barrier to retrieve the ball, and in the process disturbed a sunbathing rabbit which bolted for its life & provided the highlight of the first forty five minutes. With five minutes remaining a near post corner saw Piercy outjump Jacob Daffern but his header came back off the post and Farrow dived to catch the loose ball before anyone could react. Ardley then went up the other end and Cray crossed to Ross but with a defender in close attendance the United man could only head wide. On the stroke of the break, a long ball up to Elias Katsoloudi saw him jump with a defender, they both fell to the floor and Talabi tried to curl the ball around the keeper Nathan Silver but his effort rolled agonisingly wide.

As the players started to emerge for the second half, the red arrows flew over in a 4-4-1 formation, which eclipsed the earlier ‘disturbed rabbit’ highlight. Ardley had the first effort of the half just five minutes in, when Katsoloudi got in behind the home defence and flicked the ball over to Ross, whose header was headed off the line by Danny Lingwood. Moments later another Ardley attack broke down when a challenge on Talabi was deemed as legal by the official, Highmoor sent away Anthony White in on goal with the visiting defence claiming offside, and as Farrow advanced White tried to side foot over the keeper but got his angles all wrong and cleared the bar. Ardley then won a corner and just as Bradley Cox was about the head in, Silver rose and took the ball off the defenders head inside the six yard box.

Joel Meade then made a defensive clearance on the edge of his own area, the spin on the ball took it up the touchline and bounce still in play, Meade advanced and ran a full forty five yards to get to the goal line before fizzing the ball across goal but no one was up with him to get on the end of the cross. On the hour mark Lamin Sanko unleashed an effort from twenty yards that easily cleared the bar, before Talabi almost mirrored the same the opposite end which Silver gathered with ease. With eight minutes remaining Ardley surrendered possession high up the pitch and Highmoor were away at pace, but Piercy with acres of space to explore decided to square the ball and as the Ardley defence back peddled Jackson was able to smash away to safety. Then just as the game seemed destined for a stalemate, a corner from the Highmoor left saw Farrow and substitute Yashwa Romeo jump for the ball, both missed and it fell in the six yard box and in ghosted Lingwood to fire home.

Thame United 4 Highworth Town 2
Thame United maintained their 100% start to the season with victory over Highworth Town on Saturday.

The first half was a mediocre affair, with neither side finding any real rhythm and the only talking points being the two goals that came just before the half hour mark. United opened the scoring on 26 minutes when Andy Gledhill found Lynton Goss whose strike from the edge of the box was saved, but Tom Ashworth was quickest to react to the rebound, forcing the ball home. The lead only lasted three minutes, as goalkeeper Henry Craven pulled down a Highworth forward with Ash Edenborough scoring from the spot, despite Craven getting a hand to the ball. Just before the break Gledhill had a great chance to give United the lead, finding himself through on goal, but Schofield in the Highworth goal pushed the ball wide of the post.

The second half started with United in control and they regained the lead on 51 minutes. Good play down the right released Ben Connelly whose first time cross was met by a powerful Gledhill header in to the roof of the net. Five minutes later it was three, as good play on the edge of the Highworth penalty area released Gledhill who calmly placed the ball wide of Schofield. Goss then got in on the act, collecting the ball on the left hand edge of the penalty area and placing the ball to Schofield’s left.

Despite the three goal burst, United continued to press and substitute Ken Feyi saw his near post flick from a Luke Ricketts cross come back off the post on 73 minutes. Shortly afterwards a Connelly header hit the crossbar as United searched for a fifth. As it was, the visitors scored a consolation on 83 minutes when they won the ball in midfield and, with United out of position, Fabian McCarthy beat Craven with a drive from the edge of the box.

The win keeps United top of the table on goal difference, as one of four teams to have a 100% record after two league games.

One East

Chalfont Wasps 0 Sandhurst Town 0
On a traditional early season sunny afternoon, the Wasps travelled to Sandhurst for the first time in over 20 years and bagged an away point to open their account for the season in an encounter of limited chances.

After an even start the Wasps’ plans were thrown into some disarray due to a couple of early injuries. Wasps stood firm as they reorganised during this initial unsettled period, keeping a tentative home side at bay. Wasps first attempt on goal came from a corner after 19 minutes when Taighan Williams’ header looped over the top of the crossbar. Wasps gained some momentum from this and had some joy through the pace and trickery of Garluwa Sandy on the right flank. Neither side provided were able to dominate but the Stingers were unlucky not to go ahead during a duo of corners mid way though the half.

Sandhurst started the second period brightly and forced a great double save from Wasps keeper, Matt Watson. Play then settled down to the same moderate tempo of the first half and became pretty even after 5 minutes of the restart. Both sides had their better periods but were unable to sustain any real pressure. The Wasps golden chance was skewed wide by Connor Cumber after he was put through with six minutes of normal time remaining. So all square, a fair reflection of the afternoon’s events.

Chinnor 2 Finchampstead 1 (away view)
The opening game of the 2016/17 season took Finches to Chinnor in the Chilterns. With a couple of new players included, Jon Laugharne, assisted by Darren Purbrick, anticipated a tough game after beating Wraysbury in a friendly last week. Chinnor started positively with their first foray testing the Finch defence, Sam Green being forced to head clear the ball that was driven into the 6 yard box. A basic error gave the hosts a free kick on the edge of the penalty area but Chinnor squandered the opportunity of an early lead. Finches began to draw away from defence and Danny Blatchford threaded a good pass to Harry Swabey as they wended thair way into Chinnor territory. Then Swabey supplied a header for Danny Blatchford who was not quite in position to make contact. A tactical change followed as wingers were switched by Finches. Chinnor returned through a free kick after a strong challenge by Dan Blatchford. This brought Tom Bryant, in the Finch goal once more, into action saving as Chinnor attempted two strikes on goal. Dan Blatchford then skilfully took the ball down and crossed to Matt Lambert whose header was parried by Chinnor keeper, Ben Taunton, and the follow up was pushed behind for a corner to Finches. Finch occupied the area and set about an all out attack but the Chinnor defenders held firm and eventually managed to clear the ball. Matt Wright worked his way into the area but Chinnor gained a free kick for a foul. A deflected cross went towards Tom Bryant who punched the ball back over players' heads and the backs then clearded the ball away from goal. Having left the defence wide open, Finches let in John McMahon, who was impeded by the chasing Luke Axton-Hall and Chinnor scored the penalty easily in the 40th minute. Matt Wright took a long range 45 yard shot which Ben Taunton dealt with and David Stevens took Finches last say of the half. Chinnor then went in at half-time a goal in the lead.

Finches started the second half quite positively and Chase Jewell rattled the post with a distance shot. Sam Green took a long throw into the box but Harry Swabey missed out again. Next significant action was when Chinnor managed to arrive at Finches area and Stuart Braun attempted a header which went behind for a goal kick. James Bonwick's effort went direct to Tom Bryant then Chinnor replaced the busy James Hawes and Finches gained a corner kick from which Danny Blatchford, unusually for him, miscued the attempt on goal. The red card was shown to Bonwick for a verbal altercation with the assistant referee with still a good few minutes plus additional time to go. then on 78th minute, Harry Swabey chased after the ball and from an awkward angle since he was facing the corner flag with the keeper approaching, flicked the ball over the head of Ben Taunton into Chinnor's net. Sam Dunn arrived as substitute then James Pople came on when Luke Axton-Hall was injured in the hosts' penalty area and lifted over the goal line by two Chalfont players for treatment. With the Finch defence reduced to 2 and all others upfield, John McMahon won the ball, sprinted for the corner and rounded the defender, taking a low, angled shot at the far post beating Tom Bryant once more and scoring the winner in the 88th minute for Chinnor which was one of the few shots that Chinnor had in the second half.

Didcot Town 2 Wokingham & Emmbrook 1
New Didcot Reserves boss Chris Hurley got off to a winning start against Wokingham and Emmbrook at The Draycott Engineering Loop Meadow Stadium.

Wokingham got off to a fast start with Didcot keeper Dan McNiffe blocking two shots early on. Home defender Elliot Harper was unluckily injured within 12 minutes and Ross MacDonald took his place causing a re shuffle. The away team continued the brighter with McNiffe again saving well.

On the half hour mark Didcot came more in to the game and Hoskin was unlucky not to get a penalty after being brought down in the box. In the 34th minute Didcot took the lead when a through ball by Jack Kitchener gave Charlie Appiah the chance to hustle the defence and he shot home a fine opener. Wokingham had a shot from distance well over the bar before Didcot applied further pressure although a free kick and a couple of corners came to nought.

The Wokingham manager's half time team talk produced early results when the away team had a shot kicked off the line. Didcot's Kitchener cross was only just diverted from the in rushing MacDonald though. The Sumas however equalised in the 49th minute after making progress down the left a cut back was tapped home by Number 7 Ben Findlay. The match entered a terse period with a number of bookings as both teams fought for the three points.

The Railwaymen had two shots blocked in quick succession as they upped their game and not long after they took the lead in the 64th minute when MacDonald's sweeping cross was well met by Tom Hoskin who headed past the advancing keeper. Shortly after Appiah was thwarted from increasing the home lead by a last gasp tackle.

The Sumas piled men forward in the last few minutes including goalkeeper Lennon coming up for a corner searching for an equaliser and despite a shot kicked off the line and another good McNiffe save the afternoon belonged to the Railwaymen and Chris Hurley's new look team.

Penn & Tylers Green 5 AFC Aldermaston 1
Pre-season is out of the way and their results do not matter. We are back at the real stuff, namely Uhlsport Hellenic League Football. We welcomed promoted AFC Aldermaston this afternoon in front of 67 spectators for the first league game of the season here at French School Meadows. It was nice to see a new face in the league and they certainly did not disgrace themselves in their first encounter at this level.

It will be a tough season for last year’s Division One champion's as everyone will try to put one over us; a cup final each week. AFC Aldermaston in their red and black kit tried it today and to be fair, they gave us a game in their first ever league encounter at step 6. Yes, we dominated the game and we had chances to be comfortable but at half time it was only 1:0 and as everyone knows at that score line both teams are still in the game. The lead was secured by Chris Hurst in 8th minute with a sweet left foot curler into the top corner. Aldermaston’s keeper Dan Smith never had a chance.

In the second half AFC Aldermaston kept “nibbling” away at us but a bit of relief came when Chris Hurst got his brace in 50th minute with a brilliant header after a fantastic cross from Alex Sethi. Game over? No. Aldermaston’s Michael Porter had other ideas when he rounded our keeper Josh Cockerill to make it 2:1. A spell of 10 minutes “jitters” followed and Josh Cockerill made an excellent safe shortly after to sustain our lead.

The spell was finally broken when Adam Dickens gave the boys in blue & white a 3:1 lead in 79th minute with an excellent strike. This was now game over at last. An inspired substitution by our gaffer (no doubt he is claiming this goal) gave George Weller the opportunity to make it 4:1 and a “dream” free kick by Alex Sethi in 90th minute made it 5:1.

It is all about getting a good result in your first game of the season and in the end we achieved that and it shows that our appetite is there to go for it again. Well done the squad and the management team. This was an excellent start to the new campaign.

One West

Fairford Town 5 North Leigh 0
Fairford Town hit five unanswered goals in a dominant second half display against North Leigh.

The Reds were made to wait against a competitive visitors side, playing their first league game of 2016/17. Chances were few and far between in the opening exchanges before Jake Steele brought a fine save out of home 'keeper Ben Mitchell low to his left.

Steve Hall was forced off injured on the half hour mark with former Highworth defender Chris Jackson coming on in his place. Jason Milhench then drove a low effort into the side netting as the Reds began to find their stride.

The opening goal came just before the break with Ben Saunders rising high to head home his first senior goal.

Five minutes after the restart and Fairford doubled the lead. A superb team move saw Sam Ockwell switch play right to left in his own half with Milhench powering past three players into the visitors' half. He made good ground before squaring to Danny Hale who scored his second of the campaign.

The third goal arrived seven minutes from time. A great ball from Jack Ellis found substitute Lee Smith who powered home from the edge of the box. Ellis was next to find the net with a find finish into the corner to make it 4-0. Ellis hit the fifth with a rampant Reds' side showing no let up, finishing from close range.

It was the perfect response to a tough start to the season, and Fairford will face yet another test as Hook Norton visit Cinder Lane next Saturday.

Letcombe 1 Easington Sports 4
Letcombe had 12 players not available for various reasons, and were only able to field one substitute and had manager David Richardson deputising at centre back.

A disjointed first half saw few clear goal scoring opportunities, and although the visitors had more possession, the best chance of the half fell to Letcombe's Richard Guy when a misplaced header gave him an opening, but his attempted lob went narrowly wide.

The turning point of the match came ten minutes into the second half when Letcombe's Calum Pryce was fouled as he raced into the penalty area, but Luke Faircloth's penalty was saved by Easington keeper Jack Goode. It was the third penalty Letcombe have missed in consecutive matches this season. The visitors made them pay when CJ Grant drove the ball into the top corner a few minutes later.

Letcombe equalised within two minutes, a cross cum shot from the touchline from Tom Eatwell sailing into the top corner, but Easington restored their lead when Adil Hussain raced onto a long ball to drive it into the roof of the net. Another long ball ended with Andrew Stidder lobbing number three, and substitute Michael Spaul added a fourth in stoppage time.

Letcombe were left to reflect that even with so many players missing, they were competitive for the first hour of the match, but mistakes led to three of Easington's goals. Letcombe will field a very different team in future matches, and appear to have a strong squad if everybody is available.

There were seven cautions in the second half, five of them for the visitors. But (in the report author’s opinion) there was not a bad tackle in the game. Is this what we have to expect from now onwards?

Two East

Chalvey Sports 11 Wokingham & Emmbrook Reserves 0
Chalvey Sports opened their First ever Uhlsport Hellenic League campaign with an 11-0 home win over Wokingham & Emmbrook Reserves in Division Two East.

Hat tricks from Jamie Earis, Oliver Cotterill and Ryan Hazell and a goal a piece from Richard Jeffery and Bryan Taylor completed a convincing win over the visitors.

Two West

Moreton Rangers 0 Fairford Town Reserves 1
Rangers hosted Fairford on the first day of the new Division Two West season. After a positive pre season Moreton looked for a positive result to kick off the campaign. A good save from Jake Meredith and poor finishing from rangers front men meant it was 0-0 at half time.

MRFC started positively in the second half but again poor finishing let the home side down. MRFC like Fairford were missing a few players, including last seasons top scorer Lee Brooks, who on a day like today would have been a welcome addition to the team.

Midway through the second half a long ball caught out right back Matt Goss and a smart finish meant that Rangers went down 0-1 in their first game of the season. Disappointment and frustration was clear to see after the final whistle with everyone involved hoping to bounce back next Saturday at Clanfield!

On a positive note. Rangers did welcome back Sam Tyack who, after a change of heart has decided to come back to the club, after a change of manager at Alcester. Tyack came straight into the team after Martin Tomes was injured on Monday night and Paul Whitehouse made himself unavailable.



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