Dec 09

Shortwood United 3 – 0 Abingdon

A superb first half display put Shortwood firmly in the driving seat in their league game against Abingdon on Saturday.
“That first half was the best we have played all season – we might not have been quite so good in the second half, but I am delighted with the performance, the three points and the clean sheet!” That was John Evans post-match comment before naming Luke Gullick and Mark Pritchett as men of the match. Gullick was outstanding, contributing two fine goals and being a constant threat even when dropping back into midfield after Jake Parrott left the fray. Pritchett again defended immaculately especially in the second half!
All three goals game in the opening period but such was Wood’s domination that could have been five goals to the good by the break. Right from the start Shortwood’s passing and movement were excellent and Bennett caused havoc down the flank, Parrott’s passing was precise and Gullick was a constant threat. Abingdon’s back four struggled to keep them at bay and seemed to rely on the long ball far too much and that was meat and drink to Pritchett and Thomas.
The first goal arrived after 23 minutes and was a special goal. Gullick beat two defenders and sent a sublime chip over keeper Foster and just under the bar. Immediately after Bennett fired in a shot that Foster just turned past the post and Foster then parried a Haddock strike that was just hacked off the line before it rolled in. After 28 minutes Ash Thomas struck a fierce volley that hit the arm of a defender who had no time to evade the ball. The award of a penalty seemed harsh but James Coates’ spot kick was comprehensive – and the score line did not flatter the Wood in the least. Wood continued to press and the third goal arrived after 38 minutes. Parrott launched a high ball into the area which the defence should have dealt with comfortably. Gullick did not give up the chase and capitalised on poor defending before turning and shooting low into the corner. Before the break Shortwood’s excellent football set Bennett up for a shot that flew over and Gullick should have completed his hat trick when through one on one but pushed his shot just wide.
Abingdon made half time substitutions and tightened up at the back and made things harder for Shortwood and started to enjoy more possession but Pritchett and his colleagues held them at bay with little trouble apart from a header from Self which went over. Shortwood continued to create and Parrott and Haddock had shots blocked, Foster had to race from his line to deny Bennett, Haddock fired narrowly wide and in the last minute Foster saved a Haddock header at the foot of his post.
This comprehensive win, Wood’s third in 8 days, lifted Wood further up the table.

Team: King, Coates, Brown (Axton 74), Pritchett, Thomas, Haddock, Cant, Parrott (Slack 70), Gullick, Baldwin, Bennett (Tustain 67)

Dec 09

Bishops Cleeve 4 – 1 Didcot Town

On a very difficult playing surface both teams struggled to keep their feet. The Villagers attacked from the off, Matt Liddiard had a low drive tipped around the post by a full stretch Marcos Belloli-Periera and they had the ball in the net after 4 minutes but the referee denied Matt Rose as he headed in a Mike Davis corner. But it was Didcot who took the lead on 11 minutes; Josh Webb out-paced Rose and put in a cross to Ryan Tappin who volleyed home from close range. Cleeve maintained their offensive, Lee Davis had a shot from 25 yards go inches wide and Tambling, with only the ‘keeper to beat, was forced wide of the goal. James Clark had an opportunity to double Didcot’s lead when he beat the off-side trap but he was denied by James Nortei.
In the opening minutes of the second half the Villagers were denied a penalty when Jake Lee appeared to be brought down by Gareth Thomas as he made his way towards the goal and in reply Pablo Haysham fired wide with only Nortei to beat. The Villagers got into their stride, Michael Tambling raced from his own half chased by Thomas and Alex Stanley, when Belloli-Periera came out he passed to Liddiard whose effort was stopped on the line. In the 51st minute the scores were level, Michael Jackson crossed to Jake Lee who was charged in the back by Sam Elkins before he could head the ball; Jackson scored from the penalty mark. The Villagers took the lead in the 58th minute, Tambling put Lee clear and he placed the ball under the advancing ‘keeper. Michael Davis increased the lead after Lee Davis, running at the Didcot defence, was blocked by three defenders, the ball broke to him and calmly rounded the ‘keeper and curled the ball round the defender on the line. Stuart Midwinter completed the scoring, when Jackson put the ball between two defenders for him to run onto, he rounded the ‘keeper and deftly chipped the ball over the defender on the line.
Cleeve; Nortei, Crowford, Hoyle, L. Davis, Avery, Rose, Tambling (Midwinter 82), Jackson, Lee, Liddiard, M. Davis (Gayton 78).
Subs not used; Sykes, Jones, Ackland.

The Villagers entertain Paulton Rovers on Wednesday 12th December, and Abingdon United on Wednesday 19th December, both kick off 7.30 p.m.

Dec 09

Slimbridge 2 – 2 Reading Town

For the second time this week, The Swans put themselves in a position where they needed to retrieve a two goal deficit, however, even though Fred Ward’s two goals retrieved the situation, it was still a case of ‘two points lost’ rather than one gained for Slimbridge, who slipped one place to Third in the Uhlsport Hellenic Premier League behind Marlow and Wantage who both won their weekend games.

Defensive mistakes had gifted Adam Jeffery and Graham Lewis with all too rare opportunities on goal for Reading, and both were taken, before Ward notched his brace to level things up. Despite intense pressure, Slimbridge could not gain the elusive winner, in a game where they could have and should have collected all three points.

The Swans got off to the worst possible start, going behind in the first minute – after a Slimbridge corner had been punched clear by Reading Keeper Nathan Silver, a counter attack developed. The Swans back four failed to deal with a relatively straightforward cross, and the ball ran to Jeffery on the edge of the box. He drilled the ball past Dave Evans to put the visitors in the lead.

The Swans regrouped, and began to apply pressure of their own. On six minutes, a nice break involving Saul Williams and Junior Maderner saw the latter’s cross reach Stuart Gates, but he was judged to have just drifted offside and the chance was lost.

Liam Harding brought the first proper save from Silver three minutes later, when he got on the end of a Ward free kick which was headed back into the danger zone by Tom Speers, but his header lacked power and Silver gathered safely.

It seemed only a matter of time before the equaliser arrived, and Williams was next to try his luck – his shot being blocked after Silver had come and failed to collect Dominique Njoya’s cross. From the resulting corner, Silver came and missed again, this time the ball falling to Speers, who saw his shot cleared off the line.

However, Slimbridge were being hampered by some sloppy passing, and despite having very few chances of their own, Reading held firm.

Reading could have taken advantage of a Speers miskick on 23 minutes, which left Sam Kailus well placed, but Njoya was alert to the threat and did some neat tidying up to nullify the opportunity.

A robust tackle saw Niall Halford and Lewis both given warnings by Referee John Graham, after a flare up in which half a dozen layers got involved, but no further action was taken.

All the action was still taking place at the Reading end of the pitch, and Njoya was unlucky to see his shot deflected over on 38 minutes following some neat passing involving Shane Anson, Maderner and Gates.

As The Swans continued to press, Maderner saw his effort again cleared off the line just before the break, but Reading went into the interval clinging to their one goal advantage.

One minute into the second period, another defensive mistake saw the home side two goals behind. Evans had gathered the ball after a back pass, and looked to spread the ball to his left where Njoya was in space. He miscued his kick and the ball went straight to Graham Lewis, who couldn’t believe his luck, sliding the ball back past Evans for Reading’s second.

All the pressure continued to come from the home side, with Harding’s shot and then Maderner’s header both going close, but it wasn’t until the 56th minute when the Swans finally got on the scoresheet.

Slimbridge were awarded a free kick just outside the Reading box, and Fred Ward’s shot cleared the wall and gave Silver no chance.

The goal boosted the Swans, and chances continued to present themselves – Speers was unable to connect with another Ward free kick, and Fower would have wanted to have done better when Njoya’s cross found him in space, but again he just failed to connect with a good ball and the chance was lost.

With 15 minutes remaining, Slimbridge equalised in strange circumstances – Silver was penalised for picking the ball up after he had previously dropped it and dribbled to edge of his box, resulting in an indirect Free Kick to Slimbridge. The ball was touched back to Ward, who once again got his shot over the Reading wall and into the far corner to level things up.

The rest of the game became a test of whether Reading could firm against a string of Slimbridge attacks, and to their credit, they did so – Higgs had a good chance with four minutes remaining, but couldn’t convert, before Ward’s through ball saw Williams bring a great save from Silver. From the resulting corner, Halford’s header was just wide.

Speers had an effort cleared off the line, and a shot went over off the top of the Reading crossbar, but despite the pressure, it was not to be and Reading made their way back up the M4 with a hard earned point.

Team: Evans, Anson, Njoya, Halford, Speers, Cole, Harding, Ward, Maderner (Fower 60), Gates (Higgs 62), Williams

Goals: Ward 56, 75

Supporters Man Of The Match: Freddy Ward

Dec 09

Flackwell Heath 3-4 Cheltenham Saracens

After successive Cup matches ‘Both won’ Cheltenham Saracens resumed to their League campaign with a view on gaining ground with the teams at the top.
4 first half goals from their top scorer Ethan Moore gave them the win but only after a second half fight back by Flackwell Heath made it a little too nervy for Saracens Manager Gerry Oldham and his side.

Saracens went into the game with injuries to numerous players but with quality in depth came through this hard fought win.

Flackwell took the early initative and their quick passing looked good but didn’t really threaten the solid back line of Hill, Tunnicliff, Sheehan & Bryan, the times they did break through Saracens keeper Ryan Betteridge was at hand to make two crucial point blank saves.

Saracens scored their first Goal in the 5th min quite fortuitously!! Lorcan Sheehan broke down a Flackwell attack deep in his own half and saw Elliot Kennedy free, wide on the right, Sheehan’s kick was over-hit ending deep in the Flackwell area, The Flackwell keeper looking to instinctively punt it back down field only succeeded in kicking against the on rushing Kennedy, the ball lobbed up and landed at the feet of top scorer Moore who will not score an easier goal all season!! 0-1

This settled Saracens who then proceeded to play good passing attractive football. The pace of Saracens attack caused Mayhem in the backline of the Flackwell side and they never got to grips with Moore & Kennedy respectively.

A 10th min Flackwell attack nearly brought an equaliser but Betteridge in goal pulled off a majestic point blank save.

Saracens added to their scoreline in the 20th min when Moore scored his and Saracens second, scoring the goal of the game. Acting quicker to a loose Flackwell pass his quick thinking & vision saw the keeper marginally off his line, enough for his exquisite lob to nestle into the corner giving the Keeper no chance 0-2.

Both Saracens midfield players Spike Rhodes and Leigh Raysen were looking particularly sharp from their return of Injuries, and their physical presence in the heart midfield was always a source of attacking options for Saracens.

Moore completed his Hat-trick on the half hour when Sheehan sent a free kick to the far post, Swales instinctive pass landed to the feet of Moore who side stepped his marker and finished his effort into the bottom corner. 0-3

With half time approaching 0-3 became 0-4 and again Moore was at hand to complete the service, but Moore had Kennedy to thank for. Jordan Bryan played a deep ball into the Flackwell half, Kennedy’s pace allowed him to get to the ball first and with a defender & the keeper rushing in, Kennedy skipped past both players with the goal at his mercy he unselfishly squared the ball to Moore who had a better angle to finish.
Half-Time: Flackwell 0-4 Saracens

Saracens had to make an enforced immediate second half change with keeper Betteridge retiring due to a sprained ankle, slipping down a small aqua duct retrieving the ball and slipping!! Tim Griffiths replacing him in goal.

The second half saw a more determined Flackwell side come out the blocks with more purpose and aggression. Where in the first half they played close intricate pass and moves phases of play, the second half they went a more direct long ball route which caught Saracens cold.

Flackwell scored their first after 48mins when a long ball caught the defence flat allowing their forward to run through and finish his shot into the bottom corner. 1-4

This goal gave Flackwell much impetus allowing lots of possession deep in the Saracens half. From a Saracens attack which Moore went close, Flackwell broke quick and another long ball again caught Saracens too square again allowing the Flackwell forward a scoring chance, though his effort was initially saved by Tim Griffiths the rebound fell nicely for his team colleague who scored with a tap in. 2-4

With their tails up and sensing this game was along from finished Flackwell’s direct route was causing uncertainty in the back line, Saracens restructured at the back & started to look more comfortable but just when the Saracens defence thought they were coming to terms with the chance of attacking styles they conceded a 60th min penalty. Lorcan Sheehan unluckily upended a Flackwell player when they both contested a 50-50 ball in the box. The penalty was put away giving Griffiths no chance. 3-4

Flackwell had a player sent off in the 68th min when a punch was thrown after an altercation giving the referee no alternative but to show the red card thus ending any real hopes of Flackwell getting anything from the game…

Saracens knew they still had a fight on their hands and gradually started to get to grips with the second half creating good chances particularly the 70th min when Hammond strong run into the box was ended when he was clumsily taken out but the referee deemed the challenge fair!! Moore then looked again to lob the Keeper from another acute angle but this time the lob lacked pace being comfortably saved by the Flackwell keeper.

Hammond then in the 80th min had an excellent chance to extend the Saracens scoreline when again he danced into the box skipped past three players but the ball took a bobble as he was about to pull the trigger at the last minute.

Saracens saw out the final minutes camping themselves in the Flackwell half seeing out marginal deserved win…

FT: Flackwell Heath 3-4 Cheltenham Saracens

Team: Betteridge (Griffiths Tim) Bryan, Sheehan, Tunnicliff, Hill (Hall) Swales, Rhodes, Raysen, Hammond (Griffiths Carl) Kennedy, Moore

Dec 09

Gloucester City 0 – 1 Workington

A second minute strike from Joe Mwasile was enough from Workington to beat a disjointed Gloucester City on a chilly afternoon at Whaddon Road.
Early pressure from the Cumbrians allowed midfielder Phil McLuckie to place a superb ball across the City defence to find the Mwasile in acres of space at the back post to slot in.
The result put Workington in touch with the play-off spaces, but leaves Gloucester City 18th, four points above the drop zone.
After the superb opening from the visitors, David Mehew’s men went straight on the attack and were unlucky not to be awarded a penalty by referee Mark Pottage after a tricky ball was seemingly handled by Niall Cowperthwaite around the penalty spot.
City came close once again after a teasing free-kick from the right by Adam Mann found the head of the powerful Chris Holland who couldn’t guide his header on target.
The Cumbrians almost doubled their lead, after an in-swinging corner found a rising Gareth Arnison whose header struck the top of the bar.
With half an hour on the clock, the Reds were looking the more dangerous and City were almost made to pay when McLuckie chipped over Mike Green, only for Jack Harris to clear the ball off the line.
With half-time looming City counterattacked with the rampant Will Morford up the left wing, to place a delicate ball into the path of Tom Webb who smashed the ball across the box to Darren Edwards who couldn’t make enough contact on the ball.
The visitors once again started the stronger from kick off and were almost rewarded, but a shot from the cultured Arnison was well held by Green.
Workington almost capitalised again on a lacklustre City performance when striker Johnny Wright was played through on goal, but goalkeeper Green was more than a match as he clipped the ball wide.
The visitors once again missed a golden opportunity when a superb ball from Mwasile almost found Newcastle United loanee Jonathan Hooper in the box, but the striker couldn’t finish.
With the contest in its dying embers, the travellers kept up the tempo and after a fumble from goalkeeper Green, centre-back Kyle May swivelled on the edge of the box and blazed over the bar.
City’s final chance came in the second minute of added time; a lofted ball from Sam Rawlings found Holland whose tame header fell into Taylor’s hands.

Gloucester City: M. Green, M. Green, J. Harris (S. Davies 45), M. Coupe (Rawlings 69), T. Hamblin, T. Webb, C. Holland, J. Goddard, D. Edwards (Parker 69), W. Morford, A. Mann
Subs: N. Mustoe
Workington: A. Taylor, N. Cowperthwaite, G. Rowntree, K. May, L. Andrews, D. Hewson, P. McLuckie, W. Vaulks, J. Wright (A. Wright 86), G. Arnison (J. Hooper 67), J. Mwasile
Subs: M. Boyd, J. Greenhalgh, S. Dixon
Goals: Mwasile 2
Attendance: 230

Dec 06

Gloucester City 1 – 0 Boston United

A diving header from flying Welshman Steve Davies sealed Gloucester City’s first league win over Boston United.

After 18 days without a competitive game and several disrupted training sessions due to floods around Gloucester, City looked fresh and determined. By contrast, the visitors looked tired from a packed few weeks of fixtures and a lengthy journey from Lincolnshire.

But it was Boston who still dominated the first half, on a Whaddon Road pitch sparkling with frost. After Darren Edwards sent a shot towards goal in the first minute City were forced to sit back and soak up Boston’s attacks.

With young Jordan Goddard partnering Tom Webb in midfield and three at the back City looked exposed at times as Spencer Weir-Daley began to test the reactions of Matt Coupe and Chris Holland. But where Weir-Daley had looked like a serious goal threat in previous meetings between the two teams this time he caused no serious problems for keeper Mike Green.

When City did break forward Edwards, playing alongside Will Morford struggled to find a way into the Boston box as the solid back line held firm.

As the temperature dropped the uninspiring play continued, with neither keeper getting their gloves dirty before the break.

Seeing no way through the Boston defence with 3-5-2 City manager Dave Mehew shuffled the pack. Bringing off Holland, dropping Mike Green and Jack Harris back into a back four and bringing on fresh legs in the form of Steve Davies.

Davies injected pace and the new formation gave City strength at the back. Slowly they began to eek out an advantage, keeping the ball on the deck and playing neat passing football.

But still they created few real chances in front of goal despite an industrious performance by Morford and Edwards, until Morford broke down the left on the hour mark, whipping in a looping cross to find Davies running between a pair of Boston defenders at the far post. The diminutive Welshman dived to head the ball past Haystead into the back of the net, breaking the deadlock in style.

For the final 30 minutes City grew in confidence, edging into the Boston box to look for a second goal. The visitors began to tire but keeper Green was still forced into a couple of saves before City saw out a satisfying win.

Gloucester City: Green; Green, Coupe, Hamblin, Harris; Holland (Davies 46) , Goddard, Webb, Mann; Edwards; Morford.

Subs: Mustoe, Parker, Mace.

Boston United: Haystead; Marshall, Stainfield, Jelleyman, Andrews; Fairclough (Silk 69) Milnes, Ross, Newsham; Jones (Reed 80) Weir-Daley.
Subs: Sanders, Ward, Smith.

Attendance: 187

Star man: Will Morford

Referee: M Pottage

Dec 06

Shortwood United 2 – 1 Evesham United

John Evans was delighted after Shortwood beat Evesham 2-1 at Meadowbank on Tuesday: “That’s better! Back to back wins and a good solid performance all round – the defence was great again! I could not split Mark Pritchett and John Cant for man of the match!”
After all the bad weather the pitch was again a tribute to Mark Webb and his team and both sides utilised it to the full in a game that was fast, at times furious, and held the attention throughout.
Fitter tried his luck from fully 40 yards early on and Tom King, back pedalling, did well to tip the ball over the bar. Evesham did take the lead early on when a cross from the left appeared to be drifting in but Spence claimed the faintest of touches. The lead lasted barely a minute though as Callum Brown crossed from the right, Keeper Cross came for it but Luke Gullick soared high, beat the keeper to the ball and headed powerfully home. Shortwood looked dangerous with Cant and Bennett sending in some good crosses and after 16 minutes took the lead. Cant crossed Tim Haddock knocked the ball down and Bennett turned and fired an unstoppable shot home from 12 yards.
An in swinging cross from Parrott was almost turned in by Gullick for a third and Wood enjoyed the bulk of possession for the remainder of the half and played some really good football at times but Evesham looked a threat on the break and Carl Brown came close with a rising shot and just on the stroke of half time Tom King saved with his feet as Carl Brown looked likely to score.

The Shortwood defence really came into its own in the opening stages of the second half and although Evesham pressed they created little threat as the back line held firm. Mark Pritchett, especially, was in a no nonsense mood, as he made several fine challenges and clearances. Langworthy replaced Callum Brown just after the hour and Cant slipped seamlessly into the defensive line. Langworthy was straight into action as he intercepted a bad pass and raced away but he and Gullick were denied at the expense of a corner Ash Thomas briefly turned winger and put over two excellent crosses which let to Parrott and Cant having good efforts blocked. Back came Evesham and King did well to save from Brown again and then Wood were fortunate when a sliced clearance from Thomas clipped the top of his own bar. In the closing stages the game opened up. Gullick sent a shot straight at Cross, King did well to turn round a curling free kick that seemed to be headed just inside the post and right at the death Cross did really well to parry a Bennett special.

Team: King, Coates, Brown (Langworthy 63), Pritchett, Thomas, Haddock, Cant, Parrott, Gullick, Baldwin, Bennett

Dec 03

Cheltenham Saracens 8- 2 Penn & Tyler’s Green

Saracens progressed through to the QF’s with a
superb second half attacking performance. If Saracens manager Gerry
Oldham had any slight concerns that his team may show rustiness from
their 2 week weather enforced break, their second half display
discounted such notions.

Berkshire outfit Penn & Tyler’s came to
Petersfield Park in good form, on the back of a four game unbeaten run
& their early first half performance showed they were oozing in
confidence and clearly up for this cup fight. Saracens themselves have
been in this situation facing underdogs already this season and knew
patience was a key factor in winning this tie.
Penn &Tyler took the
game early to Saracens and the Saracens backline including keeper Ryan
Betteridge had to face an early barrage of pressure.
A 10th min
Saracens goal though settled all concerned when Josh Swales smashed an
opener from 20yds into the roof of the net. Swales is now beginning to
look as if he getting to grips with the leagues standards since
arriving from the end of his Cheltenham Town scholarship at the
beginning of the season. This goal though didn’t dent Penn & Tyler’s
confidence! when after 5mins of Swales opener they were back on level
terms when Chris Hurst fired a 1st time shot across the body of keeper
Betteridge into the bottom corner.

From these early opening goals,
the first half took a rather scrappy phase of play and Penn were
content on dishing out the physical stuff particularly on young 18year
old defender Jordan Bryan. This he handled well and showed good
maturity throughout, dusting himself down from rough challenges and
turned the possession in to his advantage with good supply routes to
forwards Ethan Moore and Elliot Kennedy.

Saracens should have extended
their score when on 30mins Sam Slender won possession in his own half
and went on a mazy run before finding the free Jamie Hammond on the
right wing, Hammond cut inside his marker but his strong shot was
comfortably saved by the Penn keeper.

With the final minutes of the
first half approaching Saracens finally made their possession count
when Elliot Kennedy receiving a fine pass wide left, from Joe Donaghue,
cut inside and rifled in a superb shot giving the Penn keeper no
chance.
HT: 2-1

The second half was more of a joy to watch, and
Saracens were simply emphatic, taking the game by the scruff of the
neck immediately from the restart when their top scorer Ethan Moore
scored within a minute with a tap in, created from a good run by the
impressive Joe Donaghue.

3-1 down Penn had no choice but to attack
Saracens and thus constantly left themselves exposed which Saracens
exploited to the max. Moore linking up superbly with Sheehan sent a
left wing pass to the unmarked Kennedy who left two players in his wake
before slamming a right foot shot across goal into the right bottom
corner to give Saracens a comfortable 4-1 lead.

Credit though to Penn
& Tyler they didn’t give up and their movement upfront and link up play
was very good, resulting in the regular pressure of the Saracens
backline. Bryan, Tunnicliff, Slender & Tovey were though well organised
throughout and the times Penn did breach their backline Betteridge was
at hand in maintaining their score line.

Moore soon added his second
and Saracens fifth when he combined superbly with Kennedy, resulting in
a one on one with the Penn keeper Moore dropped his shoulder and sent
the keeper the wrong way despatching his effort into the corner. 5-1

With clear daylight in the game, Saracens then made changes in the 60th
min replacing both Slender & Tovey, Carl Griffiths & Spike Rhodes
replacing the duo.

Penn’s forward Reno Sepede then found himself one
on with Betteridge but couldn’t find the sort of finish that Moore had
showed just 2min previously, Sepede’s attempted lob sailed harmlessly
into Beteridges arms.

Jamie Hammond should have done better when
Kennedy sent over a 79th min fine cross to the waiting Hammond, who
unmarked in front of goal shot first time, but amazingly wide. Hammond
then had a free header inside the 6 box but again his finishing should
have been better for a player who has scored goals a plenty throughout
his Saracens career.

With Kennedy & Moore both looking for their Hat-
tricks it was a question of who would be first. Kennedy having the say
when again his link up play with his fellow attacking Colleague Moore
resulted in Kennedy despatching a fine shot into the roof of the bet
for his hat-trick adding to Saracens 6-1 score line.

Moore though
undeterred, soon followed with his hat-trick. A superb Joe Donaghue run
from midfield resulted in Donaghue taking the ball round the keeper but
just as he was about to score he was brought down in the box, the
referee seeing the ball had fell to the feet of Moore waved play on for
which Moore had the easy option of an open goal. Credit to the referee
for playing on, saving Penn the likely outcome of having a player sent
off.

Confidence in abundance between Kennedy and Moore, there was no
stopping these two; each player supplying one another with scoring
option was a joy to watch.

Kennedy added his fourth and Saracens 8th
when one touch passing between Swales, Moore and Kennedy again resulted
in Kennedy ghosting passed his markers!! Despatching his effort into
the roof of the net despite a last gasp effort from a Penn defender.

Penn scored their consolation goal in the 88th min from a corner, a
far post free header, the Saracens defenders rightly peeved as he was
left unmarked by two
Saracens midfielders.. This though shouldn’t cloud
what was a master attacking display by the rampant Saracens side.

FT:
Cheltenham Saracens 8-2 Penn & Tyler’s Green

Saracens Team:
Beteridge, Tovey (Rhodes) Slender (Griffiths C) Tunnicliff, Bryan,
Swales, Sheehan, Donaghue, Hammond, Kennedy, Moore
Subs: Oldham, C
Griffiths, T Griffiths, Rhodes

Dec 02

Cinderford Town 1 – 2 Shortwood United

“The sign of a decent side is that you can win when you haven’t played your best. We defended well and it’s about time we had a bit of luck! Tom King was magnificent today and Matt Bennett was a constant threat!” This was John Evans summation after Shortwood’s battling 2-1 win at Cinderford on Saturday which gave them 3 vital league points.
True Shortwood enjoyed a bit of long overdue luck but no-one could doubt the spirit of this side against a good Cinderford side that always looked dangerous – especially when they broke at speed and they deserved their win if only for their tenaciousness. Every single player worked their socks off but they will still be grateful to keeper Tom King who made several saves of the highest order.
The early stages were even with Haddock firing narrowly wide from just outside the area and King saving well from Smith with his feet. Bennett fizzed a cracker just past the far post and Haddock sent a volley inches over the bar. After 17 minutes Smith sent in a header that was flying inside the post before King turned the ball round the post. Just a minute later Shortwood took the lead with a real goal of the season contender. Brown and Haddock combined well before the ball found Bennett who let fly from fully 30 yards and the ball dipped just under the bar. Parrott curled a free kick wide of the post and home keeper Harris did well to parry another Bennett pile driver – the resultant Parrott corner was cleared off the line and from this clearance Town broke at speed. The ball worked down the left and the end low cross was fired home by Smith.
Cinderford started to put Shortwood under real pressure at the start of the second half and after 52 minutes Shortwood had a real escape. A cross to the near post was met by a neat flick by Barnes and the ball cannoned off the inside of the post and ran along the line before Coates cleared the danger. King made another fine save to deny Archer and Harris saved well as a cross from Gullick was almost headed into his own net by Lewis.
Wood were beginning to tire and were pulled apart by Cinderford and again King was again the hero as he somehow turned Barnes’ effort round the post John Cant came on with 15 minutes to go and immediately gave impetus and Shortwood started to push further forward and Cant and Bennett put over some dangerous crosses. With 8 minutes to go A Cant cross was headed out but only to Baldwin whose shot bounced horribly in front of the diving Harris and flew over him into the net.
The last word went inevitably to King who turned a low shot from Lewis round the post.
When the final whistle blew seconds later the Wood players rightly and understandably celebrated their win.

Team: King, Coates, Brown, Pritchett, Thomas, Baldwin, Langworthy (Cant 72), Parrott, Gullick (Martin 82), Haddock, Bennett:

Dec 02

Hook Norton 1 – 5 Slimbridge

For the second time this season at the Bourne, Hook Norton and Slimbridge shared six goals in a cup competition.

However, unlike last month’s Floodlit Cup tie which ended 3-3 after extra time and required a penalty shoot out for the Swans to progress, this time round, in the second round Bluefin Sports Supplementary Challenge Cup, the visitors ran out comfortable winners.

Three goals to the good after 15 minutes courtesy of Dan Holloway and a brace from Saul Williams, Jamie Wyatt’s strike for the home side raised the home side’s spirits, but they were unable to make a further breakthrough before half time. A fourth Slimbridge goal just after the break, Holloway’s second, sealed the victory, and a further goal from debutant Junior Maderner topped off the day for the Swans.

Niall Halford picked up an injury during the warm up, and was replaced at the last moment by Tom Speers, coming back from suspension and filling the one of the centre back positions.

On a pitch naturally very heavy after the recent weather, Slimbridge made a bright start, and could have taken the lead in the first attack of the game, but Alex Higgs put his shot wide after good work down the left flank from Holloway.

It was, however, only three minutes before the visitors struck – Keeper Dave Evans’ clearance took two bounces as the ball was lofted forward, and Dan Holloway outpaced his marker to drill the ball past Hooky Keeper Joe Murrell to put Slimbridge ahead.

Four minutes later, the Swans were two up. Higgs played a lovely diagonal ball through the Hooky back Four, and Saul Williams demonstrated great composure to round Murrell and slide the ball home to double Slimbridge’s advantage. The home side complained that Williams was well offside when the ball was played, and they may have had a point, but Referee Jason Smith decided that the goal would stand.

Hooky had their first shot on goal on 13 minutes, when Wyatt scuffed his shot on the edge of the Swans’ box, but two minutes later, the visitors were three goals up – Jack Twyman and Holloway combined well to set up Williams, who netted his second of the game.

A minute later, Williams had a golden opportunity to record his first Hat Trick for the club, going on a superb mazy run and beating three men. Unfortunately, his shot was just wide with Murrell beaten all ends up.

Just as had happened last time the two sides met, Hooky recovered their composure and started to play some good football. Wyatt’s cross on 19 minutes managed to evade everyone as the ball slid across the Slimbridge box, and on 24 minutes, the home side had their best chance of the game so far. Chris Tillcock made room for himself and put in a lovely strike which drifted just wide, as momentum swung to Hooky.

As the game approached the half hour mark, the Swans were getting overrun in midfield, and, despite being three down, Hooky were having by far the best of the play. Another flashing cross wasn’t met by any incoming strikers, this time from Dan Watkin.

It was no surprise when Hooky got on the scoresheet with 28 minutes on the clock. A cross from the Slimbridge left flank was flicked on by Mark Dennis, and Wyatt made no mistake to place the ball past Evans.

Just as in the previous meeting, the goal was a the signal for a period of pressure from the home side, and for the next ten minutes, it was backs to the wall for the Swans – Andrew Helbey and Watkin both went close before Williams was again denied his Hat Trick after his shot was cleared off the Hooky line as Slimbridge regrouped.

There were two more goal opportunities before the half – firstly Dave Evans made a point blank save from Ben Tew’s header, while at the other end Shane Anson’s shot brought a great save from Murrell to leave the score 3-1 at the break, in what was proving to be another very entertaining encounter between the sides.

The game was effectively killed off in the five minutes after play resumed. Hartpury College Debutant Junior Maderner replaced Higgs on 50 minutes, and with his first touch down the right flank played a superb cross in to Holloway, who swept home his second of the game and record a fourth goal for the Swans.

Maderner started to torment the Hooky back four, and nearly set up Williams a couple of minutes later, but his cross was just too quick for Williams, who failed to connect.

With the game effectively over as a contest, Manager Leon Sterling brought himself into the fray and moved Dominic Njoya into midfield. Slimbridge were making runs from all over the park, and Will Wellon’s foray forward nearly paid dividends on 66 minutes. He played a nice ball into Holloway, but Holloway just overran the ball and the chance was lost.

With 20 minutes remaining, the Swans notched their fifth – Njoya made a powerful run and fed Holloway, whose pass saw Maderner through on goal. He kept his nerve to beat Murrell and record the visitors’ fifth of the afternoon.

Holloway and Williams were competing for the chance to complete their hat tricks, and a lovely 1-2 between the two on 74 minutes saw Holloway’s shot slide across the goal with no-one in a position to finish it as the game played out.

After Njoya had brought another good save from Murrell, the final opportunity of the game went to Holloway. With the game into stoppage time, his Free Kick cannoned back into play off the Hooky bar, but Speers could not take advantage of the rebound.

The Swans entertain Newbury at Wisloe Road on Tuesday, in their postponed Floodlit Cup Tie (7.45pm), before Reading Town visit Wisloe next Saturday for a League game (3.00pm)

Team: Evans, Anson, Njoya, Wellon, Speers, Cole, Twyman (Sterling 62), Ward, Higgs (Maderner 50), Williams, Holloway

Goals: Holloway 3, 51 Williams 7, 15 Maderner 70

Supporters Man Of The Match: Dan Holloway

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