BluefinSport Hellenic League Challenge Cup
Wellington 1 Malvern Town 3
Malvern Town played out a 3-1victory at Wellington in our latest Hellenic League Challenge Cup group game. The early action saw Keiron Blackburn alert to gather ahead of Pearson, whilst at the other end, Harry Wickett dragged a low effort wide of the target. We managed to break the deadlock on 11 minutes when a deep free-kick was headed back into the danger zone and Lewis Platt was on hand to poke home.
Some neat play by the home side ended with Pearson seeing his strike deflected out for a corner which was cleared. A free-kick following a foul on Platt saw Matt Turner curl just over, but in truth it was a game of few genuine chances as the opening period went on with a swirling wind making life tricky at times. Just past the half-hour mark, an inviting long ball from Jay Sauntson saw Nathan Chowns Higgs link up well with Matt Turner who was denied by a timely block as he got in a strike on goal. As the ball stayed alive, Joe Bullock fired well over. A corner for the home side was well claimed under pressure by Blackburn who almost set us away on a counter-attack but in a half of few real chances, we went in at the break holding a one-goal advantage.
The second period started with a teasing cross from George Hayes just evading Turner as it was cleared. We doubled our advantage on 52 minutes when a free-kick from Platt hit the defensive wall and fell to Hayes who lashed the ball home to give the ‘keeper no chance. As we looked to turn up the pressure, the home ‘keeper used his feet to thwart Turner. After a couple of half-chances went astray for the home side, an opportunity opened up for Hayes but he was denied by a block before firing the rebound over.
The home side pulled a goal back with 20 minutes to go when Thomas won the race to the ball with Blackburn on the edge of the area and stroked home. It sparked a spell of pressure from the home side which we managed to deal with before having a neat passage of play ourselves where we kept hold of the ball well. With five minutes to go, Turner’s strike had the sting took out of it with a deflection, then a good touch from Joe Bates saw him set himself up but he dragged his effort inches wide. Right at the death, some sweet play ended with unselfishness from Turner who teed up Joe Billingham for the clinching goal to make it 3-1.
THE HILLSIDERS: Blackburn, Smith, Wickett (Loader 55), A. Sauntson, J. Sauntson, Febery (Billingham 55), Hayes (Fusco 73), Bullock, Turner, Chowns Higgs (Bates 73), Platt. Sub not used: Hooper. BOOKING(S): Smith, J. Sauntson, Platt GOAL(S): Platt, Hayes, Billingham br>
Bateman’s Sports Division Two Cup
Letcombe 3 Kintbury 1
Credit should be given to both sides for trying to play good football on a very hard and difficult surface. Letcombe had the perfect start with a goal in the second minute. A pass from Ben Hummell gave Josh Fowler space, and he fired un unstoppable shot into the far top corner leaving Kintbury keeper Kyle Clough helpless.
Kintbury looked dangerous going forward, but once again a well organised Letcombe defence gave them few openings. Their best chance fell to Aiden Maycock, but he shot over the bar from twelve yards. Greg Nutley shot wide when well placed for Letcombe, and Chad Abrams headed a corner against the bar in the
last minute of the half.
Letcombe increased their lead early in the second half when Josh Fowler chased a long pass and just beat keeper Clough to the ball as he raced from his area, and Fowler then side footed the ball into the empty net from a narrow angle. Back came Kintbury, and home keeper Danny Joyce did well to turn a low shot from Jack Avonso round the post. They reduced the arrears soon afterwards when a low shot from Charlie Allsopp was parried by Joyce, and Josh Davis tapped home the rebound from close range. Letcombe finally made the game safe in the last minute when Josh Fowler cut inside from the right wing and sent a fierce left footed drive looping over Clough into the far top corner to complete a memorable hat-trick.
Praise must again go to the Letcombe defence of Aaran Mudie, Nathan Haresnape, Sam Mulvey and Luke Mulvey for another great performance. Dan Pear and Ben Hummell again worked tirelessly in midfield, with Chad Abrams and Luke Polding causing problems on the flanks. Greg Nutley held the ball well in attack, but the man of the match was undoubtedly captain Josh Fowler for his three well taken goals.
Letcombe now travel to play Shrivenham Development next Saturday, needing a win to progress to the knock-out stake of the competition