BluefinSport Hellenic League Challenge Cup
Malvern Town 3 Lydney Town 1
We started with a good tempo and some neat early passages of play as Lewis Platt’s cross picked out Matt Turner who dipped an effort over from the edge of the area. At the other end, English fired over before a foul on Joe Bates out wide earned us a free-kick which was whipped in by Louis Loader and headed wide by Liam Paddock.
As the rain continued to lash down, Kear made room for a strike for the visitors but was off target with ten minutes on the clock. We opened the scoring on 13 minutes when good link-up play between Clark and Turner saw the latter cross low for Bates at the far post who made no mistake. An effort from Clark took a deflection and was gathered by the ‘keeper as we looked to add to our lead, whilst Jay Sauntson was alert to deal with the danger as Kear looked to make progress for the visitors. The visitors’ ‘keeper was alert to clear ahead of Bates outside his area just before the half-hour mark following an intelligent through-ball from Clark. After some good play and a neat touch from Turner set up Bates who dragged wide, the visitors levelled matters with a strike out of the blue from distance by Hamblett.
Strong play from Turner to create an opening for Clark who fired over as the clock ticked down in the opening period. On the stroke of half-time, Bates won a free-kick right on the edge of the area following a foul by Elliott who was booked. Loader’s effort was on target but produced a fine save from Thomas. In stoppage time at the end of the half, we had the ball in the net but Turner’s effort was ruled out for offside following a save from Loader’s strike as we went in at the break pegged back to 1-1.
A positive move early in the second period ended with Clark’s effort saved and the ‘keeper was called into action twice in quick succession soon afterwards as firstly he beat away Platt’s stinging strike and then gathered at the second attempt as Jay Sauntson tried his luck from distance. A breakaway from the visitors caused concern but Hamblett over-hit his cross as the ball came back to him. Just before the hour-mark, a delicious move somehow ended with the ball staying out as a combination of the woodwork and a defender on the line kept us at bay.
We were asking most of the questions as Clark headed wide and then Joe Bullock fired over from distance. With Platt booked for a late challenge, the resulting free-kick flashed across the face of goal with no-one from the visitors able to get a crucial touch. A couple of efforts from Clark went close before Keiron Blackburn did well to save a strike from the visitors through a crowd of players. The goal that we had threatened finally arrived with a quarter-of-an-hour to go as Loader’s free-kick from out wide was met by the head of Clark who planted his effort home. Good break from Hayes saw him denied by a save from Thomas after he skipped a couple of challenges and then Rutter blocked the follow-up as we looked to seal the game late on.
As the clock ticked down and the visitors pushed up in search of a leveller, Jay Sauntson did well to head away a Sheen effort before we caught them on the breakaway right at the end as Nathan Chowns Higgs slotted home to make it 3-1 and see us progress to the next round.
Malvern Town: Blackburn, Hayes (Smith 86), Paddock (Chowns Higgs 76), A. Sauntson, J. Sauntson, Clark, Loader (Billingham 90+1), Bullock, Turner (Fusco 81), Bates, Platt. Sub not used:, J. Febery.
Booking(s): Platt Goal(s): Bates, Clark, Chowns Higgs
Bateman’s Sports Division Two Cup
Letcombe 4 Tuffley Rovers Development 1
Letcombe played with a strong wind behind them in the first half, and opened the game in spectacular fashion. They took the lead in the second minute when a flick from the head of
Chad Abrams gave young Aaran Mudie the opening to drive the ball into the far top corner of the net from 25 yards. Josh Fowler hit the bar with an inswinging corner in the following
minute, but Letcombe added a second in the fifth minute, Sam Mulvey placing his shot low into the corner of the net. The hosts scored a third midway through the half when a deflection took the ball over Tuffley keeper Alex Fulford`s dive from a Luke Polding shot. Josh Fowler then beat two men in a jinking run, but shot wide with only the keeper to beat.
Tuffley came more into the game in the second half with the strong wind behind them, but Fowler put the game beyond reach with a fierce drive into the top corner. Letcombe took the opportunity to withdraw regular players to give their four substitutes plenty of game time. Tuffley never game up, and scored a consolation goal from Niall Priday with 15 minutes to play with a low shot from the edge of the penalty area.
This was very much a team performance, but Aaran Mudie deserves a special mention for his spectacular opening goal and a man of the match performance.
Letcombe now await the draw for the quarter finals which are scheduled for Saturday 15 May.