Here at Severn Sport the season has only been a week old and we have already been treated to some incredible local action and a hat full of goals. Amazingly, within the first week we have already seen 3 FA Cup fixtures. In case you missed the cup action here on Severn Sport our featured games last Saturday wee Woodley United vs Tuffley Rovers & Fairford Town vs Longlevens. The latter of which went to a replay. Our men Ryan Butler & Steven Bevan between them had the action covered.
Game 1 (05/08/17) Fairford Town 1-1 Longlevens – Seen by Ryan Butler @abaconButtee
There was a lovely welcome at Fairford town as usual and this time they welcomed Young Tyrell as well as myself. Upon arrival we were treated to warm welcomes, friendly recognition, a team sheet and a Wi-Fi password. The crowd were set for what was expected to be a competitive and cagey FA Cup tie. And so it turned out to be.
Early on both sides cancelled each other out as they traded opening blows, similarly to a heavyweight boxing fight, with Edward Smyllie & Myron Turner firing wide for the visitors whilst Liam Gale and Jason Milhench fired in early efforts for the hosts.
The first twenty minutes past and the game fell into a stop start lull with multiple fouls being committed all over the park, not that it was a particularly feisty encounter. Right on the 3o minute mark Liam Gale picked the ball up on the right hand side of the box, cut in onto his left foot tried to place a shot low to the keepers left only for the ball to trickle just wide.
In reality the longer the first half went the more Fairford took control, of both the play and the ball. It was that man Gale again who nearly fired a cross into the net but it flew just wide, much to the Longlevens relief.
Right on half time Bradley Vanstone was slipped in on the right hand side of the box, on one of the occasions Longlevens beat the high line of Fairford, only to fire over in what was a glorious opportunity. Half time 0-0 and we were in serious danger of ending our no clean sheets total at 17 games.
The second half started exactly the same as the first, with each side cancelling each other out. That was until Milhench was played in down the Fairford left, the winger then cut back to deliver a pinpoint cross onto the head of forward Lee Smith who duly obliged to nod the hosts in front. Smith’s positioning perfect in order to divert the ball beyond Longlevens keeper Ashley Wintle.
Fairford threatened to double their lead within minutes and after a melee in the box the ball fell to Gale at the edge of the box who sliced a volley into the row of cars behind the goal. However, Longlevens hit back and looked to get onto the front foot straight away. The visitors won a corner, which was pulled back to Dave Merrick who’s effort was arrowing into the bottom corner before a flurry of Fairford defenders threw themselves in the way.
Within 90 seconds though the equalizer came. After Jay Kennedy had the ball played into him he threaded a through ball into Brad Martin. The big man ran in on goal and calmly rounded keeper Ben Mitchell to bring the visitors level. With that Longlevens sunk back slightly and Fairford threatened to regain the lead. Lee Smith had a glorious opportunity with quarter of an hour to go to win the game for the hosts but after he fought off two defenders Smith could only loft the ball over Wintle and the crossbar.
The visitors thought they had won the game with just 5 minutes to go after substitute Jack Boyard headed the ball into the back of the net only to be flagged, correctly, offside. And with that the replay was secured. Both sides getting another opportunity on Tuesday night to advance in the FA Cup. How did it go? Well Ryan Butler was there and his report is below.
Game 2 (07/08/17) Woodley United 1-2 Tuffley Rovers – Seen by Steven Bevan @steventbevan
Tuffley Rovers hung on to beat the Reading based team and move on to the next round of the FA Cup in a close game at Highmore Ibis.
It was a slow first half in Highmore with neither side really stamping their authority on the game. Despite this, Tuffley did walk in at half time 2-0 up. The goals being provided by Brett James and Ashley Davies.
Both sides seemed happy to let the other have possession in the first half but in the end, it was Tuffley that could do more with it. The deadlock was broken in the 11th minute when James got the ball near the edge of the box, cut inside and managed to tuck it away across the keeper, giving Tuffley the early lead.
The game continued at quite a slow pace with the next piece of action being another goal for Tuffley, 15 minutes later. Ashley Davies went for a speculative effort on the edge of the box, the ball rolled along the floor, squirmed through the keeper’s hands and ended up in the bottom corner of the net (to most people’s surprise.)
Immediately after Rovers then hit the bar but that was the last of the action in the first half and despite neither team really dominating Tuffley found themselves with a comfortable lead. They’d be wishing they made it three later however.
Woodley showed their intent right at the start of the second half, winning three corners in a row. Unfortunately, they couldn’t make anything from these set pieces. The game had many set piece opportunities (especially in the second half) with a lot of free kicks and corners but neither team had the quality to make them count in the most part.
Rovers did have a couple of half chances in a second half that was mainly dominated by Woodley but Jack Overthrow and Ashely Davies could only fire over.
As the second half wore on Tuffley moved further and further backwards into their own half and eventually Danny Horscroft scored Woodley’s first ever FA Cup goal and dragged them back into the game. Horscroft picked up the ball on the edge of the box, cut inside, and placed the ball nearly perfectly in the top corner.
After the goal Tuffley were just desperately trying to hang on with Horscroft going close again with a twenty-yard effort from a free kick. In extra time Ashley Davies’ already eventful game got a bit more dramatic after he was sent off following a slightly desperate lunge in the midfield.
Woodley could only fire the resulting free kick over however and Tuffley hung on to get themselves one step closer to Wembley.
Their opponents in the Preliminary Round will be Leighton Town, who manged to beat Oxley Jets 4-0 this weekend. I also have to say thank you to Woodley United for being great hosts and providing such a tough challenge that led to a very entertaining game.
Game 3 (08/08/17) Longlevens 5-1 Fairford Town (R) – Seen by Ryan Butler @abaconButtee
Saw Mills End was full of hope and expectation going into the replay between Longlevens and Fairford Town, with a lot of support of both sides in attendance.
The fans were barely pitchside by the time the deadlock was broken. After Jason Milhench found himself in behind the Longlevens back line his initial effort was saved by the oncoming Ashley Wintle, the ball fell to the feet of the Fairford winger who kept his composure to guide the ball into the net to rock the hosts to their core!
Lee Smith nearly doubled the visitors’ lead but his shot was blocked by the Longlevens defenders in the nick of time but the hosts were on the ropes. But after riding the waves of the first 10 minutes Longlevens found their feet and began to stretch the high line of Fairford.
On the quarter of an hour mark hard-working midfielder Dave Merrick found himself in on the left hand side of the box after a ball over the top by captain Captain Beaton, and Merrick fired a curling effort in off the keeper’s left post. Suddenly it was 1-1 and our run of no clean sheets was up to a lovely 20 games!!
Fairford tried to hit back immediately and nearly did with a flurry of corners that caused chaos in the Longlevens penalty area and an effort from Dan Reynolds that Wintle kept out. As we approached the half way point of the first half Merrick was put through again, but this time Ben Mitchell stood tall and denied him with a hand that he just instinctively threw out, what a save!
Lee Smith and Jason Milhench each had shots blocked by Longlevens defenders before another flurry of corners for the visitors as Fairford looked to mount some serious offence. Longlevens stood firm and always looked dangerous on the break through Shaun O’Connor.
The game hadn’t really relaxed at any point of the first half as both sides showed intent and attacking urgency throughout and there was a third goal before half time, scored with 5 minutes to go until the break by Longlevens forward Brad Martin.
The big man picked the ball up in the spot Merrick had levelled from on the left hand corner of the box and with a defender on his back and his back to goal he swiveled his hips that not only created space but he would have been awarded a 7 by Len Goodman on Strictly! After the swivel came a curling effort with his weaker right foot that curled agonizingly beyond Mitchell and into the Fairford net. The Longlevens faithful went into the half time interval 2-1 up and smelling the next round of the cup.
They were either smelling the next round of the cup or the lovely Victoria sponge that was being handed out to visitors in attendance (I had a piece, lovely. A massive slice of light and fluffy sponge and just the right balance of cream to jam. Gorgeous!) No sooner had I finished my cake had Longlevens extended their lead. A through pass ricocheted off a defender into the path of that man Merrick who calmly rounded Mitchell to slide the hosts 3-1 in front. Fairford were shellshocked!
The bulk of the second half fell into the same pattern of Fairford dominating the ball, winning corners and occasionally breaching the stubborn Longlevens defence to only be denied by Wintle. Longlevens again, stayed dangerous on the attack especially with substitute Bradley Vanstone and Myron Turner ever willing runners.
With twenty minutes to go Longlevens nearly added a fourth when Dave Rich fired an effort in on goal only to be denied a wonderful save by Mitchell. The keeper threw himself to his left and got a forearm to the ball after it came through a pack of bodies.
Player manager Jody Bevan came on for Fairford to try and force a great FA Cup comeback but the ball just wasn’t sticking to the Fairford front men. Bevan himself going close with two headers, one of which was saved theatrically by Wintle.
Jay Kennedy came off the bench for Longlevens and it was he who added the fourth for the hosts after Vanstone hit the post from a tight angle and Kennedy himself had an effort saved by Mitchell. The ball fell to Vanstone on the byline who pulled the ball back to Kennedy and the young man side footed the ball helplessly beyond Mitchell and secured Longlevens’ trip to Hanwell Town on August 19th in the Preliminary Round.
There was further gloss to the score line for Longlevens as Brad Martin beat the offside trap with two minutes to go and gently stroked the ball past Mitchell who was doing his best to rush out and close down the angle. Game over.
Overall it was a great FA Cup gameweek for us at Severn Sport with Tuffley Rovers joining Longlevens in the next round of the cup. Away from our games Brimscombe & Thrupp romped into the next round and we will all be looking out for all three sides’ results on Saturday week.
There will be more games coming up for us here at Severn Sport so check out the website and our social media for all the latest news and games we will be attending!