Well what a weekend of football that was. A number of our local sides were in FA Cup action and a big congratulations to the Hellenic sides for making to the Preliminary Round of the competition. There was a major local derby which saw Cindeford just have too much for Slimbridge at Thornhill Park, whilst there were defeats for Brimscombe and Cirencester as well as a big win for Bishops Cleeve.
For us at Severn Sport we suffered all the emotions surrounding the FA Cup and here we have two reviews from our two featured games. Steven Bevan was at Leighton Town vs Tuffley Rovers and Ryan Butler was at Hanwell Town vs Longlevens and it’s with the latter where we begin.
Hanwell Town 1-0 Longlevens – Ryan Butler (@abaconButtee)
Ahead of kick I found myself sat in the stand at the Powerday Stadium in Hanwell thinking that Longlevens had a chance as they entered the field for their second Preliminary Round fixture in two years…unfortunately for Levens it was also their second defeat at this stage in two years.
The result this weekend was miles away from the 5-1 drubbing they sustained against Farnborough 12 months ago and if anything the scoreline should have been even tighter than a 1-0 defeat. Levens went into the game without midfield duo Dave Rich and Dave Merrick, two players who had taken home MOTM accolades in the two previous Longlevens games covered by Severn Sport. But the hosts were going into the game without scoring in their competitive games thus far this season and needed a win, not only for the progression in the cup but for confidence more than anything.
The game started fairly cagey as expected but after good work down the Hanwell left a ball was played in by Kyle Watson towards striker Michael Malcolm, unfortunately for the forward the ball bounced off him as he slid in to try and turn goalwards, Ashley Wintle was able to collect with consummate ease.
Levens came back into it after the opening exchanges and after a free was won down their left hand side forward Shaun O’Connor tried to catch out Xavi Comas in goal for Hanwell. The free kick was curling towards Comas’ near post and had the keeper sprawling. Luckily for the stopper the ball kept curling and hit the side netting.
Moments later after Hanwell winger Callum Wright decided not to track his man, Craig Beaton floated an effort towards goal that only just picked up height as it flew over the crossbar. Warning signs were there for Hanwell that this Longlevens side wasn’t going to make life easy.
Hanwell tried to take a grip on the game and started to stretch their visitors on the wings, leading to a yellow card for Ryan Dunn and a Adam Phillips diversion to fly onto his own crossbar with an aid of a strong hand by Wintle.
Hanwell’s major opportunities in the first half would come from set pieces and a corner from the right hand side was flicked into the Longlevens net at the back post, only for the referee to chalk it off for a foul. Within minutes the ball was in the net again, this time the Hanwell net after a ball into the box was diverted into the goal by Brad Martin, only to see the flag go up for offside. Disallowed goals a piece but we went in all square at 0-0.
The second half started similarly to the first with Hanwell taking more a grip in midfield, with Michael Buckley starting to get more time and space to create going forward. Levens rode the wave and their luck a couple of times, once seeing Wintle come out of his box only to see young Charlie Mitchell snatch a volley over the goal.
With about half an hour to go Longlevens managed to push forward more frequently and had a couple of half chances before Brad Martin dispossessed Georges Ethui, pull back for Jonty Welch for what looked a certain goal but the ball didn’t sit for Welch and the defence recovered to smother a shot on goal, the ball looped into the air behind Bradley Vanstone who was charging in and it made for an awkward looking effort from him that ended up high and wide.
The deadlock was finally broken in the final 10 minutes when after good work from Callum Wright and substitute Harvey Kileen on the left wing saw the ball fly around the Longlevens box. Levens struggled to clear their lines and the ball fell to the edge of the box and to Georges Ethui who cut onto his left before driving the ball low into the net despite the best efforts of Wintle who appeared to get a slight touch on it.
Longlevens chased the equalizer and it nearly came from the boot of O’Connor who flicked the ball up on a swivel from what must have been 30 yards. His scorching volley swerve the wrong way though and it all managed to do was force the locals and board members around me to hold their breaths. And that was that.
Longlevens put in a great performance and ultimately even though they didn’t get the result they will take positives from the game and look to build on their great start to the Hellenic League season when they face Tuffley Rovers and Lydney over the bank holiday. To sum it up, if you watched that without knowing who was in the higher league Hanwell wouldn’t have been your first guess.
Leighton Town 2-3 Tuffley Rovers – Steven Bevan (@steventbevan)
They were 2-0 down with about 10 minutes left but three late goals mean Tuffley advance into the first qualifying round of the FA Cup.
It was a mad few minutes in the first half that gave Leighton town a comfortable 2-0 lead going into half time. The first goal coming just after a great chance for Tuffley in the third minute. A dangerous cross was swung in for the visitors but the diving header was deflected onto the bar.
From the next corner Leighton broke with pace. Despite calls to shoot from the stands the ball was played through and met by Tuffley’s keeper, Dave Evans, who was scrambling back. The ball eventually found its way back to the striker who was then taken out by the keeper. The free kick was hit powerfully at Evans who punched it away but only as far as the taker who then volleyed it into the back of the net making it 1-0 to the home side.
This chaotic couple of minutes is all there really was to say for a scrappy and inaccurate first 15. It would be Tuffley that had the next spell of pressure however when their new number nine, Joshua Bennai, dribbled into the box, tumbled and got back up, eventually forcing a great save from Leighton’s keeper.
Tuffley managed to keep this going for a while with Warren Mann finding himself in space out wide a few times and swinging in some good crosses, unfortunately no one could meet them; the best chance coming when Courtney Hamilton headed just wide.
It was then Leighton Town’s turn to put on a bit of pressure towards the end of the second half. With ten to go Tuffley’s player manager, Mark Pritchett, went into a challenge very strongly. Both players looked to be fully committed but the home fans were not happy when he walked away unpunished. Just after a nice one two put Leighton in on goal and with Tuffley’s defence standing still the striker was left to walk it into the net.
Going in at half time 2-0 down in what was an even first half would have been disheartening for a Rovers side that probably didn’t think they could go on to win let alone draw.
Brett James had a great chance early in the 2nd as Warren Mann dribbled it past the opposition keeper and laid the ball off to him on a plate. Unfortunately, the ball bobbled and James could only fire it over.
With only ten minutes to go and having hit the bar for a second time in the game earlier on you would be forgiven for thinking it was as good as over but Tuffley were given a glimmer of hope when Mark Pritchett was pushed over in the box after the ball rebounded off the post. The referee awarded a penalty which was converted excellently by Warren Mann.
Desperately looking for the equaliser Tuffley were basically playing two at the back with Pritchett joining the attack. Tuffley could have easily been hit on the counter but Leighton seemed determined to take it into the corners rather than go for goal.
In extra time Brett James played a ball down the line to Mann who, with a brilliant pass, found Shayne Bradley out wide. The ball was crossed into Pritchett who powered it home with an incredible scissor kick, Tuffley’s bench running down the pitch to celebrate the equaliser.
I’m sure they would have taken a draw here but it was going to get even better for them as Sam Hill bombed forward into a surprising amount of space. At this point I was busy writing up about a well-earned draw but I look up to see Hill fire it in off the post and the bench sprinting past me for a second time celebrating a comeback of epic proportions.
It was a real testament to Tuffley’s team spirit and determination that they managed to find a way back so late on and I’m sure all the supporters are incredibly proud of their achievements
It was a game perfectly summed up by Man of the match Dave Evans on twitter, saying; “Genuinely the best 10 minutes of football I’ve ever experienced, what a result! Times like today are why I love football.”
**A day of mixed emotions for our local sides in our feature games but we will be seeing both Tuffley and Longlevens over the bank holiday. Longlevens host Tuffley on Saturday at Saw Mills. We then find ourselves back at Glevum Park for Tuffley’s home fixture against Brimscombe & Thrupp.**