10th September 2023 - Les James League Cup sponsored by Boca Teamwear - Big win for Avonmouth
A break from the League and to the 1st round of The Les James League Cup. Some close encounters and three games
decided on a shoot out and perhaps a few surprises on the way.
An eagerly anticipated tie at KGV with Avonmouth entertaining Almondsbury. A close first half with Avonmouth probably
seeing most of the ball, but the first real chance fell to Almonds Matt Harmer, mid-way through the half, whose goal
bound shot cannoned off the post. Ten minutes on Avonmouth’s Charlie Aldom hit a rocket from outside the box only to
be denied by the crossbar. The dangerous Harmer hit a 25 yard free kick pushed over by Tom Bradley. The end to end
continued with Aldom next to find space volleying just over the Almonds goal. The hosts pressure paid off just before
the break when Tommy Cox cut in from the left and found the top corner for 1-0. Avonmouth made three changes for the
second half and were soon two to the good, Kofi Martin’s fantastic pass finding Jack Williams to convert. The third
came shortly after, two of the subs combining with Matty Groves laying on for Dillon Kerr to tap in. Groves then
played a one-two with Ben Allison with Groves smashing in for 4-0. Following a scramble in the Almonds box O’Donavon
chipped over keeper Burgess to Kerr who, after several touches fired in for the fifth. Avonmouth tired a bit in the
sweltering conditions letting in Almonds for two late consolations, the first a header by Knight off the bar, post,
and keeper and the second shortly after, again from Knight, hammering the ball home, making it a slightly less
comprehensive 5-2 win for Avonmouth.
Last seasons winners Broadwell Amateurs had themselves a tricky contest away to Cheltenham Civil Service at
Tewkesbury Road. The initial part of the game was a rather sluggish, maybe because of the heat, but Broadwell kicked
into gear first, and on twenty minutes Liam Thomas shot wide from a decent position. Broadwell’s pressure was building
and Service struggled to put anything together. The game, however, changed five minutes before half time when some
neat Broadwell footwork saw the ball find Liam Thomas who finished well into the bottom right. Two minutes on, a long
kick from Broadwell keeper Jack Watkins was allowed to bounce and carry a long way before a defensive mix up saw Pete
Guite divert his header past the on-rushing Nath Buckland for an own goal and two-nil. Three minutes after the restart
it was three-nil, a 25 yard free kick by Jordan Locke struck the upright and rolled across the line for Taylor Blaby
to tap in. Broadwell continued to dominate and although a penalty, when Charlie Swift was fouled and Dec Chick scored
from a follow up, was the only black mark against them, the game petered out with the holders easing through 3-1.
Last years finalists Sharpness had a tough nut to crack in a repeat of last seasons semi-final against Little Stoke.
It was the Sharks who were first to threaten the scoresheet when Kieran Bennett’s shot from the edge hit the foot of
the post. Both teams sought a foothold and Stoke had a couple of opportunities midway through the half, first Lewis
Hughes with good composure evading a couple of defenders shot straight at Russell, and then Archer was slipped in by
Hill, again Russell saving. Both teams took a while to get going in the second half, but it was Stoke who were closest
with West’s cross-cum-shot coming off the bar. Lane was sin-binned for the visitors, who still went closest to
breaking the deadlock when West had a thunderous strike from distance dealt with by Russell. Sharpness were showing
plenty of running twenty minutes from time and broke the deadlock with15 minutes remaining, Will Tainton collecting
the ball, cutting inside onto his “weaker” left and let rip with an unstoppable strike past Gigov into the top corner.
However Stoke equalised soon after, the Sharks defence failed to deal with things, Hardiman stole the ball and crossed
deep for Holver to loop his effort into the far corner. Sharpness wouldn’t be denied and retook the lead with 5
minutes to go.
A good run and cross from Mears down the left found Tainton ahead of the defence to make it 2-1, and although both
sides had chances after this Sharpness held on for 2-1 and round two.
An interesting one at Stoke Gifford United where Rockleaze Rangers were the visitors for a very competitive game. Gifford
dominated early on and should’ve led on 7 minutes Spike Weaver close after excellent wing play by Devanti McInerney.
Five minutes on Marcus Thatcher whipped in a great cross but skipper Ben Shepherd couldn’t convert. Rockleaze
responded and Sam Bailey should’ve done better after excellent build up play. But, it was Gifford who went in front
Shepherd this time making no mistake from Weaver’s great ball in. Five minutes before the break Rockleaze’s Brandon
Boomtan was denied by the impressive Ash Eyles and a few minutes later Paul Cronin was denied by a fantastic save by
Rangers keeper Peter Bradbury. Into the second, and Weaver struck the post on 49 after being sent clear by Shepherd,
and it was Gifford who increased the lead on 52 when Cronin stroked home after good work by Weaver. The last thirty
minutes was a different story with Rockleaze looking for a way back in but finding Eyles in fine form. He was
eventually beaten with twenty minutes to go, a quick free kick allowed James Goulden to fire home to put some life
into the tie. Despite Dejeun Tulloch’s suspected bad injury Gifford held strong and booked their name in the hat for
the next round.
To Green Lane, where local rivals Hardwicke and Quedgeley Wanderers always produce a competitive edge and free
flowing football. The spectators to this latest dual were not to be disappointed. Both teams sought an early goal and
Wanderers Sean Lawson was closest when his 25 yard volley was well saved by Matt Prosser. Prosser was in action again
on the half hour mark tipping the ball over from Rory Hunt’s cross with the eager Lawson waiting. The Wanderers
appeared to have taken control of matters but were surprised by a swift Hardwicke counter 5 minutes from the break,
Harley Mustoe sweeping the ball over the advancing defence for Taro Weston to cooly draw Nathan Charnock off his line
and his low shot finding the bottom corner for the lead. Quedgeley equalised just before the break after Prosser
brought down Rio Spencer who got up and put the spot kick away. Five minutes into the second period Spencer got
another jinking past two defenders and smashing the ball past Prosser. The game continued at a hectic pace in the
scorching heat and the home side levelled things on 65 minutes when a through ball from Rudi Kyfinn fell to the on
running Pat Vernall who volleyed past Charnock. Lawson was looking to put Quedgeley into the next round but his shot
flew past Prosser only to strike a post. The result was fair, so the game weny to penalties. Both keepers saved their
initial kicks but it was Quedgeley who progressed to the next round 4-3.
At the Bell Field Frampton United and Hanham Athletic had close tie written all over it and so it was. Hanham opened
the scoring after only five minutes when from a free kick on the edge was curled into the top corner by Brandon
Barnes. On 18 the hosts equalised when Jon Lewis headed home Manalo Espada’s corner. Frampton keeper Tom Kaye pulled
off a great save to deny Jacob Saunders whilst up the other end Lewis had a good chance but his attempted lob was just
too high. Karim Randall ran through but was thwarted by a last-ditch Dom Brown tackle. In the 76th minute Frampton
took the lead when a ball into the box was missed by Hanham keeper Sam Brown and Freddie Fisher was on hand to finish.
Two minutes later it was level, the ball falling nicely to Joel Athey. Freddie Porter and Jono Willets had decent
chances to win the game but Brown made good saves to send the game to penalties which were won 8-7 by Hanham.
Down to Wick who entertained a Gala Wilton side who’ve made a rather indifferent start to the season, but they came
out of the blocks sprightly, pegging Wick back for the opening 5 minutes. Wick settled and went close on a couple of
times. However sloppy defending by Wick led to a 25th minute chance for Gala, the post saving Wick. The hosts carved
out a chance in the 35th minute when Jordan Mignott’s rasping shot was tipped over by Curtis Wilkins, but it was Gala
who were ahead a minute later when Jay Dare nodded home a great cross. Ashton Trott came to Wick’s rescue a few
minutes on saving well to keep them in it, but he had no chance when Antonio Pirelli’s 40 yard screamer found the net
to leave Gala two up. Wick came back at Gala but were wasteful in front of goal. On the hour a breakdown in Wick
possession gifted Gala a chance but with Trott rounded young Levi Brown on his debut cleared what seemed a certain
goal. Wick pulled a goal back on 70 and on 80 Gala had a player dismissed. It was all Wick and when Wilkins picked up
a back pass Jamie Johnson found the net from the resulting free kick. Wick had further chances to win it but it wasn’t
to be and to penalties it went. Wilkins saved two of Wick’s opening four to win the tie or Gala 4-2.
Finally to Ruardean Hill Rangers, who took on Bromley Heath United. Both teams went toe-to-toe in a very even first half
with chances limited. The best chance of the half fell to Hills' Kane Fellows but his shot from the edge brought about
a good save from Ferguson and it was somewhat inevitable that the first half was goalless. Anyone who thought the
second half might follow a similar pattern couldn’t have been more wrong, Bromley taking the lead straight from the
kick off as a slick move saw Ben Ackerman put the finishing touch to a good team move. The next 30 minutes returned to
both teams cancelling each other out until the 80th minute when Bromley were awarded a free kick on the edge ending
with Cameron Gardiner scoring from close range. Two minutes later the game was killed off with Bromley’s third, Joel
Mitchelmore heading in. The fourth came in the final minute when Liam O’Donoghue’s shot from outside the area crept
into the far corner. The scoreline perhaps flattered the visitors as for long periods Hill were very much in the game,
but then, Bromley Heath won’t care as they are into the next round 4-0