29th October 2022 - Ruardean Hill Rangers win Forest Derby
Gala Wilton maintain top spot with a solid away win at Stoke Gifford with Bromley Heath United hot on their heels. Cribbs Reserves keep the pressure on but Broadwell Amateurs slip back a bit.
And where better to start than at the Forest derby where Broadwell Amateurs slipped up at Ruardean Hill Rangers and surprisingly it was not the top crowd of the day where 72 attended. The match was closely fought in the first half and indeed it was 40 minutes before things sprang into life when a 35 yard free kick from Hills Charley Mason forced Watkins in the away goal to tip over. From the resulting corner Mason’s header was scrambled away. Broadwell had the first chance of the second period with a dangerous free kick which was cleared away. Shortly after Mason had another chance but curled over. On 55 a ball into the Broadwell box caused mayhem and was finally deflected over by Troy Morgan. Just after Underwood saved from Kieron James after a slip in the Hills defence. The match was decided on eighty five when Broadwell’s Danny Hudson fouled Josh Sladen in the box and Charley Mason stuck the kick straight down the middle for 1-0 which Ruardean managed to hold onto.
Bromley Heath United maintained their 100% record with a comprehensive 4-0 home win over the luckless Patchway Town. The away side started strongly and looked threatening but on 15 minutes a good move from Bromley across the box saw Ben Ackerman cleverly lob the advancing Jed Mould for 1-0. Bromley continued to press and an incisive through ball from Antonio Nurse saw Sam Edwards go round Mould for the second. Patchway almost reduced the deficit just before the break when Jamie Moore’s free kick into the box evaded the on rushing Patchway forwards. Town started the second half well and had the lion’s share of possession without really troubling Bromley. United largely sat back but were dangerous on the break with Mould making a number of excellent saves. On 75 the best move of the game between brothers Alvin and Antonio Nurse saw Bromley further ahead. With game nearing its end Bromley’s Luke Bessell got on the end of a lovely cross and hit an unstoppable fourth goal. Patchway remain bottom.
Two early season strugglers met at Arnall Drive with all the goals coming in the first half giving Henbury a much needed win over Little Stoke. A penalty on twenty five by Warren Collins followed a trip on Shaquille Hunter to give Henbury the lead which lasted 10 minutes before Little Stoke’s Mike Hardiman finished inside the box. A free kick won by Hunter on the edge of the area was dispatched by him into the top corner for 2-1. Little Stoke came out a renewed side for the second period and threw everything at Henbury for the full 45 but a combination of resolute defending and some fantastic goalkeeping kept them out. With Little Stoke pushing hard Henbury did manage to create some good opportunities on the break but in the end held on for a valuable victory.
Another local derby between Hardwicke and Quedgeley Wanderers drew a bumper and top crowd of the day with 111 spectators. Hardwicke started brightly and could have taken the lead on two minutes when a powerful free kick was parried away by Evan Coombes. Shortly after Harry Furniss raced down the wing past two defenders and unleashed a 20 yarder well saved by Coombes. Ten minutes another chance when Hardwicke’s Pat Vernall lofted the ball over the defence for Will Mathews to head over. With the home side dominating, a Furniss cross was met by Mathews whose header came off the post. However despite all that pressure it was Wanderers who surprisingly took the lead with their first foray in the Hardwicke half when a back pass to Nathan Barrett was intercepted by the lively Sean Lawson who strode into the area and placed the ball into the back of the net. Hardwicke again took the mettle and Mathews received from Fred Humphries only to shoot wide. But it was Quedgeley who increased their lead right on half time when Ollie Curtis headed home. Further pressing in the second half saw Hardwicke have a goal wiped out as Higgins was deemed to have tackled unfairly. Hardwicke’s woes continued on 55 when Jordan Dowdeswell was dismissed for a second yellow. The game became more even for a while with few opportunities until Hardwicke lifted their game for the final ten. With five left Jack Twyman’s free kick was fumbled by Coombes leaving James Ractliffe to stab home. Three minutes later Ractliffe became provider when his cross was struck home by Furniss to square thing up. The home side almost snatched it at the death but Furniss fired over and Mathews header was cleared off the line. Breath taking stuff and an entertaining derby finished all square 2-2.
Cribbs Reserves kept up pressure at the top with a handy win over hosts Rockleaze Rangers at Hillside Gardens. The visitors edged a close game with a goal early in the second half. The game started slowly with neither side troubling the keepers. Cribbs had more of the ball and flung in a number of crosses to their big strikers Forward and Kerr. The game came to life on 25 minutes when Aaron Coleman struck the bar for Cribbs with a dipping 20 yarder which the Rockleaze defenders hacked to safety. The home sides Brandon Boontam had a rasping effort well saved by Bridgeman in the away goal after good work from the returning Cripps on the left. The only goal came on 51 when Harry Hambly got above his marker Dent and powerfully headed home from 5 yards. Two minutes later Dent should have done better at the other end but fired into the side netting from 10 yards. Rockleaze huffed and puffed but the well organised Cribbs defence saw out the remainder of the half with few problems and had it not been for a fine save by Dunning in the home goal would have got a second from a Dan Monk drive on 83.
Wick still struggle a little for results and this continued against fringe team Sharpness. The Owls started brightly and were straight at the Sharks in the first minute when Truan Taylor saved low down. Another good chance came on seven when a superb ball from Karim Rendall on the left was met by Lewis Wade whose shot was well saved by Taylor. Minutes later another great through ball set Wade racing into the box but a heavy touch allowed Taylor to save but the ball broke to Wade who was bundled over for a penalty which was brilliantly saved by Taylor. Wick could have been three up before the Sharks first real effort on 16 was dragged wide. However it was Sharpness who scored on 20 minutes with Alex Higgs firing home from close range. At the other end another effort by Rendall was well parried by Taylor to maintain the Sharks lead. Against the run of play Sharpness could have doubled their lead with sloppy defending allowing Higgs through for a shot to be deflected wide by Ashton Trott. On the stroke of half time the visitors were awarded a penalty for a rash Wick tackle and Tom Frankham dispatched confidently for 2-0. Howeve,r there was still time for Wick to strike when Rendall put Wade through to beat Taylor and reduce the deficit. The second half started evenly but the Sharks increased their lead on the hour when the busy Higgs rounded Trott for 3-1. The Owls almost got one back five minutes later but Wade’s fierce shot struck the bar. On 75 minutes Higgs again tried his luck from 30 yards but just missed the Wick goal. Wick continued to press seeking to reduce the arrears but it was Sharpness who came closest when their speedster winger let fire from the right bringing a brilliant fingertip save from Trott to see the game finish 3-1 to The Sharks.
Cheltenham Civil Service were hoping to rectify shortcomings in the league in recent weeks and began the game well but in the end fell to another defeat at the hands of Frampton United. Service controlled possession for much of the opening half an hour looking for long ball openings and stifling any Frampton advances. Despite being by far the better of the two sides it was almost inevitable that Frampton would score first and on a rare venture forward they did just that when Harvey Cowley fired a low cross in and Harvey Long was there to connect for a thirty second minute lead. Service struggled to respond and Frampton nearly made it two on half time with Cowley’s attempt rolling back out off the post. The re-start saw an end to end period with both sides going close. Just a minute in Frampton advanced down the right with Frazer Wilson who crossed in and Cowley’s header was met with a brilliant stop by Cameron Cheal. Three minutes later Service’s best chance fell to Mike Oliver who headed just wide from Lewis Driscoll’s long throw. Frampton condensed to protect their slender lead with Service struggling to break them down. A rare advance by the away side just past the hour saw them increase their lead when a dangerous ball into the box found Cowley unmarked to slot home for 2-0. Service looked down and out and very nearly conceded a third when a unmarked Manolo Espada narrowly missed the target. Frampton easily saw out the remainder of the game.
Finally to the leaders Gala Wilton, who won 2-0 with an organised performance at Stoke Gifford United. Despite plenty of possession and countless opportunities Gifford couldn’t find a way through. In an end to end first half with Gifford against a strong wind Kye Morrison, Karem Karakus, and Mike Barry all should’ve done better with opportunities while Connor Walters and Alex Gayner tested Lewis Jefferies with good chances for Gala. The game swung just before the break when Gala’s Marcus Foxwell fired home a free kick from 20 yards. Gifford started the second period on the front foot but continued to waste excellent chances to score. Kray Foster came on and almost fired home from 20 yards, while Barry threatened countless times without proving decisive. Gala hit Gifford on the counter in the 88th minute when the hosts throwing numbers forward looking for an equaliser fell to a great team break finished ruthlessly by Walters to wrap the points up 2-0.