Witney United v Shortwood United - Match Report
22-08-06 Sport Italia Hellenic Premier
Witney United 3 Shortwood United 0 Att 107
Match sponsored by The House of Windsor
A late treble by Ben Border gave United the points after a difficult night against a vastly improved Shortwood United side last night at Marriotts Stadium. United were forced into changes with Christian Perkins and Lee Keyes suspended and Robbie Wyatt missing out with a back injury. Drafted into the side were Tom Smith, Tom Butler and Mark Odom who made his first start in United colours.
Witney almost got off to a flying start when a Jamie Cook corner was met powerfully by the head of Tom Smith and with the net ready to bulge Dean Brookman hacked the ball off the line. The visitors looked much more of a threat than in recent years and a quick throw in by Oliver Roberts caught the United defence napping and Chris Davis cleverly evaded tackles from Ritchie Saunders and Matty Allen but he blazed over after creating a great chance for himself.
United seemed nervous and only some desperate defending saw a shot by James Singh blocked on the line by Smith before a combination of him and John McMahon scrambled it away.
Ben Border was playing as more of a forward but when he peeled out wide to the left he created the next chance for Witney when his cross was met on the half-volley bu Tom Butler but the midfielder couldn't keep his shot down.
Some slack defending was giving United problems and a loose pass by Robert Cruse handed a great chance to Davis but again he lacked composure and shot over when a square pass to the unmarked Andy Hoskins would have had United in real trouble.
Shortwood had the former Chipping Norton keeper Ewan Prentice between the sticks and he almost presented Witney the opener when he miskicked a clearance direct to Border but his returned shot was touched wide by Prentice.
H/T WITNEY UNITED 0 Shortwood United 0
If the fans expected United to get up and at them in the second half they were almost given a rude awakening as Paul Tassell had to be at his best to twice deny the lively Davis.
On 55 minutes though and a major decision which the referee made when he reduced the visitors to 10 men, Davis had been very harshly booked earlier in the game but his wild lunge on Saunders gave the ref no option but to give him a second yellow card and the visitors were down to 10 men.
It didn't stop the Glocestershire side from trying to go forward though and a brilliant switch of play by Singh released Hoskins but Tassell again was to deny them.
On the hour and United had the best chance of the night, Butler created some space in the corner before an excellent cross to the back post but Cook got under the ball and his header went over to safety.
A scorching drive by Chris Greenough went inches wide but you sensed that United were getting on top and if they could be patient and play their football then the goal may come. With 13 minutes remaining it did come and there was more than a large slice of fortune about it. A corner by Cook was half-cleared by Chris Preece as far as Border whose cross took a big deflection and looped over Prentice and into the net to send a huge cheer of relief around the stadium.
With three minutes remaining the game was killed off, a great run by Cook who outstripped James Clarke before crossing to the back post where Border was there to prod the ball home and make the points safe.
With the game deep in injury time United got a third to give the scoreline a bit of a flattering look to it. Butler burst into the box but was clearly pulled back by the shirt and the referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot. Border stepped up and calmly sent Prentice the wrong way to complete his hat-trick and give United the points.
Website Review and M.O.M.
Again we weren't at our best but when we got the ball down and played the goals came. Give credit to Shortwood they looked a far better outfit than in recent years and had scored 11 goals in the first 3 games so it was no mean feat to keep a clean sheet against them. MOM goes to a man who kept us in it at 0-0 with some vital saves as Paul Tassell gets it despite the late Border hat-trick.
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