Southern League South West

Shortwood United 1

Mangotsfield United 0

SHORTWOOD’S performance against fellow strugglers Mangotsfield followed the same pattern as virtually every game so far this season, as a second half recovery from a poor first period gave the home side a much-needed win, writes Harry Ash.

An unnecessary incident five minutes from full-time provoked three straight red cards, resulting in the suspension of important Wood regulars Alex Kibble and Ryan Thwaite.

Boss Paul Meredith said: “At half-time, because we weren’t penetrating enough in the first half, Burnsy (assistant manager Chris Burns) suggested we changed it about a little and see if we could be more of an attacking threat. We stretched their back three and got down the sides, which created more opportunities for us. It was a big three points for us today.”

Mangotsfield created several half-chances in the first half, but poor finishing more often than not let them down. Midway through the half, Williams’ cross from the left was met by Simpson, but he miss-hit his volley well wide. Six minutes later, Allen could only scuff his shot into the ground from seven or-so yards, after some good work by Hobbs on the right. Shortwood’s one attack of note came with just under ten minutes to play in the half, as White’s cross was cleared to Aliu, but his goal-bound shot was well blocked.

A last-ditch Thwaite block denied Simpson, who appeared to have only Burton to beat, just before half time, before, moments later, Simpson saw his shot deflected into the path of Warren, but he was stretching as he fired over from the middle of the box.

Ed Weeks, formerly of Shortwood, came very close to giving Mangotsfield the lead on the stroke of half time, but his header only connected with the cross bar following Williams’ corner.

The away side started on top once again in the second half, with Burton forced into a good save from Ricketts (although the shot was probably drifting wide), two minutes after the restart.

A Jones cross was met by Simpson a minute later, but the forward seemed to shy away from heading the ball properly, as he was possibly worried by clashing with Burton, and the ball floated just over.

With an hour played, Haswell got forward on the left for Shortwood, and his cross found Freeman, but his improvised header bounced just wide.

Five minutes later, Shortwood scored with the only real chance they created; a fine switch from Kibble was met by Humphreys behind the Mangotsfield defence, and he guided a rebound into an empty net after his first shot was saved by the onrushing Dorrington.

Five minutes from full-time, Mangotsfield substitute Simon Gilbert and Thwaite had a coming together after the ball had gone out for a throw-in, which prompted almost every outfield player to run over and involve themselves in the resulting fracas. This resulted in straight red cards for Gilbert, Thwaite and Kibble, but Mangotsfield were unable to take advantage of their extra man in the final moments, and Shortwood held out for a needed, but perhaps not entirely deserved, win.

SHORTWOOD: George Burton, Ashley Davies (Joe Noakes 55’), Ryan Thwaite, Tristan Haswell, Alex Kibble, Joe White (Samyan Ismail 80’) Nick Humphreys, Bakare Aliu, Jack Freeman, Liam Meredith, Jordan Morris (Will Hawes 89).

Attendance: 83