Toolstation Western League

Shortwood United 1

Buckland Athletic 1

SHORTWOOD earned a good point against sixth-placed Buckland to make it just one defeat in five games, writes Harry Ash.

Shortwood created the best openings of the first-half, and after just five minutes Rendijs Kalnins latched onto a long ball and lifted a shot over the advancing Kenny Griffiths, but former Forest Green defender Chris Todd was able to recover and clear off the line. Fifteen minutes later, a mistake by Matt Roberts allowed Levi Mathews to surge into the box and test Griffiths, before Lee Bowles’ eventual follow-up was blocked. The block itself provoked one of two strong Shortwood appeals for handball in the Buckland penalty area in the first half, but neither were considered by the referee.

Buckland asserted themselves in the closing twenty minutes of the half, pinning Shortwood back, but never looked likely to create a clear chance; Tony Radford forced a good save from Adam Clark with a fierce drive from range, before Jordan Ewing headed over from the resulting corner.

Buckland’s only clear chance of the game came within a few minutes of the restart, and Ryan Bush made it count, nodding in Ewing’s in-swinging cross. It was a very soft goal to concede, but Shortwood made the perfect response three minutes later, as Kalnins again beat Buckland’s defence to Marcus Bebbngton’s long ball, before bouncing an awkward finish past Griffiths. The action continued apace, as Lloyd Gardner tested Clark, who did well to save unorthodoxly with his knees, in the fifty-sixth minute, before, two minutes later, Kalnins charged down the ever-adventurous Griffiths’ clearance, but saw it bounce wide.

Buckland’s second half strategy very clearly revolved around Lloyd Gardner’s ability to beat Bebbington in one-on-one situations, and two low, hard Gardner crosses in the seventy-fourth and eighty-eighth minutes were very nearly finished by Bush and Radford respectively, but neither could make sufficient contact with the ball. Shortwood’s final chance came with eight minutes to play; Ben Langworthy played a through ball into Gael Basana, but, rushing a long way from his area, Griffiths smothered before Basana could shoot. Griffiths then recovered to tackle Taylor Marsh, and the chance was gone. The last ten minutes saw plenty of promising counter-attacking situations for Shortwood as Buckland pushed for a winner, but the lack of quality in the execution of the final pass meant that shooting chances were rarely created.

Aside from a twenty minute spell at the end of the first half, Shortwood more than held their own here, and judging by the quality of chances created, probably feel they could have won for the second time this season.

Shortwood: Adam Clark, Marcus Bebbington, Jacob Nowell, Tom Hoskins, Joe Tryner (C), Ben Langworthy, Lewis Bainbridge (Gael Basana 79’), Tom Leonard (Jack Gardner 72’), Rendijs Kalnins, Lee Bowles, Levi Mathews (Taylor Marsh 63’)