Shortwood United 5 Tuffley Rovers 0 – FA Vase 1st Qualifying round

Relative to the opposition, Shortwood’s emphatic win over Hellenic Premier League side Tuffley Rovers has to rank as one of their best performances in years, and it takes Wood through to the second qualifying round of the FA Vase, where they will visit Fairford Town on 14th September, writes Harry Ash.

Shortwood made it 1-0 after fourteen minutes, with the irrepressible Lee Bowles clipping a pass in behind the Tuffley defence for Joe Wilton to run onto, before side-footing low past Alex Avenell. Tuffley’s first real chance came six minutes later, as Jacob Nowell was caught in possession on the edge of the penalty area, but the unmarked Dominik Kent was unable to guide his header on target, having met Jack Beardsell’s cross. Unfortunately for Wood, an injury to Wilton forced him off just a few minutes after he had opened the scoring. But his replacement, new signing Max Harper-Emerson, followed in Wilton’s footsteps quite literally with half-an-hour played, as he latched onto Guy Halliday’s through ball and showed great composure to take it round Avenell and tuck the ball home.

Although Tuffley offered a little more threat to the Shortwood goal in the second half, any hope they had of a comeback was muted by three Wood goals in just ten minutes, including two within a minute for Bowles. That Tuffley threat produced a chance two minutes after the restart when Brett James’ long shot was parried into the path of Lewis Bainbridge, but Adam Clarke recovered well to smother his shot at the near post. Tuffley had another chance to halve the deficit 55 minutes in, as Ross Langworthy’s cross was headed across the face of goal by James, but despite Kent’s best efforts he was unable to connect.

Shortwood’s flurry of attacks began when Luke Soule, breaking into the box, was denied by the right boot of Avenell. A minute later, with just over thirty to play, Tom Hoskins scored Shortwood’s third. A Bowles corner was worked back out to him by Hoskins, before Bowles pulled the ball back for the defender just inside the box, allowing him to place a shot into the top left-hand corner. Two minutes later, Soule was released again, this time after a slip by Sam Hill, but Soule, bearing down on goal, fired wide of the right-hand post.

Bowles capped an excellent personal performance by adding to his two assists with two goals of his own. His first, and Shortwood’s fourth, came when Nowell, having charged down the left wing, squared to Soule, who found Bowles to his right. Predictably, Bowles then cut inside onto his left foot before firing a slightly deflected shot into the top corner. A minute later, a sharp one-two between Bowles and Tom Black released the former, who again cut inside from the right, before this time finding the bottom right-hand corner, making it 5-0 before the seventieth minute.

With the game won, Black and Bowles were withdrawn shortly after the fifth and final goal, with a testing fixture to come next Saturday, when Wood host Malvern Town.

Shortwood:Adam Clarke, Ben Langworthy, Jacob Nowell, Tom Hoskins, Joe Tryner (C), Ben Snook, Joe Wilton (Max Harper-Emerson 19’), Guy Halliday, Luke Soule, Tom Black (Finn Byrnes 71’), Lee Bowles (Finn Blythe 71’)