UHL Hellenic League

Shortwood United 3

Moreton Rangers 1

Shortwood were relatively comfortable victors over Moreton Rangers on Saturday, with the combination play between the returning Josh Beadle, named man-of-the-match, Joe Wilton, and Max Harper-Emerson down the Shortwood left proving particularly effective, writes Harry Ash.

Shortwood took some time to settle, and Adam Clark was called into early action to clear a ball played through towards Dougie Wallace in order to prevent a one-on-one. Wood’s first real chance arrived in the sixteenth minute. It came, not for the last time, from a brilliant piece of play by Joe Wilton, cutting inside before switching play with the outside of his right boot. Rendijs Kalnins found himself in behind Moreton’s defence, but couldn’t beat Ollie Curill from a tight angle. Two minutes later, Moreton responded by creating a considerably better chance. Wallace’s low cross from the right was missed by Josh Kerr, but Javan Nurse didn’t get hold of his finish from ten yards out, allowing Clark to gather easily.

The pressure from the hosts grew ever greater as the half wore on. Only Moreton’s heroic defending prevented Wood from opening the scoring, with first Harry Smith intercepting Wilton’s cross to prevent a Luke Soule tap-in, before Hedley Smart produced an excellent sliding challenge to deny Soule a one-on-one with Curill. The goal finally came after thirty minutes. Unsurprisingly, the build-up came down Wood’s left-hand side; Harper-Emerson found Beadle in a pocket of space, before he turned and slid a through ball into the path of Wilton, who bent a first-time cross into Soule for an easy finish. It took just six further minutes before Harper-Emerson made it 2-0. Beadle once again threaded a pass into Wilton, who squared for Harper-Emerson, before, having beaten a Moreton defender, he curled a delicious shot into the bottom right-hand corner.

The chances continued to flow for both sides in the second half. Shortwood should have had a third fifteen minutes after the restart, with two good chances missed in the space of four minutes. A bad mistake by Smith released Soule in behind the Moreton defence, but Curill stuck out his right foot to save, before a brilliant drop kick by Clark set Wilton free, but he mis-kicked his attempted lob of Curill and the keeper was able to gather. These two chances were swiftly forgotten a few moments later, though, as Beadle and Wilton once again combined, before the latter set off on a mesmerising run towards goal, rounding it off by clipping a shot into the top right-hand corner.

Shortwood had to do their fair share of last ditch defending in the second period, with both Kerr and Tom Hoskins blocking point blank efforts by Nurse. Moreton made it 3-1 with fifteen minutes to play, Josh Burford bundling in the rebound after Clark saved an effort by Tom Newbould. Had Adam Shipman’s header found the net, instead of clattering the crossbar, the game would have had a tense conclusion, but Wood maintained their two goal margin of victory, thanks in no small part to the combination play and interchange between Beadle, Wilton and Harper-Emerson.

Shortwood: Adam Clark, Ben Langworthy (Jacob Waddington 78’), Max Harper-Emerson, Tom Hoskins (C), Josh Kerr, Guy Halliday, Rendijs Kalnins (Kenneth Mills 62’), Ben Snook (Tom Black 74’), Luke Soule, Josh Beadle, Joe Wilton