Shortwood United 1 Bourton Rovers 0 – UHL Hellenic League

A fortuitous, but fully merited based on the balance of play, goal gave Shortwood an important win against a struggling Bourton Rovers side, with the weather conditions and pitch surface making the game close to unplayable in the second half, writes Harry Ash.

Shortwood started the game very promisingly, creating their first chance within a minute. A one-two between Josh Beadle and Luke Soule created space down the right, before Beadle switched the play to Kenneth Mills, who cut onto his right foot and curled an effort at goal, but it was comfortably saved by Simon Flower. A few minutes later, Mills slipped a pass into the path of Adam Philp, but he couldn’t connect properly with his left-footed shot and it was again easily gathered by Flower. Shortwood’s third chance came before the ten minute mark, with Beadle again causing problems down the right flank, but his deflected cross was sliced over the bar by Soule.

Following that early flurry of chances, the game entered a thirty minute lull, punctuated only by Jacob Nowell’s goal-line clearance to deny Bourton captain Danny Way, and, as Shortwood’s rotten luck with injuries continued, both Guy Halliday and keeper Alex Avenell having to be replaced in the thirty-forth minute.

There was still time for Shortwood to create two more chances before the break, with first Philp screwing a shot wide following substitute Harry Purnell’s cross, before a slick counter-attack from a Bourton corner culminated in Finn Byrnes’ reverse pass to Mills, but his first-time effort only found the side-netting.

As if the wind and playing surface were not difficult enough for both sides to deal with, the second half saw an onset of rain which caused almost unplayable conditions. Shortwood still managed to create some dangerous moments, though, with the best chance falling to Nowell in the seventy-first minute. An excellent set piece delivery from Beadle fell to the defender at the far post, but he volleyed over from five yards. A minute later, Byrnes, from range, forced Flower into an impressive fingertip save. The breakthrough eventually came with just over ten minutes to play. Beadle was once again involved, as his free kick deflected off the Bourton wall and ricocheted onto Nowell, who, despite knowing very little of it, watched the ball trickle into the bottom corner.

Bourton created two good chances of their own in the second half, including Jack Robson’s header from Way’s corner, which would have given the visitors the lead in the sixty-forth minute, had Adam Clark, on for the injured Avenell, not smartly saved down to his right. Bourton almost snatched an equaliser with just a few minutes to play, a searching ball from Mark Larner finding Connor Teague in behind the Shortwood defence, but, with Teague able to beat Clark to the ball, Rendijs Kalnins recovered well to rob the striker before he could finish into the open goal.


Alex Avenell (Adam Clark 34’), Ben Langworthy, Jacob Waddington (yellow card 90+4’), Finn Byrnes, Rendijs Kalnins, Jacob Nowell, Josh Beadle, Guy Halliday (C) (Harry Purnell 34’), Luke Soule, Adam Philp, Kenneth Mills (Aaron Lowe 76’)

Attendance: 74