Shortwood’s challenging start to their league season continued as they were pumped 5-1 at home to Clanfield 85, writes Harry Ash.
Before a ball was kicked in anger, boss Matt Blythe was forced into a number of changes and then lost Chalmers Phin after only 28 minutes and midfield lynchpin Lee Bowles at half-time.
Shortwood had a taste of what was to come inside ten minutes, as Isaac Oliver found space on the left, but his cross was ballooned over the bar by the opposite winger, Jamie Wyatt.
Shortwood created a few half chances throughout the first half, with Bowles and Josh Beadle acting as the creative hub. Bowles could only find the gloves of Luke Haley after Charlie Hobbs’ cut back, before Bowles’ corner was fractionally too high for an unmarked Luke Soule.
Despite the threat Shortwood offered, Clanfield took the lead after fifteen minutes. Beadle’s back pass wrong-footed keeper Curtis Walker, who handled, but only presented the ball to Kyle Chester, who tapped into the empty net. Just before half-time, Oliver, the outstanding player on the pitch, crossed once again for Wyatt, who this time finished coolly to make it 0-2.
Shortwood’s attacking play was greatly diminished in the second half after the departure of Bowles at half-time, and this combined with Oliver turning the screw made for a very difficult half.
A misplaced pass by Declan Earwaker gave Oliver the chance to burst in behind the defence and slot the ball into the bottom corner, ten minutes after the restart. Oliver scored his second and Clanfield’s fourth fifteen minutes later, driving down the line this time before finishing into the far corner. He completed his hat-trick with an accurate header following Rory Linford-Pill’s cross from the right.
Shortwood did create a few more chances, Soule being unable to beat the onrushing Haley after Minola Marquez’s through ball, before Beadle hit the crossbar with a strike from distance. Eventually, a consolation was found, with Beadle crossing for Soule to volley in at the far post.
Shortwood: Curtis Walker, Max Harper-Emerson, Alex Barrett, Declan Earwaker (Jacob Waddington 60’), Joe Tryner (C), Fin Byrnes, Chalmers Phin (Minola Marquez 28’), Lee Bowles (Kieran Marks 46’), Luke Soule, Josh Beadle, Charlie Hobbs
Clanfield 85: Luke Haley, Craig Connor (Ben Weller 77’), Ryan Moore, Rory Linford-Pill, Josh Gibbens (C), Cameron Pirie, Jamie Wyatt, Josh Grant, Kyle Chester (Frankie Cato 66’), Jozef Fullerton, Isaac Oliver (Kieran Day 77’)