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Boss Blythe rolls back the years in Shortwood win

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Shortwood boss Matt Blythe rolled back the years to score a 25-yard rocket to help his side post a 4-2 FA Vase victory over Combined Counties League outfit Cove in the first qualifying round.

Forced to don the boots, veteran Blythe fizzed a sumptuous volley from 25-yards to help Wood into the next round.

A delighted Blythe said: “I didn’t think I’d be playing in the FA Vase at 42, let alone scoring a 25-yard volley. 90 minutes in the tank and a great 4-2 win. We should have a few players back next week so I can get back in the dugout.”

Earlier, Wood gave debuts to keeper Alex Freeman and former Slimbridge and Cheltenham Saracens defender Ben Tunnicliff. Blythe also included reserve starlets Leonardo Russo and Billy Montague and welcomed back Jacob Nowell from injury.

Wood’s opener came after 14 minutes. Josh Beadle and Lee Bowles combined well before Bowles’ pinpoint cross was headed home by Luke Soule at the far post.

Wood scored their second on the cusp of halftime – and what a goal it was. A cross was cleared but only to Blythe 25 yards out who smacked his volley past the despairing dive of Atkinson. Blythe was instantly engulfed by his teammates who recognised the importance of the goal.

In the next round, Wood face a tough trip to Cribbs, who currently top the Hellenic Premier League.

Any fears Wood may have had about a Cove resurgence were soon put to rest after just two minutes of the restart when Beadle saw keeper Atkinson out of position and fired past him from 30 yards.

After 78 minutes Denyer fired home at the far post off the underside of the bar and just two minutes later Woods fired through a ruck of players into the corner to make the score 3-2 and set nerves a jangling. Anything other than a Wood win would have been an injustice and after 85 minutes Soule settled the affair. Russo put him in and Soule held off a defender, rounded Atkinson and fired home and put Wood through.

In the next round, Wood face a tough trip to Cribbs, who currently top the Hellenic Premier League.

Shortwood: Freeman, Tunnicliff (Montague,67), Barrett, Tryner, Nowell ( Russo, 67), Blythe, Marks, Beadle, Soule, Bowles, Chalmers

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