By Jim Cunneen
Shortwood United opened their Hellenic League Division One West season with a 1-0 victory over Clanfield 85 at a sun-kissed Meadowbank.
Jake Rhodes sealed the points for Ian Soule’s side, a minute after the start of the second-half, the former Bishop’s Cleeve striker nodding in on his debut from a Nathan Payne cross.
Earlier, Wood started nervously. However, they started to get a grip and after 15 minutes Kieran Marks set up Luke Soule but keeper Haley did well to block him.
Payne and Chris Earle were giving Clanfield real problems down the flanks and Rhodes headed straight at the keeper. For all that Clanfield looked dangerous on the break and Wood had to be alert. Debutant keeper Jacob Muir made one excellent save with his feet to deny Robinson.
Wood came out swinging after the break and took the lead sixty seconds after the restart. Marks and Payne combined down the left and Payne sent over a great cross for Rhodes to send an unstoppable header past Haley.
Muir made a fine save from a deflected shot to preserve Wood’s lead and the game began to get tetchy with yellow cards for both sides.
Wood then had two chances in a minute. Chris Earle found himself in space and although Haley saved his first effort the Wood man should have knocked home the rebound and not hit it wide. Another Payne cross was just too high for Rhodes, at full stretch, to get his shot on target.
After 83 minutes Robinson rattled the Wood bar and they then survived a massive goalmouth scramble before Joe Tryner cleared.
With time almost up Haley saved from Joe Wilton and Keegan Bowes had a goal ruled out for offside which much have been marginal at best.
Shortwood: Jacob Muir, Louis Peyton (Louis Tosdevine 73), Kieran Marks (Max Harper Emerson 60) Fin Byrnes (Joe Wilton 85), Joe Tryner, Ben Tunnicliff, Nathan Payne (Keegan Bowes 77), Orgest Pepa, Luke Soule (Lennon Lewis 89) Jake Rhodes, Chris Earle
Star Player: Jake Rhodes
Pictures by Matt Bigwood