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Shortwood left bruised by nine-man Hartpury

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Shortwood boss Dan Gillespie suggested university football side Hartpury should take up another sporting activity after a bruising Hellenic League Division One West encounter at Meadowbank.

Hartpury were reduced to nine men after two straight red cards in the second half for Joshua Roney and Luca Robinson, but the university side came away from Nailsworth with an opening day 2-0 victory thanks to first-half strikes from Ben Baxter and King Baidoo.

Wood had an opportunity to find a way back into the game, but Ryan Dobbins saw his penalty on the cusp of the break saved by Stephen Sarkodie.

Gillespie said: “They (Hartpury) could possibly introduce an MMA scholarship.

“It wasn’t exactly a pleasant game, Hartpury made two horrific fouls in the second half which resulted in two red cards, although that was probably too late in the game to really make an impact.”

Tipped for the title after finishing second last season, Gillespie knew Hartpury would prove a touch nut to crack against a Shortwood side dishing out eleven debuts: “It was always going to be a tough test, we’d picked up a few injuries and availabilities, but we’re really stretched early on in the game when defender Kieron Mace took an elbow and was left with an open wound and had to be replaced. That forced us to switch attacking player Essa Sabally into a defensive role. I think that challenge should have been a red card and that would most likely have impacted the game at 1-0.

Despite the setbacks, Gillespie felt his side failed to lay a glove on Hartpury: “We didn’t really threaten Hartpury in truth. We missed a penalty just before half-time, that again perhaps could have set us up nicely going into the second half.”

Gillespie feels his side will shine this season: “I’m not down beat, Hartpury are the favourites to win the league, it’s only the first game of a long season and we believe we’ll do well this season.”

Shortwood: Thomas, Loveridge, Royer, Byrnes, Tryner, Mace, (Sabally 16), Molyneux (Smith 80), Kent, Dobbins, Price (Bowes 54), Gayner, (Sluman 56)

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