UHL Hellenic League
FC Stratford 3 Shortwood 2
Having played some impressive football and scored 11 goals in their last two matches, third-place Shortwood surrendered a 2-0 lead at the break to return home pointless, writes Jim Cunneen.
Ian Soule’s side took the lead after 16 minutes. Keeper Monaghan inexplicably passed the ball straight to Nathan Payne 25 yards out and the Wood man wasted no time in stroking it into the net. It was 2-0 just minutes later. Earle was fouled wide right and Payne lofted the free kick to Tunnicliff at the far post. His trademark bullet header was going wide but home player Hodson sliced the ball into his own net.
Byrnes then tried his luck with a cheeky chip from 40 yards but Monaghan got back to take it just under his bar. The keeper then saved from Payne and Earle
while Collins hit a shot high over the bar for the hosts.
Stratford looked dangerous going forward and it took a superb block from Marks to deny Collins. Poulson then headed a golden chance for the hosts badly wide before the break.
The second half belonged to Stratford. Wood suffered a blow just 4 minutes in when they lost Byrnes after a poor challenge that left him limping from the fray and Stratford turned up the pressure.
Isihei headed against the bar and Wood really struggled to retain possession.
Wood then lost Gilson – Clarke with a dead leg. A goal had to come and Stratford finally scored the goal they deserved after 70 minutes – Chaundy scoring with a low shot from 20 yards.
The pressure continued to mount. Harmer missed a sitter from 6 yards and
with 90 minutes on the clock, a low cross found Miles who slammed the ball into the roof of the net.
Still, Stratford kept coming and deep into added time Wood failed to deal with an attack and when the ball came into the box Ben Cook scored from close range to give the hosts the points.
Wood are on their travels again next week when they go to Bourton Rovers and will welcome back Luke Soule and Nathan Marks.
Meanwhile, the Reserves came back from 0-2 down against Fairford Reserves in the League Cup to draw 2- 2 with goals from Harvey Nightingale and Alfie Bradshaw. Stand-in keeper Ash Peyton then saved 3 penalties in the shoot-out. as Wood went through to the next round.
Shortwood: Muir, Kieran Marks, Barrett, Tunnicliff, Tryner, Byrnes (Tosdevine 49), Payne, Pepa (Campbell 81), Gilson – Clarke (Eakers 65), Rhodes, Earle