Shortwood 3 Bourton Rovers 2
By Jim Cunneen
Shortwood United sub Max Brent stepped off the bench to score a dramatic stoppage-time winner against Hellenic League Division One West basement-boys Bourton Rovers.
There are times when you have to have sympathy for the opposition. Make no mistake Matt Blythe’s Shortwood created enough chances to win a month of fixtures but Bourton fought their way back into the game twice and deserve nothing but praise for their spirit and commitment. Hampered by unavailability issues they turned up with the bare 11 and could easily have been 5 down at the break.
Wood had the ball in the net after only 17 seconds when Lennon Lewis headed home a Fogg cross but Lewis was correctly ruled offside.
Rovers keeper Flower then made a fine save to tip over a 25-yard curler from Byrnes and that set the trend for the great majority of the first half. Urged on by man of the match Nathan Payne, whose running and distribution was excellent, Wood created and contrived to miss a myriad of chances. Gibbs was through one and one twice but shot too close. Hobbs fired wide, Lewis fired over and twice Flower denied Lewis with his feet. Ironically Rovers came the closest to scoring when Max Shepherd rattled the Wood bar after 29 minutes.
Wood started the second period in much the same vein but finally scored after 53 minutes. Lee Bowles sent over a corner and skipper Joe Tryner rose to send a fine header into the top corner. Gibbs fired wide and Galpin fired over for the visitors.
After 68 minutes Bowes shot and although Sims did well to parry Shepherd slammed the ball home to give Bourton parity.
Undeterred, Wood roared forward again. Bowles had a shot acrobatically cleared off the line and over the bar and Payne continued to be creative down the flank.
With 17 minutes to go, Fogg hurled a long throw into the box and amid the chaos, Tryner shot powerfully home to restore Wood’s lead. Flower denied Lewis twice and inspired Bourton started to look for a second equalizer.
After 90+2 minutes Rovers got a free kick on the half way line. Keeper Flower launched it into the box, Wood half cleared it to Hitchman who shot. Again Simms saved but Keegan Bowes netted the rebound and was immediately engulfed by his colleagues who thought they had got an unlikely point.
Almost straight from the kick-off Wood worked the ball down the right. Kyle Gibbs put a low cross into the box and young substitute Brent, who had only been on 4 minutes – and was making his debut, shot into the only part of the goal not covered. It was his turn to be buried under his joyful teammates while Bourton sank in understandable despair.
Shortwood: Sims, Peyton, Barrett, Hobbs (Tunnicliff 81), Fogg, Nowell, Tryner, Payne (Max Brent 86), Byrnes, Lewis, Bowles (Harper – Emerson 84), Gibbs