Woodley win first Challenge Cup game in nearly four years
By Chris Burnett
Dominant display sees first team pick up first victory of season
United got their season up and running on a warm October afternoon; comfortably beating Hellenic Division One West Cirencester Town Development in the Bluefin Sports (UHL) Challenge Cup.
The opening ninety seconds saw Woodley debutant Tom Bryant keep out a close range Max Lloyd effort after a goalmouth scramble.
Seconds after the Cirencester chance, the hosts took the lead when Kai Parton-Edey found the left corner with a low right footed shot from the right of the box.
United were playing really well, looking dangerous in every attack. Full back Pele Hagger had a shot saved in the left corner, whilst a Parton-Edey drive from the edge of the box was kept out by Dan Gough.
The early pressure reaped dividends on eleven minutes when Parton-Edey got his second from close range after a Jon Malone header had hit the right post.
In his first appearance for Woodley, Pablo Fernandez was running the show in midfield. A nice through ball to Parton-Edey saw the striker pick out Chace Jewell who forced Gough into a good save following a flowing move.
Despite Cirencester offering little and most of the play at the other end of the pitch, Bryant showed good concentration to hold a Dan Roberts free kick.
Midway through the half, a massive kick from Bryant went straight though to Gough who appeared to carry the ball over his own line. However the goal wasn’t given. Gough’s last action before limping off injured was to tip a free kick round the post before a Fernandez half volley went wide.
The closest the away side got to pulling one back was when a Roberts shot from distance went narrowly over.
On forty five minutes United got a third when Malone headed in a Hagger free kick. The final chance of a half dominated by Woodley saw a Teddy Thomas strike brilliantly saved by new arrival Sam Ayres.
HT Woodley United 3-0 Cirencester Town Development
The hosts started the second period increasing their lead with the goal of the game. Thomas, who was captaining the side, placed an unsaveable shot into the far corner after cutting onto his left foot from the right side of the box.
Cirencester then had a shot from the edge of the box miss to the right whilst a Fernandez curling effort missed the target at the other end.
Just past the hour United make a change when Toby Briggs made way for Ryan Alexander.
On sixty five minutes Parton-Edey came agonisingly close to a hat-trick when he headed a pinpoint cross from Jewell against the bar.
The same two players then swapped roles with Parton-Edey turning provider. Playing Jewell in on the left, the winger badly mistimed his shot with just Ayres to beat.
With twenty minutes to go, Woodley made a further change when Harry Swabey replaced Jewell.
It was a comfortable afternoon for Bryant in the home goal. His first save of the half was a routine stop to keep out a weak Sam Walsh shot.
Despite Swabey only being on the pitch for a few minutes, he nearly got his name on the scoresheet with a header that was deflected wide for a corner. The resultant Hagger delivery was headed over by Alexander.
With the match entering the final ten minutes, United went looking for a fifth. A ball down the left found Malone who did well to maintain possession before testing Ayres with a low shot from inside the box. The ball rebounded to Fernandez who saw his well struck shot blocked.
The final chances of the game fell to Cirencester. A twenty five yard shot by Dan Wheeler was easily dealt with by Bryant before he was denied his clean sheet after being beaten by Josh Ukoha in injury time; showing good strength to hold off a challenge, the substitute finished well from the left side of the box.
Seconds after the visitors had got a consolation, the ref blew for full time. A great team performance from the boys who dominated the game from the moment they got an early goal.
FT Woodley United 4-1 Cirencester Town Development.