Holyport get the better of United for the third time this season
By Chris Burnett
Defeat leaves Woodley on the brink of exiting Subsidary Cup in group stage
United’s unbeaten run came to an end on a bitterly cold Monday evening. Making seven changes from the side that beat Wokingham at the weekend, Woodley fell behind in the fifth minute when Fabian Driffill showed good composure in the box before placing a shot into the left corner.
Three minutes later the game was all square when Toby Briggs got his second of the season. The move was started when wing backs Chace Jewell and Freddie Barron combined. The latter’s ball in from the right wasn’t cleared and broke to Harry Hawkins; the midfielder then set up Briggs who beat Holyport stopper Jake Quelch with a well-taken shot into the corner.
Moments later United came within inches of going ahead due to some individual brilliance from Leon Mannion. Receiving the ball out on the wing he bought the ball down well before smashing against the cross bar from the left.
The game then entered a quiet spell, played mainly in midfield with neither team able to create anything of note.
Holyport had a couple of set pieces that came to nothing half an hour in whilst Driffill had a shot blocked.
Five minutes before the break saw the away side retake the lead when Lee Ovens headed in from close range after Woodley keeper Tom Bryant parried out a shot from the left.
The hosts were struggling to link midfield and attack; the best they could muster was a shot from the right that was blocked.
HT Woodley United 1-2 Holyport
United started the second period well. Mannion put wide a difficult chance on the half volley before a fantastic ball from Jewell had Quelch scrambling across his six-yard box to punch clear.
With Woodley throwing men forward, Holyport hit them on the counter attack. A good run by the impressive Driffill, who was the difference between the two sides, saw him beat Bryant with a clinical finish into the right corner from twenty two yards.
Just before the hour United made their first change when Liam Wilson came on for Jewell.
Holyport then had a couple of chances to go further ahead. Alan Akerman had his shot blocked after a good run into the box; the ball broke to Nathan Shamuyarira who missed the target. This was followed up with Steve Deverall unable to test Bryant after finding himself free at the back post from a right wing cross.
Woodley made their second change on sixty two minutes when Max Laschok replaced Luke Axton-Hall who limped off. This saw Ryan Alexander drop into a back three, Briggs play in a deeper role and Laschok join Mannion up top.
The home side had their best spell of the game with twenty five minutes to go. Mannion headed wide a Barron corner, Alexander saw his shot blocked whilst Mannion fired a free kick into the wall. The ball broke back to the forward who missed to the right.
A final change was made with thirteen to go when Briggs made way for Andrew Gilbert who slotted in at right wing back with Barron moving into a central role.
As the match entered the final ten minutes, Bryant pulled off the save of the game diving to his right to thwart Holyport right back Matt Ensby.
United gave themselves a chance to set up a grand stand finish on eighty five minutes when Mannion got a deserved goal. Receiving a Wilson pass he showed good tenacity to hold off several challenges before beating Quelch.
Unfortunately, two minutes later the visitors restored their two goal lead courtesy of a scrappy goal. With the defence failing to clear after Bryant had saved the first shot, the ball was smashed home by Akerman.
Woodley fought till the end. Wilson had a shot from the left blocked by a defender. The following corner was gathered by Quelch on the goal line before Harry Hawkins had a header saved after a good delivery from Gilbert.
FT Woodley United 2-4 Holyport