Late heartbreak for first team
By Chris Burnett
Injury time winner sees United miss out on semi final
Woodley made the trip to Buckinghamshire for their Bluefin Sports (UHL) Supplementary Cup quarter final on a very windy Saturday mid-March afternoon.
With the wind behind them and kicking down the slope, United started the brighter of the two sides. Midfielder Ben Clark tested Steve Kirkland in the Stokenchurch goal from just outside the box before Leon Mannion volleyed over.
The weather was seriously affecting the ball’s flight, with balls played from Woodley’s half catching in the wind and being carried crazy distances. A free kick in the United box seventeen minutes in saw Max Laschok gain possession on the right wing; cutting into the box and evading several challenges, the forward curled an unstoppable shot into the top left corner. A moment of real quality in a game where both teams struggled to play.
Ninety seconds after the goal, Laschok was denied a second when his powerful shot from the right of the box was well saved by Kirkland at the near post.
Midway through the half, Laschok rounded Kirkland who was way off his line but couldn’t get control of the ball with Mannion waiting for a cross at the back post.
The hosts levelled the scoreline on the half hour after Woodley failed multiple times to clear a right wing cross allowing Jack Blesson to prod past Tom Bryant from six yards.
United responded well with Kirkland pulling off a fantastic stop to keep out a low Mannion effort destined for the left corner. The resultant Chace Jewell corner was headed onto Clark who missed to the right.
In added time Stokenchurch came within inches of going into the break ahead when Connor Carney’s shot from the right of the box crashed against the underside of the crossbar.
HT Stokenchurch 1-1 Woodley United
Woodley changed from 3-5-2 to 4-3-3 at the start of the second half with Laschok and Jewell either side of Mannion. The three centre midfielders remained the same, with Pele Hagger moving from centre back to left back and captain Teddy Thomas dropping from wing back to an orthodox right back. Joe Sissons and Harry Swabey were the two centre halfs.
Despite kicking into the wind, United were still on top. A deep Hagger cross picked out Laschok who missed the target whilst Jewell had a powerful drive blocked after being set up by Mannion.
Mannion again turned provider when he squared to Laschok; unfortunately, the ball bobbled up allowing Kirkland the split second to challenge for the ball which a defender ended up clearing. The away side continued to press; Mannion missed the target after a Jewell pass down the line.
With seventeen minutes to go, Woodley made a change when Toby Briggs replaced Mannion. As the match entered the final fifteen minutes, rain started to fall and the wind remained just as strong. A second change was made on eighty minutes; Adam Barnard made way for Richard Thomas who took over from Barnard just in front of the back four.
A minute from time some good play by Hagger saw him turn his man and pick out Laschok. With just Kirkland to beat, the United man was again denied by a good save.
In injury time Woodley thought they had won it when Jewell tapped home, however the goal was ruled out for a handball in the build-up.
From the free kick that followed a long ball was launched forward. Misjudging the flight, Hagger gave possession to Blesson who put his team through when he rolled past the advancing Bryant.
FT Stokenchurch 2-1 Woodley United