Wood weather an early storm to claim derby day honours
Bishop's Cleeve 0
Shortwood United 2
SHORTWOOD United eased to victory in their first Gloucestershire derby of the season in a competitive but friendly clash of some old pals at Kayte Lane, writes James Young.
Six former Cleeve players lined up in the Shortwood starting XI and their familiarity in the surroundings was evident as the Southern League newcomers gained, what in the end was, a deserved victory.
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On a testing pitch, Wood edged it in possession but dominated in terms of chances created once they had weathered an early Cleeve storm.
Cleeve threatened first, with Jon Crowford flashing a shot just wide of the target after four minutes, before Wood striker Luke Gullick forced a sprawling block from James Nortei.
Mike Tambling was unfortunate to see his lob from a fine Lee Davis pass sail over the bar, while Cleeve skipper Michael Jackson saw his shot cleared off the line from a Will Gayton corner.
Jake Lee almost profited from a quickly-taken free-kick five minutes from the break, but after cutting inside on to his left foot, his weak shot forced former Villager Tom King in to a regulation save.
Two minutes later Wood produced the move of the match to take the lead.
James Baldwin switched the play from right to left and left-back Allton Axton powered forward and fed substitute Matt Bennett – on for injury victim John Cant – in space on the left flank.
Bennett's superb cross from the left was met by the head of Luke Gullick who gave Nortei no chance from eight yards.
Behind at the break, Cleeve did their best to force their way back into the game, but good chances were at a premium as Wood skipper Ashley Thomas commanded his back four.
Jackson's acrobatic volley flew wide after Sam Avery's knock down from a long free-kick found the former Cheltenham Town professional on the edge of the box.
But Wood were looking increasingly more dominant and after Cleeve had survived one scare after a goalmouth melee from a corner, the visitors made the game safe on 74 minutes.
Former Cleeve man Joey Tustain turned full back Sam Rawlings – playing his first game on loan from Gloucester City – and sent a superb cross over from the right flank.
Such was the quality of the cross, that substitute Ross Langworthy was presented with an easy headed finish to make the game safe for his side.
Victory offers the perfect preparation for John Evans' side for tomorrow's FA Trophy second qualifying round tie at Weymouth.
Bishop's Cleeve: J Nortei; A Hoyle, S Avery, J Lee, S Rawlings (M Davis 82); J Crowford (L Sankoh 67), M Jackson, L Davis, W Gayton; C Brown, M Tambling. Subs not used: M Rose, A Caldwell.
Shortwood United: T King; J Coates, A Thomas, M Pritchett, A Axton; J Parrott, J Baldwin; J Tustain (J Martin 81), T Haddock (R Langworthy 60), J Cant (M Bennett 21); L Gullick.
Referee: B Durie (Worcestershire).
Star man: James Baldwin.