Shortwood United 1
Bishop's Cleeve 0
A nervous performance from Shortwood United saw the Calor League Division One South and West play-off pushers edge to a single-goal victory against county rivals Bishop’s Cleeve.
Duncan Culley’s 37th goal of the season proved enough for the Meadowbank men, who are left hanging on to the final play-off position with two games of the season remaining.
As typical of a derby game, the first half was far from an easy game for either side to control. Wood enjoyed the lion’s share of possession but struggled to find a way to break through the resolute Cleeve defence.
Neither side was able to muster a single attempt on goal in the first quarter of an hour, before Jake Lee headed over for the visitors.
Adam Price forced Jamie Moore into his first save shortly afterwards before former Cleeve man Sam Avery saw his header missed by the entire Cleeve back line before rebounding to safety off the far post.
Wood got the goal that their dominance of possession probably deserved in the third minute of added time in the first half as Ash Thomas’ ball found Culley in the box and he shot across Moore from an angle and the ball nestled into the net off the post.
Buoyed by the goal, Shortwood were a much-improved side in the second half. Moore denied Price after good work from Nick Hancock had set the former Brismscombe and Thrupp man free.
Culley was twice inches away from doubling his and Wood’s tally and Avery’s rampaging run down the left ended with a cross that was just too high for the advancing forwards.
An offside flag denied Culley a second just after the hour mark, with the Meadowbank faithful left unhappy at what they thought was a bad call.
Bishop’s Cleeve still struggled to make any impression on the Wood defence and Wood continued to press forward.
Avery again made a good run and shot across goal, Price forced Moore into another good save and Marc Richards drove narrowly wide, but the game ended without either side further troubling the scorers.
The win left Shortwood in fifth place in the division and in the final play-off place ahead of today’s trip to title-chasing Cirencester Town.
Paulton Rovers, who claimed a last-gasp 3-2 victory at Evesham United on Saturday, are level on points with Wood but outside the play-off places due to having an inferior goal difference to the Meadowbank men.
Shortwood United: T King, S Avery, M Bennett, A Thomas, J Coates, M Richards, N Hancock, J Parrott, R Langworthy (K Slack 62), A Price, D Culley. Subs not used: J Cant, A Sykes, A Hoskins.
Bishop’s Cleeve: J Moore, S Rawlings, A Palmer, R Paddock, M Williams, L Sheehan, B Robinson, J Turley, J Lee, S Turl, D Waters. Sub: L Binns.