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Hellenic League round-up: Burnham keeper 'became a man' with penalty heroics against Slimbridge, says Shone

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George Roberts and Kieran Bell

georger@baylismedia.co.uk

Burnham FC

Burnham FC’s teenage debutant goalkeeper ‘became a man’ after his penalty shootout heroics in an FA Cup victory over Slimbridge AFC on Tuesday night.

Jimmy Barnett,17, made a crucial penalty shootout save at The Gore, seeing Burnham win 5-4 on penalties against a side in the division above when the match ended 1-1 after extra time.

Barnett came through the youth ranks with Luca Skivington, who died in a car accident last month, and boss Paul Shone was full of praise for his young keeper.

He said: “When you have a 17-year-old keeper making his debut, making a penalty save, I am over the moon for him.

“He was part of the youth team, he played with Luca, I am chuffed for him. He’s a great character, he’s got a very bright future ahead of him. He started well and became a man.”

Shone also reserved praise for 18-year-old striker Sam Coles, who netted the equaliser in extra time and scored the winning penalty.

He added: “He’s a great player. He was unlucky not to start on Tuesday night but I thought he was a bit leggy from Saturday and thought he would be better coming from the bench.

“Sometimes these decisions pay off and in this case he got the equaliser.”

After a rocky start to the season, Burnham earned their first league win against Flackwell Heath last week, and although they were knocked out of the FA Vase by Harborough Town on Saturday, Shone hopes his side’s second win in eight days will see them push on.

He said: “Obviously, with what’s happened in recent times at the club it's been difficult, but the boys have reacted fantastically. We are going to have blips and have ups and downs over the course of the season but we are starting to get a good understanding between the group.”

Burnham host Tiverton Town in the FA Cup on Saturday.

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Holyport FC

Holyport FC maintained their unbeaten start to the season with an entertaining 4-2 win at Milton United on Tuesday.

Two goals apiece from Sam Whitfield and Fabian Drifill means Derek Sweetman’s men have come from 2-0 down in successive matches, having fought back to win 3-2 in Sunday’s FA Vase victory over Unite MK.

Port sit pretty in the Hellenic One East Division with seven points from three games, and are enjoying progression in the cups.

Sweetman says he has ‘mixed feelings’ about the last two results.

“We are having to pull all the stops out to get back and win the game,” he said.

“We are not starting games quick enough, maybe it is a bit of complacency.”

The boss did praise his side’s never-say-die attitude to peg teams back.

He added: “It stems from the Chalvey Sports game really – we showed resilience in that game and that has carried on.

“I am chuffed with the resilience of the boys. We look dangerous going forward.

“We knew we had a good squad, we finished last season very well.

“To go five games without defeat is great and we are not in top gear yet. Hopefully we can carry on what we are doing.”

Sweetman has set his sights on the top four this season after Holyport’s impressive start, with the games coming thick and fast in the cups too.

“Everyone at this level wants to win the FA Vase. It is a money making process and from that point of view it is a win-win,” he said.

“From a fixture point of view it makes things a bit difficult. It is good to be involved in it, the lads would rather play than train.”

Holyport are next in action this Saturday when they travel to Kidlington Development in the league (3pm KO), before they host Wallingford Town in the Floodlit Cup on Tuesday (7.45pm KO).

Their next opponents in the FA Vase are Wellingborough Town, who they face on September 14 away from home.

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Marlow United FC

Marlow United managed to put a dent in Risborough Rangers perfect start to the campaign with a 1-1 draw on Tuesday night.

In a match when defences were on top for large periods neither side created a clear cut opportunity in the opening stages.

Rangers grabbed the lead in fortunate circumstances five minutes before the break when a corner pinged around in the Marlow area before cannoning off Rangers' Davis Haule and rebounding into the net.

Marlow piled on the pressure in the second half and it eventually paid off when Chris Hurst was brought down in the box for a penalty.  He got up and dusted himself down to put away the spot-kick, firing past keeper Jack Brooker.

The game swung back and forth in the closing stages as both teams went in search of a winner.

Marlow's centre half Tom Willment brought a stunning save from Brooker and Risborough's Sam Pekun nearly snatched a late winner when he volleyed wide from a late free-kick, but a point apiece was about right on the balance of play.

United, sixth in Hellenic League Division 1 East play at Thame Rangers on Saturday.

Marlow United have also received a £750 grant from the FA's 'Save the Game' fund.

Chairman Allan Turner said: "With the increased costs of running a grass roots football club it's good to see the Football Association is helping keep clubs like ours alive. This grant will help ensure that our club will continue to provide football for future seasons in Marlow."

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