v Newent Town (Wiseman Lighting Floodlit Cup – 13 Sept 2022)




(ATT: 65)

Veteran striker Shayne Bradley rolled back the years to score a brace of goals, the second a sensational volleyed effort that secured a Wiseman Lighting cup win for Tuffley Rovers over their hosts Newent Town.

Bradley was one of three players making their first start of the season, with Ghanaian defender Paul Azubilla offered a full debut and midfielder Liam Smith fit to take his place in a competitive midfield after several substitute appearances. They were joined in a much changed starting line-up by Luke Hawkins, a former Newent Town player, and Kieran Squires, who was returning after a spell out due to injury and suspension. Dan Lander also returned to the starting eleven after missing three games with a chipped bone in his ankle.

As it was, neither Squires nor Lander would complete the evening’s proceedings, as both picked up injuries that returned them to the treatment room, but by the time the first half had concluded the game had turned very much in Rovers’ favour.

Bradley scored his first of the evening in the 9th minute, bundling home Henry Birkett’s corner from close range. That should have been an advantage to soothe any nerves, given that Newent Town play one level below Rovers in the National League System, but by the 13th minute the hosts should have been level.

A penalty was the correct award after a foul in the box, but former Gloucester City and Hereford United player Tyler Weir’s penalty was well saved by Elliot Jones and the score remained in Rovers’ favour.

Neil Mustoe’s side were then very much on the front-foot and might have extended their lead before Bradley produced an emphatic finish to make it 2-0 after 25 minutes. Another Birkett corner was delivered deep to the far edge of the six-yard box and the veteran striker met it with a stunning volley that left the Newent Town keeper Kyran Edwards with little chance and his side two goals in deficit. That was how it stayed until the interval, despite further pressure from the visiting side.

Whatever the reasons, whether a raft of substitutions or the comfort of a two goal advantage, Rovers were a very different side in the second period and the frequent attacking play of the first half was replaced by stoic defending in the second. When Saul Thomas pulled a goal back in the 83rd minute it caused a few nerve ends to fray but Rovers survived any scares and booked a place in the next round of the Floodlit Cup, courtesy of a veteran striker’s continuing eye for goal.