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April 6

uhlsport football kitPremier Division 

Wantage Town 3 Virginia Water 1 (away view)
A makeshift Virginia Water side travelled to title favourites, Wantage Town, and despite being competitive for much of the game, came away with a loss.

Waters got off to a poor start, and fell behind to a sloppy goal, failing to clear a cross that bobbled around in the box for a while, before their striker hit home. Then soon after Steve Robertson for the hosts produced a great goal, as he swivelled and shot into the top corner, giving Matt no chance in goal. In between, VW had a couple of good chances, with Maciej Tajs forcing Town’s keeper into a couple of great saves.

At 2-0 down at the break, VW needed to pick up the tempo and get something from the second half, which they duly did! Forced into a change and some positional, VW clawed their way back into the game, when Maciej scored on 63 minutes, and then for a period the visitors were on the front foot.

The oppositions keeper probably should have seen red for pushing Adam McNamara in the face, but got away with a yellow instead. ThenVW created a glorious chance to equalise, but Joe McBride saw his cross shot drift wide with the keeper to beat.

The Alfredian’s went up the pitch, and scrambled in a killer third goal, which apart from a couple of good saves by Matt in the VW goal, and some shots from distance by the excellent Liam Whyte, this was pretty much the last action parts of the match.

Division One East

Didcot Town Development 1 Burnham 0
Didcot thwarted Burnham’s attempt to secure the Uhlsport Hellenic League Division One East title at Loop Meadow Stadium by taking all three points in a closely contested but always engaging match.

Both teams had personnel missing with Didcot making three enforced changes from Tuesday nights win against Woodley. Burnham started brighter and a shot was deflected for a fruitless corner. Didcot’s attempts to create chances were being met by resistance and fouls started to pile up from Burnham that would catch up with them later in the game. Oliver Harris did find some space for Burnham but he shot straight at Didcot goalkeeper Sam Baldock. Harry Moreton dribbled past two Burnham midfielders but could not quite put Daryl Harris through on goal.

  Didcot’s Keiran Davies scored on 34 minutes • Image courtesy of Roger Neal @rogredhat  

Burnham’s frustration was boiling over and the half finished with three bookings in quick succession • Image courtesy of Roger Neal @rogredhatThe pattern was set for some excellent defending by Didcot who competed well all over the park. Keiran Davies had an overhead kick attempt that failed to trouble Burnham keeper Jack Baldwin. Clear chances were few and far between however Didcot carved out an excellent chance when a lovely deep free kick was headed across goal by Ross MacDonald to the waiting Davies who easily shot home from close range to give the Railwaymen the lead in 34 minutes. Burnham’s frustration was boiling over and the half finished with three bookings in quick succession for them as half time came with Didcot holding the lead.

No doubt Burnham were read the riot act at half time but within two minutes they should have been two down when an excellent cross from MacDonald found Davies between the centre backs and his placed header was well saved by keeper Baldwin. The rebound found Daryl Harris for Didcot whose shot was also saved by Baldwin in goal. Burnham however did step up their play and on the hour mark hit the crossbar from a free kick when most were expecting a cross. Five minutes later and a Burnham shot from outside the box also hit the top of the bar. The game was highly competitive and two players from each team went in to the referees book as Burnham tried to find a way through.

The last ten minutes had the away team mounting a period of sustained pressure but Didcot seemed to have a player to block or intercept at the right moment no matter what Burnham tried, although Oliver Harris did shoot over the bar at one point. Frustration did get the better of Harris when he was given a second yellow in the last minute. Didcot persisted and although the referee found 8 minutes of injury time from somewhere they were jubilant to hear the final whistle.

A top battling performance from the home team who dealt with everything Burnham threw at them and set the away team some problems of their own. Burnham must wait till next Saturday to garner at least on point from their last game of the season.

Holyport 2 Wallingford Town 0 ( Arthur Strand Independent Report)
Nearing the end of the season, the two mid-table teams met at Summerleaze last Saturday with the visitors taking the initiative but the early effort disappeared over Jake Quelch's crossbar. Wallingford continued to make approaches from both flanks but the third came to an abrupt standstill for offside. Holyport then countered when Sam Whitfield took a low shot from the edge of the Wallingford penalty area but this rebounded back out again. There was another move from which Ashley Searle attempted to hit the target Holyport defenders blocked and lost the ball because of a free kick to the hosts. Ben Taylor took the ball long the right flank but was beaten off by Josh Masters. Possession by Holyport took the ball into Wallingford's zone but the ball was cleared back to the other end. Fabian Driffell, after Holy[port swung the ball in the opposite direction made ground enough for Driffell to try an overhead kick. Under the first real pressure from Holyport, Wallingford's Ben Taylor hoofed the ball clear for a throw in near the halfway line.Holyport gained a corner but that was deflected out for another which was punched away by the keeper. Driffill took a shot which Vaughan tipped out for corner. Driffill kept up his one man sortie by returning time and again Even when Driffill and Hanscombe combined to create the first goal on 28 minutes, he was there again with a cross from the wing but the ball missed all in the crowded box. Wallingford ten worked the way back into the game and broke away but an injury to a Holyport player stopped proceedings for a couple of minutes then Quelch was forced to make a save. Vaughan then was called on to take a save from another Driffill long shot. Steve Deverrell was in a good position when Driffill supplied an accurate pass but he scooped the ball over the bar. The visitors conceded the ball because of a foul throw, very rare at this level of the game.

Back to work for the second session and Wallingford started as they did the start of the game attacking then, having lost and won back the ball, it was pumped upfield from which a corner kick was gained. Quelched punched the ball away and a breakaway gave Driffill a chance to chase the ball in through the gap between full backs but Vaughan saved the ball conceding a corner. Whitfield nodded the ball back to his keeper but his clearance found the ball back in his area and headed out with another Wallingford return as Quelch dealt with a good through ball. Williams then took a free kick hoiked long high upfield gave Richard Jones a chance to catch up with the ball but Peter Hyndmark cleared Holyport's lines. After Rio Burgoyne took a long throw.but Lewis Lapam screwed his shot badly. Holyport then moved upfield and a long shot by Driffill by-passed the keeper, Vaughan, into the back of the net on 68 minutes to top up the scoreline. Charlie Silkstone struck the ball over Holyport's bar, then Luke Williams low curler landed safely with Quelch. Wallingford were not done yet and Lapam took a free kick near the corner flag but the ball was claimed by Quelch. Sam Whitfield tried but missed and then Wallingford had a final couple of goes at goal before the full time. 3 points to Wallingford and no yellow cards! A good game played in a good spirit.
Holyport: Quelch,(GK), Ensby, Masters, Deverell, Hyndman, De Franco, (c) Whitfield, Woodhouse, Driffell, Hanscombe, Bradley. Subs: Ovens, Rapley, Harrison, Wilson, Akerman.
Wallingford: Vaughan, (GK), Taylor, Jones, E.Atkinson, Burgoyne, Walker, (c), Williams, L.Atkinson, Silkstone, Lapam, Searle. Subs: Carrigan, Baptiste, Mills, Stewart.

One West

Clanfield 85 2 Almondsbury 2 
Clanfield and Almondsbury shared the spoils in a 2-2 draw, a result which keeps Clanfield in 6th and Almondsbury in 7th.  The home team made three changes to the starting line-up from their last competitive fixture, a league cup tie with Burnham three weeks ago with James Domm, Chris Blakeley and Craig Connor coming in for Luke Haley, Matt Knapton and Jaden Mole. 

The home team started brightly with Jordi Mulvany having a shot saved and Jozef Fullerton also came close. The visitors were reduced to 10 men when their captain Ashley Knight was shown a straight red for a challenge. Such challenges are sometimes deemed yellow card offences, but in the last month I have seen three similar instances where a red card was issued.  Clanfield took the lead in the 25th minute when Jordi Mulvany scored with a well executed lob. After the goal Clanfield attacked in search of a second goal and looked the more dangerous side in attack, but as the half progressed Almondsbury came more into the game and Josh Gibbens had to make a couple of important blocks to keep them out. Shortly before half time Geriant Jones scored with an excellent strike which flew into the net. 

In the second half it was Almondsbury's turn to start brightly and they certainly enjoyed the greater share of possession despite being a man down and it was really against the run of play when Clanfield were awarded a penalty for a foul on Josh Gibbens was fouled and Fullerton converted the resulting penalty. It was hoped that from a Clanfield perspective that this would settle them down and they would consolidate their leads, but shortly afterwards Alex Bisp scored with a spectacular overhead kick.  After the goal Almondsbury looked the more likely team to score with James Domm made a good save from Bisp and Bisp and Jones both came close to scoring their second goals of the afternoon. The Clanfield defence had to be kept on their toes as the visitors also forced several corners and had a couple of free kicks in dangerous positions, although Clanfield themselves did have their attacking moments in the remainder of the half although the Almondsbury goalkeeper was not tested much. 

The referee also ordered two people from the visitors dugout and in what was apparently his first match as a referee at this level one can debate how much control he had of the game, but I personally would much rather dwell on the fact that all three goals scored in open play were excellent goals and that with two draws in the two games between the teams they appear to bew evenly matched.

Malmesbury 2 Easington 0
Sports were left to rue early missed chances in this top of the table clash against Malmesbury Victoria. Joe Eyre and Joe Coleman both had difficult chances to take the lead but then Jamie Packer scored for the free scoring home side to give them the lead. 

At times Easington struggled to compete with the physical presence of the Wiltshire side but a much improved second half performance brought Sports back into the game. Owen James had a clear one on one chance which he shot straight at the keeper which might have changed the game. However, Sports lacked that bit of quality in the final third to breakdown the Malmesbury defence. With Sports pushing for an equaliser, the Vics eventually scored a crucial second goal that sealed all three points. Winning the ball back high up the pitch left the Easington defence exposed to the counter attack and Jamie Packer was on hand to take advantage and to double the lead in the final stages of the game. 

The defeat now brings others back into contention and so Sports will need to step things up again at the weekend when they play at home against Almondsbury. 

Before this game Sports take on Malmesbury Vics again! This time the game is at home on Tuesday night in the Semi final of the Subsidiary Cup 7.30pm kick off. Easington will be looking to put in an improved performance ahead of the two title deciding matches that follow.  

Thornbury Town 1 Kidlington Development 2 (away view)
In Uhlsport Hellenic Division One West, Kidlington Development have beaten title chasers twice in 4 days.On Wednesday of last week they comfortably dispatched Cheltenham Saracens by 6 goals to 1 and on Saturday they travelled to Thornbury Town who also have aspirations of winning the league and deservedly came away 2-1 victors. The greens started well and after 10 minutes Aaron Morton slid home a great finish after a slick move. They held this lead until deep into the second half when Thornbury were awarded a penalty which was stroked home by Craig Lancastle. The match ebbed and flowed and the outcome was in doubt, both sides looked like they could win. Then a clumsy challenge from Thornbury’s goalkeeper meant a penalty to the Greens. Up stepped Callum Rice and it brought a fantastic save from stand in goalie Brandan Benjamin. This looked like the last opportunity of the match but the greens were awarded another penalty on 87 minutes for a foul on Jordan Parker. The confident Parker dusted himself down and steered his spot kick into the corner of the net. Played in front of a good home crowd this was a memorable victory for the Greens. 

Next up is an OFA Intermediate cup Final at Oxford City FC on Saturday night (6.30pm) kick off versus North Berks outfit Watlington Town. 



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