April 8 2017
Henley Town 0 Thame United 9
Thame United went in to the final game of the season level on points with Bracknell Town, but trailed the Berkshire-side on goal difference, starting the day with a seven-goal deficit to the leaders. United knew, therefore, that not only did they have to win, but they would have to do so by some margin to overturn the deficit.
With manager Mark West naming an unchanged team from the side that had drawn with Lydney Town the previous week, they could not have got off to a better start when, with only 22 seconds on the clock, a long throw from David Lynn found its way through to Ben Connelly who controlled the ball with his first touch before placing wide of Aulsberry in the Henley goal. The second goal arrived only two minutes later when Dan West was fouled in the box and Lynton Goss stepped-up to place the spot kick in to the roof of the net.
United were then indebted to keeper Jamie Perkins who pulled off a fine save from a Byrne header, before the lead was extended further on 14 minutes when a Luke Ricketts ball found West through on goal, and he coolly lobbed Aulsberry from just inside the box.
The fourth goal arrived on 18 minutes when an Adam Morris corner was met by Tom Ashworth who finished confidently from six yards. Chances then came and went for United, as West saw a couple of headers go inches wide, before Ashworth was brought down in the box by Gardner on 28 minutes. Goss stepped up and again dispatched the ball in to the roof of the net.
Whilst news then came through that Bracknell had taken the lead in their home match with Highworth Town, that did not deter United, and they made it six just before the break when Goss capitalised on hesitancy and rounded Aulsberry to complete his hat-trick.
The opening moments of the second half were not as frantic as the first, with skipper Ellis Hercules forcing a good save from Aulsberry, before Goss was put through on 55 minutes and he finished high in to the roof of the net. On 68 minutes Goss was fouled in the box and he stepped up to score his third, and best, spot kick, placing the ball in to the top right-hand corner.
Substitute Andy Gledhill then fed Goss for his sixth, and United’s ninth, as he confidently beat Aulsberry. Further chances came for United, with West going close twice, before his replacement, Ben Gray, saw a powerful effort well-saved by Aulsberry before his header from the resulting corner crashed against the bar.
News then started to filter through that Highworth had taken the lead at Bracknell and, whilst it did not change the approach from United, it calmed the nerves, slightly. That news was crystallised at the final whistle, and there followed euphoric scenes as United secured the Hellenic League title for the first time in over 45 years.
Thame United: Perkins, Evans, Lynn, Hercules, Johnston, Ashworth, Connelly, Goss (Nsomi), Morris, West (Gray), Ricketts (Gledhill).
Brimscombe & Thrupp 2 Ascot United 3 (away view)
Having led early on, the Yellamen fell behind, but Neil Richards’ side showed great character to strike back and earn a first league win under his reign. Binfield’s midweek win at Oxford City Nomads secured Ascot’s position outside the bottom three - rendering the match little more than a typical end-of-season affair - albeit with the visitors still chasing the elusive result. The main focus of the day centred on events at Bracknell and Thame, and as Bracknell were throwing away their title chances, Richards’ side were producing their own fightback at Brimscombe’s picturesque Meadow ground.
Notice was served early on when Aaron Ross cracked a 25 yard effort into the right hand corner from 25 yards – six minutes played – although after a solid opening quarter it was Ascot ‘keeper Matt Hill who saw a narrow Brimscombe shot just wide of a post. The Lilywhites did forge an equaliser from the penalty spot just after the half-hour mark when Ollie Pitt found the bottom corner, and it remained level at the interval.
Early in the second half Pitt saw a free kick punched clear, but his delivery moments later led to near-namesake Kyle Pitts nodding home to make it 2-1 to the home side. At this point, the visitors could have been forgiven for thinking it would be just another one of those days – especially considering a reshuffle that saw Hill move outfield – but how wrong they were. Firstly, James Brazier’s header from Dan Davies corner restored parity almost immediately after Brimscombe’s apparent sucker punch, before Josh Nice’s fabulous 79th minute free kick made it 3-2 and sent the away contingent into dreamland.
In between that, replacement ‘keeper Tim Amoui had made a smart save to prevent the pendulum swinging back to the home side and he rode his luck when the hosts rattled the woodwork afterwards, but the visitors might been able to relax in injury time except for being denied a loud penalty appeal. At is was, it was a job well done, leaving coach Jamie Tomkins beaming with pride as he described his side’s workrate as “unbelievable”.
Longlevens AFC 3 Ardley United 4 (away view)
Ardley finished their season with a win at Longlevens, but now wait for Highworth to visit Highmoor on Wednesday to see if they finish fifth or sixth, Highworth need to win to take fifth place.
Longlevens took the lead on five minutes when Darren Ofoe headed past Nick Bennion. Three minutes later they doubled their lead when Max Harper-Emerson fired in from the edge of the box. Matt Cruse had a couple of chances before having a big hand in the first Ardley goal on eighteen minutes, in between the Levens defence Cruse got a shot away that Luke Merchant saved but could not hold, and Leam Howards ran in to slot into the unguarded net.
Joel Meade & Carl Tappin went close before Leam Howards stabbed wide from six yards, but then on the stroke of half time Ardley levelled the game. A ball over the home defence saw the entire back line claim offside, Matt Cruse allowed the ball to bounce before driving home from twenty yards.
Levens retook the lead ten minutes into the second half, Darren Ofoe found himself one on one with Nick Bennion and the striker slotted home. Ardley equalised again on sixty two minutes, a Matt Cruse shot was saved by substitute keeper Mark Harris who had come on at half time for his swansong in a Levens shirt, the ball looped up and Sergio Guerrero controlled teeing up Leam Howards three yards out who fired home. Matt Cruse then hit a post, Carl Tappin had a couple of chances, Joel Meade saw an effort blocked at close range, and Leam Howards fired over, and the game appeared to be drifting out for a draw.
But four minutes into added time saw the away side awarded a penalty. Declan Benjamin took control of the ball outside the area, knocking it over the defence he ran on into the eighteen yard box and a challenge saw the United midfielder go down and the referee blew his whistle. A couple of minutes arguing with the official did little to put of the waiting Howards who fired home to complete his treble, and nick the win for Ardley.
Both teams at the end of the game then gave Levens departing manager James French a guard of honour leaving the pitch in recognition of his ten years at the Gloucestershire club.
Headington Amateurs 3 Chinnor 2
A battling Chinnor clawed back a two goal deficit before Carl Bloomfield came off the bench to claim a dramatic injury time winner for Headington.
A rock hard surface & the summer weather hampered both sides but it was not long before Headington were in front. Ben Lewis had dragged an early chance for Chinnor wide & following another Chinnor attack Headington swept upfield, Benji Cuff finding brother Luke who calmly placed the ball past Ben Taunton after thirteen minutes. Minutes later a good passing move saw wing back Karl Harris-Steele clear but Taunton was quickly off his line to snuff out the danger. Although Headington were on top & went close on a couple of occasions Chinnor’s Tye Budziszewski saw a fierce strike headed clear by Ben Strong. Josh West & Ben Green combined down Headington’s left flank before Green’s shot was blocked at the expense of a corner kick. A Green free kick, headed back across goal by Jay Hill, was met on the volley by Luke Cuff but again blocked before Chinnor almost snatched an equaliser, Stuart Braun firing straight at Headington ‘keeper Harry Jenkins in the forty first minute. Jenkins’ instant long clearance was brought down by Hill & moved on to Shaun Jacob whose first touch pass set up Luke Cuff to give Headington a two goal lead going into the break.
Chinnor’s Ben Morgan made a strong run from the half way line right after the restart but fired over the bar from the eighteen yard line. Benji Cuff’s effort from a corner kick drew a fine save from Taunton & Green was narrowly wide from West’s free kick but Chinnor showed they were still in the game as Lewis unluckily saw his shot hit the woodwork with Jenkins beaten. With twenty minutes left Braun notched his first from close range following a corner kick & less that ten minutes later had his & Chinnor’s second with a left foot strike. With the game in the balance it was substitute Carl Bloomfield who snatched the win for Headington. West found Luke Cuff free on the right wing, his low cross turned in by Bloomfield for a goal that assured the home side of a third place finish in Uhlsport One East.
Woodley United 3 Holyport 0
On a hot afternoon against a Holyport team that were content to play the game at a slow pace, it took three second half headed goals for United to secure the win and move within one point of promotion to the Premier Division.
The opening twenty minutes saw Woodley enjoy the greater possession without looking threatening as too often play broke down by Holyport blocks or the ball agonisingly evading an on rushing player when crossed into the penalty area. During this period it was not until the seventeenth minute that the visitors had their first shot at goal which was comfortably into the body of Alex Reed.
Gradually the hosts look likely to score with Charlie Oakley beating the offside on thirty two minutes only to be denied by Holyport’s keeper and their man of the match Kyle Bradley. Oakley also saw an effort land on the roof of the net and a further attempt at lobbing Bradley going over the cross bar. Holyport’s sole response was a Ben Pulsford’s header straight to Reed.
The second half was in complete contrast to the first with United scoring in the first minute after the restart. Josh Drew enjoyed good space on the right with his cross not being cleared and with it bouncing around Danny Horscroft headed home from close range.
The goal opened up the game with United showing greater tempo and Teddy Thomas was twice blocked on the goal line while Bradley made a good save to deny Oakley. Not to be denied Drew chased and kept the ball in on the goal line and his cross was again headed home by Horscroft after sixty two minutes. A minute late Chris Pope denied a third goal by blocking a United effort on the goal line but the third goal came after sixty nine minutes when Horscroft turned provider and his cross from the right was headed home by the diving substitute Greg Beckett, which was the third successive game a substitute had scored for Woodley.
Beckett was to be denied a second by another good save from Bradley, who also got the better of a one on one with Oakley in the closing minutes of the game. With one point required, all attention turns to Monday evening when Chinnor visit Rivermoor Stadium.
Wokingham & Emmbrook 1 Didcot Town Reserves 2 (away view)
The Railwaymen completed a 2-1 double at Lowther Road over Wokingham & Emmbrook with the winner this time coming in stoppage time. The wins effectively book ended the season with the 'home leg' in August and this result was the second last game of the season for the Reserves.
The game opened with Didcot on the attack and a through ball from Callum Young found Ross MacDonald but the bobbly pitch saw the ball shoot away off the pitch. The home team won a couple of corners which were well
defended. In the 9th minute Ross MacDonald won the ball in the Sumas half and found Jack Hollister who laid the ball off to Keiren Collins who shot over the bar. Emmanuel Hammond then set up Marcus Nyarko who also shot over the bar. The home team came in to the game more but could not find a clear chance. Aaron Davies played a fine ball to Ross MacDonald who laid it off for Jack Hollister to fire in a shot that was blocked.
In the 35th minute the Sumas exerted some pressure and a breakaway ended with Adam Bradley in the Reserves goal making a fine save with his legs. Two minutes later though and the Sumas number 9 Matt Booth shot smartly home to put the home team ahead. Hammond and MacDonald worked a one-two but the ball bounced awkwardly off the pitch again. Jack Hollister had the last first half chance which was parried away by Sumas keeper Sean Woodward.
The home team came out in the first 15 minutes of the second half and created a few chances but shots were pulled wide or fired over the bar. Almost inevitively Didcot came back in to it and a good move involving Nyarko and Hammond ended with Tom Stone shooting over. The game became a little heated as it entered the last quarter and Jack Hollister dipped a shot just over the bar. With 15 minutes remaining Ross MacDonald muscled past the defence and his perfect cross was between defenders and the keeper allowing Emmanuel Hammond to arrive with great timing and shoot low past Woodward in the home goal. The last few minutes found Didcot pressing for a winner another MacDonald cross was blocked by a panicked defender. Aaron Davies good run upfield was thwarted and Hammond headed over from a corner. From a MacDonald cross Jack Hollister headed wide and another Hammond shot was parried. In stoppage time MacDonald was fouled out wide and Collins took the free kick which was headed back across goal by Hammond to MacDonald who headed in to the corner of the net for the Reserves winner much to the delight of the whole team. A couple of minutes later and the game was over. This was a gutsy effort again from the Reserves completing the third win on the bounce.
Letcombe 0 Abingdon United 3
Both teams had clear scoring opportunities in the opening minutes, but failed to take them. A low cross eluded everybody as it flashed across the face of the Abingdon goal, whilst John Dennis had a chance to give the visitors the lead, but Tom Eatwell cleared the ball off the line. At the other end, an Andy Goodchild header from a corner was also cleared off the line, before Abingdon took the lead after 14 minutes. Letcombe had two chances to clear the ball but failed to take them, and Tom Butler gratefully accepted the opportunity. They had a great chance to increase their lead just before half time, but Josh Dennis shot over the bar.
The visitors increased their lead in the first minute of the second half when a low shot rebounded from home keeper Danny Joyce, and Tom Butler was quickest to react. Abingdon added a third on the hour after an excellent run and shot from Siyanda Gila, but Letcombe could have pulled a goal back soon afterwards, Gavin Jones shooting over the bar when clean through on goal.
The final scoreline was probably a fair reflection of the game. Abingdon looked dangerous with quick mobile forwards, whilst Letcombe seldom threatened after a bright start.
Shortwood United 0 New College Academy 1
It was a hot and sweaty afternoon at Meadowbank on Saturday and both teams made hard work of it. And New College stole it at the very death in a game Wood should’ve got something from.
The game took a while to get going due to the temperature but when it did it was NCA who had the best of it. Ben Lodge impressed for the visitors as he made a nuisance of himself in the home defence, and he brought out a couple of good saves from Portlock. As Wood got back into the game chances were few and far between leaving both keepers with an opportunity to top up their suntans.
Nick Ackland rang the changes in the second half bringing on Regula and Ajijedidun, and going with a more attacking formation. It took a while but with about 15 minutes to go Wood upped the ante and really had a go at the NCA goal. Regula looked lively down the left and was denied twice by the outstretched hand of Lawrence. A series of corners ensued but NCA desperately defended their goal, which inadvertently lead to Fenton being sent off for NCA. However it was the ten men who grabbed a late winner. Due to water breaks there was a significant amount of extra time and this is when all the action took place. After 93 minutes NCA broke out of defence and O’Shea went wide left, received the ball and was able to round Portlock before finishing from a tight angle. On 95 minutes Wood were awarded a penalty for hand ball, however Blackah’s effort was saved by the legs of Lawrence and the rebounded effort went over.
Bluefin Sport Supplementary Cup
Tuffley Rovers 5 Aston Clinton Development 1
In complete contrast to a number of recent performances, Tuffley Rovers produced a second half performance that was better than their first, as they recovered from falling behind in a game they were heavily fancied to record a comfortable win. Rovers visitors, Aston Clinton Development, arrived at Glevum Park sitting in a lowly position in Uhlsprt Hellenic League, Division Two (East), effectively two divisions below their hosts.
Manager Mark Pritchett kept faith with the majority of the side that had won against Ascot United seven days previously, with the only changes seeing a recall for Marcus Foxwell, who replaced the unavailable Sam Hill, and Will Tunnicliff, who stepped in for the injured Shayne Bradley. As anticipated, Pritchett’s side started well, regularly testing the Aston Clinton defence, and should have scored twice in the opening five minutes, only for Will Tunnicliff and Jamie Goodwin to spurn good opportunities. Several other opportunities came and went, before Aston Clinton took a shock lead on 24 minutes. A long throw on the right-hand side of the pitch was headed across the Rovers box and Max Marriscotti stole in front of Goodwin, to turn and shoot beyond Dave Evans in the Rovers goal.
Aston Clinton keeper, Matt Tattem, was forced into action four minutes later, as he turned away Harry Walker’s close range header, before he saved again, on the half hour mark, from Warren Mann. Pritchett headed narrowly wide, as Rovers continued to press for an equaliser, and Walker then went close only to see his shot go wide. With the half-time interval drawing ever closer, Rovers finally equalised, on 36 minutes, when a scramble in the Aston Clinton goalmouth ended with the ball in the net. Despite some confusion, Macaulay Herbert was eventually credited with the goal, his second of the season. Despite a territorial advantage for Rovers, the sides entered the half-time interval with scores level.
If Rovers’ support had been concerned about the risk of a major upset, those fears were quickly allayed, as Pritchett’s side made a blistering start to the second half, scoring within moments of the restart.
Walker, thrust into a striking role in Bradley’s absence, latched onto a through ball to race clear of the visitor’s defence and after controlling the ball with his chest, he produced a superb finish, as he lifted the ball beyond the despairing grasp of Tattem, to make it 2-1. Seven minutes later, Walker had his second goal, meeting Mann’s excellent cross, which left Tattem in no-man’s land, to poke the ball home into an unguarded net.
Rovers first-half superiority had now been converted into an goal scoring advantage and they further extended their lead on 63 minutes, as Tristan Haswell comfortably beat Tyler Pugh, before producing a measured cross from the by-line, which Jake Burns headed home, for his first goal for the club, to make it 4-1. The game was now completely controlled by Rovers, with Evans a complete spectator, and they made it 5-1, on 73 minutes, when Goodwin was the latest to provide an excellent cross, which substitute Ben Tunnicliff, once again deployed in makeshift striker’s role, turned home, with a flicked header. Goodwin thought he had a goal of his own two minutes later, only for his diving header to be ruled out for offside, and although Rovers continued to threaten, they were unable to add to their advantage before the end of the tie.
With a 5-1 victory secured, Rovers will now progress to a quarter-final tie against newly crowned League Champions, Thame United, on Thursday evening. That game will be played at Glevum Park, with a 7:45pm kick-off.