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April 13

uhlsport football kitPremier Division 

Brackley Saints 2 Brimscombe & Thrupp 1 
In the words of Barry Davies Interesting…..very interesting!!! 
This was a cracking game and a deserved victory for Saints against the team in second place at the start of the day. With the other two teams in the top four failing to pick up points in their games the race for the title is wide open and could go down to the wire. 

The early exchanges saw BTFC take the upper hand without really troubling Ali Worby who dealt comfortably with a couple of corners and crosses. At the other end George Ball wriggled free just outside the BTFC box but his shot was wide of the far post. On 18 minutes Saints took the lead with a lovely one touch move down the right wing which resulted in James Watts pulling the ball back to James Hammond whose first time shot was deflected by Ryan Knight past the helpless Ashley Gale in the BTFC goal. Almost immediately Saints won a corner which was whipped in by Harry Brock causing chaos in the BTFC penalty box. The loose ball came to Knight at a tricky height and he was only able to nod the ball onto the bar. Saints were in the ascendancy and were having good periods of possession. On 33 minutes Hammond broke free down the left, but his cross was too long for Ball arriving at the far post. 

Saints were closing in on half time but a really neat piece of forward play by BTFC’s Sam Blackie on 40 minutes saw him hold up the ball on the edge of the box, turn and the fire the ball past Worby and into the bottom corner. Saints were stung, but were immediately back on the attack winning 2 consecutive free kicks just outside the box. From the second Lewis Baldwin delivered a long ball that looked destined for Gale’s hands. Joe Ward challenged, and in the referees opinion it was a fair challenge, and his header fell to Olly Goddard who calmly stroked the ball into the net to restore Saints lead. 

That was to be the end of the scoring, but the second half was full of incident, lots of tension and given the circumstances some very good football. Saints were on top and on 50 minutes Hammond played in Charlie Kille whose shot was well blocked. Hammond then played in Knight but his cross shot was saved by Gale who was beginning to be a thorn in the Saints side. In the 57th minute Knight had two one on ones with Gale. The first after a through ball from Hammond saw Knight cut in from the right and shoot low and hard but Gale got down well to save. Thirty seconds later Knight again made a real pest of himself and broke free onto a pass from Harry Brock but again Gale stood firm and saved well. 

An outstanding move in the 66th minute saw Watts and Ball combine with Ball bursting into the area only to see his left foot shot hit the post and bounce wide. The ball was re-circulated to Hammond who curled a shot just wide of the post. At this point BTFC were looking ragged and on 64 minutes Gale saved again this time from a Watts shot.  However BTFC rallied and on 79 minutes had a great opportunity to equalise when Blackie headed an inviting cross wide when left free at the far post, and 6 minutes later a further opportunity was spurned when a good move down the left wing saw a great cross spooned over the bar. The game finished with BTFC forcing the issue and winning 2 free kicks on the edge of the Saints area. Worby was required to tip the second over the bar. 

So a great team performance by Saints. Solid defensively and looking really fluid when breaking at speed. With 2 games left Saints face the current leaders, Wantage Town, on Tuesday evening knowing that there is all to play for. Another gritty and disciplined performance like today will be required and who knows. 

Interesting…..very interesting!!! 

Binfield 1 Fairford Town 1 (Report by Arthur Strand)
After this game, Binfield are 10th in the Uhlsport Hellenic League Premier Division table and Fairford are in 13th place. Nearing the end of the season, Binfield had a rearranged team with key players as substitutes; Baker, Santoro and Lee on the bench. Fairford took an early free kick but the Moles followed suit until the visitors regained possession and Ben Snook hit one over the crossbar. The next surge forward saw Fairford forwards get in a muddle as passes went astray in the Binfield penalty area. Escaping the testing moments, Binfield took the ball along the right wing and lost it again with Fairford getting a free kick on the edge of Binfield' penalty area. The ball was low and hit the wall at boot level and it was fortunate for Binfield because the forwards with assistance from half-backs and full backs found one to shoot at goal, forcing Ben Mitchell to push the ball over the cross bar for a corner which was headed out for another corner by John Watson. and Fairford cleared the second. Arriving at Jemel Johnson's feet but his approach work was thwarted before he could line up a shot. Charlie Tuttle, the ever industrious full back, sent a cross over but Fairford had the chance to recapture the ball. The move was short since offside was flagged.The visitors then moved forward again then cut inside from a throw in and the ball was nudged out for a corner which swung straight into the hands of Lyons. Working quickly to Fairford's end, Binfield came close when skipper, James Knight, headed over the crossbar. With half time imminent, Callum Wright put Binfield ahead with a well taken goal. James Knight and Charlie Tuttle took aim but Mitchell made easy saves. Jonny Hathaway worked with Callum Wright producing a corner kick which amounted to no second goal on the dot of half-time.

An early corner kick in the second half to Binfield was immediately cleared by Fairford's defence and their next useful move was foiled before the forwards could get in a position to strike although they managed to get a corner kick which defenders cleared and Moles headed for Fairford’s penalty area and the ensuing corner landed on the roof of the net. A free kick landed in Mitchell's gloves. With Fairford edging upfield Gary Smith was there to head out the incoming ball for a throw in to Fairford. Roger Herridge then exchanged Charlie Tuttle for Liam Baker and minutes later, on went Eddie Lee for Danny Horscroft. quickly followed by Carlo Santoro for Jonny Hathaway. Binfield were refreshed with newer legs but they came unstuck when the defence was left wide open and substitute, John Thomas, ran on with the ball and slotted it into the net. This equaliser gave both teams the incentive of seeking a winner with about 10 minutes of normal time left. Ben Lodge hit the ball high over the Binfield crossbar. After Idris Kamara battled for the ball and was fouled, the free kick sailed over the crossbar and Binfield had to exert themselves once more. Play was stopped after a tangle left one of each side on the turf and the officials spent some time sorting out the situation and with Ben Saunders nowhere near the action and nowhere near anyone at all he received a yellow card for presumably making a remark from distance which touched a nerve in the referee's cranium he had considered a red card but this was put away and the yellow card was shown. Problem solved and Carlo Santoro made his presence felt and cracked the ball at goal, Mitchell tipped it over his bar for a corner to the Moles. As the clock ticked over, Idris Kamara stretched his legs in a prone position and the ball went outside the upright. Whistle blown game over and points shared. Binfield meet Shrivenham on Monday evening in the Premier Division.
Binfield: Lyons,(GK), Hathaway, Tuttle, Gavin, Smith, Kamara, Horscroft, Thompson-Wheeler, Johnson, Wright, Knight. (C). Substitutes: Baker, Santoro, Lee.

Tuffley Rovers 0 Shrivenham 3
Saturday’’s visitors to Glevum Park, Shrivenham, could be well satisfied with their first season in the Premier Division following their promotion at the end of the 2017-18 season. Strangely, there are similarities with the season their hosts had in that both made a dreadful start which was followed by a remarkable recovery after the turn of the year. Whilst Rovers had found a run of form that had taken almost to the brink of safety, Shrivvy’s revival has been even more remarkable. They have surged up the table in a 15 match run either side of New Year, a run which has seen them take 43 points from the 45 available. The only points they have dropped during this period have been to one of only four clubs that sit above them in the table, Wantage Town.

So, Shrivenham arrived in Gloucester top of the form table because nobody in this division has taken more points than them in their last half dozen league games. Only Brackley Town Saints had won more away matches this season, but nobody had beaten Tuffley in Gloucester since the middle of December. Those statistics definitely made this a match to look forward to. Shrivenham’s long, unbeaten run continues, but in a strange way Tuffley were also winners in that they now know that they cannot finish lower than 17th because although Reading City can still match their current points total the Berkshire club have a significantly inferior goal-difference which they can’t make up with only one league fixture remaining. As it turned out, Shrivvy deserved this victory at Glevum Park; they were sharper in almost every way than their hosts, but Rovers will be disappointed that they did not put on a stronger performance as they slipped to their first home defeat of the calendar year.

On a chilly and windy afternoon, the visitors kicked off playing towards the open end and won an early corner. It was easy to see why their settled team had become so hard to beat in recent months because they kept their defensive shape well, ably marshalled by captain Sam Ockwell, and their forward players were a threat all afternoon with quick, incisive passing down the flanks being a regular part of their attacking moves. Shrivenham had the first shot in anger after ten minutes. Tom Ballard’s square pass found Ockwell moving forward to join the attack and his fierce shot was scrambled away by Luke Merchant for a corner. When the flag-kick came in Macaulay Dodson thumped a header against the Rovers crossbar. Shortly afterwards Ockwell and Ballard combined again to send Ryan Stanners into the home penalty-area where he tumbled over but lukewarm appeals for a penalty were waved away by referee Martin Ealey.
At the other end an inviting ball forward by Paul Carter was chased by Jake Rhodes but he was unable to get the ball under control and have a shot at goal. Visiting ‘keeper Mike Alexander made a bit of a hash of a goal-kick but was alert enough to save Kieran Alder’s shot a few seconds later as Rovers attempted to capitalise on his error.

Rhodes seemed the home player most likely to force a breakthrough. His header from Rhys Davies’ right-wing cross went narrowly wide of Alexander’s goal and another header from a cross by Will Dawes was held by the goalkeeper. With just over half an hour played Shrivenham took the lead. Nathan Blackford’s square pass was swept into the net by Antonio Gerrish but the assistant referee’s flag was up and it looked as if the goal would be disallowed. Furious protests by the Shrivvy players saw the referee trot over to have a chat with his assistant and, after consulting with him, the goal was given. This was a blow for the home team but their hopes of gaining the point which would ensure their safety mathematically took a further blow when Macaulay Herbert’s clumsy challenge on Gerrish saw the referee award a penalty in the visitors’ favour. As against Binfield, a fortnight earlier, Luke Merchant dived left but the ball, hit fiercely by Blackford, went into the other corner. It could have got even worse for Rovers before the interval because Gerrish danced past a couple of half-hearted challenges in the home penalty-area before rattling the crossbar with a fierce drive.

The way the first half had ended gave the Rovers players plenty to think about during the interval, but they made a positive start to the second period with Davies working really hard to keep a crossfield ball in play near the touch-line before beating his immediate opponent and racing down the right wing to fire a cross over. Almost immediately Rovers brought off Warren Mann with Brett James coming on to replace him. Shrivenham continued to look dangerous on the break and a neat flick by Gerrish sent Stanners away on the left. When the return pass came in Gerrish thumped the ball narrowly over the home crossbar. Rovers won several corners in the second half but only one of them led to anything dangerous when Joel White got on the end of Kieran Alder’s cross to force Alexander into conceding another corner on the other side.

Around the mid-point of the second half there were three substitutions in quick succession. Rovers brought on Adam Bloomfield for Rhodes and Dominik Kent for Tyreece Briscoe; the visitors responded by sending on Josh Morse for right-back Scot Chilcott and would later be forced to replace their other full-back, Matt Horsell, with Alex Stanley when Horsell was unable to continue after being treated on the pitch for an injury. Seconds after Stanley’s arrival came the third goal which meant there was no way back for Rovers. More neat passing on the right saw the ball reach Gerrish just outside the Rovers penalty-area in a central position. He brought the ball under control then lashed it with his right foot and watched it fly into the net via Merchant’s right-hand post. Immediately after the goal Shrivenham made their final change, bringing on Gareth Davies for Ballard. Although four Rovers players were cautioned this wasn’t an indisciplined performance by the home team. Shrivenham stay in 5th position after their eleventh away win of the season. They are four points behind the club in third place and four points ahead of the club in sixth place. Rovers lost a seventh home league game but played a lot better than they had when losing their opening four league matches at Glevum Park this season. Both clubs have had a pretty good second half to the season but it is hard to argue that Shrivenham did not deserve their latest victory because they worked hard to achieve it. For Rovers it was just a ‘bad day at the office’, of which there have been very few since the turn of the year.

One West

Easington Sports  2  Almondsbury 1 (Report by Steve Smith, Banbury Guardian)
Ben Milner’s side came from behind to beat Almondsbury 2-1 in Saturday’s Division One West clash at Addison Road where Craig Robinson hit the winner. Mihai Niru gave Almondsbury the first half lead but Andrew Stidder equalised from a stoppage-time penalty and Robinson bagged the winner. 

Photo showing esington sports Craig Robinson (left) courtesy of Edwin Barson @ebarsonphotos 
The visitors had a nervous looking Sports on the back foot in the opening stages but both their early chances were gifted by home defenders. Alex Bisp burst into the box and his dangerous low cross saw Sean Snelling’s clearance hit Joe White but sail over the bar before the keeper kept out Lloyd Sabin’s deflected header which looked destined for his own net. 

Sports took a while to settle but eventually they did with Tom Smith unable to convert CJ Grant’s deep cross at the far post and Robinson being denied by Jamie Merry. But they fell behind midway through the first half when a quick break ended with Matt Baker releasing Niru who advanced into the box before beating White with a low drive. White then did well to deny Baker and Niru was off target from 25 yards before Sports equalised on the stroke of halftime when Stidder’s volley was handled in the box. Stidder stepped up to send Merry the wrong way from the ensuing spot-kick. 

The goal set Sports up for a strong second half display in which they were always in the ascendency. They enjoyed plenty of possession down the flanks but were unable to find the telling final ball into the box. Sports twice went close from Charlie Hill corners, Stidder’s volley was saved by Merry who then kept out a header from Smith. But Sports took the lead when another Hill corner produced a scramble in the six-yard box and Robinson slammed the ball home from close range. 

Sports went for the crucial third goal with Stidder volleying wide and Hill firing over from a free-kick. They should have wrapped it up late on when substitute George Coombes put in an inviting low cross but Grant fired over the bar. 

Easington Sports are one final day victory away from clinching the Division One West title. 

Oxfordshire FA intermediate Cup Final

kidlington 2019 OFA intermediate cup winners

Kidlington Development 6  Watlington Town  2 
On Saturday night, Uhlsport Hellenic League Kidlington’s development team won the OFA intermediate Cup at Oxford City’s Court Farm Stadium and it was incredible turn out from committee members, first team members and supporters from the village. The crowd was around 500 for the final and many were cheering on the greens.  Despite having four key players missing due to injury and holidays, the greens overcame the North Berks League Division Two leaders. 

After five minutes, young winger Jack Gaul crossed for the evergreen Jimmy Deabill to tap home for the perfect start. Joey Cowlishaw and Gaul had good chances to make it 2-0 but both missed. Then after 15 minutes Steve Outen scored a penalty for Watlington following Jack Johnsons foul from a long throw in. The final was turning sour for the greens as Darren Outen headed Watlington in front after 20 minutes following a mishandled free kick which spilled out of the hands of goalkeeper, Luke Sanders. Kidlington looked nervy throughout the first half and went in with a 2-1 deficit. 

The second half though was one way traffic and after an hour big Jimmy Deabill smashed in a shot from Callum Rice’s corner, it hit the underside of the bar and flew into the net. Four minutes later and the greens were back in front, again a great free kick from Rice was glanced goalwards by Jordan Parker and the ball deflected off the Watlington centre half and into the net. Kidlington were back in front. Two minutes later the drama continued as watlington went down to ten men following a trip on the edge of the area. The decision did seem harsh. 

After 75 minutes, teenager Piers Walton who had a fantastic second half ran through the Watlington defence and slid home a fourth. This sparked massive celebrations as the cup seemed to be coming back to Yarnton Road. In Nick Laceys absence, skipper for the day, Jordan Parker stamped his mark on the final with a memorable 30 yard shot which arrowed into the top corner on 80 minutes. Parker was not finished though and headed in from Charlie Cassetari’s free kick after 85 minutes. 

The final whistle sparked great celebrations from all that had made the trip. It was an overwhelming turnout from the supporters and members of the club. This was the first time the cup had gone back to Yarnton Road in 34 years. 

Team: Luke Sanders, Luke Hayward, Luke Spearman, Mark Burton, Jack Johnson, Joey Cowlishaw, Jordan Parker, Callum Rice, Aaron Morton, Jack Gaul, Jimmy Deabill. Subs used, Julius Maraga, Piers Walton, Harley Firkin, Charlie Cassetari. Subs not used: Gavin Kidd. 


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