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April 15 2017

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Chalfont Wasps 1 Ardley United 5
Ardley, who finished 5th in the Premier table, were always going to be a test for the Stingers. Wasps needed to at least stay in the game for 30 minutes to apply some pressure on their visitors, sadly this was not the case, and a pedestrian paced match ensued.

 Goals from Leam Howards and Carl Tappin saw Ardley go two up in the first 4 minutes. Neither side hit top level. The match was strangely quiet and somewhat lacklustre throughout. Wasps had a couple of sighters on goal before Ardley struck again. Matt Cruse and then Howards made it 0-4 at HT.

 The second period saw a more even encounter. Wasps made a few more chances. First Tom Kyle and Pardeep Ghattoara combined, Kyle’s half volley flying over the top. A Brad Holt free kick whistled across Ardley’s box, just evading a final touch. Then, Kieran Webb made things a little more respectable with a fine run and shot from the right; 1-4, 57 minutes. Soon after Webb was upended, but no penalty was awarded. The next goal was key; Ardley made sure they progressed to the Semi-Final when Howards got his hat-trick with 15 minutes remaining. Barry Rake came on and gave Webb a half chance, just wide. Dan Little made a sharp stop and Jack Pearce acrobatics denied Ardley a 6th.

Chalfont Wasps 1 Ardley United 5 (away view)
Ardley progressed to the Supplementary Cup semi-final on Saturday at Chalfont Wasps with a dominant first half display that left the hosts trailing by four at the break, and despite the home side clawing a goal back early in the second half Leam Howards then completed his second hat trick in a week to kill off the tie.

United took the lead on three minutes when Leam Howards cut in from the left and from inside the box curled into the top corner. Two minutes later Carl Tappin doubled the lead when he ran onto a flick on and from twelve yards rolled past Wasps keeper Dan Little. Matt Cruse added a third on thirty four minutes when Leam Howards got down the left and skipped past Dan Little and squared to his strike partner who side footed into the unguarded net.

Eight minutes from the break Leam Howards made it four when Troy Bryan hooked a pass over his shoulder to Howards who was in acres of space, he ran on and rounded Dan Little and fired home. Howards did score again before the break but the assistant referee had raised his flag for offside.

Eight minutes after the break Kieron Webb got in behind the Ardley defence and smashed into the bottom corner and this spurred Chalfont into life. Ardley repelled the threat and on sixty nine minutes Leam Howards completed his treble when a Nathaniel Lewars run into the box was blocked but Howards pounced to tuck into the bottom corner.

Berks & Bucks FA Intermediate Cup Final

Woodley United 2 Marlow United 1
In their penultimate match of the season, Woodley completed a fantastic week that included securing promotion on Monday evening, with a 2-1 win over Marlow United in the Berks & Bucks FA Saturday Intermediate Cup final.  Played at Larges Lane, in front of a crowd just shy of four hundred, Marlow started the better of the two sides. A low cross from the left was cleared from practically the goal line by Woodley's Luke Turner; this was to be the first of several key clearances by the left back. 

Woodley were looking nervy; passes were going astray and they were struggling to get a foothold on the game. Their first real chance saw Greg Beckett pick out Charlie Oakley who went round keeper Callum Ackerman. Making contact with United's top scorer, who stayed on his feet, this slowed Oakley's progress allowing Ackerman to recover and gather the resultant low cross. 

Twenty minutes in saw some good hold up play in the Woodley box by Marlow skipper Ollie Flint. With his back to goal, he saw an acrobatic effort miss to the left. Minutes later Turner was once again in the right place to take the ball off Liam Bushay's feet two yards from goal.  Woodley ended the half well. Danny Horscroft had a shot blocked whilst Oakley saw an ambitious bicycle kick from twenty yards miss to the left. The final chance fell to Josh Drew who forced Ackerman into a fairly routine save. 

The second half started in the worst possible way for Woodley as a speculative shot from distance was spilled by keeper Alex Reed into the path of substitute Wes Sutherland who found the right corner from close range.  Looking for an immediate response Beckett missed to the right from eighteen yards.  The game was being played at a frantic tempo swinging from end to end. A shot from a tight angle on the left was bravely cleared off the line by Turner who injured himself in the process. This saw Teddy Thomas replace Turner and Woodley go to a three man defence. Marlow were not content to sit back and went looking for a second; Andy Nicol missed to the left whilst Sutherland forced Reed into a good stop diving to his right. 

With twenty one minutes to go the scores were level thanks to a superb individual goal by Horscroft. Latching onto a through ball he skipped a challenge before going round Ackerman who was off his line quickly; composing himself, the midfielder found the right corner from the left side of the box.  Two minutes after the equaliser, Woodley made another change when Beckett made way for Sukhi Kang. This saw United revert back to the four man defence they started the game with. 

Woodley now had the initiative. Josh Drew had a corner cleared off the line before Ackerman made a brilliant stop to deny Oakley.  Drew was then involved in the game winning goal with seven minutes left when he raced clear down the left. The Marlow keeper was once again off his line quickly making contact with the ball and deflecting it onto a defender who saw it hit him and go in. 

Woodley made their final change with four minutes left when Liam Wilson came on for Drew.  Horscroft had Woodley's last chance when his near post free kick was cleared off the line by James Namyslak.  Marlow ended the game with two half chances. A shot from outside the box was blocked by Woodley captain Jake Nicholls whilst Bushay missed to the right as Woodley held on to lift the cup.

uhlsport football kitPremier Division

Lydney Town 1 Ascot United 0
After the highs of the midweek Floodlit Cup Final win against Flackwell Heath, the final home game with Ascot Utd was always going to be a struggle to maintain the momentum.

Lydney made a few changes with Jack Rutter and Lewis Bamford unavailable, Tom Shaw, Jordan Voss and Ryan Pendry made starts. Gibbs, Williams, Morse and English made up the bench.

The first half proved to be the most positive for Town, but for all the effort put in there was very little to show for it in front of goal. It was the same for the visitors who's only effort on goal came from fullback Aaron Ross with a shot from outside the box.

Lydney did make one telling blow just before the break and it proved to be decisive. Top scorer Declan Morley-Lyne was bearing down on goal but saw his shot well saved by visiting keeper Tim Amoui . The ball flew high into the air where Morley-Lyne's challenge saw it fall for Pete Macklin to sweep home from 8 yards.

Ascot had much the better of the second half and should really have taken a point home. Liam Sheppard made a superb block on Josh Dillon as he was about to tap home, and Lydney were under the cosh for the first period.

Harry Williams replaced Pete Macklin on 62 minutes with James Morse and Jacob English coming on for Shaw and Guest not long after. Ascot defender Joe Stocchetti sent two headers over the top when well placed while their captain Cameron Gilmartin saw his header crash against the bar during their best spell of the game.

Lydney gradually got back in when Harry Williams raced clear but keeper Amoui blocked his effort, and Morley-Lyne sent a free kick over the top. Sheppard was on hand to deny Ascot late on when he cleared off the line and Lydney went on to run the clock down to claim all 3 points.

Lydney Town 1 Ascot United 0 (away view)
A solitary goal two minutes before the interval was enough for cup winners Lydney Town to beat Ascot United on Easter Saturday. The Forest of Dean side were still on a high from their midweek Perpetua Press Floodlit Cup win over Flackwell Heath, and duly backed that up with a narrow win over the Yellamen.

 Ascot’s longest away trip of the season – their penultimate match – was a daunting one after the home side had almost put the brakes on Thame United’s title charge two weeks earlier. And, a decent crowd of 107 gathered for the Forest of Dean side’s ultimately successful send-off to their season.

The Yellamen’s best effort of the first half came from an Aaron Ross strike just past the far post on 30 minutes. Sadly for his side, it was Pete Macklin’s effort from a rebound shortly before the interval which ultimately did the damage for Lydney.

In the second period, the visitors changed their shape and limited the home side to counter-attacks, although Jo Stocchetti’s header struck the bar on 70 minutes before Josh Dillon’s effort was saved on the line ten minutes later; the visitors’ best efforts of the half.

Speaking after the game, manager Neil Richards admitted his side didn’t deserve to win, but equally didn’t deserve to lose. The Yellamen wrap up their campaign at Oxford City Nomads on Easter Monday (3.00pm).

Tuffley Rovers 3 Burnham 2
Ryan Dobbins’ 78th minute goal proved decisive, as Tuffley Rovers secured a tenth place finish in the Uhlsport Hellenic League, Premier Division, with one game remaining, as they defeated relegation threatened Burnham 3-2 at Glevum Park. Dobbins started, following his excellent performance and goal after coming on as a substitute in the Supplementary Cup quarter-final against Thame United on Thursday evening, in an otherwise unchanged line-up.

After the excellent win against the league champions in their previous game, there might have been concerns at the risk of complacency going into a game against one of the division’s strugglers, but those fears were at least partially allayed, when they took a lead almost immediately.

Tristan Haswell produced an excellent cross into the Burnham area which Pat Kinsella, the visiting keeper, misjudged and when he failed to claim the ball, Walker was presented with an opportunity to hammer the ball home from 6 yards, after just two minutes. Rovers looked dominant in the early stages and might have added to the scoreline, but Burnham started to work their way back into the game and Rovers’ keeper, Dave Evans, had to be alert, as he quickly advanced from his goal to block Josh Jackman’s effort. Two minutes later, Burnham went close again, as Jesse Wilson headed narrowly wide from 10 yards.

The game then went back into Burnham territory and Rovers were given a golden opportunity to reclaim the lead. Dan Wilson looked to block Jake Burns pass and it appeared to strike his hand, with referee Sean Rudd immediately pointing to the spot. Warren Mann, who has scored from the spot seven times this season, stepped up, but his shot, low to Kinsella’s right was greeted by an excellent one-handed stop, as the Burnham keeper kept his side in the game.

It proved to be only a temporary respite and Rovers did extend their lead on 36 minutes, with Player/Manager the scorer. After Mann was fouled on the touchline, Burns produced a bending free-kick that Pritchett met twelve yards out and produced a beautifully judged header, guiding the ball beyond Kinsella and into the bottom corner of the net. Both sides continued to trade blows, without any clear opportunities, and Rovers took their two goal advantage into the half-time interval.

Rovers came out looking full of intent but were rocked just six minutes into the second period, when Neville Roach found himself unmarked at the far post, meeting Jesse Wilson’s header back across the goal and nodding the ball past Evans from close range.

Both sides continued to contribute to an end-to-end affair, with Rovers shading the possession and territorial advantage, but clear chances were few and far between. Dobbins went close, as he latched onto Jamie Goodwin’s through ball, before Kinsella raced from his line to block the ball, but neither side looked certain to add to the scoreline. The decisive goal finally came on 78 minutes, as two substitutes combined to create the chance. Liam Wright’s cross was met by Shayne Anson and although Kinsella blocked that effort, Dobbins was able to force the ball over the line, as he produced a diving header into the bottom of the net.

If Pritchett hoped the two goal advantage would enable Rovers to see the game out comfortably, Burnham were awarded a controversial penalty, as Anson’s clearance was adjudged to be dangerous, as Callum Betts ducked into head the ball, and the referee pointed to the spot, after discussion with his Assistant. Jackman stepped up to bury the ball beyond Evans, to make the score 3-2.

Despite six minutes of added time, Rovers defended stoutly and secured three points that guaranteed a top-ten finish, just twelve months after they had finished in the relegation spots themselves. Burnham’s future will be out of their hands, as they stare a third successive relegation in the face. Rovers will finish their league campaign on Monday, with a 3pm kick-off at Glevum Park, with Highmoor Ibis the visitors on that occasion.

One East

Bicester Town 2 Penn and Tylers Green 1
Bicester Town entertained Division One East Champions elect Penn and Tylers Green in the quarter final of the Hellenic League Supplementary. Having lost only 2 league games all season, Penn started favourite to ease past an injury depleted Bicester Town in the semi-finals. However, in the opening minutes it was the Foxhunters who had overall midfield superiority and created more goal-scoring opportunities. In windy conditions and tricky pitch conditions Bicester looked the more confident side and in the 12th minute the pace of Ricardo Benjamin proved too much for Penn’s Adam Parsons. Benjamin cut in from the left wing and in desperation, Parsons gave away a penalty in tripping Benjamin. Skipper Danny Bone drove the penalty low and hard to the keeper’s right – a deserved lead for the Bicester.

Penn responded well and within minutes their leader scorer, Fred Tripp had a golden opportunity to level the game. Unmarked at the back post, Tripp headed wide from 6 yards out – a let off for the home side. The next half-chance fell to Bicester, when a loose ball was picked up Bone on the edge of the box, but his snap shot edged just wide of the Penn goal. Neither goalkeeper was particularly troubled leading up to the break, although Bicester keeper Nick Lacey did well to palm away a low speculative shot just before half-time.

Although Bicester were facing a strong second-half wind, at least they had the benefit of kicking down the notorious slope. Penn’s emerged the stronger side with their long-ball tactics in a tail wind causing the tight Bicester back line problems. In the 52nd minute these tactics bore fruit when, from a Penn corner, the ball eventually found centre back Dean Munday on the edge of the box and his low shot somehow got past several players in a crowded penalty box, beating an unsighted Lacey in the Bicester goal. Having levelled the game, and with the wind at their backs, the momentum was now with the away side. Bicester’s centre back partnership Garner and Kidd were fully engaged in fending off Penn’s aerial assault. However, in the 72nd minute Penn’s manager made a triple substitution that seemed to benefit the home side. Off went three experienced players, including leading scorer Tripp.

And just 3 minutes later Bicester seized the initiative. Hard-working Murray Nicholls found Ricardo Benjamin in space on the left wing, and his blistering pace drew the Penn keeper Cockerill, off his line, and Benjamin took his chance well, slotting the ball home from an acute angle. Bicester saw the remaining 15 minutes out with relative ease as the home side’s midfield out-battled and out-passed the Champions elect. Bicester Town’s reward for this hard fought victory is a tantalising local derby semi-final tie at home this Saturday against their tenants for the past two seasons, Premier side Ardley United.

Finchampstead 10 Wantage Town Reserves 0
Wantage arrived with nine men for the final game of the season.
The outcome was inevitable. (the score should have been 11 - one goal was ignored and play allowed to continue - not that it makes very much difference). At least there were no yellow cards and the game was played in as good a spirit as was possible in the light of the circumstances.

Headington Amateurs 7 Wokingham & Emmbrook 1
A second half goal blitz gave Headington a comfortable win in their penultimate One East league game.

George Douglas for Wokingham & Luke Cuff for Headington had early chances but both lifted their efforts high. Headington were indebted to stand in ‘keeper Gavin Busby for a superb double save in the fifteen minute. Wokingham broke out of defence with centre back Will Day making sixty yards before collecting a right wing cross & firing in a shot that Busby tipped on to a post at full stretch & then recovered to block Elliot Rushforth’s attempt from the rebound. Luke Cuff had another chance, set up by Josh West & Shaun Jacob but ‘keeper Kyle Lennon was out quickly to smother before Douglas opened the scoring on thirty two minutes, cutting in from the right wing & lobbing the advancing Busby. Yannick Nkwanyuo netted the equaliser within a minute, collecting from Carl Bloomfield & dribbling past two defenders & finding the bottom corner with a well struck low drive. Cuff, played in by Jacob, was again foiled by Rushforth before Jay Hill blocked Sam Lawrence’s shot at the other end at the expense of a corner kick. The end to end action continued to the break, Wokingham’s impressive Douglas volleying just wide from Jack Gibbs’ cross & then Cuff giving Headington the lead with a fine strike from twenty yards after West & Bloomfield combined to set him clear.

Green had Headington’s third minutes after the restart, converting from Bloomfield’s run & cross at the second attempt whilst Douglas saw his header come back off a post following a corner kick as Wokingham fought back. However, two goals in two minutes saw Headington out of sight, Bloomfield converting at the far post from Green’s cross on the hour mark, & Cuff steering home a controlled volley from Nkwanyuo’s pass. Cuff completed his hat trick ten minutes later with a right foot finish, Nkwanyuo again the provider. Wokingham hit woodwork again following a goalmouth scramble & were then awarded a penalty kick only for Busby to parry at full stretch low to his left & complete the save by gathering in the rebound. Green ran in Headington’s seventh in added time for a resounding win although to the visitors’ credit they contributed much to the match with little luck going their way.

One West

Shrivenham 0 Letcombe 1 (away view)
Letcombe completed their league programme with a deserved victory at Shrivenham. They controlled the first half, with keeper Danny Joyce not having a shot to stop throughout the half, but the visitors again failed to turn their superiority into goals. Tom Eatwell shot over the bar following a corner, and it took a great save from home keeper Luke Kuczynski to deny Eatwell again, turning a fierce header from another corner over the bar.

Playing down the slope, Shrivenham came more into the game in the second half, but Letcombe still had more of the play. The visitors should have taken the lead when a cross fell to Andy Goodchild only four yards out, but his shot hit Kuczynski and was cleared. Jordan Davies shot narrowly wide before Shrivenham had their first clear sight of goal, but Jamie Prictor`s shot was straight at keeper Danny Joyce. The only goal came ten minutes from time when Luke Faircloth went down after a challenge from Tyler Johnson and the referee awarded a penalty and cautioned Johnson. Both decisions seemed harsh, but captain Andy Goodchild drove the penalty into the roof of the net.

Having missed seven of nine penalties during the season, Goodchild was Letcombe's sixth different penalty taker. Soon afterwards Shrivenham were awarded a free kick just outside the penalty area, but Lance Lewis effort hit the defensive wall and deflected for a corner. Tom Eatwell had a great chance to make the game safe, but his back post header from a corner went narrowly wide.

One of the most pleasing features for Letcombe was the outstanding performance of central defender Jack Hamblin who was home from university and was playing his first full game of the season, having come off the bench seven days earlier. He is not even playing at university, but was clearly Letcombe's man of the match.

New College 2 Tytherington Rocks 0 (away view)
For Tytherington Rocks, the final game of the 2016/17 campaign, away to New College Swindon was the third meeting between the two clubs this season. With a cup defeat and a league draw already,Rocks were looking to balance the books with a win and also avoid the risk of propping up the League for a third successive season.
However the 2:0 defeat left Tytherington waiting until the Woodstock v Hook Norton fixture on Bank Holiday Monday to decide who claimed the unenviable position of bottom place.
Both Rocks and Swindon took time to adjust to the fast, expansive pitch.Lewis Bezer provided a couple of early accurate crosses whilst Ollie Rawnsley demonstrated the defensive qualities he has shown throughout the season. Neither goalkeeper was troubled for the first 20 minutes until a point blank save by Rock's Adam Clark brought the game to life. Further pressure from the home team, and a slick move on the right saw Swindon's Antonio Gerrish direct a header over the outstretched arm of the Rock's keeper into the top right hand corner of the net, to give the home team a 1:0 lead.
The visitors frequently began moves with confidence out of defence only to see errant passing and control force them back to defend. The first half drifted to a close with both teams unable to createsituations which might create scoring opportunities.
During the first 15 minutes of the second half two chances fell to Rocks but neither produced any reward.The first, a lob from outside the penalty area by Jamel Fisher looped agonisingly over the Swindon keeper, who was off his line, and crossbar. The second incident was a back-pass, inside the penalty area, into the hands of the home keeper which frustratingly went unnoticed by the officials! As the third quarter of the game arrived so did the first of the visitor's substitutions. Pat Boyd replaced Tom Watkins followed shortly by Ollie Price replacing Jamel Fisher.
Jack Edge and Dan McNally continued to show awareness and maturity but the attacking sorties of the team frequently broke down, a theme too often evident throughout this season.There was an air of inevitably on 75 minutes when Swindon's Antonio Gerrish met a near post corner from the left to head Swindon into a 2:0 lead.
Jack Bendon came on as a substitute with 5 mins to go but Rocks were unable to create any chances to reduce the arrears and the match ended with the same frustrations that have been prevalent during the whole of this campaign----high endeavour by every player reaping little reward.
The 2:0 defeat left Tytherington precariously balanced in the penultimate League position, awaiting the result of the Bank Holiday Monday game between Woodstock Town and Hook Norton. That result went in Rock's favour, leaving them in that 15th position and with a feeling of optimism rather than despondency for the 2017/18 season.


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