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Pre-Season September

uhlsport football kit16 August 2017

Premier Division

Abingdon United 1 Brackley Town Saints 1 (away view)
After Saturday's defeat at Longlevens, Saints manager Gordon Kille made a number of changes to the starting eleven for Tuesday's game at recently promoted Abingdon United. Both Lewis Baldwin and Dean March were unavailable through injuries picked up at Longlevens but there was good news ahead of the game with Saints welcoming back goalkeeper Ali Worby, defender Dan Middleton, and attacking midfielder Ryan Knight.
Watching Saints fans were also pleased to see a first start of the season for the dynamic Alex Stott after impressing from the bench in the previous couple of games, and the return of the more familiar Saints 1-4-2-3-1 formation.
Right from the first whistle it was clear that this was a game between 2 good attacking sides, both looking to get possession of the ball, and play at a high tempo. The opening 10 minutes was frantic with both teams trying to get an early goal. The first clear chance fell to Abingdon Utd but the striker failed to take advantage and scuffed his shot straight into the arms of the onrushing Worby. Saints responded to force a couple of early corners and it was from the last of these that James Watts delivered perfectly for Josh Bowden to head Saints into the lead and score his 4th goal in 2 games.

Abingdon worked hard to get straight back into the game and were handed a chance from a free kick on the edge of the Saints penalty area but the shot went comfortably wide. Saints had opportunities themselves, forcing more corners and just failing to convert a cross from a free kick on the right of the Abingdon penalty area. Just before half time the best opportunity for Saints to add to their lead came from a strong Ryan Knight shot which bounced off the post and ran across the goal line before being cleared.

Abingdon made changes at half time looking to get back into the game but it was Saints who started the second half in control. The first chance of the half fell to Josh Bowden but his shot went just wide of the post and a shot from James Hammond from the edge of the box flew just over the crossbar. Alex Stott brought a fine fingertip save from the Abingdon keeper from a free kick after James Watts had been fouled before one of the Abingdon midfielders brought a good save from Ali Worby with a long range, swerving shot.

As the game moved into the last 10 minutes Abingdon were unfortunate to see a shot come back of the post before an excellent cross by Matt Johnson was headed just over for the Saints. Abingdon forced a corner which was punched clear by Worby who then outjumped everyone to superbly catch the cross which came straight back into the crowded Saints penalty area.

With the home side starting to get somewhat desperate to get the equalizer the game became a little feisty but the Saints youngsters showed good discipline and looked to have done enough to see the game out for their first win of the season however it wasn't meant to be.

Having given everything, tired legs and minds switched off on the Saints left hand side and allowed the Abingdon wide player to drive into the box to deliver a perfect pass for the home teams' striker to finally beat Worby and snatch a point. 

Ascot United 2 Burnham 0
The Yellamen secured their first win of the season with a much improved second half performance scoring two goals in five minutes from centre forward Rory Knibbs. In the first half Burnham had an early chance but keeper Lee Allen blocked the shot. Then Knibbs had a chance, put through by James Goodey but Burnham keeper Sam Buntins saved the shot with his outstretched leg. For long periods both sides found it difficult to construct any decent play and ball retention was at a premium. On 40 mins Rob Lazarczuk almost gave Ascot the lead but saw his header flash wide from a great Goodey cross.

In the second half Ascot started brightly and pinned Burnham back. On 51 mins a great ball into the box by Jonny Denton was smashed home by Knibbs. 55th min and it was 2-0 when Goodey crossed from the right and Samir Regragui's header was pushed away by Buntins but Knibbs was there to fire the loose ball into the net. Knibbs might have got his hat trick on 60 mins but headed wide from another Denton cross. Burnham did not really trouble Allen and his defence and with 5 mins left a Denton free kick was headed just over the bar by sub Lee Riddell. So a well earn't three points, clean sheet and confident boost for a tricky away FA Cup match at Hamworthy Utd this Saturday.

Brimscombe & Thrupp 1 Wantage Town 0
Brimscombe & Thrupp got their first league win of the season despite some noticeable absentees, with Ollie Pitt on holiday, Sam Blackie injured and Karl Nash suspended, the Lilywhites still managed to pull off a 1-0 against league newcomers Wantage Town at the Meadow.

It was a slow start to the game with the first event happening on the 20 minute mark with Ben Deakin being forced off with a knock and youngster Elijah Simpson took his place. Jack Smith had the first real chance of the game when he saw his header go narrow of the mark, not long after Ben Snook tested the Wantage goalkeeper with a fantastic shot towards goal which was tipped over the bar for a corner. Just before half time it was Brimscombe shot-stopper Ashley Gale who was tested with a low shot but he got down well to tip it around the post away from danger.

With the scores tied both teams battled hard to draw the first blood. Ash Caldwell’s curling shot hit the post before Ben Snook swung a corner on to the head of Kyle Pitts who made no mistake in finding the net. Dan Hill was replaced by Lee Bowles who worked hard for the 15minutes he was on the pitch before he too was forced off with a knock and was replaced by Jamie Bish.

Brimscombe travel to Hayes & Yeading on Saturday for the FA Cup Preliminary Round which will be played in Hayes’ new stadium.

Fairford Town 2 Longlevens 6
Longlevens enjoyed their return to Cinder Lane with a 6-2 victory in the Premier Division on Wednesday evening. Fairford again gave themselves a mountain to climb with a poor second half start, in what was the third game of the season against the Saw Mills side.

It was the home side though who made the early breakthrough, with Lee Smith’s penalty finding the stanchion. Brad Martin then capitalised on a defensive error to slide home a cut back on the half hour with the game evenly poised at the break.

However two early second half goals from Brad Vanstone and Dave Merrick made it 3-1 to the visitors. Vanstone then added his second of the night soon after and when Shaun O’Connor made it 5-1, the points were in the bag. Josh Morse netted a consolation to make it 5-2 before Ryan Gunn fired in a sixth to condemn the home side to a second heavy defeat of the week.

Lydney Town 1 Royal Wootton Bassett 1
Lydney were involved in an entertaining game with a much changed Royal Wootton Bassett side at The Rec last night that ended all square.
Their last few visits to The Rec has seen them go home beaten but this side certainly had an edge of steel about them. Lydney were still without Niall Halford & Pat Gibbs, but welcomed back Ryan Pendry, Ross Garbriel and Billy Guest who all joined Lewis Halford & Dan Barnard on the bench.

The opening half hour belonged to Bassett. Setting a high tempo they gave the Lydney back 5 plenty to think about. They came close to opening the scoring when Sam Packer hammered a shot against the post when he should have done better following an error by keeper Rich Thomas. Town youngster Keelan Hamblett, playing further up field in Lydney's formation, was shown a yellow card after a poor challenge on 25 minutes.

Lydney went into the last 15 minutes of the half on top, and missed a couple of decent chances. Jack Rutter took a high boot to the head just inside the area, but play was waved on. Jamie Addis had an effort blocked in the 6 yard box, while Liam Sheppard saw his well struck volley denied by a last ditch challenge. Pete Macklin was winning everything in the air but there was no Town player close enough to take advantage and the half ended 0-0.

The first action after the break saw the visitors flash the ball across the area without anyone getting a touch. Lydney stepped up once again and went in front on 57 minutes. Some neat build up play from Hamblett saw his pass send Addis away down the right. His early cross was diverted past his own keeper by Aaron Stevens to give Lydney the lead. Ben Hands was next to try his luck but he dragged his shot wide after a mazy run. Billy Guest replaced Hamblett with 15 minutes left.

To their credit Bassett stuck to their game plan but after Coleman hammered a great chance over the bar, it looked as though it wasn't to be. The introduction of Nathan Gambling off the bench certainly paid dividends. With 10 minutes left Sam Packer latched onto a through ball and crossed first time for Gambling to finish in style at the near post and earn his side a deserved point.

Both sides were still looking for the win with Town throwing on Ross Gabriel and Lewis Halford for Shaw & Macklin. Halford in particular always a threat with his pace down the left hand side. Town skipper Addis went so close to pinching the points when he got on the end of a fine move between Dan Morgan and Ben Hands. Unfortunately, his first time effort went wide of the post.

Thatcham Town 3 Woodley United 0
The game had a fairly quiet, closely matched start as both sides probed and sounded each other out with some tentative early exchanges. Thatcham's line of attacking forwards, with Josh Helmore coming into the team in place of the suspended Ekow Elliott, were beginning to get a grip on the game with Woodley's defence (who were yet to concede a goal in the league this season) equal to the task.

The deadlock should arguably have been broken after 20 minutes when Helmore had the ball in the back of the net, but was adjudged to have been offside. It was unfortunate after 29 minutes when right back Lewis Brownhill, making his first appearance of the season, had to be substituted following a nasty collision with a Woodley player. Curtis Angell came on in his place.

It was Woodley who threatened next with Carl Prostidge's left footed volley forcing a great save from Chris Rackley down to his right. Soon after, Joe Blount was given a chance to run on to a through ball and looked to have breached the Woodley defence before being impeded, winning a free-kick on the edge of the area. Michael Porter was lucky to escape with a yellow. Shane Cooper-Clark stepped up to take it, his fine effort just grazing the top of the crossbar. Cooper-Clark hit the bar again shortly after following industrious work by Helmore, who was giving Woodley's right back a night to forget, to plant a cross on the number nine's head.

Thatcham's dominance was beginning to show with a few more chances coming their way before Helmore combined well with left back Tom Browne, whose excellent cross from deep was headed on target by Cooper-Clark. Woodley's keeper Alex Reed got a hand to it but couldn't stop Thatcham from taking the lead. In stoppage time, Town doubled their lead after a long throw was put into the box by Angell. It landed in Helmore's lap, he teed himself up and volleyed into the net from close range.

The second half started much like the first and it wasn't until 70 minutes in that Thatcham were able to add to their goal tally, Cooper-Clark taking the ball round the keeper and making the net bulge with a fierce shot from a tight angle.

Much has been said about Thatcham's solid defence this season, and Rackley was again to thank for preserving the team's clean sheet with a solid save to his left from a powerful header in the box. Substitute Lamin Sankoh was causing problems at the other end, on one occasion using his lightening pace to beat a defender and reach the byline before firing a fierce and inviting ball across the face of goal with unfortunately no Thatcham players there to meet it. Shortly after, another substitute, Dylan Knight, was keen to get in on the action with an effort from 30 yards sailing just wide.

Despite the scoreline, Woodley were still causing the occasional problem for Thatcham and threatened to blemish the defence's impeccable record when a good break led to Rackley dropping the ball following a good save, the defence hacking the loose ball out for a corner. There was just time for Sankoh's pace and skill to cause some more panic in the Woodley defence before the full time whistle went.

Tuffley Rovers 0 Highworth Town 4
Tuffley Rovers suffered their first defeat of the 2017/18 season, in comprehensive fashion, as Highworth Town produced an emphatic display of their potential at Glevum Park on Tuesday night. Rovers' Mark Pritchett saw his resources depleted and was without Shayne Bradley, the injured Ben Tunnicliff and Mark Ford, as well as the suspended duo of Ashley Davies and Liam Wright, for the visit of The Worthians, meaning that Harry Walker was selected to start for the first time this season.

With both sides unbeaten coming into the match, the early stages were closely contested but it was the hosts who went closest to opening the scoring on two occasions, with Jack Overthrow prominent in both attacks. First, the Rovers midfielder served up an excellent cross, met by Sam Hill's header at the back post, which only went narrowly wide of the Highworth goal; then, he had a shot himself, from 20 yards, that was rising as it went over the bar.

The opening twenty minutes continued to be well contested but both sides lost a player in quick succession, with Highworth Town forced into a change that was to prove pivotal in the outcome of the match. The Worthians prolific striker, Ashley Edenborough was forced off with a hamstring strain and just five minutes later his replacement, Jake Slocombe, was on-hand to finish off a slick passing move at the back post, with Aysa Corrick and Kias Bonner-Shea instrumental in the build-up. Almost immediately, Rovers' Tristan Haswell was forced off, after sustaining a knee injury in an earlier challenge with Dan Drewett, with Pritchett himself joining the action for the first time this season.

Both sides continued to play their part in a tight contest as the half progressed, although defences were on top, as chances proved few and far between. On the half hour mark, Warren Mann crossed into Walker but the youngster couldn't get enough power on his header and visiting keeper Gary Aulsberry got down to comfortably hold the ball. As the half-time interval arrived, the visitors, who had been free-scoring in their previous games this season, looked increasingly in control of the play, leaving Pritchett's side with work to do in the second period.

Anything that Pritchett had said to his team during the break was rendered largely superfluous within minutes, as Highworth extended their lead almost immediately. Two minutes after the restart, their first attack ended with the ball falling to Slocombe on the edge of the Rovers box and he unleashed a rocket of a shot that flew beyond Dave Evans' dive and into the roof of the net.

Rovers appeared to be stunned by immediacy of the Highworth Town goal, with it coming so soon after the half-time interval, and although Pritchett’s side were industrious, they struggled to match the pace and intensity of the visitors’ attack. Brett James had a rare chance for Rovers on 58 minutes, although he produced an uncharacteristically weak shot, which failed to trouble Aulsberry, but Rovers were back in defensive mode moments later, as Bonner-Shea shot narrowly wide when well placed.

If James’ chance had offered Rovers some hope of working their way back into the game, those ideas were extinguished little more than 5 minutes later, as Callum Parson, latched onto another terrific Corrick pass and he drove the ball low, beyond Evans, and into the net, to make it 3-0.

Despite staring defeat in the face, Pritchett’s men continued to trade blows with a now dominant Highworth team, and both sides had penalty appeals rejected in a two minute spell, but the game was finally ended as a contest on 87 minutes, as Corrick was once again instrumental, producing a sublime pass between two Rovers defenders, leaving Slocombe with a chance to net a hat-trick that was too good to waste. When the referee called time, just minutes later, Rovers were left to lick their wounds, whilst Highworth Town celebrated a comprehensive win and the opportunity to sit at the head of the Uhlsport Hellenic League, Premier Division table.

Tuffley Rovers 0 Highworth Town 4 (away view)
The Worthians returned to the top of the Uhlsport Hellenic Premier league with a convincing 4-0 win at Tuffley Rovers last night. Three away league games have now seen the Worthians score 14 goals but it was especially pleasing to keep a clean sheet at Glevum Park.

The game was barely 10 minutes old when Ashley Edenborough limped off with a hamstring injury with Jake Slocombe replacing him. Jake certainly made the most of his opportunity by scoring a hat-trick with Callum Parsons netting the other. 24 minutes in Slocombe slotted home after a Ryan Stanners cross from the right was headed back across goal by Aysa Corrick. Gary Aulsberry was generally untroubled in the first half and although the visitors controlled the game half time arrived with Highworth 1 up.

The lead was doubled after 47 minutes as Slocombe found the top corner from 20 yards out having been set up by Asa Corrick and Kias Bonner-Shea. It was 3-0 after 62 minutes when Aysa Corrick fed a great ball through to Callum Parsons who cut in from the left and shot across the keeper low into the bottom corner. Slocombe completed the scoring 5 minutes from time from close range when Aysa Corrick played an intelligent defence-splitting pass into space behind the Tuffley back line after which Highworth saw the game out. All in all an excellent evening's work

One East

Chinnor 1 Thame Rangers 1
The game between Chinnor and Thame Rangers turned out to be a fairly matched affair with Chinnor looking the stronger side, but Thame looking the faster side especially up-front. With Thame playing a number of players recruited from Chinnor, and Chinnor turning out 14 new signings this was always going to be a learning exercise for both sides.

Despite two serious injuries to Chinnor players in the first half and Chinnor going down to ten men early in the second Thame were restricted to a few long shots and some set prices. Chinnor did not fair much better but goalkeeper Dan Bowker did pull off an exceptional save from a James Bonwick shot on the turn from 18 yards. Both teams had great spells where goals looked likely without any great chances and apart from maybe one save a piece the goalkeepers were kept remarkably quiet.

Thame midfielder James Luckett had a great first half with his first 5 touches being fouls resulting in a 40th minute booking and then the floodgates opened with Thame receiving a further 3 cautions and Chinnor a red card and also 3 cautions.

A record crowd was silenced by ex Chinnor youth player Pat Buston's first half goal for Thame but the roof of the stadium was taken off when Chinnor fans went wild when Rory Nish equalised in the second half for the ten man home side.

All in all a fair result but it could have been so different for Chinnor with 11 men .

Chinnor 1 Thame Rangers 1 (away view)
Thame Rangers with a completely different management team and a squad made up of mainly last year’s Thame Utd U21 Development team plus a few new faces were handed an attractive local derby against near neighbours Chinnor FC in their first ever game at this level. Some of the new faces were competing in their first senior game of football and most of the rest playing their first games at this level.

Pat Buston opened the scoring with a well-worked goal involving Steve Newell and Dan Hatton. Buston finished the move off beating Chinnor’s keeper at his near post. Chances were reasonably limited in the first half for both sides. The impressive young Dan Bowker in goal for Thame dealt with Chinnor’s long ball tactics well by collecting everything without having to make a save. At the other end Dan Hatton and Buston were causing problems for the home defence at every opportunity. Both had chances to increase the lead along with Nathan Lang and Kieron Moreton but the half finished 0-1.

The second half was played in the same fashion. Chinnor continued with their long ball tactics and we tried to expose the weakness, which was the lack of pace in their central defence. A mix up was punished midway through the half and Chinnor equalised with their second shot of the game. Things then began to get heated and Chinnor’s right back was handed a straight red for what looked like a punch. We looked to capitalize on the man advantage with a switch in formation and the introduction of 16-year-old Antony MacIntyre. Chances came and went; a blatant penalty was not given when Buston was unfairly by a defender preventing an opportunity for him to score. The referee apologised after the game for being out of position and virtually unsighted to the incident. Craig Faulconbride, Dan Hatton & Buston all had chances to win the game. Faulconbridge headed over from close range, Hatton could not get enough purchase on the ball to beat the stranded home keeper and Buston chipped over the advancing keeper, which would have capped his man of the match performance off in style but it was not to be and the game finished 1-1.

All in all a great introduction to so many of our young players. 13 of the 16-man squad were under the age of 21. The game was evenly contested and its a shame on chances alone we could not secure all 3 points.


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