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Puhlsport football kitremier Division

Ascot United 0 Royal Wootton Bassett Town 1
Royal Wootton Bassett scored a second half goal and produced a defensive masterclass to frustrate Ascot United on Saturday. The visitors netted a 72nd minute effort to consolidate their league position and pour cold water on Ascot’s mini-revival. Bassett were the only Uhlsport Hellenic League side to play during midweek – a 5-2 home county cup reverse against Highworth – but their league form had seen them climb to an impressive eighth place. And, whilst the Yellamen languished in sixteenth, they had improved of late and a third straight victory would see them move further away from the dropzone.

 Last season’s meeting at the Racecourse was a fiery affair that ended in the visitors’ favour and although they repeated the outcome, the game itself was played in much better spirits. Ascot United named a virtually unchanged side once again, with Rob Lazarczuk replacing Matt Jones in the starting line-up, and he would be at the heart of a lot of Ascot’s attacking forays in the first half.

However it was Trevor Mutero who came close to giving the home side the lead after just four minutes when his shot inside the six-yard box from Ben Harris’ left wing cross went over the bar. Harris saw his glancing header from Samir Regragui’s cross fizz narrowly over in the sixth minute, before Bassett responded through Giorgio Wrona – who skied Lewis Waldon’s cut-back over – and then the unmarked Stephen Yeardley’s wayward header from a corner.

But Ascot would finish the half more strongly and their best move of the half saw Lazarczuk produce a fine save from Kurtis Sharkey after the striker had played a neat one-two with Mutero before unleashing a stinging angled drive that Sharkey did well to get down to. Harris’s 33rd minute effort curled over the angle of post and bar and Callum Carlisle’s rising effort was plucked out of the air by Sharkey, but Ascot couldn’t force a breakthrough before half time. The hosts almost took a 47th minute lead when Regragui’s shot took a wicked deflection and looped wide, although the impressive Lewis Waldon played a neat one two with Harvey Scholes at the other end before Allen saved smartly at his feet.

Harris saw another low-shot easily saved for Ascot who then produced heroic defending at the other end to deny Carl Evans as both sides continued to trade chances, but Bassett went even closer when Scholes’ long range effort grazed the bar in the 69th minute. However, the visitors took the lead three minutes later when Scholes converted at the far post after Allen had saved substitute Dale Richards’ initial shot from a tight angle.

Ascot huffed and puffed as time ebbed away but the visiting defence held firm – although it took a brilliant fingertip save from Sharkey in injury time to push substitute Jones’ glancing effort onto the underside of the bar – and the visitors escaped with all three points.

Tuffley Rovers 0 Thatcham Town 7
Thatcham Town underlined their Uhlsport Hellenic League, Premier Division title credentials, with an emphatic display of clinical finishing that blew away Mark Pritchett’s Tuffley Rovers at Glevum Park on Saturday, in a match that saw fourteen cautions issued, seven to each side, with two players dismissed. Pritchett was without his captain, Dave Evans, so handed a rare start to regular Reserves’ keeper Kane Winman, whilst there were also recalls for Marcus Foxwell and Brett James, who had both missed the previous week’s victory at Burnham. The visitors arrived at Rovers’ home without their top goalscorer, Shane Cooper-Clark, but they had Liam Ferdinand in their ranks, with the former Binfield and Bracknell Town man boasting an impressive goalscoring record against the hosts.

Despite facing a side on a run of nine consecutive victories in all competitions and sitting second in the Premier Division, Pritchett’s team started brightly, although a half-hearted penalty appeal, when Harry Grant was challenged in the box, and a wayward Ferdinand shot were two chances for the visitors early on. Warren Mann then forced Thatcham’s Chris Rackley into an excellent save, nine minutes in, as the Rovers captain produced a bending shot that was push over the visitor’s bar. All the good work in a highly competitive first ten minutes, when Rovers more than matched their visitors, came to nothing, though, as Thatcham’s wide-man, Dan Rapley, was given too much time and space, to produce a low, drilled effort that went beyond Winman and handed Thatcham Town the lead on 11 minutes. Although behind, Rovers continued to trouble Thatcham Town and should have equalised when Shayne Bradley met James’ centre, but Rackley, was once again, equal to the task, pushing the ball away from goal with a fine save. The hosts were demonstrating an excellent work-rate, matching their opponents and limiting chances, but still had to be grateful to young keeper Winman, on 22 minutes, as he showed his potential, with a good block to deny the prolific Ferdinand. Sixty seconds later, however, all Winman’s good work was to be undone, as Thatcham Town extended their lead.

Rapley had been a thorn in Rovers’ side, causing his marker, the recalled Foxwell, difficulties at every opportunity, and when he worked his way through to the by-line, Winman produced a good stop to keep out Jordan Brown’s close range effort but was left helpless to prevent Harry Grant forcing the ball home on the rebound to make it 2-0. Six minutes later, on 28 minutes, Grant scored his second, as he capitalised on a defensive mix-up between Shayne Anson and Sam Hill to fire beyond Winman, with a shot that deflected off a Rovers defender and flew past Winman’s attempt to keep it out. Rovers trailed 3-0, with less than half an hour played.

Pritchett’s charges continued to play their part in a competitive fixture, although they were hampered by an erratic performance from the match official, who cautioned five Rovers players before the first-half was over, in a game that was largely bereft of any significant misdemeanours or major incidents.

The second period started in a similar vein to the first, with Rovers matching their opponents, but lacking the cutting edge that the visitors demonstrated throughout. After an opening quarter of an hour where they hadn’t looked like falling further behind, Rovers were made to pay for a momentary lapse, as Ferdinand burst clear and although Anson produced a tremendous block tackle to keep him out, the ball rebounded kindly and the Thatcham striker made it 4-0, firing the ball home from a narrow angle.

With the game now beyond his team, Pritchett looked for damage limitation, introducing defender Macaulay Herbert for attacking midfielder Kieran Alder before the restart, whilst Thatcham withdrew the impressive Rapley, replaced by Ross Cook. Despite the apparent defensive change, the hosts continued to play their part in an absorbing encounter but the game was truly ended as a contest with another moment of controversy involving the match official. Foxwell went into a challenge with Thatcham’s Tom Browne and appeared to be fouled. As the Assistant Referee, who was no more than a few yards from the incident, flagged, he was ignored and play was allowed to continue, with Foxwell lying injured on the floor, the ball eventually finding its way to Ferdinand, who fired a powerfully struck shot across Winman and into the goal to make it 5-0. Despite protests from the Rovers players, the goal stood.

Bradley had another effort for Rovers, when he drew yet another good save from Rackley on 76 minutes and Winman was then equal to that, as he produced an excellent double stop to keep out efforts from Grant and Ferdinand. Substitute Cook had been impressive since his introduction and he made it 6-0, on 81 minutes, as he turned inside Hill to produce a curved shot that bent beyond Winman and into the bottom corner of the net. By now, the game was over as a contest but the visitors were reduced to ten men on 83 minutes, when their captain Tom Melledew was dismissed for a second caution, for a comment made to the referee.

Either side of another goal from Cook, which made it 7-0, three more players were cautioned, before Bradley received his marching orders after the final whistle, for a second yellow card for a comment made to the referee; a further calamity on a difficult afternoon for the Glevum Park outfit.

Wantage Town 0 Windsor 0 (away view)
Windsor turned things round after a couple of league defeats with a 0-0 draw at high flying Wantage Town. The match was played on a pitch that was very wet and heavy after the recent snow, rain and frosts. The hosts must be commended for getting the game on when matches all around us were called off.

Both teams defended as the chances were few and far between. The writing was on the wall that a goal would not come, both keepers when called upon did their job well. The referee did well to keep the upper hand as the hosts seemed to contest every decision. Both managers will possibly feel a point was fair.

One East

Chinnor 0 Virginia Water 2 (away view)
Waters stormed to their 8th straight league win against a strong and spirited Chinnor side.
In a match played in testing conditions on a difficult pitch, there was not much between the sides in a goalless first half, with few clear cut chances.

That said, Adam McNamara had a good goal ruled out for offside with the home side having a defender on the near post? Lorenzo ‘Lennie’ Di Felice had a number of good shots, as did Josh Guichard and Josh Hill, and Finn Evered seeing a header cleared off the line. At the other end, we defended superbly, with Mark Lansdowne (MoM) in particular, a tower of strength. Matt made one great save in the first half and he and the defence handled all crosses and set pieces thrown at them.

In the second half we got on top in the midfield battle with Steve Williams and Joe McBride controlling things. On 49 minutes we got the breakthrough, when Liam Hill and Adam combined down the right to put Josh G through, and he rounded the keeper to slot home. Further chances came and went as we did our best to play some flowing football. Josh G and Josh H both went close, as did Lennie, Steve, Mark and Adam (who deserved a goal of his own for all his hard work). We were rarely troubled at the back, and thankfully put the game beyond reach when the ball was passed to Steve, who put Josh H away, and he in turn chipped their advancing keeper to cap a great win and performance.

Didcot Town 1 Wokingham & Emmbrook 4
Didcot Reserves once again had major changes to the side from the previous week which this week included 5 from the Didcot Under 18 side. The game got off to a flying start with both teams going for it. As early as the first minute Chris Mortimer crossed for Ross MacDonald whose curler just was wide of the post. Not long after Josh Pearson shot low past the post for Wokingham. A minute later and a ball was cleared out of the Wokingham defence and was met by Tom Stone who hit a cracking first time shot which came down off the crossbar for one of those was it over the line or not moments. Unfortunately the ball was cleared and no goal given.

Quickly after and the away team shot just past the post from the edge of the box. With 14 minutes on the clock a sweeping home move saw the ball played to Chris Mortimer out wide who kept ahead of his marker and got in a hard cross met first time by Ross MacDonald who blasted the ball in to the roof of the net for the game’s opening goal. A great team goal. 5 minutes later and it was nearly two when a lovely build up involving
Stone and Ross Tanner saw MacDonald fire in a cross and Mortimer just miss a good chance. Mortimer turned provider when he passed to Alex Marshall whose shot was saved.

On 30 minutes the away team equalised however I missed the goal scored by George Marsh however in the aftermath two home players recovered treatment. Soon after Siji Akinlosi had a fine header towards the corner of the goal from a MacDonald cross however Wokingham keeper Woodward made a fine diving save to keep the ball out. That was as good as it got for Didcot in the first half and not long after home keeper Stevens
mis-kicked a through ball and Lawrence had an easy task of tapping the ball in to the empty net. Five minutes before half time and Charlton scored a third Wokingham goal to give them a very flattering score line.

Four minutes after half time and Wokingham score a fourth from a break down the right side ultimately tapped home by Rushforth. Didcot brought on substitutes Madeiros and Isaac. Ashley Stevens made a fine save from close in. A lively cross for Didcot found Isaac on the edge of the box and as he held the ball up he had his feet taken away from him for an awarded Didcot penalty. Unfortunately Ross Tanner’s effort was tame and easily gathered by the away keeper. Hueller Colonna let fly a ripping shot that flew just over the bar and another MacDonald run and cross was cut out. MacDonald sent a curling shot just wide and another Colonna shot was just wide. With 17 minutes remaining a good MacDonald run ended with him cutting inside and passing to Madeiros who finished well in to the corner of the net but he was adjudged offside. Not long after MacDonald was laughingly given his second yellow for what was a 50/50 tackle. He who shouts loudest seemingly gets the decision !

Throughout the match the official allowed himself to be swayed by players over reacting and he had a poor afternoon booking six players. All the more disappointing for Didcot’s young side who more than played their part in this game.

Sandhurst Town 5 Chalfont Wasps 1 (report by Arthur Strand)
Within the very first minute of the game, the hosts were one goal down, after a straight rush to the Sandhurst goal, based on the element of surprise, brought about a close range shot which keeper, Sam Green reached with an outstretched right leg thus preventing the intended goal momentarily. The rebound arrived at the feet of Tom Fifield who completed the move by slotting the ball to the left hand top corner of the net. As Fizzers defenders cleared the next approach upfield, Dan Gosling took an unsuccessful shot at the far post. Wasps then countered and were unlucky when the ball rebounded low from Green's upright and, with a quick return to the opposite end, Don Litttle blocked the effort from Sandhurst forwards. Chalfont's next approach came from the left wing and, as the ball entered the area, Sam Green stopped the ball's progress comfortably, Sam Green .then sent the ball out to his midfield and the wing ball arrived from the right but was overcooked and went out of play on the left. Regaining possession, Freddie Barron pushed the ball through to Bobby Mitchell who promptly passed it on Jon Malone as Malone placed the ball into a space in front of goal, Conor Harlowe was deemed off-side. Sandhurst continued to crack the Wasps but the latter were holding up quite strongly and Luke Burrows was playing the role of an attacking full-back effectively, although his cross in Wasps' area found nobody to finish. Jon Malone shot wide of the mark on Sandhurst's return Chalfont's keeper, Don Little was fouled and the ensuing free kick from defence was then sent across diagonally with Luke Burrows chasing down Mason Wright and dispossessing him but only for a short while as Chalfont returned only to make it an easy save for Sam. Green. Fizzers were not really fizzing but made an approach to Wasps goal only for Conor Harlowe to head just wide. A clash of heads slowed up play but a shot was deflected giving Sandhurst a corner kick from which Wasps salvaged possession A good pass on to Conor Harlowe from Freddie Barron ended up in the arms of Don Little as Harlowe attempted to get the equaliser before the break.

Sandhurst made a double substitution at half-time, Joe Sowden and Josh Mynard rreplaced Matt Wright and Bobby Mitchell. As play resumed, the Fizzers began to wake up with Joe Sowden applying himself immediately and a corner was forced by Sandhurst. With the hour looming, Jon Malone reached the goal line and attempted a shot from a very acute angle which rolled away from the face of the cross bar. Then the equaliser, long awaited arrived. Luke Burrows finishing on around 55 minutes. Sandhurst were fizzing now and 4 minutes later took the lead with a worthy contribution by Charlie Oakley. A short raid by Wasps ended with an easy save for Sam Green. At Wasps' end next, Sandhurst took a corner and Conor Harlowe headed direct at goal but Don Little palmed it over the ccross bar. When Josh Mynard sent the ball into the area, Harlowe sent the ball over the top of goal as the hosts gathered momentum. Joe Sowden supplied Charlie Oakley whose effort was saved and with his next attempt he could not connect to finish..Another goal was scored by Sandhust but was disallowed for obvious offside. Sandhurst were now dominating the game and a long run resulting from a timely interception saw a shot saved and a rebound saved as Chalfont escaped more pressure. Eventually, the 3rd goal arrived with Charlie Oakley in space with sufficient freedom to lash a left footer into the back of Chalfont's net in the 79th minute giving the Fizzers a 2 goal cushion. Dan Gosling sprinted some distance but Don Little saved. Charlie Oakley missed another chance and Little saved once more. In the 87th minute Charlie Oakley made it 4 - 1. All over, it is now!!! Tom Cooper added the 5th, just like that! Sandhurst with 5 goals and 3 points remain 6th in the table.

One West

Pewsey Vale 0 Shrivenham 3 (away view)
Shrivenham got back to winning ways in the Hellenic League 2 West on Saturday afternoon with a hard fought victory over Wiltshire based Pewsey Vale. Despite the home sides Ryan Banks sending an early warning shot across the visitors bow with just 7-minutes on the clock, none of his teammates were able to connect with his inch perfect ball which fortunately eluded their best efforts, leaving Shrivvy to breathe a sigh of relief.

Four minutes later, the hosts Lee Smith was also unlucky with his long range speculative effort, which went wide much to the delight of an unsuspecting Shrivvy defence. Smith was to provide further annoyance when he managed to beat the offside trap just two minutes later, but this time he only managed to fire the ball over the crossbar. Pewsey continued to pressure and produce some decent saves from Connor Johns and it wasn’t until the 20-minute mark when the visitors began to get themselves in to the game, but it was a fifteen minute spell before the end of the first half that the visitors were able to take the advantage.

After Josh Morse had a half-chance after getting through on goal, it was on 33-minutes that the visitors finally made a break through via Rob Hendry. The midfielder produced a fine solo run from his own half, cutting through the pitch and evading everything that challenged him before unleashing an effort that nestled in the bottom corner of the home sides net to make it 0-1. Six minutes later, some fantastic link-work between Jamie Prictor and Tyler Sheppard saw the latter strengthen their sides grip on the encounter when his shot found the top corner of the home sides net and give the visitors a two-goal cushion going in to the break.

The second half began as another tough contest between the two sides but after Morse saw a free kick gathered comfortably on 51-minutes, it was Prictor who was to score the goal which ultimately confirmed the three points for the visitors. With 60-minutes on the clock, the Shrivvy captain forced an error from the home sides defence and picked the ball from out from underneath a defenders feet on the edge of the penalty area and confidently fired home number three.  Two minutes later, Mark Jones almost pulled one back for the hosts, however his shot cannoned back off the woodwork however that was about it as a contest and as Shrivvy made substitutions to frustrate the home sides efforts to regain a foothold, Ryan Banks found himself issued a second yellow for an off-the-ball incident and became the first Pewsey player to be dismissed this season.


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