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23 December

uhlsport football kitPremier Division

Binfield 3 Fairford Town 2 (away view)
Fairford Town went down to a 3-2 defeat at Binfield on Saturday afternoon, with veteran striker Ian Davies scoring his 150th goal in Binfield colours to secure the win.

Fairford produced a spirited second half display including a goal from debutant Conor Lynch, but were unable to take a share of the spoils. The visitors returned to action after a two-week day lay-off and made changes to the line-up, with striker Liam Gale and Martin Hall included in the starting eleven, whilst new loan signing from Hungerford – Conor Lynch – was named on the bench.

The hosts, who went into the game in sixth, made a fast start and were 2-0 up inside the half hour. Josh Howell struck first to open the scoring before Will Shaw doubled the advantage. 

The scoreline remained the same until just after the hour and with Fairford looking more dangerous after the break, Jody Bevan’s men got back into the game. A loose ball back to the ‘keeper was intercepted by Gale who rounded Henry Craven in the Binfield goal to make it 2-1 with 64 minutes played. Loan striker Lynch was then introduced for his Fairford Town debut, having joined the Reds having scored nine goals in 15 games for Letcombe.

Fairford were then back on level terms with 15 minutes remaining as debutant Lynch grabbed his first goal for the club. However, the hosts grabbed the points thanks to veteran striker Ian Davies, who notched his 11th goal in 18 games to seal the win.

Highworth Town 3 Ascot United 0 (away view)
Ascot United slipped to a 3-0 defeat at table-toppers Highworth on a day when the scoring and the contest were both finished by half-time. The home side were ahead inside 90 seconds, and never looked back en-route to completing a double over Ascot.

It was Jason Milhench who opened the scoring for the hosts inside two minutes, and the same player added a second goal on 25 minutes with a wind-assisted cross from the left wing which sailed over Lee Allen and into net after good work from Chris Taylor. And, it was three-nil in after 37 minutes when Wayne Turk converted from close range when he tapped in following a lobbed cross.

The second half was played out on an increasingly heavy pitch which cut-up badly, and Allen prevented a fourth when he saved a 59th minute penalty after Louis Bouwers was penalised for hand-ball in the box. There was little spare change for Ascot, for whom Ben Harris and Trevor Mutero were both absent. Ascot now look to pack more punch on Boxing Day when Windsor are the visitors for a festive local derby.

Windsor 4 Brackley Town Saints 2
Windsor avenged a 3-1 defeat back in September when they started the holiday programme with a 4-2 win over Brackley Town Saints. The match was great entertainment for the 100 plus fans who braved the elements. The visitors went in front on 26' when Tom Kalugan opened the scoring. Before the break striker Barry Hayles (the older of the veteran front line) scored twice to give the hosts a half time lead.

A minute into the second half Saints were back level when Callum Williams struck a great strike. Just before the hour a cross from Jack Denton found the head of Windsor's other veteran striker Keiran Knight (pictured) who rarely misses from 6 yards to restore the lead. The match was put beyond doubt in the 90' minute when good work from Nadir Shafi allowed Denton to score a cracker from the edge of the 18 yard box. A really pleasing start to the busy period ahead.

Windsor 4 Brackley Town Saints 2 (away view)
Another game another reshuffle at the back for Saints manager Gordon Kille with Sam Hartley dropping to the bench, Dan Middleton being moved back into the middle and Ryan Knight dropping deeper into the left back position. 

Just 2 minutes into the game the first opportunity for a strike on goal came for Saints but their free kick on the edge of the Windsor penalty area was wasted and then a minute later the home side forced a corner which also came to nothing.  After 6 minutes a good break on the Saints left from Ryan Knight created a chance for first Tom Kalugin and then James Watts to shoot but both attempts were well saved by Hugo Sobte in the Windsor goal.  Another chance Tom Kalugin came to nothing after 15 minutes but the Saints striker was able to open the scoring when good work from Chris Jordan created a chance after 26 minutes and this time Kalugin finished well, 0 – 1 Saints.  Disappointed to go behind the home side worked hard to hit back quickly and only a superb block from Saints centre-back Dan Middleton kept them at bay. 

Unfortunately for Saints, Windsor did get back into the game in the 34th minute when, looking suspiciously offside veteran striker Barry Hayles chased a long clearance down and beat Alastair Worby in the Saints goal, 1 – 1.  Another chance for Saints came on 36 minutes but this time striker Tom Kalugin's shot came back off the crossbar with the keeper beaten but 2 minutes later the home side, now playing a more direct style, took the lead when a counter-attack caused confusion in the visitor's penalty area and once again Barry Hayles struck the ball past Worby, 2 – 1 Windsor. 

Within a minute of the restart Saints were back on level terms when a Matt Johnson cross was swept into the Windsor net brilliantly by Callum Williams, 2 – 2.  Just on the hour mark a break down the right by the home side produced a perfect cross for onrushing striker Keiran Knight to head home and restore Windsor's lead, 3 – 2 Windsor. 

Although the Brackley youngsters stuck to their task and worked hard to get back into the game the final goal of the game was scored by the home side when Jack Denton smashed the ball past Worby from the edge of the box, 4 – 2 Windsor. 

Woodley United 0 Oxford City Nomads 4
United went into their last game before Christmas looking to end a run of five consecutive defeats. Manager James Anderson gave debuts to goalkeeper Michael Magrino and centre back Kieran Sengelow; despite the heavy defeat both players acquitted themselves well with Magrino pulling off several decent saves and Sengelow arguably Woodley's best player. 

The opening fifteen minutes were quiet with Oxford having slightly more of the ball but neither keeper tested. Nomads had the game's first real opportunity when a Kyle Bestley effort clipped a United player and looped just over Magrino's crossbar.  Starting with three at the back, Woodley were struggling to create much. Their best bit of play in the early stages saw Danny Horscroft cut in from the left only to see his cross sail over the head of Haydon Richardson.  Right wing back Teddy Thomas headed wide for the hosts midway through the half whilst Oxford skipper Jordi Mulvany had a header saved by Magrino. 

The visitors went ahead on thirty minutes when Jack Tutton found the right corner after a neat one-two on the edge of the United box.  Minutes after the goal, Tutton was involved again when a Nathan Simms cross found him at the back post; the chance was difficult and he missed the target on the half volley.  Nomads doubled their lead nine minutes before the break when Mulvany beat Magrino from just inside the box. The remainder of the half fizzled out with the away side in control. 

The second half started with more Oxford pressure. Kyreece Martei saw a cross-come-shot from a tight angle on the right flash across the six yard box before Magrino pulled off a superb stop to thwart a powerful shot from close range; the rebound was headed clear by Jordan Goddard by way of the cross bar. Nomads went further ahead on fifty five minutes when Mulvany got his second with a decent lofted effort from a good thirty five yards out. 

United had their best spell of the match on the hour. A nice ball from Richardson found Jaydyn Englefield who couldn't get the ball under control on the edge of the box. Richardson then saw a header deflect behind following a Sengelow cross.  At the other end, Magrino kept the score down when he denied Mulvany his hat trick, keeping out a shot destined for the top left corner. Woodley made a double change on sixty eight minutes. Goddard and Thomas made way for Carl Prestidge and Owen Davies. The hosts never gave up. Englefield had a shot from the left side of the box saved at the near post whilst Prestidge saw his effort from eighteen yards blocked after a nice move. 

Nomads sealed the win with fourteen minutes left when Simms found the right corner from twenty five yards. Moments after the goal it should have been five when Mulvany found himself with just Magrino to beat; standing up well, the United keeper pulled off a decent stop. The first follow up was blocked whilst the second follow up hit the bar.  United's last chance came from a free kick after a foul on Davies. Adam Nditi fired the set piece over to cap off a disappointing afternoon.

One East

AFC Aldermaston 2 Chalfont Wasps 1 (away view)
Wasps enjoyed decent periods of constructive passing during the first half but Aldermaston were stronger in the second period.

Wasps forced a series of corners early on and had their first effort on goal after only 3 minutes. Stand in keeper Dan Finch made a great stop two minutes later with his legs to deny Aldermaston. On the ten-minute mark Michael Green’s clever run and reverse header from a Brad Holt freekick was acrobatically cleared of the line. Six minutes later a sweetly stuck long ranger from Don Brown was palmed over. Aldermaston then had a couple of half chances as the match continued to ebb and flow. Wasps then got on top, a couple of swift breaks, then a series of corners. The lights came on to brighten a dank dark afternoon. Wasps pressure then paid off, again from a corner. Nugy Khan jumped with the defender and the ball flew into the Aldermaston net. 0-1 36 minutes on the clock. Finch made a smart stop when a free kick came through a bunch of players just before the break to keep Wasps in front.

Finch was called into action at the start of the second half, making a good flying stop, but he was helpless as a Wasps error allowed Aldermaston in to level things up after 57 minutes. Michael Moore and Rashd Hamid came on for the Wasps. Wasps got caught out after not clearing their lines on the edge of their box and a super power strike found the top corner to put the home side 2-1 ahead. Wasps responded well and with 20 minutes to go all was not lost. Gary Simpson came on up top. Wasps created a couple of half chances but could not find the equaliser. Sadly, another narrow defeat.

Milton United 0 Penn & Tylers Green 2 (away view)
This was enough to bring a Christmas cheer to Penn & Tylers Green with the last game of this year. This was a well-earned away win on the way to convert games in hand into points. This was not an easy game by any means. Compliments to the team, they did show this fixture the respect it and the opposition deserved and they kept plugging away.

Right from the off Penn & Tylers Green took command of the game and kept this up to the final whistle. It has to be stressed straight away, our hosts kept working very hard and never gave up. They were trying to keep their shape and certainly ensured that the visitors, playing in the red and black away kit today, had to stay focussed and concentrated. It did not help the visitors that Danny Blatchford had to come off early in the first half with a niggly injury. He was replaced by youngster James Pritchard, who incidentally had a hood game. It was good to see Chris Hurst back. He had a very good game. Without going into a minute by minute analysis the game can be kept up as follows: Loads of opportunities created but chances not taken. Before the breakthrough the boys from French School Meadow should have been a few goals but as we all know, if you do not score, the opposition is still in the game. Milton United nearly did just that, when against the run of play, a header from a deep cross went just over the bar.

After this scare the breakthrough came, when after a through ball Chris Hurst burst into the box with the ball trying to round the keeper. Craig Griffith, who had a good game, was adjudged to have brought our centre forward when diving for the ball and a penalty was awarded. Skipper Danny Jordan converted the spot kick well to give Penn the long overdue lead. 1:0 it stayed until half time.

The second half was almost an exact copy of the first. Loads of well created opportunities with just the end product missing. The second goal was needed to make the game safe because with a slender lead one mistake can turn the game. Our nerves were calmed when man of the match Josiah Bridgeman produced another one of his skilful runs down the right flank. His cross eventually ended up just outside the six-yard box, an invitation Chris Hurst could not refuse to make it two nil. A good way to start your return to your old club.

This was the game over and three well deserved points earned. Matt Cannings had one safe to make in the dying moments to ensure that the visitors kept a clean sheet. Well done Giovanni, James, John, Nigel and all the players. Merry Christmas to everyone and a Happy New Year.

Wokingham & Emmbrook 4 Bicester 2 (report by Arthur Strand)
Top of the table, Bicester Town visited Lowther Road. Without the regular captain, Sumas were skippered by Will Day. The game began at a brisk pace and Sumas entered Bicester land, but Ricardo Benjamin seized the opportunity to run back through the middle and scuffed a shot a yard os so wide of his nearest post.Dan Carter then applied his energy at Bicester's end but a deflection took the ball out of play for a corner to Sumas. Bicester defended this and returned with Benjamin able to put the ball close to the far post forcing Ashley East to fingertip the ball out for a corner to Bicester. As Will Day executed a great tackle then slid the ball as a neat pass through the legs of a Bicester player right by the technical area he suffered an injury to his thigh and needed to be replaced immediately. Free kick and Wokingham lost possession, Ricardo Benjamin was able to take a shot at Sumas' goal but Ashley East took the ball cleanly. Having gained ground from a free kick, Wokingham broke away and took 3 shots in successive seconds. The first was stopped by Joe White, the second hit the cross bar and rebounded then wildly hoofed over the cross bar. Bicester were on the back foot but eventually after 36 minutes, Gavin Kidd was on hand to open the scoring for Bicester. However this did not last long as Wokingham hit back within 5 minutes equalising with a goal by Sam Lawrence almost 5 minutes before half-time.

Ricardo Benjamin was stopped by Sam Lawrence as play resumed and Danny Bone was able to get back the ball for Bicester and then promptly hammered it over the Wokingham cross-bar. Ashley East had to save the next shot from Ricardo Benjamin. Before 5 minutes of the second half had passed, Sam Lawrence was in space with just Joe White to beat and was successful with the lob over White's head as the ball bounced into the net. In the 57th minute, Bicester equalised after back pegging for about 8 minutes. Ricardo Benjamin fired into goal from an angled ball after a long run. There was, however, a break while an ugly fracas occurred as result of a deliberate but not malicious trip by a Bicester player on Sam Lawrence who was somewhat peeved by sprawling along the turf. As the flare up moved away from the halfway line, it took some time to appease the packs then more time for the 3 officials to sort out the offenders with Bicester receiving 4 yellows and Stephen Gardiner a red. Sumas' Goalkeeper received a yellow too and it took a while to settle play down. The officials had managed the situation commendably. With the score level, Sumas needed to make the best of the advantage of the extra man and approximately 70 minutes gone, George Marsh put the Sumas in front and a further shot was blocked and a corner was taken by Wokingham. Around the 80th minute, George Marsh scored a third then, with subs on with a couple of minutes of the 90 left plus the additional time, Sam Lawrence mad it 4 - 2 to the hosts. A valuable 3 points to Wokingham & Emmbrook for the festive season.

One West

Letcombe 0 Pewsey Vale 2
Letcombe will look back on this game as three points thrown away, as Pewsey Vale played for almost an hour with only ten men. To their credit, the visitors defended well, and gave the Letcombe attack no clear openings.

Letcombe dominated possession in the early exchanges without looking dangerous. Craig Simmons fell awkwardly for the visitors after 15 minutes and twisted his back, causing a lengthy stop in play. Pewsey's Wes Brutton was sent off for violent conduct after 33 minutes, but Letcombe were never able to make their man advantage count in a scrappy game. The first real chance came in the last minute of the first half, but Dan Bailey's shot went over the ball under pressure from a defender.

Home keeper Charlie McCready had his first shot to save after 50 minutes, but it was the visitors who took the lead 6 minutes later. The home defence failed to clear a high ball, and McCready was adjudged to have fouled a forward as he tried to claim the loose ball, and Sam Mepham drove the resulting penalty into the roof of the net. Worse was to follow as Pewsey Vale increased their lead with 10 minutes to play. Conner Marsden collected the ball in his own half and evaded two poor challenges as he drove forward before striking the ball high into the net. At last Letcombe showed some energy, and Danial Elvestad had the ball in the net only to be ruled offside. Adam Bruce shot straight at visiting keeper Sam Tuttle from a Ben Hummel cross, but Letcombe seldom looked like reducing the arrears.

This was a poor Letcombe performance, who were guilty of throwing too many high balls into the Pewsey Vale penalty area where they were easily cleared by a tall defensive unit. With league leaders Ardley United the next visitors to Letcombe on January 6th, Letcombe will need to play a lot better than this.

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