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November

29 December

Puhlsport football kitremier Division

Ascot United 2 Longlevens 0
Ascot United closed the gap on leaders Brackley Town Saints to a single point with a comfortable win over Longlevens on Saturday. Two first half goals earned Jamie Tompkins’ side their victory, ahead of next weekend’s six-pointer at third place Brimscombe & Thrupp.

Boxing Day’s programme three days earlier had largely been unfavourable to both sides. A defeat for Longlevens increased their challenges at the wrong end of the table, whereas non-playing Ascot looked on as most of their high-flying rivals picked up points to close the gap. The home side were at full strength except for Fabien Etienne (suspended) and Callum Carlisle (unavailable), whereas Longlevens were simply grateful to arrive with a full squad after turning their faltering minibus round shortly after leaving Gloucester and jumping into a convoy of cars.

Indeed, they fashioned the first chance; a Jonty Welch free kick after just nine minutes which Lee Allen easily claimed to his right. From then on, the half largely belonged to Ascot who played some exquisite football at times and over-engineered at others.

Captain Louis Bouwers would give his side the lead after 13 minutes – rising to head home Jonny Denton’s corner – but it was Geoff Kibaki’s first-time touch and run from man-of-the-match Dan Price’s raking pass which had earlier forced Longlevens into conceding the corner. Kibaki then smashed into the side-netting after Dom Sullivan’s miscue had fortuitously ended up at his feet, although the visitors almost levelled via a smart short-corner routine that saw George Lock clear Shaun O’ Connor’s low effort off the line after Rhys Lewis had picked him out.

A neat one-two between Ascot’s Nathan Minhas and Price ended with the latter scooping into ‘keeper Ash Wintle’s grateful arms, but the second goal soon arrived. This time, it was Price’s quick-feet and Denton’s tenacity in a 50:50 challenge that ended with Luqman Kassim looping a deflected effort over Wintle; 33 minutes played.

Wintle then made a fine save to deny Minhas’s thunderous left-footed effort before denying Kassim whose tame shot warranted more from the move of the half, although at the other end both Denton and Bouwers would still need to be well-placed to avert rare ‘Levens danger. An entertaining half drew to a close with Price firing wide as a gaggle of Ascot players queued up to shoot, but ‘Levens escaped the half at least in touch.

The second half was a virtual non-event in comparison to the first, with O’ Conner’s speculative looping effort landing onto the roof of Allen’s net early-on as ‘Levens sought to give themselves a lifeline.

Ascot made a trio of substitutions and one of them – Harry Laflin – saw a late effort chalked off for offside, whilst fellow replacement Usman Lalustani would see a low cross-shot fizz wide of the left-hand post. However, Minhas came within millimetres of scoring five minutes from time when his thunderbolt struck the base of Wintle’s near post and spun across the six-yard box before going out for a goal kick on the other opposite side. However, it was another job well done for the Yellamen, who exit 2018 in fine form.

Ascot United: Allen, Lock, Haworth, Sullivan (Laflin), Bouwers, Ellis, Kibaki (Lalustani), Denton (Carey), Minhas, Price, Kassim. Subs unused: Sankoh, JC Etienne

Ascot United 2 Longlevens 0 (Report by Arthur Strand)
Ascot United played out the year with a win over Longlevens, currently second from bottom of the table, at the Racecourse ground yesterday. The game started with Ascot's first approach and Johnny Denton's cross being intercepted by the visitors but Louis Bouwers was able to clear the ball and Longlevens returning only for Ryan Dunn to be caught offside. When Ascot had a chance, the free kick went straight to goalkeeper Ash Wintle ditto for Longlevens. Ascot's progress was then halted as the they were pushed back into their own half. In the 13th minute, Ascot had taken a free kick already and Geoff Kibaki put the ball onto Dan Price whose long sprint and pass caused a corner.. Johnny Denton's corner kick then made it into the 6 yard box and Louis Bouwers climbed above the others and headed smartly into goal giving Ascot the lead. Dom Sullivan then sent the ball askew and Kibaki whacked the ball into the side net. Longlevens gained ground but Ascot then countered but Wintle's clearance kick rebounded of his own man and he was forced to punch the ball clear from the corner kick. Howarth and Kassim put together a move but a defender cleared the ball from right in front of his goal. As time passed, Ascot had the edge but Longlevens still had plenty of spirit with Dunn and Johns linking passes on the wing. The visitors then took a corner kick which was drawn back to near the edge of the Ascot penalty area but the low shot back was cleared off the line by George Lock, as close as Longlevens could get to scoring. Dan Price, supplied by Minhas, took a shot as Ascot sought a second goal but Wintle had no problem with the save and his team countered once again although a free kick and corner produced no equaliser. As the half hour passed, Price danced quickly to provide the effort for John Denton to battle with a defender and then Luqman Kassim chipping the ball goal ward but the ball deflected and Wintle was unable to prevent the second goal on 33 minutes. Longlevens continued to attack However Ascot took another corner at the other end but Longlevens regained the ball with a throw in which was an advantage lost when Ascot with Denton hitting the ball high over the crossbar. Kassim then worked his way through the defence but the shot went direct to Wintle. Longlevens then put the ball over Allen's crossbar and Kassim arrived in position to score just before halftime but the shot lacked power.

With a two goal lead at the break, Ascot took the wing route but the cross was quickly cleared and Ascot continued to chisel away at Longlevens' defence rewarded by two consecutive corners. Dan Price eventually found time and space for a shot direct to Wintle. returning to the opposite end, Longlevens watched a shot fly over Ascot's crossbar. A sloppy pass gave Longlevens another counter attack and a corner kick as well. Back in possession of the ball Ascot missed a chance to make it three but Dan Price missed the target. Chris Ellis made a great tackle close to the halfway line to keep the ball with Ascot as Denton was replaced by Carey.and not long after, Kibaki was substituted by Lalustani. As the second half continued, Ascot brought on Harry Laflin to replace Sullivan. Ascot gave away the ball with a poor pass and Longlevens took advantage and countered but were slowed down although there was a free kick in their favour from the centre circle. A rare second half save by Lee Allen blocked out Longlevens chance to claw back a potential consolation goal but they could look promising on the counter and it was the work of Ascot's defence that prevented a finish. Next move by Ascot produced a corner kick which Levens headed clear. Nathan Minhas broke through and Hammered a shot which crashed on the upright with Wintle diving in the right direction but the velocity of the ball was too fast. Usman Lalustani ran half the length of the pitch but he missed the contact in font of goal. He also missed the post with a right foot shot. The visitors were running out of time but a ball in towards goal landed on top of the Ascot net. Ascot remain in second place with Brackley Saints still top with games in hand.

Windsor 1 Tuffley Rovers 1 (Away View)
Although they extended their winless run in Hellenic League, Premier Division football to ten games, Mark Pritchett’s Tuffley Rovers side ended the 2018 calendar year with a positive performance, away at Windsor, on Saturday, although they were only denied victory by George Gould’s 88th minute equaliser for the hosts. After two successive postponements, Rovers were playing for the first time since their defeat at home to Royal Wootton Bassett Town on 15 December, and they were forced into a number of variations in their line-up, with no less than four changes to the starting eleven. Notably, Shayne Bradley (who had originally retired from playing in April) started in attack and Tyreece Briscoe, signed on a work experience deal from Cheltenham Town, made his debut in a holding midfield role. There were also recalls for Ryan Dobbins and Pritchett himself, whilst Warren Mann’s comeback from injury saw him named amongst the substitutes.

In contrast to the game earlier in the season, when Windsor had returned from Glevum Park with a 6-3 victory, the game was anything but expansive in the opening stages and chances were limited. Victor Ocansey headed over from ten yards, after 5 minutes, then Dan Roberts’ excellent run was met with a low centre that just evaded Gould’s desperate stretch before spinning out of play, after 11 minutes, but those were the only chances of note in the first thirty minutes. Rovers’ Sam Hill made a terrific last ditch tackle to deny Windsor’s Gould shortly after the 30-minute mark had passed, before Kai Davis’ header was turned into the forward’s path by Kane Fitzgerald, but Gould’s shot was saved by Kane Winman, although the Rovers keeper was somewhat fortunate to see the ball in his hands, as it initially slipped through his grasp.

Pritchett had Rovers’ first chance of note three minutes before the interval, as he produced a left-footed shot from 20 yards, but it was comfortably collected by Hugo Sobte in the Windsor goal. In a frenetic end to the half, Rovers then saw two players cautioned for mistimed challenges, as both Henry Birkett and Will Dawes received cautions from the match official, Mr Weston, who then sounded the half-time whistle with the score at 0-0.

Shortly before the interval, Dobbins had picked up an injury to his hand and the second period started with the unanticipated introduction of Mann, who was making a first appearance since early September. If evidence was needed of the impact that Mann’s absence has had on a season that has seen them embroiled in a fight for their Premier Division survival, it took less than five minutes for all present to be reminded. In typical fashion, Mann chased what looked like a lost cause, dispossessing Davis in a wide position on the edge of the penalty area, before producing a cross that caused mayhem in the Windsor box. When the ball found its way out to Bradley, who was on the edge of the box, he miscued an attempt to volley, but panicked defending eventually resulted in Gould controlling the ball with his arm and the referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot. As if he was looking to pen a fairytale return, the diminutive Rovers forward then stepped up to convert the penalty kick, lifting a well-powered and well-placed shot over Sobte, who dived in the right direction, to make it 1-0 to the visitors.

Gould had been bright for the hosts, but his wretched start to the second period continued, as he picked up a caution for a poor challenge on Will Dawes. The game continued to be played predominantly in the visitors’ half, but the hosts struggled to create chances, with Pritchett and Macaulay Herbert immense in central defence, well supported by full-backs Hill and Luke Payne, as Rovers stood firm, denying Windsor time or space, so that they were unable to seriously test Winman. In fact, Rovers almost conjured a chance to extend the lead, on 65 minutes, when Pritchett almost made ground to reach Bradley’s free-kick, but the ball went just beyond him at the far post. When Windsor mounted another attack, Pritchett once again found himself at the centre of the entertainment, on 71 minutes, as he produced a superb block challenge, from almost under the crossbar, to deny Roberts after the ball had been squared across the goal.

Another unconvincing defensive episode, after Sobte had failed to claim a cross from the right, almost saw Alder put the game beyond doubt, only for the Windsor keeper to recover and make a block, before the hosts denied Rovers a much needed win in the dying stages of the game. After good work from Roberts, a low cross flashed low across to Gould, and although he scuffed his shot, the ball went in the opposite direction to Winman, who was scrambling across his line, and into the corner of the net, to make it 1-1 with less than two minutes to play. Substitute Jack Denton had a half-chance to win all three points for Windsor, only to fire his shot wide, before. Sobte produced an excellent one-handed stop to turn away Birkett’s late effort, but the game finished with Rovers still in search of a league victory, but buoyed by a resolute and determined performance that lifted them off the foot of the table, at the expense of local rivals Longlevens.

One West

Clanfield 85 5 Thornbury Town 0 (away view)
clanfield v thornbury 29 december 2018 hellenic leagueThornbury Town suffered their first league loss of the season since the opening day, losing 5-0 to Oxfordshire side Clanfield.

Both sides struggled to get to grips with the sticky uneven surface at Clanfield, a contrast to the flat artificial pitch at Cirencester a week earlier. It took 10 minutes until the first chance of the game when James Lewis, standing in at goalkeeper for Kurtis Parkin, pulled of a fine save when a Clanfield striker beat the offside trap. Minutes later Clanfield’s Jordi Mulvany rounded Nathan Sage and forced a corner. The resulting corner sparked shouts that the ball crossed to line, but the assistant referee deemed it not a goal after a last ditch block from Thornbury.

Thornbury’s first chance came 20 minutes in to the game when Marcus Wormwell cut in from the left and had a low shot towards the bottom right corner, only to be tipped wide by Clanfield goalkeeper Jamie Zoldan. With the last moments of play in the first half, another Clanfield counter attack ended with winning a corner after Tom Webb made sure that Clanfield didn’t find themselves through on goal. The corner however posed problems again for Thornbury with James Lewis putting into his own net.

After the half time break, Clanfield came out an even stronger side and just 3 minutes after the restart doubled their lead. Nathan Kimber squared the ball across goal to Jozef Fullerton who had beaten his marker for an easy tap in from 10 yards out. Clanfield then added a third when Josh Gibbens got on the end of a corner at the back post with James Lewis unable to reach the ball. Just on the hour mark, Nathan Sage conceded a penalty for a challenge on Connor Tinsley, with Fullerton sending James Lewis the wrong way from the spot.

Thornbury Town didn’t give up and Asher Budd and Jim Brock provided some extra energy from the bench to push for a consolation goal. However, they had to rely on set pieces for the best of their chances. First, a Pete Fowler header from a corner going narrowly over the bar. Not soon after, Luke Franklin came close with a free-kick on the edge of the box.

Clanfield put the game well and truly to bed, when Fullerton tried to lob James Lewis from the edge of the area. The ball fell short of the line, however the covering defender was unable to clear before Nathan Kimber arrived to score Clanfield’s fifth.

Thornbury will look to bounce back next weekend at home, but face another tough test against league leaders Easington Sports from Banbury. Kick-Off 3pm at the Mundy Playing Fields.

North Leigh 3 Easington 10 (away view)
Easington’s Charlie Hill scored 5 goals against North Leigh UnitedSports recovered from a lack lustre start to this match to end 2018 on a winning note. Star of the show Charlie Hill notched 5 goals to make it 8 goals in 2 matches. The dynamic midfielder showed excellent touches and moved the ball quickly to constantly offer a threat in and around the North Leigh penalty area all game. Further goals from Joe Eyre, Craig Robinson and a hat rick for Callum Convey completed the scoring.

After conceding only 6 goals in the whole of the league campaign so far, Easington got off to the worse possible start conceding in the opening 3 minutes of the match. A hopeful ball was latched onto by Bradley Walton and he showed good composure to slot his finish past Joe White. The started off in feisty fashion and the early goal gave the young North Leigh side an extra spring in their step and a snap to their tackling. Unfortunately for the home side, Henry Chesterman saw red for showing too much aggression towards Dan Watkin and was sent off in the 11th minute. Sports drew level with soon after this incident through a well-directed strike from Charlie Hill from the edge of the box after showing good footwork to go around the defender.

This goal was not proving to be the catalyst for change for Sports and they continued to play poorly, trying to force pass and playing too long into the front two of Callum Convey and Joe Eyre. In fact, North Leigh took a deserved lead in the 24th minute after Easington failed to defend a routine ball into the box. Bradley Walton again showed good pace and skill to out muscle the defence before cutting taking a shot a Joe White who could only parry out to Ashley Andrews for a simple tap in. The game was certainly end to end and in Sports eventually built up the pressure which came from an improvement in passing and the additional composure of Joe Coleman in midfield. Sports ended the half on top with goals from Callum Convey, Joe Eyre and Charlie Hill after a number of well worked moves.

Sports certainly started much better in the second half and a change in formation provided better shape. Craig Robinson came on in midfield to add an extra physical presence. The goals came at regular intervals in the second half and Joe Eyre and Lloyd Sabin linked up superbly down the left. Eyre was able to offer much greater width and going up the slope he terrorised the full back delivering a number of good early balls into the box for Convey and Charlie Hill to run onto. Hill finished superbly including a diving header to first complete his second hatrick in two games before going on to get 5 by the end of the game.

Easington have therefore managed to rack up the goals and points in the games which many would have expected them to do during December. That said, they will need to show much greater concentration and discipline across the pitch than they did in this match with two very difficult matches coming up starting with Thornbury Town away this weekend.

One East

Holyport 2 Penn & Tylers Green 1
After last weeks disappointing result away to Milton where we were outworked, you could be sure of one thing today and that was that we would not let that happen again today.

With a few enforced changes due to Xmas holidays we saw Quelch back in goal, Bradley at right back, Deverall in central midfield and Rapley on the left wing. Holyport had the better of the opening and Rapley had a shot comfortably saved and then latching onto a cross field ball volleyed over whilst attempting to lob the onrushing goalkeeper.

Penn grew into the game and the number 6 was beginning to cause problems, on 29 minutes Fred Tripp had a shot cleared on the line by Josh Masters but the ball fell to Levi Thackerly who slotted home. Ports heads dropped but following a bursting run by Adams this seemed to galvanise Port and they had a period of pressure which lead to the goal. Deverall pushed forward and rode a tackle, the loose ball put him in behind the Penn back line and he slotted home from 6 yards out.

The second halve Port were still no where near their best but a few corners whistled through the penalty box and Feaver had a penalty appeal turned down. Quelch in goal for Port had a solid afternoon and dealt safely with all the long range efforts that came his way. DeFranco did have to be on hand to clear one effort that was goal bound as the game wore on.

It was DeFranco again who was called into action on 85 minutes as he rose to head home a free kick. The header was sent straight back across the keeper, and was worthy of winning any game such was the quality of the finish.

Milton United 2 Woodley United 2 (away view)
On the last Saturday of 2018, Woodley showed good character to come from two goals behind after sixty five minutes to share the points and but for a goal line clearance in the fourth minute of stoppage time could have nicked a win.

Kicking with the wind, the hosts enjoyed the better of the opening fifteen minutes looking dangerous in attack but apart from Chace Jewell clearing off the goal line following a corner, did not get a shot on target and twice saw Josh Beech curl shots outside of Tom Bryant’s right upright. Although Freddie Barron and Max Laschok had half chances it was not until the eighteenth minute that Woodley put together their first meaningful attack that saw Harry Hawkins shoot narrowly wide from the edge of the penalty area and three minutes later Barron had a shot blocked for a corner kick.

With United playing higher up the pitch the game became more even although Bryant was called upon to save from Jake McLaughlin after twenty four minutes. Leon Mannion and Jewell both saw their shots go wide while Hawkins, when in the opponents penalty area could not get the ball from out under his feet to make a shot. The last chance of the half was ten minutes from the break when Adam Barnard’s free kick evade the on rushing Woodley attack and was comfortably gathered by home keeper Craig Griffiths.

Milton started the second half strongly with Woodley again struggling to get the ball out of their own half. Bryant made an outstanding save four minutes into the half which Jewell cleared but two minutes later Bryant could not prevent James Large opening the scoring despite another fine save and parry of the ball.

Woodley responded with Ryan Alexander heading straight at Griffiths following a corner but were fortunate in the fifty seventh minute when Bryant again parried a shot and in making a challenge for the loose ball collided with a Milton forward who was adjudged to have become active and off side with Woodley awarded a free kick rather than the home team a penalty. Sam Robinson fired wide but a minute later after sixty five minutes Milton doubled their lead when Jack White fired in from close range following a corner.

However, rather than seek to further press home their advantage it was Woodley who took the initiative and reduced the lead two minutes later when good play by substitute Sam Guze saw him pass to Mannion to slot home pass Griffiths. Guze was becoming increasingly influential while Ed Thomas was enjoying success on the right flank and was dangerous both in taking on the defence and his crossing. It was Guze and Edwards play that saw Toby Briggs have an effort saved by Griffiths with ten minutes remaining while Guze headed a Edwards cross over the bar four minutes later.

Defending a Milton free kick on the edge of their own penalty area, the ball fell to Mannion on the left wing. The forwards run to the half way line and pass resulted in Guze flicking the ball onto another sub Liam Wilson who out sprinted the home defence from ten yards in their half to shot low to the advancing Griffiths right to level the scores with four minutes of normal time remaining. Having gained the momentum Woodley went looking for the win but a goal line clearance from Wilson’s close range shot and Briggs firing wide in the fifth minute of stoppage time saw the points shared and Woodley now on a run of only one league defeat in seven outings.

 
 
 
 
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