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17 February 2017

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Bluefin Sport Challenge Cup

Bishops Cleeve Dev 0 Virginia Water 6 (away view)
It was relief to all to play a match after a five week period without any competitive football of any kind.

Both sides appeared a little rusty in the early exchanges, until a well taken goal, rifled in with his left foot, by Josh Hill (MOM) on 22 minutes settles Waters down. From then on we found our feet, and our passing and movement eventually ground down our resilient opponents and hosts.

In a match very well refereed, that flowed without any caution, our second goal arrived on 37 minutes from the same source, after a good advantage was played. Steve Williams, another contender for MoM, turned in the centre circle, and hit one of many terrific long range passes into the path of Josh, who hit a stunning shot into the top right hand corner.
At the other end, Matt in goal had a very quiet day, and was well supported by a strong back four, martialed so well by Marc Lansdowne.

At 2-0 up at the break we knew the hosts would come out firing. We nullified any threat, and after some neat interplay on 51 minutes, the prolific Adam McNamara was put through and calmly slotted home passed the advancing keeper. Soon after Josh Guichard stamped his own authority on the game, heading home from some distance, after a great cross from Josh on 60 minutes.

Josh Guichard got his second on 68 minutes, when he slotted home after some good build up play by Richard Bond. The scoring was finished on 82 minutes, when Marc Lansdowne headed home a Jake Baker cross to cap a great day for the away side.

Water’s now have the daunting prospect of a home Quarter Final tie with high flying Bracknell Town from the Premier Division, a game they are looking forward to.

 

uhlsport football kitUhlsport Hellenic League Premier Division

Oxford City Nomads 0 Tuffley Rovers 2 (Away View)
Having lost heavily on their last outing, on Cirencester Town’s 3G pitch, Tuffley Rovers emerged from their visit to another artificial surface, this time at Oxford City’s Marsh Lane Stadium, to record a 2-0 win and second consecutive 2-0 league victory, albeit with those two three-point hauls 35 days apart!

Rovers’ boss Mark Pritchett had bemoaned a lack of recent action, after a succession of postponements left his side without a game for 24 days, but his side put in a terrific display, with goals from Warren Mann and Shayne Anson enough to secure a victory that helped keep a pre-season objective to secure a top eight finish within reach. The heavy defeat suffered three weeks earlier, in the Hellenic League Supplementary Cup, on a similar surface to Nomads’ pitch, might have been a source of apprehension for Pritchett’s squad, but a team showing four changes, including a debut for Cheltenham Town work experience player Ryan Davis, started the game brightly, with a crisp passing display coupled to a high energy performance that ensured Nomads were afforded little time on the ball.

Despite the positive start, Rovers were almost behind on 7 minutes, as Dan Collins was presented with an opportunity, but were grateful to keeper Dave Evans, who produced an excellent stop to beat away the Nomads’ effort. Twelve minutes into the game, Rovers had their first chance of note, as Cam Williams’ header, from Kieran Alder’s free-kick, almost found the net, lopping over Nomads’ keeper Luke Sanders and striking the top of the bar. Rovers continued to press and were unfortunate not to take the lead on 25 minutes, as a goalmouth scramble ensued, with Mann and Anson prominent after Sanders spilled the ball, but Nomads recovered to eventually clear the ball. That was to prove a temporary respite for the hosts, with Mann finally opening the scoring, on 31 minutes, as Mann pounced onto a ball from Shayne Bradley and turned it home from 10 yards. That was to prove enough to take Pritchett’s side into the interval with a slender, but very deserved lead.

As in the first half, Rovers were grateful to keeper Evans, as he produced a 52nd minute save to keep out Craig Fasanmade’s effort, and the game then entered a phase where both defences were in control, limiting chances in what was otherwise an entertaining encounter. The fixture took a potentially decisive turn on 71 minutes, when the hosts were reduced to ten men. Jordi Mulvany, Nomads’ central midfielder, clashed with Mann, in a fairly innocuous manner, but then appeared to spit in the face of the Rovers midfielder. Referee, Nick Metcalfe, was in close proximity and had no hesitation in dismissing the Nomads player, leaving Rovers to play against ten men for the remainder of the game.

Pritchett took the opportunity to introduce two substitutes, Ash Bird and Harry Walker, for Bradley and Brett James, and Bird almost made an immediate impact, as he outpaced his marker, before producing a cross that tested Matty Brown’s defensive qualities in order to deny Mann a chance to add his second goal of the game. In the closing moments of the game Rovers finally put the game beyond doubt, as Anson rose high to produce a bullet header from Williams’ well-delivered corner kick, with the ball flying beyond Sanders into the net, to make it 2-0. There was time for one last chance, as Pritchett, who had replaced Mann with a minute remaining, almost centred for Walker, but the young substitute took a second too long to fire goalwards and Sanders was able to block his effort, seconds before Mr Metcalfe sounded the full-time whistle.

Thatcham Town 2 Windsor 2 (away view)
Buildbase FA Vase quarter finalists Thatcham Town and Windsor fought out an entertaining 2-2 draw on Saturday afternoon. Windsor were first to score when Riccardo Cannon scored from a Paul Coyne free kick.

The lead only lasted 2 minutes when ex Windsor defender Bab Jarra scored for the hosts. The second half saw Windsor go in front again when Keiron Knight struck home a shot from the edge of the penalty area.

Like the first half the lead lasted this time barely a minute when Shane Cooper-Clark levelled for the hosts. The end to end game saw both sides look to get a winner with Windsor having to defend in numbers in the closing minutes to keep Thatcham at bay.

A satisfactory point for Windsor in their last outing before the big Vase tie next Saturday and looking like they have come through injury free.

Wantage Town 2 Fairford Town 0 (away view)
Fairford Town gave a good account of themselves against promotion chasing Wantage Town, with a second half penalty miss ruling out a late comeback.

The Reds fielded a strong starting eleven for the game, with the bench boosted by the return of several first team regulars. Wantage included former Fairford midfielder Jon Davoile in their side, having recently signed from league leaders Highworth Town.

Steve Robertson opened the scoring for the hosts with his 34th minute finish hitting the back of the net for his 35th goal in 41 games this term. Fairford rallied well and continued to plug away for the leveller, going in just a goal down at the interval.

Nick Thorne stepped off the bench to secure the win for the Freds, with his 73rd minute strike extending the hosts' advantage. The visitors were given a lifeline late on with a penalty award, but top scorer Lee Smith saw his spot-kick saved by home stopper Curtis Meare to wrap up the victory.

Division One East

Holyport 0 Wallingford Town 5 (away view)
Wallingford Town chalked up their biggest win of the season with a 5-0 away win at Holyport who themselves came into the game off the back of a goal spree of their own in recent weeks. The early exchanges were untidy from both sides and the first half an hour made for difficult viewing but Wallingford began to seize the initiative and on 38 minutes good work from Jack McLaughlin saw him cut in from the left, exchange a neat pass with Josh Beech and fire in to the net from just inside the box. Within two minutes James Spruyt had broken clear of the Holyport defence and was hauled to the floor. McLaughlin stepped up to take the resulting penalty and make it 2-0 at the break.

Wallingford retained the upper hand in the second half and gradually started to move the ball and create some openings but were by no means at their fluent best. James Spruyt was again involved in the third Wallingford goal, crossing from the right for Tom Baptie to come in on the near post and glance the ball past Sangha for 3-0. Spruyt was then rewarded for his efforts with goals of his own on 78 minutes - latching on to a fine ball from Luis Le Paih making his debut from the bench - and then rounding off the scoring on 84 minutes. With the game won Holyport then had by far their best spell as Wallingford relaxed. With 5 minutes to go a fierce strike cannoned off the Wallingford bar and after strong appeals that the ball had crossed the line the referee, after consultation with his linesman, decided it was not a goal. Holyport continued to press and Liam Vaughan in the Wallingford goal had to pull off three superb saves in the final minutes to keep the clean sheet intact.

 

Milton United 1 Didcot Town Reserves 1 (away view)
Didcot had the lion share of possession and chances from open play in this local derby league encounter but could not convert this to three points. A couple of early corners for the Railwaymen failed to produce a real chance however in the 9th minute Caelen Isaac was brought down on the edge of the box and Jack Kitchener fired the free kick past the post. A move involving Keiran Collins pass to Ross MacDonald who headed on to put Tom Hoskin in the clear ended with a goal,kick when Hoskin could not quite get to the ball. From an Aaron Davies cross MacDonald headed just under the bar but home keeper Griffiths saved well. In Milton’s first meaningful attack on 25 minutes Ross Tanner was adjudged to bring down a Milton forward and Joe Morgan fired the penalty home to put the home side one up.

Four minutes later though and Callum Young headed home just under the bar from a Collins free kick to equalise for Didcot after MacDonald was fouled out wide. Charlie Noble made room on the edge of the box for Milton but his shot was gathered by Didcot keeper Woodley. An injured MacDonald had to make way for Brett Gardner as Didcot continued to press with corners and free kicks and Jack Kitchener fired over the bar from inside the box from a Milton clearance. Just before half time Lewis Wilcox could not get enough of a header on a Ross Tanner free kick and the ball slid just past the post.

Milton changed formation and personnel at half time and later brought on further substitutions but the second half did not produce many chances. An Adam Doyle shot fizzed towards the Milton goal but was saved easily by Griffiths and Jack White headed over for Milton from a corner. Isaac crossed for Hoskin inside the box but the Didcot forward could not convert the chance into a shot and Brett Gardner passed his man and crossed for Hoskin,his shot was low past the post. Hoskin was fouled outside the box but again Didcot failed to threaten from the free kick. White again headed wide for Milton and although Mortimore and Filipowicz entered the fray for Didcot neither team created further chances and each ended with one point each.

Penn & Tylers Green 1 Bicester Town 0
Third placed Penn & Tylers Green FC saw off the challenge of league leaders Bicester Town at French School Meadow on Saturday to record an excellent and eventually deserved 1-0 victory to move above Virginia Water into second place three points behind the leaders and with two games in hand.

Penn started the game positively and after three minutes could have gone ahead when Casey Bocarro let rip from 10 yards out but the shot was pushed round the post by the alert Bicester keeper for a corner. Bicester responded and in the eighth minute from a promising move they gained a corner and from the subsequent delivery an excellent overhead kick effort went narrowly wide much to the relief of the Penn defence. Penn countered and Danny Jordan played an excellent cross field ball to full back Brad Holland who whipped in an excellent cross which was met by the incoming Chris Hurst who headed narrowly wide from eight yards. On twenty minutes James Pritchard sent in an excellent free kick into the box and once again the effort from Jamie West went narrowly wide.

Bicester were having their fair share of the chances without really testing Matt Cannings in the Penn goal. They did have one excellent attack which challenged the Penn defence but the final ball was whipped across the six-yard box with no Bicester forward able to arrive in time to finish off the move with a goal.

The game continued from end to end with both teams unable to find that decisive final ball or finish and generally both defences were in command. Penn however were creating the better chances with James Pritchard, George Weller and Danny Jordan being dominant for Penn in the midfield battles. At the back, when Bicester threatened, Alex Sethi, back in his familiar centre half role, was dominant in the air and he was ably supported by Fred Tripp, debutant Stephen Rogers at left back and Brad Holland at right back. The game was tantalisingly balanced at 0-0 at half time.

The second half started with a major scare for the home side as in the 46th minute, before Penn could draw breath, a shot from seven yards from Bicester cannoned off the Penn post to safety, with Keeper Matt Cannings stranded. Bicester had certainly come out the stronger team and for the next 15 minutes they carved out some good opportunities with a free kick flying narrowly over the bar, two consecutive corners almost producing that elusive finish and on 63 minutes a cross from the left was headed narrowly wide. However, Penn eventually weathered the storm and were now pushing forward with purpose sensing that Bicester may have given it their best shot, and also knowing that a point was not an option today if they were to revive their title challenge. In the 73rd minute the move of the game transpired as Penn put together a five-man one touch move from one side of the pitch to the other and from the resulting pinpoint cross Danny Jordan volleyed just past the far post. A minute later Chris Hurst was released into the Bicester penalty area and from his shot cum cross the in-rushing Fred Tripp narrowly failed to connect from six yards out. These were two major let offs for Bicester. Penn were now sensing a victory and in the 86th minute they were rewarded for their pressure when Alex Sethi crossed from the left wing and there was Adam Harman, who had come on for James Pritchard, to head the ball back across the Bicester penalty area for the unmarked Casey Bocarro to loop a precision header over the stranded Bicester keeper to clinch the points for Penn.

With the Penn contingent baying for the final whistle Bicester still had time to try to mute the celebrations when they had a last-ditch effort go wide of the Penn goal. The referee blew for time and Penn could reflect on a priceless three points in the bag and an excellent workmanlike team performance against a very good Bicester side. However, with many games to go no doubt there will be more twists and turns before the eventual champions are crowned at the end of April.

Sandhurst Town 3 A.F.C.Aldermaston 0 (report by Arthur Strand)
sandhurst v aldermaston 17 february 2018 Saturday’s visitors to Bottom Meadow were AFC Aldermaston and Sandhurst fielded a slightly changed side with Tom Field on the field and Dan Roach in goal. Aldermaston brought former Finchampstead winger, Chace Jewell, in their starting line up. The visitors found themselves from the start attacking the Sandhurst goal but lost possession as Sandhurst countered, with a shot that sailed over the crossbar. Jon Malone then missed with a long shot from midfield. In reply Aldermaston hit the clubhouse roof tiles with a high off target attempt. The next attempt by Aldermaston with a cross from the wing proved too far in front of a lone forward running into the Sandhurst penalty area and just wided of the far post. As Sandhurst worked upfield, Dan Gosling took a free kick that curled below the crossbar but Kevin Butcher was able to punch the ball over the bar for a corner kick with no progress but the following phase saw Tom Cooper take a long shot which Butcher collected comfortably. Sandhurst players were moving out of defence when Sam Green burst down the wing and sent a long diagonal ball into the path of Charlie Oakley who finished calmly in the 22nd minute. Freddie Barron surfed the turf and gained a free kick then Richard Hughes took a chance with a header which went wide of the intended target. Aldermaston made the way forward and Chace Jewell worked the ball into the centre without any ensuing success. A misdemeanour gave Aldermaston a free kick with the ball placed on the D. The ball narrowly passed over the crossbar to the Fizzers relief. Charlie Oakley then received the ball from the wing but missed with his shot. After Sandhurst missed with a header, Jono Malone was fouled but Dan Gosling's free kick produced nothing. Another pass by Sam Green on to Charlie Oakley was destined for a second goal but traversed the goal line on the upper side of the crossbar. Sandhurst continued to dominate although Aldermaston were playing fairly well.

The second half began with Freddie Barron feeding Charlie Oakley with an opportunity to breach the visitors' defence after 4 minutes, 49th minute as Oakley scored his second goal. Fizzers Pressing forward again Sandhurst were worried by defenders but Barron persevered although there was not much advantage. The game continued positively for several minutes until Freddie Barron and Bobby Mitchell combined and Richard Hughes finished in style on the hour. A rare situation occurred when an indirect free kick was awarded to Aldermaston as it was deemed a back pass to the Sandhurst keeper. The kick was taken and blocked as the Fizzers escaped. Aldermaston were 3 - 0 down but kept plugging away, gaining free kicks but not capitalising on the situations. Dan Roach was fortunate to regain control of the ball preventing more pressure from.the forwards. Liam Tackley, skipper, hit the ball over the crossbar. Luke Burrows, who played consistently well throughout the game, went on a long run and forced a corner kick for Sandhurst and Tom Field put in a useful cross and the corner kick in the next phase went back out to the flank and the next incoming cross was cut out by Luke Blakeeough. Sandhurst finished in command and young substitute, Jamie Barrett and Conor Harlowe linked up well but a corner kick did not bring along a fourth goal. 3 more points for the Fizzers have been earned and they leap-frog Wokingham & Emmbrook into 4th place.

Division One West

Clanfield 85 3 Shortwood United Development 2 (away view)
Wood lost to an injury time goal after being reduced to 9 men, manager Nick Ackland said “The lads’ attitude today was superb and I can fault them. However I’m disappointed with the officials. Decisions seemed to go against us.”

Clanfield scored first from a set piece corner, and the second came from an indirect free kick when keeper Pedrick was unlucky to be penalised for picking up a back pace. Wood then opened their account when Yeshi Lomotey converted Ben Langworthy’s cross.

Two minutes into the second half Dan Lander was sent off after a second caution after what appeared to be good tackle. The 10 men of Shortwood were now more determined to get something out of the game after this perceived injustice and equalised through a Dawid Regula header. Tom Palmer then received his second caution for dissent and was sent off too! It seemed that Shortwood would’ve got a point as they hung on for a draw but it was not to be as Clanfield scored the winner with the last kick of the game.

Letcombe 1 Kidlington Reserves 1
Letcombe returned to action after two blank Saturdays, and credit must go to groundsman Dennis Stock who had worked tirelessly to make the pitch playable. With players still missing, Letcombe promoted 18 year old Luke Mulvey from the reserves to make his first team starting debut, and he rewarded manager Garry Cook by scoring his first goal for the club.

Zachary Pettifer raced clear on the left in the opening minutes, but his shot from a narrow angle hit the side netting. Midway through the half, a poor clearance allowed the visitors to break on the left, and Will Leach missed a great chance to put the visitors ahead from the resulting cross. Kidlington were starting to get on top, and it was no surprise when they took the lead, Sam Elbro heading home a free kick from six yards. The game`s only controversial moment came in the closing minutes of the half. Ben Hummel raced onto a through ball and appeared to be brought down as he flicked the ball past Kidlington keeper Nick Lacey, but the referee waved away the penalty claims and cautioned Hummel for alleged simulation.

Letcombe showed more promise going forward after the interval, and Adam Bruce shot narrowly wide before the hosts equalised on the hour. A pass from Bruce found Ben Hummel, and although he was tackled, Luke Mulvey drove the loose ball low into the far bottom corner. This seemed to spur the visitors, and home keeper Charlie McCready did well to race off his line and block a shot from Jack Gaul, and the keeper also punched two dangerous crosses to safety. Letcombe created a clear opening with five minutes remaining, but the ball bobbled badly just as Adam Bruce was about to shoot. A draw was probably a fair result, although both sides will feel that they had chances to take all three points.

North Leigh 2 Tytherington Rocks 0 (away view)
Rocks came away from  North Leigh beaten but not disappointed with the result, losing by two goals to nil against  a side riding high in second place in the league, having played the best football of the season in a very competitive match. Manager Jay Kujeke was short of several players due to absence and injury and started with the bare minimum of eleven players with no subs, however despite the odd knock all players completed the game and created enough chances to share the points, only their finishing letting them down.
 
The home started well and after seven minutes took the lead from close in, but instead of defending Rocks took the game to the home side and captain Conor Burns nearly equalised when a cross from the right by Callum Haughton was just missed by the incoming Burns, play continued with both sides looking to attack, Rocks newly signed goal keeper Callum Atkinson brought off some excellent saves to keep the score to one before half time.
 
With Rocks now kicking down the slope they started well in the second half and again created at least two good chances, also Leigh continued to pose problems for the Rocks defence which held out and again Atkinson brought of a couple of good saves before being beaten close in with ten minutes of the game remaining. There were several outstanding performances by the Rocks players but the  man of the match was awarded by the opposition to keeper Callum Atkinson.

Woodstock Town 1 Ardley United 5 (away view)
Another convincing display from Ardley United saw them take another step closer to clinching the Division 1 West title on Saturday away to Woodstock Town.

Ardley played some brilliant football in the first half and after 20 minutes scored the much deserved first goal of the match through 17 year old Henry Landers. Landers found himself through on goal with just the keeper to beat and showed great composure beyond his years to go round the keeper and slot home.

Just 10 minutes later a great move was finished off by Drew Boyd to send Ardley in at the break with a 2 goal lead.
It wasn’t all plain sailing for the away team though, as either side of the break, Woodstock created some good chances and rallied well. They were rewarded on the 66th minute with a penalty which was well taken and could well have been the start of a comeback.

However, Ardley held firm and eventually killed the game off with 3 late goals in the last 5 minutes. The first came when Billy Gillett was knocked down in the box and he got up to score the penalty to make it 3-1. Gillett the added a 2nd when well set up by Troy Bryan and then the 5th was scored by Bryan himself to make it a convincing 5-1 win for Ardley United and send them 7 points clear at the top of the table, with a game in hand.

 
 
 
 
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