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16 -17 January 2018

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Bluefin Sport Challenge Cup

Ardley United 0 Bracknell Town 1 (away view)
Kensley Maloney netted a stoppage-time goal to earn Bracknell Town a 1-0 victory at Ardley United and a place in the quarter-finals of the Bluefin Sports Hellenic League Cup. It was a much-changed side on Tuesday with youngsters Dan Roberts and Kane Fitzgerald, both recently sidelined by injury, included in the starting line-up, while joint-manager Jeff Lamb named himself among the four substitutes.

There were scoring chances at both ends in the first half with Carl Withers and Jon Bennett going closest for the Robins. The Division 1 West leaders also showed why they boast the second best defensive record in Step 6 in the country as they frustrated the cup holders.
Bennett continued to threaten the Ardley goal and on one occasion the striker even got the ball past the keeper, only to see it stop just short of the line. Then Carl Davies saw his header from Jamie McClurg's free-kick cleared off the line, while Withers' was also denied by a headed clearance.

The game looked to be heading for extra-time when the Robins grabbed the winner. McClurg's free-kick was headed across goal by Davies for Maloney to turn home at the back post. It was his first goal for the team this season.

   

Longlevens 3 Thame Rangers 0 (away view)
Rangers were knocked out of the Hellenic League Floodlit Cup following a 3-0 defeat at Longlevens on Wednesday evening.The hosts took the lead after 10 minutes thanks to a deflected goal that Craig Martin decided to take the credit for, after what looked like a comfortable gathering by Dan Bowker. It was not until the half hour mark that Rangers settled after a two-hour journey up the A40. A period of play leading up to half time probably should have led to at least an equalizer and potentially more as the hosts relied on their keeper to keep them in the game. Miles Baxter, Kieron Moreton and Dan Lynn got to the byline half a dozen times but their crosses came to nothing. Shots from Dan Hatton, Carl Clay, Patrick Buston and Christian Deste rained in on the home keeper who produced save after save. A number of corners also came and went.

Rangers came out of the blocks strong in the second half with Baxter immediately causing problems down the right. The half followed a similar pattern to the first as a number of chances came and went for us. The hosts put the game to bed late on with two goals from Shaun O'Connor as we committed more players forward in an attempt to get on level terms.Goals that took the edge off what was a good performance by us, in a game that we more than matched our opponents.

We did not start the game as well as we would have liked and were probably guilty of showing the home side far too much respect, but once into our stride we more than matched our Hellenic Premier League opposition. The second and third goals against the run of play certainly flattered Longlevens who fielded all but one player that beat Highmoor Ibis 2-0 last Saturday and sit a comfortable eighth in the league above.

 

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One West

Shrivenham 2 Letcombe 0
The game had barely got underway when a low cross from Josh Morse was found by Nathan Blackford who calmly flicked his effort past the advancing Charlie McCready and in to the back of the net to give Shrivvy an early lead and Blackford his first goal of the season on 3 minutes. Sixty seconds later, captain Jamie Prictor almost made it two, but his great run which was followed with a shot was superbly saved low down by McCready to help settle the visitors unexpectedly nervous start.

Shrivvy’s good start continued on 13-minutes when Morse found space to cross, but his effort unfortunately eluded Lewis Petrie who was storming towards the target and it was Morse who unfortunately tapped an effort wide when he was well paced just two minutes later as the home side continued their blitzkrieg on the visitors net.

The visitors began to settle, however it was Tyler Sheppard who next went close on 29-minutes, but he wasn’t able to find the target and it was Morse who was denied once again five minutes before the interval when McCready pulled of a spectacular save when he was clean through. A minute later Blackford tried his luck at grabbing a second, but his fierce effort was deflected on to the bar and out to safety before Morse managed to get another effort off following a corner - only to see his chance deflected and taken off target as Shrivvy closed a dominant forty-five minutes of football one-nil ahead.

With a narrow lead, the second half began in less spectacular fashion and it was Letcombe who had the opening opportunity on the break with 51-minutes played, however Connor Johns was equal to the shot and pulled off a fine save. Sensing bloody, it was left to Aaron Dainton to spare Shrivvy blushes five minutes later with a last ditch challenge as Letcombe continued to press as the home side began to struggle with the pressure finally being applied by their visitors. Danny Hale gave the home side some breathing space when he met a long cross with a volley which smashed in to the back of the Letcombe net on 65-minutes, before he was replaced seven minutes later by Rob Hendry.

Blackford floated in a perfect free-kick in to the penalty area on 75-minutes, but Prictor unfortunately placed his resulting shot just wide and a disappointing night for Letcombe was made even worse when Sam Mulvey was dismissed after he brought down Petrie who was clean through on goal with just four minutes remaining. With little added time to play, the visitors managed to hang on and Shrivvy sealed a deserved three points that moved them up in to second in the table.

Speaking after the game, manager Gareth Davies said: “We battled well and got what we deserved out there tonight. “We were unfortunate not to score one or two more, but we’ve got the three points and that’s the important thing and the boys can be pleased with their efforts on what was a pretty cold night out there.”

 
 
 
 
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