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uhlsport football kit4 - 6 March 2018

Division One East

Didcot Town Development 2 Thame Rangers 3
Didcot failed to capitalise on a good first half and Thame took all three points in this competitive league match. The home team were without their leading scorer and some others changes were made due to fitness withdrawals. Thame played a couple from the Thame United squad. Bizzarly Thame’s dark blue strip was barely distinguishable from the referee kit and spectators had a hard time picking out who was who particularly when Thame substitutes warmed up in dark blue track suits also on the side of the pitch. 

Nevertheless Didcot started well and before George Reid fired over the bar in the 5th minute a Thame player had gone in the book for a foul. Callum Young hooked home the opening goal in the 7th minute from close in following a corner for the Railwaymen. A player from each side was booked before Didcot should have taken the lead and Thame should have been a man down. Daryl Harris was put through on goal and pushed the ball past the last man goalkeeper who then brought Harris down, inexplicably the official did not even award a free kick far less a red for this much to the amazement of all. 

Didcot were forced into a further personnel change with an injury however they went close again with Caelen Isaac pulling the ball back for Harris to scoop his shot over the bar. Two minutes later though and Craig Falconbridge shot home a penalty equaliser after a forward was fouled just inside the box. The home team continued to create chances with Ross MacDonald laying off to Brett Gardner whose shot was over the bar. Callum Young did have to head off the line just after following Sam Eeles in goal palming out a shot. The home team were not to be denied though when just before the half time whistle Brett Gardner forced a shot to away keeeper Dan Bowker and he deflected it out to the waiting MacDonald who had outsprinted the defence to turn the ball home easily to put Didcot 2-1 up at half time. 

Thame came out in the second half much better than the home team and played with more purpose. Sam Eeles had a first class save from Jordan Rogers before the same player bulldozed his way forward and his deflected shot was enough to provide the equaliser. Further injuries meant more changes Skiller and Cooper entered the fray for Didcot but Thame remained more composed when Eeles gave away a penalty mid way through the half and Falconbridge scored his second penalty this time in the corner to put Thame ahead. 

The recast Didcot side created some half chances but composure was missing as several shots ended up behind the Thame goal. Miles Baxter should have perhaps scored for Thame but shot past. An incident in the last minute near the home corner flag saw James Barnett for Didcot kicked while he was on the floor and further he had the ball whacked at him by a classless Thame player. This proved too much for Goalkeeeper Eeles who got involved and it resulted in a red card for him with Thame picking up their fourth booking of the night. 

Didcot Town Development 2 Thame Rangers 3 (away view)
Thame Rangers travelled to Didcot Town without leading goal scorers Patrick Buston and Dan Hatton who were both unavailable but after a an initial spell where it was obvious the lack of recent fixtures showed, Rangers got into their stride and went on to take all three points.

Didcot enjoyed the early stages where everything they tried came off and it looked like it was going to be a long night for Rangers. Callum Young opened the scoring for the home side on 15 minutes, a lead that was well deserved after asking questions on Rangers defence for a period of time. His goal was poked home at the far post following a corner. On around the half hour mark Rangers started to get into the game more as a Jordan Rogers effort was hit just over from distance. Rangers midfield and frontline then began to impose themselves better on the game and in one flowing move Christian Deste was upended in the box and Manager Craig Faulconbride stepped up to bring the scores level. Soon after Rangers were caught out when trying to be bright for taking a quick corner which hit a defender when Shannon Jesson tried to cross into the box. The resulting deflection fell to a retreating defender and Didcot hit the gas on a counter attack and the unmarked Ross MacDonald had the easiest of tap-ins at the far post after Dan Bowker made an excellent save from George Reid’s first effort.

Rangers started the second half much better than the first and soon made the scores level. Rogers out muscled a defender down the inside right channel and finished clinically past home keeper Samuel Eeles. Rogers then had an effort tipped over by Eeeles with the save of the game. Miles Baxter then blazed over when well placed. Eeles then took Faulconbridge out at waist height for a second penalty. Faulconbridge dusted himself down and sent Eeles the wrong way to claim his second and Rangers third. Didcot had a little spell as Rangers dropped off in the latter stages but failed to record any attempt to note. There was still time in the game for Didcot's Samuel Eeles to receive his marching orders with pretty much the last kick of the game for violent conduct after running fifty yards from his goal and getting involved in a coming together of a player from either side.

Another good result for Thame Rangers against a very good Didcot Town. A result that gets Rangers back in the top three. Next up for Thame Rangers is home fixture against Ardley United in The Perpetua Press Hellenic League Floodlit Cup on Wednesday March 13th.


Division One West

Kidlington 0 Easington 1 (away view)
The games continue to come thick and fast and Sports can be delighted with their mature second half performance on the road to Kidlington Development on Monday Night. After a disappointing performance at the weekend Easington bounced back to edge this tight encounter with a goal from Callum Convey in the 78th minute. 

On a poor playing surface both teams struggled to settle in the opening half of the match and as a result there were few chances. Sports with the wind behind them controlled the midfield but could not find the killer pass as the ball often ran through to the keeper. Joe White had to be alert to save at his near post just before half time to keep the scores level but with the exception of a brief spell at the end of the first half, the home side never looked like scoring thanks to excellent defensive work. 

Sports started the second half the better of the two sides and competed well with physical approach from the home side. Barring the odd counter attack, the game was played out in the Kidlington half with Joe Coleman and Callum Convey dictating play spreading the ball into the wider areas of the pitch which stretched the defence. George Coombes replaced the injured Stidder at half time and he played well back to goal holding up playing and bringing others into the game. Josh Rose and Mike Spaull were a constant threat down the Sports’ right hand side and as the half wore on the pressure was building on the home side defence. Frustatingly for Easington the final ball into the box was poor despite excellent build up play on a number of occasions which lead to few clear chances. 

Eventually the deadlock was broken late on in the game. Another well worked move of neat short passing lead to George Coombes finding himself wide in the box. He then showed great awareness to cut the ball back in side for Convey to run onto. The attacking midfield did well to sort his feet out before poking an early shot under the keeper into the corner of the near from the near post. 

Sports had to defend well minutes late from a brief spell of pressure as Kidlington tried to force the equaliser with long balls into veteran striker Jimmy Deabill. However the defence held out and Easington managed the final minutes of the game well to ensure they picked up a welcome three points.  Overall this was a very composed performance and a thoroughly deserved victory. Another difficult match lies ahead against Thornbury at Addison Road this weekend as the season enters a crucial stage. 


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