11 March 2017
Ardley United 3 Burnham 1
Ardley United created enough chances in the first half to have been comfortable at the break, however a two goal deficit did not deter Burnham who made a game of it in the second half, and it took a late Jack Heap goal to secure the points.
Despite creating numerous chances it took the home side until the twenty seventh minute to take the lead, when a ball into the box by Sergio Guerrero was chested down and fired home by Nathaniel Lewars. The lead was doubled seven minutes later when a Bradley Cox header over the Burnham defence saw Leam Howards use his pace to get away from his marker to slot past Pat Kinsella in the Burnham goal.
Burnham came out after the interval and took the game to Ardley, and pulled a goal back on fifty eight minutes when skipper Jesse Wilson took a shot from distance which took a deflection to wrong foot Nick Bennion and give the away side some hope. They battled bravely to get something from the game, and Ardley were on the back foot for large periods of the half, but deep in added time a Jack Heap effort lobbed over Kinsella secured the points for the home side.
Lydney Town 1 Highmoor Ibis 1
Town's former golden boot winner Pat Gibbs came off the bench on Saturday to rescue a point with the last kick of the game. Lydney were without Niall Halford and Jake Morgan but were able to name Billy Guest, Jack Rutter, Pete Macklin, Pat Gibbs and Tom Shaw on the bench. It was the second visit this season to the Rec for Highmoor Ibis as the last one was doomed to floodlight failure when they were trailing 3-1. It was a much changed side that faced Lydney this time and they posed much more of a threat on goal.
As expected, the pitch was heavy and the sides traded blows in the first half. Kerry Hale flashed a shot wide of the far post for Lydney while Jahson Downes fired over the top at the other end. Lewis Bamford was next to try his luck but his goalbound effort was blocked before Liam Gavin headed a good chance over the top for Highmoor.
Town's Tom Baldwin was shown a yellow card after a challenge on the tricky Lamin Sanko as the visitors ended the half on top. Town keeper Thomas palmed away a Harry Grant free kick from under the bar but their play was rewarded a minute before the break. Town had 3 attempts to clear their lines and failed letting Yashwa Romeo bundle home from 6 yards to send his side in 1-0 up.
Defender Sam Elliott who had been feeling unwell, was replaced by Tom Shaw for the second half but once again it was the visitors who threatened first. Liam Sanko wriggled clear and found himself bearing down on goal. He hammered a shot destined for the top corner only for Town keeper Rich Thomas to deflect his shot over the bar from point blank range. Thomas was at it again 5 minutes later, this time tipping a curling effort from Gavin around the post.
Lewis Halford made way for Jack Rutter on the hour mark as Lydney pushed looking for the equaliser. The game was scrappy but Highmoor were working hard to repel Lydney attacks and they proved very dangerous on the break. Downes and Sanko caused most of the panic and when they combined yet again it was keeper Rich Thomas who came to the rescue again with a fine stop.
Pat Gibbs was thrown into the fray replacing Tom Maxted with Highmoor dropping deeper and deeper. Bamford squeezed his way past a defender along the goal line but his cross was hacked clear by Porter.
With all 3 points looking to be heading back to Reading, Lydney's never say die attitude offered some reward.
Another good piece of play by Bamford saw the striker battle to keep the ball alive in the box. When his cross was only half cleared there was striker Pat Gibbs in the right place to side foot home.
The visitors restarted the game and the referee blew for time. Town keeper Rich Thomas was voted man of the match.
Thame United 1 Royal Wootton Bassett Town 0
Whilst United ended their home league campaign unbeaten for the season, they were made to work had for three points by their visitors. With the exception of Matt Johnston coming back in to defence, Manager Mark West stuck with the side that had beaten Longlevens last weekend, whilst Royal Wootton Bassett Town came in to the game on the back of a heavy defeat at Flackwell Heath and with their manager promising to make it a tighter game.
And so it proved, although it could he been very different inside the first two minutes when Lynton Goss found himself in the box and, from an acute angle, drove his left foot effort against the far post. United continued to press, with calls for a penalty waved away, before the visitors started to gain a foothold in the game – with the front pairing of Steve Robertson and Sam Packer proving a particular handful. However, they were unable to get a meaningful shot on goal and after Goss had sent an effort over the bar and Dan West seen a drive saved low to Meare’s left, United eventually took the lead. A free kick on the left was floated in to the box by Goss, with Tom Ashworth beating his marker and looping a header over Meare and in to the net.
The second half started in a similar vein, with United pressing forward and Luke Ricketts putting a dangerous cross in to the area inside the opening 60 seconds. West then saw a flicked header from a Goss corner go just wide, before the same player hit a half volley from the edge of the box that Meare did well to push around. Goss then had a chance when through on goal, but Meare saved well with his body.
That said, it was not all United and as the game wore on the visitors benefitted from greater possession, with United dropping deeper in to their half. Numerous crosses were sent in to the United box, but these were well dealt with by Centre Back pairing of Ellis Hercules and Matt Johnston. Indeed, despite the increasing pressure, the visitors struggled to get their shots away and Craven in the Thame goal was rarely threatened. In the end, United held on for the win, with their next match being a trip to Brackley Town Saints on Wednesday evening.
Tuffley Rovers 2 Oxford City Nomads 3
If there was ever a fixture to perfectly illustrate the phrase ‘a game of two halves’, Tuffley Rovers’ defeat, at home to lowly Oxford City Nomads, will be one of the most recent additions to the list. Whilst Rovers’ Manager, Mark Pritchett, might have blamed any rustiness in his team’s performance on a period of relative inactivity since the turn of the year, the opening stages of the game went his side’s way and it appeared that the lack of games was not an issue. However, the good start was only a prelude to a performance littered with profligacy in front of goal in one half and then woeful defending in the other. The result meant Oxford City Nomads became only the second team to record a league double over Pritchett’s side this season, having recorded a 3-2 win when Rovers had visited them back in early-September.
Jamie Goodwin was recalled, after his goal secured a point against Binfield, in Rovers’ previous outing, two weeks earlier, and after a bright start, he opened the scoring, on 14 minutes, as he capitalised on an error by Tom Molloy, in the Nomads goal. As Shayne Bradley challenged the visiting keeper, he fumbled the ball into the path of Goodwin, who had the simplest task of knocking the ball into an empty net.
The visitors were almost back in the game, as Seth Humphries struck the bar with an audacious lob, with Rovers’ keeper Dave Evans beaten. Shayne Bradley looked positioned to score as Rovers went straight down the other end, only for Daniel Leggatt to produce a superb clearing header, before the end-to-end action continued, as Nomads’ Dan West struck the post, albeit with a miscued shot from an attempted bicycle kick. Goodwin should have scored his second, when through on goal, only to be denied by another Molloy save, before Ashley Davies struck the post from the resultant corner and Bradley failed to convert from the rebound.
Molloy was in excellent form, after his earlier mistake, and further atoned when he denied Warren Mann, who had collected Tristan Haswell’s pass to find time in front of goal. Mann then turned provider and after his excellent cross had been headed back across goal by Bradley, Jake Burns might have scored only to head the ball narrowly over the bar. Burns then produced a cross of his own, which was met by centre-back Macaulay Herbert, but Molloy once again denied Rovers, as he leapt to claw it away, meaning Rovers entered the half-time interval with a slender lead, despite a plethora of good chances.
The second half started less brightly for the home side and chances were fewer, as mistakes started to creep into Rovers’ game and possession was frequently surrendered. If Pritchett had been frustrated by his side’s profligacy in the first half, the manner in which they then capitulated, against a side with only eighteen league points prior to the game, conceding three goals in a disastrous seven minute spell.
First, on 62 minutes, Rovers tamely conceded possession and when the ball subsequently found its way to Rav Shamsi, the forward, whose pace and energy had been a threat in the first half, confidently despatched the ball beyond Evans to level the scores. Two minutes later, Rovers were lucky not to go behind, as Humphries netted from close range, only to be denied a goal, as he was adjudged to be in an offside position after collecting Shamsi’s pass. Pritchett decided it was time to change his team, introducing Liam Wright and Harry Walker, for Bradley and Davies, but neither had the chance to have any impact on the game before Rovers fell behind. On 66 minutes, Nomads were awarded a free-kick in a wide position, no more than 15 yards inside the Rovers half, and Shamsi took advantage of Evans being off his line and drilled the ball high over his head and into the top corner.
No sooner had the game restarted than Goodwin gave the ball away halfway inside his own half, with a pass that never looked likely to reach one of his own teammates, and within seconds Humphries was sliding in at the back post to bundle ball into the Rovers net, to make it 3-1. Walker, who was energetic in midfield, following his introduction from the bench, might have done better with a shot from 12 yards out, but he lifted his shot high over the bar.
Goodwin then reduced the arrears, as he capitalised on Drew Boyd’s generously misplaced pass to run clear on goal, before stroking the ball into the bottom corner of the Nomads’ goal. Despite plenty of possession in the closing stages, Rovers failed to create any clear chances and succumbed to a defeat that will damage their hopes of a top-half finish in the league table.
Division One East
Penn & Tylers Green 4 Headington Amateurs 2 (away view)
In a game of high quality Headington succumbed to a disciplined performance from reigning champions Penn & Tylers Green, highlighted by a clinical display of finishing.
Penn forced the pace from the off, consistently threatening to get behind Headington’s back line with Fred Tripp forcing the game’s first save as Harry Jenkins cleared with his legs after five minutes, almost immediately Chris Hurst heading over from a right wing cross. Headington momentarily relieved the pressure when Paul Alder’s long throw was headed on by Carl Bloomfield only for Yannick Nkwanyuo to see his shot blocked. Jenkins had to be quick off his line to foil Tripp before; having survived the early pressure Headington began to get into the game. Alder’s well struck free kick was straight at Josh Cockeril, a good move involving Ben Strong, Luke Cuff & Carl Bloomfield saw Cuff’s left foot effort from a tight angle well saved by Cockerill. Despite enjoying better possession the visitors fell behind in the twenty eighth minute, Josh Fox crossing from the left wing with Tripp drilling low into the net at the far post. Centre back Dean Munday headed over from a good position before Penn increased their lead, Hurst punishing slack defending with a fiercely struck shot into the bottom corner. Nkwanyuo and Strong carved out a chance for Luke Cuff at the other end but his shot from close range was superbly beaten away by Cockerill before Penn’s Lee Thompson turned & shot in one movement but straight at Jenkins.
It was end to end stuff from the off in the second period, Headington defending desperately in a goalmouth scramble before Carl Bloomfield got away down the right wing, his cross volleyed over by Luke Cuff. Cuff secured a lifeline for his side just past the hour mark, finishing from close range after Bloomfield had headed on from a long throw. Minutes later substitute Jonny Roberts headed down from a corner kick only to see the ball bounce up and over the bar before Headington were stunned by a superb strike from man of the match Fox, volleying home from near twenty five yards out. Ten minutes from time Fox was again prominent, his left wing run and cross emphatically driven home at the far post by Tripp. With four minutes of normal time left Headington pulled one back through Luke Cuff. Ben Green, Bloomfield and Jay Hill combining to open up Penn’s defence, but it proved too late as the hosts saw out time for a deserved win in their quest for back to back Uhlsport One East titles.
Woodley United 0 Wokingham & Emmbrook 0
Woodley left frustrated as ten man Wokingham hold on for point. The opening stages were scrappy, with lots of fouls and free kicks. Wokingham had a set piece blocked by the Woodley wall whilst United tested Sean Woodward in the away goal after a foul on Josh Drew.
Twenty minutes in saw Wokingham's Elliot Rushforth narrowly miss to the left from distance. Two minutes later the away side were reduced to ten men when Jake Bailey who had been cautioned for his earlier foul on Drew was shown another yellow when he clashed with Matt Jones. Just past the half hour saw Woodley have their best spell of the half. Danny Horscroft set up Liam Wilson who forced Woodward into a good stop; Wilson then shot over from twenty yards. A disappointing half ended with Dan Carter and Ben Broadhurst missing the target for the visitors.
Eight minutes after the restart saw United create their best chance of the game when a clipped through ball sent Jones clear. Going past Woodward he pulled the ball back to Horscroft who sliced wide from eight yards. Woodley made their first change on fifty four minutes when right back Danny Greenwood made way for Carl Prestidge. United were much improved in the second half; Drew did well to beat his man on the wing but saw his low cross parried out by Woodward.
A rare venture into the Woodley final third saw Jake Gibbs pick out Michael Flatman who headed into the path of Rushforth who forced a good block from United keeper Alex Reed. Woodley made another change with twenty five minutes to go. Teddy Thomas replaced Wilson. The hosts pressed on; Horscroft broke the offside trap, rounded Woodward but couldn't pick out a blue shirt from the byline. Moments later Jake Nicholls missed to the right from the left side of the box after picking up a Thomas pass.
With the game in the final fifteen minutes United had two decent chances to go ahead. Horscroft prodded wide from twelve yards before Drew headed a Prestidge cross over. More Woodley pressure followed. A quickly taken free kick released Horscroft who saw his shot well saved by Woodward who reacted well to gather after slightly losing control of the initial shot. United made their final change with five minutes to go. Sam Guze came on for Dave Morgan.
Woodley had a let off moments after the change when a good run by Rushforth saw him jink past several defenders but couldn't pick out the only orange shirt in the box as the visitors were reluctant to push men forward. The final stages of the game saw Drew miss the target when one on one with Woodward before a nice move involving Guze, Horscroft and Drew saw the latter tap home from close range only to see the goal ruled out as Horscroft had strayed offside when receiving the pass from Guze.
Division One West
Cirencester Town Development 1 Shortwood United Reserves 2
Nick Ackland was very pleased as Shortwood grabbed all 3 points and the bragging rights, as Shortwood in a fine performance against local rivals Cirenceter Town at the Corinium Stadium on Saturday afternoon. “ Dan Robinson and me are delighted with the way we played today, the work rate and tempo were high and I think we deserved the points.”
Goals from Ayo Ajijedidun and Will Hawes sealed all 3 points on Saturday as Wood pulled off a fine away win at 2nd place Cirecncester Development.
Fairford Town 1 Shrivenham 1
Town and Shrivenham played out a competitive 1-1 draw on Saturday, a result which left the home side 11 points clear at the top of the division. Both sides were down to ten men by the final whistle with a good crowd there to see what proved to be an entertaining Division One West clash. The visitors worked hard for their point whilst the home side never really found their stride on a frustrating afternoon for the title chasers.
The encounter came to life just five minutes in as a penalty award handed the home side a chance to take the ascendancy. Lee Smith stepped up and sent the ‘keeper the wrong way for his 27th goal of the campaign. Despite a plethora of possession there were few clear cut chances as the half was played out, with Smith slicing a 40th minute effort over when well placed before the break.
Fairford made a change at the break with Steve Hall coming off the bench for Chris Jackson at left-back, suffering from a first half knock. The Reds went a man down just seven minutes into the second period, as new signing Ryan Stanners was shown a straight red card for a high challenge just inside the Shrivenham half.
Shrivenham squared the game up just after the hour with Jamie Prictor firing home a stunning leveller. With goalkeeper Ben Mitchell off his line having made a clearance, Prictor lashed home the loose ball into the roof of the net from 30 yards.
Substitute Dan Drewett and Nathan Blackford both went close in the final stages but were unable to find the breakthrough. Shrivenham were reduced to ten men in injury-time before the whistle blew.
Letcombe 2 Hook Norton 2
Letcombe had Tom Broad and captain Tom Rowe both missing with long-term injuries, and four other regular players missing for various reasons, but still managed to collect a point from high flying Hook Norton.
Letcombe had the perfect start, new signing Jared Jones driving the ball over the head of visiting keeper Kurt Fox from 35 yards in the third minute. Hook Norton looked dangerous from crosses and set pieces, and Henry Rose equalised six minutes later with a powerful back post header from a right wing cross. Letcombe regained the lead after 14 minutes when Bill MacDonald headed on a long clearance to Jordan Davies, who drove a low shot inside the far upright. Hook Norton equalised again in the last minute of the half, James McMahon rising highest to head home a right wing corner.
An even second half saw both defences restrict the number of goal scoring chances, but Owen Shaw found the side netting from a Jared Jones pass, and Jones headed wide from an Owen Holloway cross. At the other end, Danny Joyce saved a Stevie Howkins header following a free kick and three visitors were cautioned for dissent as they became increasingly frustrated. Sixteen year old Daniel Stokell replaced the tiring Owen Shaw, and he had a great chance to win the game for Letcombe with five minutes remaining, but shot wide from ten yards. Hook Norton should have won the game in stoppage time when they were awarded a controversial penalty for hand ball, but Stevie Howkins sent his penalty wide of the right hand post.
A pleasing point for Letcombe against a side chasing promotion, following disappointing defeats in their three previous games.
Purton 3 Clanfield 1
Purton extended their recent unbeaten run to 7 matches after overcoming Clanfield at the Red House, although at times made it difficult for themselves with Clanfield after being 2-0 down at the break hit back pulled a goal back, sadly had a player sent off and were undone again in the final minutes giving Purton their 3-1 win in their last league game at home this season.
Both goals in the first half were netted by central defender Craig Kent with two low shots in the box both set up by Ollie Hunt. Jack Kennedy pulled a goal back on 82 minutes as they pushed Purton back but a great piece of individual skill by Purton striker Shannon Pocock saw his beat a last covering defender 30 yards out to run on and plant a low shot past the visiting custodian Mike Bawn for three more points for manager Miller's players. Now the club face three away games at Woodstock Town, Tytherington Rocks and Cheltenham Saracens.