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17 March 2018

buildbase fa vase semi final

Thatcham Town 1 1874 Northwich 0

The crowds braved the freezing and snowy condition to Waterside Park for the much anticipated FA Vase semi-final first leg tie with 1874 Northwich, and things couldn't have started much better for the home side, as, just a couple of minutes into the tie, they earned a penalty. Ekow Elliott took a touch and a turn of pace to beat his man on the left wing before squaring to Cooper-Clark who feigned to shoot, took a touch outside and was felled by the defender. Ross Cook was the man to take the kick and buried it in the bottom left corner.

Just four minutes later, Thatcham were on the attack again, with Elliott taking a potshot from 25 yards which was deflected wide. Cooper-Clark was really making the most of the occasion, giving the Northwich defenders a torrid time by creating two chances for himself in quick succession, but guiding both shots into the grateful arms of the visiting keeper.

Around the fifteen minute mark, with Northwich growing into the game after the Kingfishers' lightning start, their number 11 Kennerley forced Chris Rackley to make a smart save, clawing an effort over the bar. Northwich had a period of dominance, within which the Thatcham defence did well to keep them out, and they were frustrated to have two penalty appeals waved away.

It was a shame to see goalscorer Cook go down on the halfway line with a hamstring injury, so he was replaced by Gavin James. This marked a turning point as Thatcham began to regain control of the tie with a series of chances. First, James was pivotal in a passing move that resulted in Elliott forcing a great fingertip save from Hall at full stretch.xShortly after, a corner from Tom Melledew caused havoc in the area with efforts from Babs Jarra and Tom Moran both blocked and behind for another corner. From a passage of play following the corner, Lewis Brownhill found himself in a position to tee himself up and hit a goalbound left-footed volley which was again denied by Hall.

Northwich still posed a threat and cut the defence open with a move that saw McGowan through on goal, but Rackley did well to rush out and block. The end-to-end pattern of play continued as Melledew retained possession and rode several challenges to surge into the area but his shot was blocked. There was time for one more chance in this exhilarating affair as Cooper-Clark, near the halfway line, started a passing move that he ended up on the end of with a neat turn and shot that Hall was equal to.

Thatcham started the second half brightly with pressure on the opposition goal, and the Northwich defence continued to frustrate them with block after block as their players put their bodies on the line. After such an exciting first half, the second didn't really do much to set heart-rates racing and it took almost half an hour for Northwich to create a chance, the ball falling to tricky right winger Hind, but his shot was expertly parried by Rackley.

It could be that both sides were content with the status quo leading into next weekend's second leg as the half progressed. Thatcham posed a threat on the break, earning a couple of corners, and Northwich probably had the best of the closing stages with one header going wide and, later, a shot through the congested penalty area went wide.

Special mention goes to Curtis Angell, Harrison Bayley and Michael Miller for industrious performances in the second half that helped to keep the clean sheet and preserve the Kingfishers' slender advantage into next Saturday's away leg in Cheshire.

Thatcham Town 1 1874 Northwich 0 (Report by Arthur Strand)
With Thatcham in second-place in the Hellenic Premier Division, indicates that they are in the ascendant. The visitors, 1874 Northwich are currently mid-table in the North West Counties League Premier Division. In relentless snowfall, the game started briskly enough with the hosts approaching the 1874 penalty area with Ekow Elliot beating his man on the wing and providing a chance for Shane Cooper-Clark to shoot from inside the penalty area but he was fouled before he could take aim. In the 4th minute, Ross Cook cracked the ball past, Gregory Hall, in goal for 1874 from the spot. Thatcham continued to press and a few minutes later Ekow Elliott took a longer range shot which never reached the back of the net but it was not long before Shane Cooper-Clark took advantage of 2 opportunities which 1875 blocked. The next highlight came as Northwich counter attacked and Taylor Kennerly forced a save from Chris Rackley who palmed the ball over the cross-bar. This promptly boosted the visitors moral and they gave the Thatcham defence some responsible tasks blocking out shots.and clearing the ball from awkward places. Babs Jarra cleared the ball in midfield but Northwich returned and became a force to be reckoned with as Thatcham regained possession after Ross Cook went off with a hamstring problem and was replaced by Gavin James.Tom Melledew took a corner kick for Thatcham which gave cause for concern to the visiting defenders as, firstly Jarra and then Tom Moran took shots eventually gaining another corner kick. Next highlight was when Brownhill was in space, with time to shoot directly at the target but Hall prevented that. Free kicks were traded but Northwich were awarded the majority of them. Moving quickly off his line, Chris Rackley was able to prevent McGowan scoring as he had rounded the Thatcham defender. As Tom Melledew weaved through the mid-field, arriving just inside the penalty area but his shot was blocked as he continued to stay long enough to pick the ball out and shoot the ball high over the cross-bar.

After the second half kicked off, with Thatcham restarting positively, (and snow still falling), Harrison Bayley was tripped and Curtis Angel took a free kick for Thatcham. only for Greg Hall to claim the ball. The following phase fizzled out with Thatcham losing possession. Later, Shane Cooper-Clark broke through the cohesive defence and his shot was blocked by Northwich. Ekow Eliott made another useful contribution but the approach work was nullified by a Northwich block. Shane Cooper-Clark missed with a header as Thatcham sought another goal to give them a stronger lead but this was not to be, with both sides defending as best they could. Throughout the game, both goalkeepers made crucial saves, mostly creditable efforts too. The ever industrious Harrison Bayley was denied an attempt with his head as Hall took charge of the ball. As time crawled by, still snowing, Thatcham sent the ball into open space as forwards tried to catch up with it but Keeper, Hall, won the race towards the edge of his penalty area. Northwich made a substitution and gained a free kick followed shortly by a free kick to Thatcham but Hall managed to take the ball from the bounce. A corner kick by Northwich was blocked and Jake Parker, Northwich, put the ball straight to Chris Rackley. Striving to score the equaliser, Northwich had a final attempt but the long range effort missed the target. With the Full-time score being 1 - 0 Thatcham have a slender advantage when they go to Northwich in Cheshire next Saturday for the 2nd. leg. Ambition must be to win through and be at Wembley for the final. Good luck!!!

Thatcham Town: Rackley, (GK),Miller, Angel, Melledew, (c), Jarra,, Moran, Brownhill, Bayley, Cooper-Clark, Cook, Elliott. Substitutes: Blount, G.James, A.James, Brown, Grant.
1874 Northwich: Hall, (GK), Connor, L.Jackson, Pritchard, Mitchell, Jones, Hind, Woolley,(c), McGowan, Parker, Kennerly. Substitutes: Riley, Lever, Meadowcroft, R. Jackson, Fallon.

Premier Division

Fairford Town 6 Windsor 2
Fairford Town produced their best performance of the season to beat Windsor 6-2 at Cinder Lane on Saturday afternoon.Returning striker Liam Gale scored four goals with captain Lee Smith, his 21st of the season, and Dan Bailey also on target.

Fairford made a bright start to the game with Smith opening the scoring with just two minutes on the clock, with an assist from Gale. The visitors then struck back with Jack Denton's seventh minute effort levelling the affair before Matt Stockhill put them in front with 15 minutes played. Gale's first goal of the day restored parity on the half hour with his pace causing problems for the visitors' backline. And when he hit Fairford's third six minutes before the break, Jody Bevan's side took a foothold on the game going into the second half.

It was an impressive second half from the Reds, with Gale completing his hat-trick on the hour and Bailey made it five soon after. Windsor were reduced to ten men on 66 minutes when debutant Dan Carr - signed from Oxford United on loan 24 hours earlier - received a second yellow card and Gale rounded off the scoring with a 90th minute effort.

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Highworth Town 5 Highmoor Ibis 3
On a bitterly cold afternoon at the Elms Highworth and Highmoor failed to replicate last season's 6-6 draw and only managed 8 goals between them today.

The visitors led twice in the first half through Mitchell Parker (23) and Jamie Connor (33) with a Lewis Waldon strike (31) sandwiched in between. Parity was restored for a second time when Rory Sproule fired home (45+2) and HT was reached at 2-2.

The home side started the second period the brighter and appeared to have the game won after goals from Rory Sproule (59) and Lewis Waldon (62) gave them a 4-2 advantage. It was back to 4-3 after 73 mins when Luke Cox found the top corner from 25 yards. Highworth finally made the game safe when Connor Waldon fired home from 12 yards (76).

Highworth's lead at the top of the table is now five points over Thatcham Town who have two games in hand including a visit to the Elms on the 28th March. Next up is a trip to Melksham Town on Tuesday to take on Salisbury FC in the Wilts FA Senior Cup Semi-Final, 7.45 kick-off.

Wantage Town 3 Brackley Town Saints 2
Wantage went in to the game looking to build on the win at Tuffley eleven days ago, and to secure the points to keep them in third place. And it all looked to be going to plan after going 3-0 up early in the second half, but Brackley clawed two back to make it a nervy last 10 minutes.

The hosts looked bright from the off and Jim Glover broke down the right inside the first couple of minutes, but couldn’t reach a team-mate with the cross. However it was Brackley who had the best opportunity to open the scoring on 5 minutes when Josh Bowden broke clear of the Wantage back line to go one-on-one with keeper Curtis Meare. Thankfully the latter won the psychological battle and Bowden screwed his shot a good 10 yards wide. Within a minute Glover again found joy down the right before cutting in, this time Dan Farrell saving well at his near post.

Generally Wantage were in control, but another slip on ten minutes allowed Matt Johnson to break down Brackley’s right, Bowden met the resulting cross but fired high and wide. Two minutes later Wantage returned the favour, Nick Thorne scampered down the left before crossing to the far post where Glover headed back to Johnny Davoile who could only sky it over the bar. But Wantage got the goal their pressure deserved on 18 minutes, Glover finding Jack Dunmall whose run into the area was unfairly halted by a trip, and Ryan Markham slotted home from the spot just past Farrell who had guessed right but couldn’t quite reach it. Six minutes later Markham wasn’t quite so accurate when he met a Thorne cross but cleared the bar by some considerable distance.

The unfortunate Dunmall failed to recover fully from the incident that won the penalty and was replaced by Harvey Scholes in the 34th minute with one eye on Tuesday’s cup tie. Brackley were not afraid to pass the ball around at the back and try and play their way up the park, which was good to see, but the further forward they went the less accurate the balls became, and Wantage were rarely threatened with skipper Chris Jackson leading his defensive colleagues well. They were also prone to being caught on the ball, and two minutes before the break Wantage notched their second of the day as a result. Glover hunted the ball down well and had another run at goal, Farrell again denying him but this time unable to hold on to the ball and Steve Robertson followed up to net his 37th of the campaign.

Glover finally got the goal his performance deserved in the 52nd minute, again harrying the Brackley back line into making another mistake, winning possession and holding off the covering defenders before slotting past Farrell. That should have been game over, but seven minutes later Brackley gave themselves a chance when Ryan Knight sprung the offside trap to sprint clear on the left before lifting his shot over the advancing Meare.

And it could have been worse eight minutes later when from a back-pass Meare tried to fool Johnson with a fancy turn rather than putting his foot through it and was dispossessed. Thankfully Johnson rushed his shot when off balance and shanked it high and wide. Glover was unlucky not to add another goal for Wantage on 70 minutes when a Robertson flick put him in on goal, but Farrell did well to tip the shot just over the bar.

Then on 84 minutes Brackley got their second as Wantage gave away a needless free-kick just outside the area. Lewis Baldwin lifted it over the wall and the ball somehow squirmed through Meare’s hands low down at the near post and into the net. Farrell then did well to tip a Robertson strike over in the 88th minute before venturing forward for the final action of the game, a 94th minute free kick again taken by Baldwin. This time it was eventually turned behind for a goal-kick which Wantage just had time to take before the referee drew proceedings to a close.

One East

Chalfont Wasps 1 Sandhurst Town 2
Despite a decent second half performance Wasps were unable to overturn a two goal first half deficit during an icy cold snow flurried afternoon.

Wasps almost took the lead from the kick off. Nick Little’s run and cross found Numaan Khan but his shot struck a defender. Ryan Williams came after 11 minutes. Sandhurst were now in the ascendancy. Dan Little made a good stop to his left. Wasps failed to keep possession and Sandhurst kept probing. Dan Little made another save to deny the visitors. Wasps second chance came after Ryan Williams gathered, passed to Josh Urquhart, his shot just outside the target. Sandhurst then got a brace in 2 minutes; Dan Gosling profiting from Wasps losing possession trying to play out, and then skipper Charlie Oakley heading home a corner; 0-2 39 minutes gone.

Wasps got one back after only one minute of the second period, Jack Pearce won the ball, Sam Parry surged forward to cross and Khan slotted home from close range. Wasps kept pressing. Mason Wright snap shot whistled over and a number of other good positions were created, without having the final touch applied. Adam Seymour came on with 30 mins to go. The match levelled to a near stalemate became somewhat uneventful for the remaining time.

Virginia Water 4 Holyport 1
Virginia Water returned to league action with a good win against our friends and near neighbours, Holyport. In very difficult conditions, it was an entertaining match played in driving snow and gale force winds. Both sides gave their all, with Waters eventually running out comfortable winners

With the wind at our back, VWFC took the lead on 24 minutes, when the predatory Josh Guichard headed home from a Finn Evered throw in. A few chances came and went, but our second gave us a strong hold on the game, when Lorenzo Di Felice rifled home on 35 minutes. As hard as we tried to increase the lead, the visitors defence held firm, and we knew that playing into the elements in the second would be a real test – and so it was.

Both teams started the second half briskly, albeit with Waters struggling to get out of their half, but gave a strong defensive display, with Matt not really troubled in goal and dealing well with the aerial threat. Steve Williams (MoM) and Joe McBride gradually got on top in the midfield battle, and from a sweeping move in the 61st minute, Ryan Curtis hit an unstoppable shot past their keeper to put us 3-0 up, and we thought, make the game safe.
Not so, back came Holyport, and after we gave the ball away cheaply in midfield, Paul Rake hit home a great shot on 71 minutes for the visitors.

Waters had many more chances thereafter, with Adam McNamara, Dan Whatford, Steve Williams all going close. The game was effectively wrapped up when Louis Sanders scored from the spot on 78 minutes, after Adam had been brought down in the box. It was a satisfying performance and good win, that keeps us well in the hunt for end of season honours.


One West

Letcombe 5 Tytherington Rocks 0
Letcombe completed the double over a very young Tytherington side who made the hosts work hard for their 3 points. Adam Bruce had a couple of early half chances which went wide, and Bradley Paglioroli had a shot well saved by visiting keeper Callum Atlunson. Kye Franklin, playing his first game this year, was working tirelessly in midfield, and he also saw a shot go narrowly wide before Letcombe got the goal they deserved in the 33rd minute, Iggy Illott sending a screamer into the top corner.

Letcombe started the second half at a good tempo, pressing high up the pitch, and they added a second 10 minutes after the interval, Ben Hummel cutting in from the left to place his shot high into the net. Sam Mulvey was marshalling the home defence well, and the visitors were struggling to get into the Letcombe half, with Jack Heggie, Iggy Ilott and Ben Hummel controlling midfield. Bradley Paglioroli was causing the Tytherington defence problems with his direct running and tricky feet, and he added a third on the hour with a neat finish. A few minutes later his pull back allowed Iggy Ilott to side foot a fourth, and the hard working Adam Bruce got the goal he deserved with 15 minutes left to complete the scoring. The hosts tried hard to set up Kye Franklin for a deserved goal but it was not to be.

Manager Garry Cooke commented `It was a workmanlike performance from all the lads in testing conditions, but they did what I asked and worked their socks off out there today`.

Shrivenham 5 Shortwood United Reserves 1
Three first-half goals complemented by two second-half strikes against a ten-man Shortwood claimed another valuable three points for Shrivvy. Gareth Davies made one change from the side that that demolished Cheltenham Saracens four days earlier with Tyler Sheppard handed a start in place of the absent Nathan Blackford, as the hosts were to face a much stiffer opposition.

With both sides cancelling each other out in the opening ten minutes in the bizarre weather conditions at Barington Park, it was Macauley Dodson who was the first to see a great move denied by Will Pedrick in the visitors net on 11-minutes, before his opposite number Connor Johns was called in to action two minutes later as he was forced to make a decent low save following an effort by Dawid Regula.

Chances continued to flow and both sides had chances to grab a foothold in the game, however it was the home side that were to give themselves the advantage in what ultimately proved to be a critical 25-minute period which led up to the interval. With 21-minutes on the clock, Josh Morse saw his goal bound effort pushed away by Pedrick however Tyler Sheppard was on hand to tap home the follow-up to finally break the deadlock.

As the visitors attempted to re-group, the home side came out with all guns blazing and just two minutes later another great break saw Morse tee up the impressive Lewis Petrie and he slotted a low drive in to the back of the net. Five minutes later Sheppard had a golden opportunity to stretch his sides lead even further following a rare defensive error by the visitors, but he fluffed his lines and was coolly denied at close range.
11-minutes later however, with Shortwood chasing a way back in to the game, Rob Hendry headed the ball through to Lewis Petrie who was able to run in on goal and calmly finish to make it 3-0.

To their credit, Shortwood failed to give up and they finally got their just rewards a minute before the break. Under pressure, the side were able to break and after a neat move up the field, it was Dawid Regula who fired the ball in to the net to give his side hope for the second half, and on their performance, they certainly stood every chance.

With the snow stopping, Shrivvy came out of the break looking to kill off the game and an early corner saw a Fraser Little header skim the crossbar and on 55-minutes Pedrick produced another spectacular save from a long rang effort by Rob Hendry but ten minutes later, a nasty looking injury to Daniel Lander saw him stretchered off. Once the game was able to get back underway, Luke Cordery came on for Leigh Brown and as the visitors continued to press, Johns was called in to action on a number of occasions before Tyler Sheppard made way for Tim Cook on 79-minutes.

Having utilised all their substitutes, Shortwood were forced to go down a player after a defender appeared to pick up a hamstring injury and as a result, the final ten minutes were a little harsh on them, as they continued to chase the game. On 83-minutes, Morse recycled a corner kick and Sam Ockwell drifted his header in at the back post and with the game lost, Shrivvy made it 5 with two minutes to go a quick break saw Morse burst down the pitch before putting the ball on a plate for captain Jamie Prictor to stroke home against the unfortunate visiting side.


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