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24 March 2018

buildbase fa vase semi final

1874 Northwich 2 Thatcham Town 3 (Second Leg)
1874 Northwich 2 Thatcham Town 4 (over two legs)

Thatcham Town captain Tom Melledew, right, challenges 1874 Northwich full-back Paul Connor during 
Saturday's FA Vase semi-final. Picture: Ian Dutton Northwich Guardian

The loyal Kingfisher fans travelled in number to Cheshire for this away leg of the FA Vase Semi-Final. Like last week, things couldn't have got off to a better start with Gavin James, in for last week's match winner Ross Cook (hamstring), opening the scoring after 3 minutes. James earned a direct free-kick from 20 yards, which Shane Cooper-Clark hit onto the wall. The loose ball fell kindly for James who made no mistake in slotting into the bottom corner.

Thatcham were in the hunt and making a real nuisance of themselves with a high pressing game that didn't let the home side's defence play their usual possession game from the back. Central defenders Tom Moran and Babs Jarra had to be on their game to keep in check the dangerous number 9 Scott McGowan, who won the first corner of the game but it came to nothing.

It took 23 minutes for Thatcham to double their lead, with James getting on the end of a goalmouth scramble following a Tom Melledew corner. James' first attempt was parried but he made sure with the follow up. This goal sent the Blue Army into the ascendency with a period of supreme pressure, as they didn't let 1874 breathe. First James rose highest to knock a header into the path of Ekow Elliott whose right footed curler went just over the bar.

Soon after, Moran met an in-swinging corner but his headed effort went just wide. Just a minute later, James latched onto a through ball to close in on goal and goalkeeper Greg Hall did well to get a touch as the Thatcham number 10 attempted to round him.

With the away side dominating, Northwich did well to get back into the game and stem the tide of their attacks. They pushed up and camped in the final third for several minutes but failed to trouble Chris Rackley until the stroke of half time when, after the stopper made an expert save, Curtis Angell was first to successfully challenge a Northwich attacker on the rebound, before Ekow Elliott claimed the loose ball in a 50/50 challenge. The referee seemed happy enough until he noticed the linesman's flag and controversially awarded a spotkick. 1874's Scott McGowan wasn't one to look a gift horse in the mouth and duly netted the penalty. James' hunt for a hat-trick saw another disappointment as, after Elliott threaded a neat through ball, his left footed effort went wide and into the side netting.

The half-time whistle came at a good time for Thatcham with 1874 winning a series of corners, and manager Danny Robinson's team talk must have had an impact as, for the third half of this semi-final tie, the Kingfishers got a goal after 3 minutes. Cooper-Clark, outstanding in both legs, received the ball on the left flank, travelled inside and thumped a shot into the net from the edge of the area.

Unsurprisingly, the home side came at the visitors who were content to stay compact and soak up the pressure, with Rackley making a good save from point blank after a goalmouth scramble. Michael Miller, unfazed by the occasion, calmly took a touch before clearing the ball up field. Rackley was called upon again moments later as he smartly rushed out to snuff out the danger of a direct run from deep after a Thatcham corner was intercepted.

McGowan was posing a threat and wriggled his way past the usually robust Moran and into the area, with Jarra coming across to slide in and put the ball behind for a corner. The home side's pressure told as their captain Matt Woolley rose to head home an inch perfect corner to move one goal behind on the day, and two on aggregate.

It is testament to Thatcham's discipline and organisation that they held firm and did not succumb to the pressures of either the occasion or 1874's attacking play, as wave after wave of attack was blocked, cleared or held by messrs Rackley, Miller, Jarra, Moran and Angell, until, eventually after 6 minutes of injury time, the referee blew the full time whistle. The players and coaching staff rushed to celebrate with the vocal travelling support who could now relax into singing "Que Sera Sera" in full voice.

Thatcham's fairytale season shows no sign of letting up, with the promise of a Wembley final waiting on Sunday 20 May where they will face Northern League Division One side Stocktown Town FC. Tickets are already on sale from https://ticketingcontent.thefa.com//NLFD%202018.

Ryan Jackson, left, is closed down by Thatcham's Harrison Bayley 
during an 1874 Northwich attack at Wincham Park on Saturday. Picture: Ian Dutton Northwich Guardian

1874 Northwich 2 Thatcham Town 3 (Northwich Guardian View)
1874 Northwich got so close. And, yet, a margin of victory for Thatcham Town – and the manner in which they achieved it – made Wembley feel far away when the final whistle went at Wincham Park. The better team had won, and convincingly, over 180 minutes.

What will irk 1874, at least initially, is that they never showed a true version of themselves. When that sensation fades, it will be replaced by pride at what they have achieved with this run.

Frustratingly, they were always chasing Thatcham. A distance between the teams on the scoreboard grew when Gavin James, after Shane Cooper-Clark’s free-kick deflected kindly into his path of the defensive wall, swept in an opening goal in the third minute.

If 1874 had one thing at the bottom of a ‘to do’ list, it was to avoid history repeating itself. Thatcham were buoyed, unsurprisingly, and did not disguise their glee when James – standing in for last week’s match-winner Ross Cook after he succumbed to an injury – doubled their lead midway through the opening period. Tom Melledew’s corner was headed back across goal by Tom Moran, and James’ initial shot was parried to his left by goalkeeper Greg Hall. No defender reacted, and the front man forced the loose ball over the line.

It stunned the home team, and they wavered for the next five minutes. Moran headed narrowly off-target from another set-piece, and Melledew’s low drive skidded past an upright.

1874 did respond though. Sam Hind sent a glorious cross-field pass into Ryan Jackson’s path, and his shot was repelled by custodian Chris Rackley after he sprinted from his line. Scott McGowan’s penalty was struck with power out of Rackley’s reach, and those following the men clad in green in a record attendance found their voice. A succession of set-pieces followed, and the Thatcham custodian’s blushes were spared when Lewis Brownhill smuggled Jackson’s shot off the line after Ryan Mitchell nodded the ball his way. The interval’s arrival halted 1874’s momentum at exactly the wrong moment.

If timing is everything, then the Kingfishers’ was impeccable. Instead of defending from an onslaught, they scored again within two minutes of the restart. James’ deft touch teed up Cooper-Clark and, after using his first touch to create a shooting angle, he used his second to dispatch an unstoppable shot past Hall.

Game over? Pretty much. However 1874 created openings, and Rackley jabbed out a boot to divert Jake Parker’s shot for a corner. He was called up on again shortly afterwards, sprinting from his line to smother substitute Taylor Kennerley’s shot after he sprinted clear.

When captain Matthew Woolley met Kennerley’s corner with an emphatic header on 69 minutes, it again gave the home team an outside chance. As they had done seven days earlier, they finished strongly. But time was against them, and still they struggled to work up a head of steam. Another replacement, Rory Fallon, drilled straight at Rackley. By then 1874’s attacks were fuelled by hope rather than belief.

1874 |4-3-3 | Hall (GK), Connor (Riley 57), Mitchell, Pritchard, Lee Jackson, Parker, Matthew Woolley (Fallon 70), Jones, Hind (Kennerley 51), McGowan, Ryan Jackson Subs not used Whitlock, Meadowcroft Goals McGowan 44 (penalty), Matthew Woolley 69 Booked Jones (foul)

Thatcham | 4-4-2 | Rackley (GK), Miller, Moran, Jarra, Angell, Brownhill, Melledew, Bayley, Elliott (Grant 74), Gavin James (Ashleigh James 78), Cooper-Clark (Johnson 89) Subs not used Thomas, Browne Goals Gavin James 3, 22 Cooper-Clark 47 Booked Moran (foul)

Referee Neil Hair

Attendance 1,693


bluefin sport insurance

Windsor 4 Easington Sports 1
Windsor have reached the Bluefin Sport Challenge Cup semi-finals after victory at Stag Meadow.

A goal from Matty Woods gave Windsor the lead after 16 minutes in the quarter-final tie and the home side held the advantage up to the half-time interval.

Easington levelled the scores through Charlie Hill after 56 minutes but Windsor restored the lead through substitute Nadir Shafi 10 minutes later.

Captain Kieran Knight made it 3-1 from the penalty spot with 10 minutes remaining before sub Matt Stockill put the icing on the cake with a goal two minutes from the final whistle.


Premier Divisionuhlsport football kit

Binfield 3 Highworth Town 2 (away view)
After 75 minutes it appeared another 3 points on the road were almost in the bag with the visitors holding a comfortable 2-0 lead.

Nine minutes later the Worthians League title and promotion prospects were suddenly put out of their own hands. An Ian Davies penalty (76) and efforts from Sean Moore (80) and Carlo Santoro (85) after defensive lapses amazingly gifted the home side all three points and inflicted the first away defeat of the season on the league leaders.

An own goal on six minutes, following great work from Joe Williamson, and a decent strike for Aaron Ferris on 14 minutes had set the visitors up nicely. A couple of Highworth corners then caused issues for the home defence although the ball could not be forced home from either and these together with two Garry Aulsberry saves from close range headers meant the two goal lead was maintained to half-time.

Little to report in the second half until the drama unfolded in those nine disastrous (from a Highworth point of view) minutes late on.

Some would say Highworth's promotion chances now realistically rely on 12 points from their last four games including fixtures against FA Vase finalists Thatcham Town and in-form Bracknell Town, with the added need for either or both of these two sides drop points elsewhere as well.

Sean Moore’s header brings an excellent save from 
Highworth keeper Gary Auberry.
Picture courtesy of Richard Milam

Binfield 3 Highworth Town 2 (Report by Arthur Strand)
Top of the table Highworth Town arrived at Stubbs Lane last Saturday but were shocked at the end of 90 minutes. Binfield took a positive approach initially but Garry Aulsberry, visitor's keeper, took hold of the ball. Highworth then countered with Connor Waldron going for the ball but Henry Craven quickly cleared it into touch. Sean Moore made a confident tackle but Highworth regained possession with Ashley Edenborough reached the Binfield goal line and his next move saw him miss out on a chance and Craven scooped up the ball. With 7 minutes on the clock, Will Shaw ran back into the 6 yard box chasing the ball and succeeded into cracking the ball into the roof of the net, a stunning goal , an own goal though. This put the table toppers into a comfortable position but, in the 14th minute, Aaron Harris put Highworth further ahead with a second goal. With this cushion, the visitors took control but not completely as Binfield countered whenever they could and a loose pass or a timely interception prevented progress to both sides. However Sean Moore, weaved his way across field into a central position and blasted the ball on target as Aulsberry made a reasonable save. Binfield attempted again with a very useful cross and a Moore header goal ward forced a great save from Aulsberry. Highworth then retaliated strongly and filled the goalmouth with forwards as Binfield added defenders. The ball was very close to the line and inside the far post when the referee spotted an infringement and Binfeld gained a free kick. Aulsberry was then forced to punch the ball clear and Highworth players worked their way towards the Binfield area, winning a corner kick. Chris Taylor took a shot as the ball came back to him but it sailed over Craven's crossbar. Highworth approached the Binfield area again along the wing but the interception deflected for a corner which was whisked around the post for another corner by Highworth. Attention turned to Binfield near the end of the first half as Ian Davies headed the ball onwards but Aulsberry made another crucial save. Chris Gerrard was injured and was replaced as half time loomed up.

The second-half began with Highworth trying to dominate the game but Binfield quickly gained a corner and were teeing up a strike but Highworth defenders managed to clear the ball away and Joe Williamson forced Binfield defenders to attempt clearance action but a corner kick ensued and a good chance from directly in front of goal was lost. Binfield countered and were beaten off by Highworth defenders. Picking up the ball, Highworth made ground and Jason Milhench took a shot at the near post but too close to Henry Craven who gathered the ball well. Milhench then collected the ball from a header out of defence and shot the ball straight to Craven. Binfield found themselves attacking again but that was thwarted although James Knight took a free kick, placing the ball back in the Highworth area and forcing a corner. Sean Moore sent in a ball for a Binfield header but Aulsberry claimed the ball. Switching to Binfield's area, Highworth managed to bring out more goal-keeping skill from Henry Craven. A counter attack from Binfield on the right wing produced a cross that was beyond the reach of any approaching forward and the next highlight was a useful move on the opposite flank but Aulsberry stopped further progress. Jack Thompson Wheeler worked his way through the Highworth defence, beating off 3 defenders and watching his soft tap at goal picked up by Garry Aulsberry. There was a quarter of an hour left and the score was still 2 - 0 to the visitors. James Knight took another free kick and soon Ian Davies entered the penalty area and was fouled bu Tom Cole. Davies took the penalty in the 76th minute. The substitutes had injected some energy into the host team as Binfield strove to find an equaliser. Sean Moore followed his team-mate along the 18 yard line and sneaked the ball from his feet. His rocket shot about chest high entered the goal between keeper and near post in the 80th minute putting the score line level. It seemed like Highworth had lost some discipline as they received a few yellow cards. The Binfield dug-out were then rejoicing somewhat ecstatically when in the 86th minute, Carlo Santori sent in the winner for the mighty Moles. Ian Davies broke through and his longish shot bounced in front of goal and hit the underside of the centre of the crossbar back into the Highworth penalty area. The game drew to a close as Binfield kept the ball close to the corner flag.

Royal Wootton Bassett Town 1 Ascot United 0 (away view)
Royal Wootton Bassett player-manager Sam Collier’s first-half goal was the difference as his side’s winless streak ended in a second one-nil win over the Yellamen this season. Ascot struggled early-on and improved after the break, but failed to find a breakthrough on a frustrating afternoon for Neil Richards’ side.

The home side’s good form in the early part of the season had given them a buffer leading into a six-match winless streak - and winning just once since mid December when they won 1-0 on Ascot’s turf – but they still needed points to extinguish any lingering relegation fears. The Yellamen, meanwhile, would either be rusty or refreshed having played just twice since the end of January, and their quest for points was a more pressing one having seen their relegation rivals make up ground in recent weeks as the scramble for safety looks set to go to the wire.

As it transpired, the Yellamen were indeed rusty, and only created once first-half chance in the shape of Samir Regragui’s wayward header over the crossbar from Louis Bouwer’s free kick after 31 minutes. Before all of that, both sides had toiled, although the home side just about shaded a first half where they were ultimately rewarded in injury time. Jon Beedon’s 9th minute effort sailed well over and Dale Richards saw a header saved on the line in the 24th minute, but it looked as if the half would end goalless

However, the home side warmed Lee Allen’s hands when David Coleman’s stinging effort was beaten away by the Ascot number one seven minutes before the break, but Allen was beaten in stoppage time when Collier hooked an accurate left-footed effort over his own shoulder and into the top left hand corner to give Bassett a slender half-time advantage.

A trio of sequentially-introduced substitutes galvanised the visitors’ improvement in the second period, but before their own resurgence they might have been both a man down and another goal down inside ten minutes of the restart. Firstly, ‘keeper Allen’s mistimed slash at the ball brought the onrushing Coleman to the ground in a one-on-one situation, although referee Thomas Staten yielded only a yellow card, before poor defending from the resultant free kick inexplicably left Gio Wrona unmarked – only to see him waste a golden chance from an ultimately tight angle.

Richie Saunders could – and should – have volleyed home a second goal at the far post after George Lance had scooped out a cross – 59 minutes played, but the balance of play swung towards the visitors as the game entered the final half-hour.

Ascot’s hungriest player was Barry Dunbar, and he fashioned a chance for himself on the turn but could only find the side-netting; 64 minutes played. Dunbar’s honesty then kept him on his feet amid a late tackle in the box, but his powerful shot from a tight angle brought a fine save from Ian Gill.

At the other end, the move of the half saw Allen produce the save of the match to thwart the move of the match. Defender Callum Wright started – and almost finished – a fine flowing move where he picked out substitute Ben Lodge on the right wing, and after Lodge’s cross was nodded down by Tom Joyce, Wright’s rasping low drive was pushed away by Allen, who dived low to get a strong hand to the ball.

Phil Da Silva’s introduction brought with it a new threat for Ascot; his skill would earn a free-kick that Regragui fired over before seeing a later shot from a tight angle well saved by Gill late-on – but it wasn’t to be for the frustrated visitors.

Wantage Town 2 Flackwell Heath 0
Third placed Wantage faced a tough encounter with Flackwell, a side one place and three points below them, looking to keep pace with those above them. After the disappointment of the mid-week cup defeat Wantage were again able to call upon the service of cup-tied Jon Davoile, Harvey Scholes and Matt Cheetham, Jack Dunmall returned after injury and Ben Willoughby was recalled after missing out against Abingdon.

After a even opening Wantage forged ahead in the 10th minute with their first attempt on goal, Scholes collected the ball on the edge of the Flackwell area and fired home past keeper David Lyons. Flackwell were looking to break quickly, but were caught off-side on at least half-a-dozen times inside the first 15 minutes and Curtis Meare was never troubled. Paul Alder stopped Sheridan Campbell’s progress down the Flackwell right on 15 minutes, and Dan Comer was equally adept on the other flank in prevent progress towards the Wantage area.

Wantage nearly found a second on 20 minutes, Davoile finding Steve Robertson who flicked it on into Dunmall’s path but his first touch was heavy and the ball ran to Lyons. A quick release saw Charlie Samuel scamper away down the right, but his shot spun harmlessly wide of Meare’s goal. The lively Scholes then went for a second on 23 minutes, but Lyons turned his effort behind and Chris Jackson could only head the resultant corner over the bar. And he then had another effort saved five minutes later after being set up by Dunmall.

Just after the half hour a Dan Comer cross was headed clear only as far as Ryan Markham, but under pressure he fired wide. Then on 34 minutes Flackwell’s Samuel skipped clear of Alder before unleashing a goal-bound effort that Mear plucked from the air mid-dive at the near post in what turned out to be their best chance of the half. Flackwell then had a five or six minute spell of pressure, but lacked the final ball to break down Wantage’s defence. Then just as the clock ticked over to 45 minutes Elliott Carey caught the trailing leg of Scholes about 20 yards out. The winger lined up the free-kick and delivered it perfectly over the wall and out of Lyons’ reach to make it 2-0 to Wantage. The half-time whistle came a minute or so later, with Jordan Dowdican beating the off-side and bearing down on goal. The ball looked to be running back to Meare, but Flackwell were still aggrieved at the timing of the whistle and surrounded the referee before leaving the field for the interval.

Wantage went looking for a third early in the second half, Lyons saving a Dunmall effort at the feet on the incoming Steve Robertson on 53 minutes, before Scholes was denied a hat-trick three minutes later when Lyons turned his snap shot round for a corner that came to nothing. Flackwell were starting to lose discipline and had three booked inside four minutes, all for dissent.

On 64 minutes Scholes whipped in a cross that only just eluded Jim Glover at the far post, before Dean Allen called Meare into action a minute later. Wantage were give a scare a minute later when Meare collected a ball under unfair pressure and collided with the post, but thankfully he was able to continue Flackwell had the ball in the net on 70 minutes, but Samuel was clearly offside before finishing over Meare and it didn’t count. That signalled the start of some Flackwell dominance, Jackson blocking a Dowdican effort a minute later, and Samuel had an effort saved by Meare at the near post on 73 minutes. Samuel then wasted another chance two minutes later when his shot not only cleared the bar but the clubhouse too!

Wantage were sitting too deep and their rushed clearances were coming straight back as Flackwell turned the screw. Matt Cheetham, on for Scholes, was then booked for two rash tackles inside two minutes and was sent for an early bath with six minutes of normal time remaining. But Wantage were not going to surrender their two goal advantage easily and Jackson, Brad Cox and substitute Ben Willoughby were all putting their bodies on the line to block and clear anything that came their way.

On 89 minutes Flackwell earned a free kick on the goal-line, about five yards outside the penalty area, but Cox was able to head clear, and two minutes later another Jackson block kept Francis Amarty’s strike out. Two minutes into stoppage time a flare-up in the Wantage area prolonged the game even further, Meare and Amarty singled out for punishment when there could have been another one or two on each side dealt with, but that was the last action of note and the referee drew proceedings to a halt on 96 minutes.

A far better performance from Wantage today, and an absorbing game, that keeps them in third but reliant on the likes of Thatcham, Bracknell and Highworth dropping points if they are to be in with a shout of honours this season.

One East

Penn & Tylers Green 5 Chinnor 3
This was a game of two halves. I make it brief. On a wet grey Saturday afternoon, the First Team did what they had to do, namely get three points on the board. In front of an enthusiastic crowd of 37 the game was essentially put to bed in 30 minutes. A fine header by Adam Dickens connecting with a cross coming in from the right started things off in 10th minute to make it 1:0 to the boys in blue & white.

Three minutes later Danny Burnell got in front of the Chinnor defender from another cross to sneak the ball just inside the post to make it 2:0; great goal. Casey Bocarro made it 3:0 in 26th minute with a fine low drive and Fred Tripp got in on the act to make it 4:0 in 30th minute. The Chinnor keeper Ben Taunton made a couple of excellent saves to keep the score line respectable in half one.

The second half just did not happen as far as the home side were concerned. As it happens so often when there is a big half time lead, the second 45 minutes become a bit of an anti-climax. It was too much of a “second gear” performance for about 30 minutes of half two. All of a sudden Chinnor, who were now playing for their pride, got two goals back when Rory Nish got a brace in minute 55 and 77.

Penn & Tylers Green FC woke up again and stated to play some good football and came close on three occasions to increase the score. It took a penalty in 86th minute to make sure. After a foul on Casey Bocarro Captain Danny Jordan converted the spot kick well, giving Ben Taunton no chance. After a quick spell of falling asleep again Chinnor got another goal in 87th Minute, when James Bonwick finished well.

That was it with the final score of 5:3 the neutral punters were happy with eight goals on the day, Penn & Tylers Green where happy as we got the three points and this is what counts at this stage in the season. We are now looking forward to the next league game against Virginia Water FC at Stag Meadow on Tuesday, 27th March 2018, 7:45 pm kick off.

Milton United 1 Virginia Water 3 (away view)
A great way for Waters to bounce back to winning ways after the Challenge Cup midweek loss to Bracknell.

Milton made it very difficult for us in a scoreless first half, where neither side carved out too many clear cut opportunities. In fact the bigger threats for both sides came from set pieces.

It was not a surface where we could play our quick and flowing football, yet we tried, and although the back five were rarely troubled, we did not create enough in the final third to break the deadlock. Out best efforts coming from Sam Devoil, Adam McNamara, Lo renzo (Lennie) Di Felice.

The second half was more open, with Water’s dominating from the outset. It was important for both teams to get that elusive first goal, and when it came on 54 minutes, it was Richard Bond who nodded in from a corner for the visitors.

Thereafter Waters should have kicked on, but had Matt Jones to thank for two excellent saves after uncharacteristic poor back passes had put us under pressure. Soon after, we went up field with a rapid counter attack, where Josh Hill fed Adam, who crossed for the predatory Josh Guichard to head home – a great team goal! Our third soon followed, when from a pinpoint pass, Josh Hill fed Lennie, who smashed home to make it 0-3.

Milton were not beaten and converted a penalty, and with both sides having further chances, it was surprising there were no more goals, mainly in part to another impressive display by Adam Mills (MoM) at Centre Back, and Matt in goal, keeping Milton at bay. Jake Baker, Lennie, Adam all went close to adding to the score, but it was the result and the three points that was the main objective, and Waters deserved that.
We wish Milton well for the remainder of the season.

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