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4 November

uhlsport football kitPremier Division

Ascot United 1 Thatcham Town 2
Thatcham Town left it late to beat plucky Ascot United 2-1 on Saturday afternoon. Having led early-on, the promotion chasing Kingfishers were pegged back before half time, only to see their title charge re-ignited thanks to an improved second half. This was always going to be a tough match for the hosts against a side well-established in a congested top-six.

The first half was a wonderfully exciting affair. Ascot United contributed arguably their best 45 minutes of the season – excepting the obligatory wasteful possession early on – and the half also contained a visiting ‘keeper who spent most of the time barking at his outfielders, and an escaped racehorse that bounded down the adjacent fair mile.

On the pitch, Thatcham were quickest into the saddle, and Shane Coper-Clark saw an early effort well saved by the feet of Lee Allen. Ascot’s immediate reply saw Rob Lazarczuk’s free kick easily saved by Chris Rackley, before Allen saved again for Ascot, this time from Harry Grant. Cooper-Clark then gave his side a 16th minute lead after fashioning the chance – the burly striker dragged the ball back from his right foot to his left, and fired an accurate shot into the bottom right hand corner.

Ascot were forced to reshuffled when an injury to Dom Sullivan ended his afternoon shortly after that goal, although as they grew in confidence, Samir Regragui’s deft chip form a narrow angle dropped agonisingly onto the roof of the net after Lazarczuk’s lay-off. Rackley was in action once again soon afterwards when his diving saved denied Lazarczuk, who then might have done better with a long range chip that was sadly off-target.

At the other end, Allen made a good save to deny Cooper-Clark once again – standing up well and getting strong hands on a stinging effort – but the hosts’ ascendancy continued and Regragui was unlucky to see his header form Lazarczuk’s cross trickle past a post on the half-hour. Not to be denied, the Yellamen finally equalised in the 34th minute, although the goal owed much to a deep cross from Regragui which took Rackley and his defence out of the equation, before Goodey blasted home after Josh Dillon had joined him in the queue to convert. At the other end, Allen preserved parity with another save from Cooper-Clark in first half injury time – although the interval otherwise came at the wrong time for the home side.

The second half was low on clear-cut chances, but those that were created fell to Thatcham, who eventually converted one of them late-on to steal the points. Before then, Cooper-Clark saw an effort cleared off the line by Ryan Cooper and Jemel Johnson screwed wide when well placed, although Harrison Bayley somehow missed a glancing effort with fifteen minutes later following a right wing corner.

However, just after Cooper-Clark had seen his free kick sail over, the striker latched onto Tom Browne’s deep cross to volley into the roof of the net with seven minutes remaining. Regragui’s injury time free kick into Rackley’s arms was as good as it got for the home side, who were left pointless once again from a performance which should have yielded more.

Tuffley Rovers 2 Oxford City Nomads 1
For the second time in seven days, Shayne Bradley scored the decisive goal that secured a three-point haul for Tuffley Rovers - helping his team to a third consecutive victory in the progress - at Glevum Park on Friday night.

Until Bradley’s diving header found the net in the final minute of the game, Rovers looked to be set for a point, against a lively Nomads side who had won their previous three games. The visitors, connected with the Vanarama National League side Oxford City who were in FA Cup 1st Round action on Saturday, promised to provide a stern test of Rovers’ improving performances, as they arrived in excellent recent form that has seen them record victories over Longlevens, Royal Wootton Bassett Town and Burnham, in recent weeks, scoring eleven goals in the process. Rovers’ manager, Mark Pritchett, made two changes from the midweek Floodlit Cup win at Division One (West) Clanfield 85 FC, leaving himself out and recalling Macaulay Herbert, whilst Bradley replaced the injured Mark Ford.

Pritchett would have been pleased with the way that his side started the game; very much on the front foot and pushing the visitors back, deep into their own territory, and they might have taken an early lead, in the opening minute, but Bradley’s shot flashed across the goal and away from the Nomads goal. Then, on 12 minutes, Kieran Alder drew an excellent save from Nomads’ Luke Sanders, with a volley from the edge of the box, before the same player produced a corner kick that Liam Talboys did well to clear off the line. Nomads did present a counter-attacking threat in the early stages and almost opened the scoring on 16 minutes, when Dan Collins’ shot, although not well struck, bobbled past the dive of Eric Edge, in the Rovers goal, and against the foot of the post. Sam Hill put a free-kick over the Nomads goal from 25 yards out, before Ash Bird got in behind the Nomads goal, only to see his stretching effort go narrowly wide of the Nomads goal, with Sanders beaten. Rovers were looking strong and arguably the better side, in a fast-paced and highly competitive game, and the pressure finally told, when they opened the scoring after 31 minutes. Warren Mann swung a testing cross over from the left and Nomads’ captain, Jordi Mulvany diverted the ball well beyond Sanders, when he had intended to play the ball back safely into the keeper’s arms.

Pritchett’s side were looking good value for their lead and it was something of a surprise when Nomads equalised shortly before the half-time interval. Will McEachran retrieved a slightly misplaced Kyreece Martei cross to the back post and having got the ball under control, he held off a challenge to direct a well-placed shot beyond Edge and into the far corner of the Rovers goal, on 41 minutes. Moments before the interval, Bradley showed all his experience to find space near the back post, but he was unable to convert Brett James’ pass, as the ball hit the top of the bar and went out of play, meaning the sides went into the interval with scores level.

Bird, signed from Brimscombe & Thrupp early in October, has added some pace and energy to the Rovers attack and he went close early in the second period, drawing a save from Sanders, before Alder almost converted the loose ball, only to be denied by some desperate defending by the Nomads side. Nomads’ goalscorer Collins had shown terrific pace that had been troubling the hosts’ defence and he almost gave his side the lead on 57 minutes, when he outpaced the otherwise impressive Joel White, before firing a shot that Edge saved well. Unable to hold the ball, the Rovers keeper then produced an incredible second save to deny McEachran when it looked inevitable that he would score.

By now, the game had lost some of the intensity on show throughout the first period, but both sides were looking to win the fixture and Collins was next to go close, producing a shot that went wide of Edge’s goal. Edge was now the busier of the two keepers and produced a stunning, one-handed save to deny Ben Barrett’s header, and Mulvany’s attempt to make amends for his earlier own goal went narrowly over on 72 minutes. As the game moved into the closing moments, Bradley had an effort, from a Bird cross, that he might have converted, before Edge was once again called into action, stopping another McEachran effort.

With the game in the closing moments, Bird was hauled down by Talboys, with both players cautioned following the cynical foul and reaction near the corner flag, and it presented Rovers with a final chance to secure another positive result, which Bradley didn’t waste, as substitute Alex O’Leary’s excellent cross was diverted home with a brave diving header that earned the former Southampton man a boot in the face and his team a 2-1 win, as the match official called time on the game seconds later.

Windsor 2 Woodley United 1
Windsor extended the winning run to 8 matches in all competitions with a 2-1 win over Woodley United at Stag Meadow. Played in front of 125 spectators the win was not secured until time added on at the end of the match. A good start from the hosts saw Barry Hayles open the scoring on 8 minutes. Windsor continued to press but they went into the break with the narrow advantage.

Five minutes after the break Toby Briggs equalised for Woodley and the a minute later Windsor were reduced to 10 when Elliott Woodham was judged to have prevented a goal scoring chance and was red carded. The match then ebbed and flowed with both sides looking to snatch the points.

On 90 minutes substitute Gus Bowles was fouled in the the visitors penalty area and after some discussion the referee pointed to the spot and skipper Luke Brooks-Smith scored the all important winner to preserve the excellent winning run. Woodley will feel a little disappointed not to have gone home with at least a point.

Windsor 2 Woodley United 1 (away view)
United made two changes from the side that beat Beaconsfield on Monday evening. Michael Porter replaced centre back Mitch Parker whilst Luke Turner came into the side at right back for the suspended Joe Barley. 

After an even opening five minutes, the home side went ahead with the first shot on target. Some nice skill by Barry Hayles opened up space on the edge of the box allowing the Windsor forward to find the right corner. Moments later the lead could have been doubled when a right wing cross by Nadir Shafi was headed into the path of defender Elliott Woodham who put over from close range. 

Twenty minutes in saw Woodley have their best spell so far. Toby Briggs set up Callum Samuel-Harman who cut in from the left before seeing a right footed effort blocked. Danny Horscroft then had a free kick from twenty yards miss to the right.  The United pressure continued; a lovely cross by Jayden Englefield was acrobatically cut out by Ramel Sutherland before it could reach Samuel-Harman who would have had a tap in. 

With the half winding down Windsor had another very good chance to increase their lead when a Woodham shot fell to Hayles who missed from close range. At the other end, decent play by Englefield, who had swapped flanks with Samuel-Harman, saw the winger beat his man only to see his low cross cleared for a corner. 

The scores were level four minutes after the restart when Horscroft found Briggs who showed good strength to fend off a defender and drill a low shot in off the right post.  Sixty seconds later Hayles tested Alex Reed in the Woodley goal with a shot from the left. 

It was a lively start to the half with incidents coming thick and fast. A big talking point occurred on fifty two minutes when the hosts were reduced to ten men when Woodham was shown a straight red card for a foul on Briggs. The resultant free kick was put just wide by captain Jake Nicholls.  Making use of their numbers advantage, Woodley created two half chances in quick succession. Englefield missed from the right whilst Briggs shot into the side netting after a Nicholls pass. 

The sides traded shots as the game entered the final ten minutes. Horscroft fired over from twenty yards before a fine stop by Alex Reed denied a Windsor player who headed goal wards from a Ashley Smith cross.  With the game in added time and looking like it was going to end in a stalemate, Woodley left back Jordan Goddard was adjudged to have bought down a Windsor substitute in the box. Stepping up from twelve yards, Luke Brooks-Smith smashed an unstoppable penalty into the top left corner.  United fought to the end for an equaliser; a great tackle on Prestidge, who had strong claims for a free kick just outside the box moments before the penalty, robbed Woodley's sub a chance to level.

One East

Bicester Town 2 Penn & Tylers Green 0 (away view)
It was a competitive game (played in the right spirit) but we knew this beforehand and we started the game well enough playing down the slope in the first half. After about five minutes Casey Bocarro had a great opportunity in a “one-on-one” with the keeper to put us one nil to the good after a fantastic through ball from Danny Jordan. Their Number One, Joe White, had other ideas and spread himself well to make the safe in the six-yard area. Shortly after that Jamie West burst down the right after winning the “fifty-fifty” with the defender and with only the keeper to beat from inside the penalty area. The shot went pass the left upright. That could have been two nil. 
An excellent cross from the right from Jordan Gumbs resulted in George Weller header with the ball just going over the bar. A few minutes later Danny Jordan’s shot from within the area after some good work down the left-hand side from Joshua Fox was somehow deflected by a Bicester Town defender resulting in a corner. This could have been four nil.

This all happened within the first 10 to 20 minutes and the murmurs amongst the French School Meadow Kop supporters went like “if we do not convert one of these we will have a problem because Bicester Town are good enough to score”.  Well, the warning was there when good move by the hosts down the left flank resulted in a fierce low shot, which Matt Cannings did very well to save. After that the teams cancelled each other out but the home side started to have more of the midfield and carved out some openings.  Just before half time we lost a ball (which looked already won) half way between the penalty area and the half way line. The Bicester player manufactured a superb cross and our defender was caught napping when their forward just managed to get his head onto the end of it to make it one nil with Mat Cannings having no chance.

The second half was all about effort, containment and desire. Penn & Tylers Green showed great effort in the second half and generally everybody worked very hard. Bicester Town were very effective and their containment strategy worked very well. Not many chances were created by either side in the second 45 minutes but the hosts were dangerous with their counter attacks when the boys in blue & white lost possession. This was exactly what happened when the Foxhunters scored their second goal. In what looked like a potentially good attacking position for the visitors Penn& Tylers Green FC lost the ball just outside the opposition “D” and the home side took advantage of it in 70th minute to make it two nil. There was still enough football left in the game and Penn & Tylers Green should have pulled one back after a great “one-two” involving Joshua Fox and Casey Bocarro. The resulting low cross shot across the goal about 10 inches out and somehow Danny Jordan sliding in somehow did not connect with the ball in what looked like a certain goal. If that had gone in, it would have been us back in the game. But it did not, alas we were not any more.

There was just that little bit more desire in the home side to make sure the points stayed with them. Also, our decision making was not what it could have been today. When there was an opportunity for a cross or a shot we selected another pass, or took another touch. The host saw the game home and deserved it in the end because they had the rub of the green and were that little bit smarter today.

chalfont wasps v milton united 4 november 17Chalfont Wasps 2 Milton United B
Wasps came from behind to overcome a determined Milton on a cool autumnal afternoon at The Nest, making it three home wins on the bounce for the Stingers.

Wasps started positively but Milton grabbed an early goal when skipper Jack White headed home from close range following a swift break after only four minutes. Wasps efforts to even things up forced a number of corners, but their long ball approach play often failed to hit the front runners. Milton had a 5 min period of pressure then things paused for a while whilst White received treatment. After 28 mins, Nick Little won the ball deep in his own half, and his subsequent end to end run forced a corner. Michael Green nearly forced home his header at the near post. Chris Hurst was next to try his luck, first a header was gathered by the keeper and then an 18-yarder sailed over the top. Tom Fifield was then in from a Ryan Sweales through ball, but as Fifield took aim, the flag went up. Wasps created a number of half chances as the match entered a relatively dull phase. However, a bright end to the half saw Wasps force more corners but Milton did enough to keep their noses in front 0-1 come half time.

A series of Fifield corners started the second half. Both Sweales and Green went close again with headers, and the visiting keeper marshalled his 6-yard box well to snuff out other possibilities. Wasps were on the ascendency though. Ryan Welsh and Micky Benning came on to add to Milton’s concerns. A rare Milton break bought a vital 1:1 foot save from Dan Little in the Wasps goal. Wasps momentum built, then came the break though. Quick feet from Welsh on the right enabled him to fire a cross to the near post, Fifield was on hand to head home a terrific move; 1-1 72 mins. Benning was then just off the mark before Green’s reverse header was converted by Hurst; 2-1 82 mins. The comeback was complete, Wasps bagged all 3 points to consolidate their position in mid table.

Wokingham & Emmbrook 2 Virginia Water 3 (away view)
Water’s achieved a win double over our excellent hosts within a week, but were made to fight all the way in an entertaining match.
Indeed were it not for a terrific one on one save by Matt Jones (MoM) from Ben Knight at the end, the result could have been so different.
W&E started the match the better, with Waters off the pace, and they missed a few early chances, that Matt saved well.
They took the lead on 17 minutes with a terrific long range effort into the top corner.
This set back spurred VWFC into action, and on 25 minutes following a great through ball by Josh Hill, our RM Lorenzo ‘Lennie’ Di Felice took it in his stride, to outpace the full back, round the CB and calmly slot home – a finish to grace any football match.
Soon after the equally excellent Adam McNamara smashed in our second from a long throw, after the ball was initially headed on by Mark Lansdowne.
Adam then saw his goal bound effort, well saved by their good keeper, which could have made things more comfortable, but this match was far from over.
At 2-1 up VWFC were edging things, but early in the second half W&E equalised when their striker lashed home into the roof of the net from close range.
It was very encouraging to see Waters still kick on for the win, and after Lennie’s shot was saved on 71 minutes, Adam hammered in an unstoppable volley to restore our lead.
A deserved hat-trick for Adam was not to be, when he saw his spot kick cannon back off the bar, after Dan Whatford was brought down in the box, and soon after both he and a few others had chances to put the game beyond W&E.
We almost regretted the missed opportunities had it not been for some reliable keeping at the other end.
Like I say, a really good game for the neutral, that saw VWFC deserve the 3 points – just!

Wokingham & Emmbrook 2 Virginia Water 3 (report by Arthur Strand)
Wokingham & Emmbrook (the Suma’s) were hosts to Virginia Water last Saturday at Lowther Road, the latter being second in the Division 1 East table. It was not long before the Suma’s reached the opposition corner flag zone after Dan Carter had made a timely interception in the Suma’s area and the ball was sent into Virginia Water territory. A break down the right wing took the ball back into the Suma’s half and the incoming cross found a head and the high ball was quickly cleared by Steven Fairchild with a well timed punch. After nearly 10 minutes of play, Wokingham forwards combined with Ben Knight for Tom Williams to slot in the left hand corner of the net. This lifted the hosts' spirits and the front runners approached goal again but this time the ball missed the intended target. Ten minutes had passed since the Suma’s goal when Lorrenzo de Felice received the ball, rounded the home defender and his finish levelled the score. Josh Pearson's cross at the other end was met by Matt Jones, visitor's keeper, and the ball arrived at home end and, eventually, Adam McMamara put the Virginia Water team ahead only a couple of minutes after the equaliser from a long throw in which was headed on by Mark Lansdowne. Trying to leave behind the double disappointment, Suma’s were beaten off the ball near goal again then with the ball reaching a Sumas man who took a shot on target, keeper, Jones made a crucial save. A large deflection went high in the air but landed in the arms of Matt Jones after which the ball had reached the home end again, Fairchild making a useful save but a free kick returning the advantage to the visitors, Steve Williams took this set piece and a corner followed with no goal following but Fairchild made another save as the break was imminent. Chris Newlove leaped high enough to head away the ball and the half-time score was 2 - 1 to the visitors.

A corner kick to Virginia Water was the first highlight of the second session which led to a free kick to the Sumas and taking advantage of possession, they sent the ball upfield forcing a good ground save from Matt Jones. Josh Lawrence took a free kick then a corner kick and another save as Virginia Water replaced Josh Guichard with Sam Devoil. On the hour, came the equaliser, Charlie Dean finishing well as Sumas strove to make a concerted effort. With substitutions being made during the second half, the game dipped in discipline fractionally but both sides continued to vie for possession and territory. In the 71st minute, Adam McNamara scored the 3rd goal for the visitors with a cracking shot but he missed out on a hat-trick when the penalty he took for Virginia Water rebounded from Fairchild's crossbar about 3 minutes later. There was a sense of urgency in the hosts team, at least they never gave up even under serious pressure in defence with a free kick to Water on the right flank and a charge along the left within a short space of time. A missed headed kept the visitors down to 3 goals as did McNamara's high miss over the crossbar. Ben Knight was denied an equaliser by Jones at his feet. There was a bit of a delay in additional time while an indiscretion waas sorted out and the game ended at 3 - 2.

One West

Clanfield 85 1 Pewsey Vale 2
Clanfield 85 went down to their third defeat in eight days in this Division One West fixture but can feel hard done by after being reduced to ten men whilst leading one nil. The Wiltshire Visitors got off to a good start and pressed strongly but a much changed Clanfield defence held firm.They went ahead in the 23rd minute when a good move saw Conor Tinsley neatly evade several tackles to slot home.

The game changed dramatically in the 30th minute when with the Clanfield defence in retreat teenage defender Callum Davies was adjudged to have fouled a Pewsey attacker 25 yards out and to the astonishment of everyone was shown a red card. At best the incident looked to have been a coming together with the attacker going to ground very easily. At worst it looked exactly the same but Referee Edward Hall was adamant that the Defender was last man and that it was a foul and so the home side were down to ten.

The unsettled home defence conceded an own goal on 40 minutes to leave the half time score at 1-1.

The Visitors took the lead on the hour when Liam Edmonson headed home what proved to be the winning goal after Clanfield had failed to clear from a corner. The less said about the rest of the game the better. A plethora of contested decisions and yellow cards did nothing to enhance what should have been a great game between two sides who with even numbers appeared to have been well matched.

Headington Amateurs 3 New College 2
An entertaining game at Horspath ended in Headington’s favour, the odd goal in five separating two sides committed to attacking football.

The first real chance came after ten minutes, Headington’s Henry Bone heading over from Yannick Nkwanyuo’s right wing cross. Nkwanyuo himself had a chance a couple of minutes later, collecting from Kyle Harris-Steele but again his effort too high. Headington were creating opportunities in this opening period without really testing ‘keeper Sam Ayres but with thirty minutes gone a long clearance from home ‘keeper Harry Jenkins was helped on by Chris Peck to Bone whose shot from a tight angle forced Ayres to concede a corner kick. From the resulting kick, taken short, Peck’s cross was met with an unstoppable header from centre back Sam Gordon & the home side had the lead. It was to prove short lived with Max Slinn pouncing on an error & breaking away to beat Jenkins with a low drive. In the remainder of the half Headington pressed hard but could not get through, Liam Morbey & Peck going close & Aftab Hafiz forcing a good save from Ayres.

This youthful Swindon side were more confident in the second half but it was still Headington pressing with their visitors always dangerous on the counter. A good left wing run & pass from New College’s Kyle Parker set up Biaggio Mazzotta but his shot was wayward. Headington’s Morbey was twice foiled after being put in by Shaun Jacob & a Jacob free kick eluded all as it flashed across the face of Ayres goal. Jenkins had to make a good save to foil Slinn’s effort for New College before Peck had a ‘goal’ correctly ruled out for offside. With fifteen minutes left New College were in front, a fine strike from Ryan Lovitt after good work from Corey Francome. Headington responded almost immediately, Jay Hill volleying home from sub Ollie Zaja’s pass. Another minute gone & the turnaround was complete, with Luke Cuff, also off the bench, finishing confidently from Hill’s through ball. Both sides had chances in the final minutes of an excellent match but with no more goals Headington made it six points from their last two league outings.

Letcombe 5 Woodstock Town 2
Another three points secured Letcombe`s joint second place in Division One West. With Tinashe Gwavava called up as cover by Hungerford Town, Letcombe played Jake Rowe at the heart of their defence having recovered from a recent injury.

Letcombe attacked from the start, and Conor Lynch gave them the lead after 16 minutes. They should have increased their lead soon afterwards when they were awarded a penalty for a foul on Lynch, but Adam Bruce`s spot kick was saved by visiting keeper Matthew Ingram. The hosts did not have long to wait however, as man of the match Conor Lynch added a second soon afterwards. Callum Green reduced the arrears on the half hour mark, but Adam Bruce provided Jack Heggie with a tap-in to restore Letcombe`s two goal lead just before the interval.

Ben Hummell and Iggy Ilott were dominating the centre midfield, allowing Alex Fragata and Jack Heggie to attack on the flanks. Fragata went on one mazy run, beating three defenders before passing to Lynch, who was unable to complete his hat trick. Woodstock pushed forward, and Alex McBryan scored just before the hour mark, putting the game back in the balance. Owen Cummins replaced the injured Jake Rowe, and he scored after 66 minutes to allow the hosts to relax a little, and Letcombe introduced new signing Danial Elvestad for his debut. Alex Fragata scored a fifth goal two minutes from time after a mistake by keeper Ingram.
This was Letcombe`s third consecutive league victory, and they now face three difficult away games in seven days at Ardley, Cheltenham Saracens and Kidlington.

Divisions Two

Carterton 4 Faringdon 2
On a well prepared surface, a minute’s silence was held before kick off in memory of Ted Luska.

It didn't take Carterton long to get into their stride. Several good chances to take the lead but the home side were caught on the counter from their own corner 0-1. They were soon back on level terms when a deep cross from Josh McGorey was headed home by Leon Morrison 1-1. The young Morrison was unlucky not to get his second after some neat football with Joe Broadbank and himself on the edge of the box with only the post denying him.

The second half was a carbon copy of the first half with sustained pressure from the word go, but Carterton we're caught again by one breakaway 1-2 Faringdon. The home side made some changes and within 5 minutes  Sean McKeown was on the score sheet with a neat finish 2-2.

Momentum was well and truly with Carteron now and it didn't take long before McKeon was on the score sheet again with another tidy finish 3-2. To round things off Josh Skeates added a fourth with a solo run and top corner finish from 20 yards. A well deserved win and a great send off to Ted who would of been proud of the lads today.






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