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6-8 November

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Fairford Town 1 Royal Wootton Bassett 2
Fairford Town and Royal Wootton Bassett played out 120 minutes of entertaining cup football at Cinder Lane on Wednesday night, with an extra-time strike from Steve Yeardley proving the difference between the sides.

Jody Bevan saw his side make a solid start against their Premier Division rivals, with midfielder Dan Reynolds going close twice in the early exchanges. Good interplay between Martin Hall and Lee Smith saw the latter take aim with 15 minutes on the clock, but his shot fizzed over Dan Lawrence’s bar.

The opening goal of the game arrived 20 minutes in. A free-kick on the edge of the box saw Ben Saunders hit a left-footed effort which was only palmed by Lawrence and the ball looped over the line to give the Gloucestershire side the advantage.

Liam Gale, on his return to the Fairford squad, made a lively start and he was then denied by a good low stop from Lawrence – who made another save moments later as Dan Bailey’s curling effort was held. The visitors then got into their rhythm and with the long-serving Yeardley and Waldon both testing returning Reds’ keeper Ben Mitchell.

Fairford took a deserved advantage into the half-time interval but Bassett made a stronger start to the second period. And before the hour, the visitors had found parity – with Waldon breaking down the left and finding the experienced Sam Collier, who curled the ball home from the edge of the box.

Waldon was then denied by a flying save from Mitchell with 65 minutes played as the game stepped up a level despite the freezing temperatures descending on Cinder Lane. Substitute Mason Hathaway saw his ambitious strike saved by Lawrence with 21 minutes remaining with the cup tie there for the taking. Reynolds saw his powerful run and shot saved with Antonio Gerrish then taking aim at the other end but firing over. Former Oxford United youngster Kieran Diaz-Benitez – perhaps the most extravagantly named player to grace a Challenge Cup second round cup tie – almost sealed a place in round three with a neat one two before hitting the foot of the post.

There was still a chance for Fairford, but Bailey saw his effort saved by Lawrence after an excellent low cross from Gale. The full-time whistle then blew with extra-time to come, despite both sides having 12 shots apiece during an enthralling cup tie.

FT: Fairford Town 1 Royal Wootton Bassett 1

The additional half-hour began with Smith’s neat turn and shot tipped over by Lawrence before the Wiltshire side took the lead for the first time in the game at a crucial time. Yeardley was played through and made no mistake firing low past Mitchell with 97 minutes on the clock.

Half chances came and went for the home side who gave everything in the remaining extra-time, with Bailey denied right at the death from close range.

Holyport 1 v Virginia Water 1(away view)
What a terrific contest, in true sporting fashion, played in driving rain and a strong wind, that was a credit to both sides. A real shame that someone had to lose on the night in the penalty shoot out! Thankfully for VWFC, we were the victors on this occasion, with a seventh straight win in all competitions.

As with the league match a few weeks ago, Water's were the better in the first half, whilst the home side were stronger in the second. There were not too many clear cut chances in a goalless first half, although Sam Devoil, Adam McNamara, Liam Hill and Dan Whatford all went close. At the other end, the defence was excellent with Mark Lansdowne (MoM), Finn Evered, Adam Mills and Louis Sanders all keeping Holyport’s chances at bay. Indeed, Matt Jones in goal hardly had a shot to save.

That changed early in the second half, when we gave the ball away high up the pitch, to be punished on the counter with a well taken goal on 55 minutes. To our credit, and into the wind, we fought back, and from a Josh Hill cross, Max Samyint was there to volley home on 75 minutes. Matt made a couple of good late saves, and on we went into extra time.

Both sides visibly shattered, Waters were the stronger but could not find the winning goal. Eventually penalties arrived, with both teams still at a stalemate. Each taker scored their first spot kicks, before Matt superbly saved their second, and amazingly we held our nerve to score every kick and seal a famous win. Scorers of the spot kicks for us were – Matt, Josh, Max, Richard Bond and Steve Williams with the final goal. We wish Holyport well for the rest of the season, and thank them for their hospitality on a tough and late night for all.


uhlsport football kitPremier Division

Ascot United 2 Binfield 6
Binfield ran riot at Ascot United on Tuesday evening as they recovered from 2-1 down to win 6-2. On a wet evening, the supporters witnessed seven first half goals, before Ascot limited the Moles to one second half strike

Ascot had fallen to second-bottom in the league following Burnham’s shock win at Woodley United on Monday evening, but local rivals Binfield would be in no mood to make their hosts’ chances of moving back up the table easy, on a night when persistent rain had already made conditions difficult. As it transpired, goal-scoring conditions provided far from difficult, as the first 30 minutes were nothing short of crazy with both sides scoring virtually at will.

Firstly, Sean Moore headed the visitors into a 2nd minute lead, a lead which lasted just three minutes until Ben Hodges’ deflected effort from George Lock’s cross pulled Ascot level. Then, just after Samir Regragui had seen a 20-rard effort turned away by Henry Craven, Regragui’s zipped cross was clipped home by Josh Dillon to swing the game in Ascot’s favour.

Sadly for the hosts, the lead was short-lived, as Ian Davies raced through to score for Binfield, before the same player rounded Lee Allen to make it 3-2 with just 25 minutes played. Incredibly, defender Harry Lafin then smashed in under the crossbar to extend Binfield’s lead with barely 30 minutes played, and just as everyone thought that the scoring was complete, Moore’s  25-yard effort skimmed off the greasy surface and deceived Allen on the stroke of half time; 5-2 in favour of the visitors.

Ascot made two changes at half time, but their respite would last just seven minutes until Josh Howell scored a sixth from 12 yards following poor Ascot defending. At this point, it was damage limitation for Ascot, and they did at least keep a clean sheet in a final half-an-half an hour where Craven also made two good saves for Binfield to deny James Goodey and Rob Lazarczuk. But, that was as good as it got for Ascot, who were left licking their wounds on another difficult evening.

Woodley United 0 Burnham 2
Despite dominating possession for large parts of the first half Woodley struggled to create many goal scoring opportunities. Arguably their best chance of the match came in the opening two minutes when Michael Porter's header from Jake Nicholls corner was cleared off the line.  A cross from the left was punched clear by Burnham keeper Mo Sampat on the ten minute mark as United couldn't get things to click in the final third. 

Mid way through the half and with the visitors starting to have more of the ball they were able to create several good chances. A well worked move saw Kordian Morawski tee up Conrad Joseph who tested Alex Reed in the Woodley goal from twenty two yards. Burnham opened the scoring on thirty four minutes and really should have gone into half time with more than a one goal lead. A through ball found Jordan Dowdican who showed good strength before beating Reed with a shot off the right post.  Moments later Dowdican had a great chance to get his second when he latched onto a lofted through ball; with just Reed to beat he chipped wide.  The final opportunities of a frustrating half from a United point of view fell to Burnham. Reed was off his line quickly to deny Calvin Morgan whilst Joseph missed to the left from distance. 

Woodley made a positive start to the the second half; a nice cross from right back Michael Porter was headed clear before a flowing move, involving half the team, working the ball from right to left ended with Sampat claiming the cross that came in. United had the ball in the net on fifty five minutes when Toby Briggs headed home a left wing cross only to be denied by the linesman's flag. Two minutes after the disallowed goal Burnham got their second. A long ball over the top found Dowdican who was bought down by Reed in the box. Dowdican took the resultant penalty and found the top left corner. 

Just past the hour saw a Woodley double change. Sam Guze and Callum Samuel-Harmen replaced Owen Davies and Ashley Ledger.  The hosts continued to look for a way back into the game. A nice touch by Briggs, controlling a left wing cross on his knee, was nicked off him by a defender before he could pull the trigger.  United made their final change with sixteen minutes left. Greg Beckett came on for Jordan Goddard. This saw the hosts go to three at the back with Beckett joining Briggs up top. 

Despite the change it was Burnham who had the better of the play in the final fifteen minutes. Showing pace and power a great run by full back Charlie Fox down the left ended with him picking out Morgan who blazed over.  It was Morgan involved again minutes later; picking up a pass from substitute Walter Rizo he forced a brilliant save from Reed diving to his left. Woodley ended match with a couple of half chances. Samuel-Harmen had a shot blocked whilst Danny Horscroft shot over from a free kick.

One East

Didcot Town Reserves 5 Henley Town 0
The Railwaymen deservedley took all three points in this league encounter. Play was unusually scrappy mainly due to to Henley's  indiscipline but got off to a fine start in the first minute when Lewis  Wilcox touched home a Taylor Janes free kick to put the home team one up. 

Taylor Janes was brought down for another free kick but his effort was  at the keeper. In a Henley breakaway Joe Parish cleared up the danger  and the away team continued to put on some pressure winning a corner  which Parish headed off the line. 

The first Henley booking came early in the game and gradually Didcot  applied more pressure with first a corner kicked off the line and a  further MacDonald corner was knocked down by Wilcox and Hoskin shot home  from 3 yards for Didcot's second goal. Before half time Hoskins run and  pass found Kieran Collins in the box who shot home from close in to put  the third on the Didcot score line. 

After half time MacDonald was brought down in the box when about to  shoot and Kieran Collins shot home the penalty. Collins scored a third  completing his hat trick but the writer missed this. Unfortunately  Henley's discipline fell to pieces as two players were sent off for  needless second yellow cards. Henley's substitute Liridon Daka grabbed Ross Tanner by the hair and slapped him although none of the officials  saw this and Daka miraculously stayed on the pitch. Towards the end  Kieran Collins was dismissed for two yellows in five minutes and Didcot  were largely content to finish the game withtheir handsome lead intact. 

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