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6 October

uhlsport football kitPremier Division

Ardley United 4 Fairford Town 5 (away view)
Fairford Town produced the comeback of all comebacks to seal a valuable three points at Ardley United on Saturday afternoon. At 3-0 down after 33 minutes, the visitors looked down and out going into the break but a stirring second half comeback secured the win.

Greg Hackett struck the opener with six minutes on the clock before Tobias London doubled the Ardley advantage with a powerful effort on 21 minutes. Hackett's meandering run saw him find the back of the net for number three just after the half hour mark with the Gloucestershire side shell-shocked.

Connor Thompson got a goal back for the visitors to make it 3-1 shortly before half-time, and he combined with his brother - Mason, who scored Fairford's second six minutes into the second half. The Supermarine loanee scored his second of the game on 62 minutes to bring Fairford back level and before completing his hat-trick two minutes later to make it 4-3 to Jody Bevan's men. Jordan Moore struck back for the hosts ten minutes from time to make it 4-4 before John Thomas smashed home Fairford's fifth to ensure the three points came back to Cinder Lane.

The win lifts Fairford off the bottom off the division and up two places going into next Saturday's home clash with Holmer Green, which follows a midweek cup trip to Tytherington Rocks.
Fairford Town: Harrison Ellis; Martin Hall (Snook), Robbie James, John Watson, Michael Oakes; Mason Thompson (Cairns), Callum Preece (capt (Reid)), Jack Beardsell, Dan Bailey; John Thomas, Connor Thompson Subs: James Hemming (GK), Charlie Bailey, Tom Cairns, Ben Snook

Binfield 0 Bishops Cleeve 1 (Report by Arthur Strand)
The visitors, Bishop's Cleeve, were placed one above Binfield in the HFL, Premier table at kick off therefore it was destined to be a close run result. From the start, Cleeve moved up to the Binfield area having broken out of their own territory but Binfield took a free kick and an end to end spell evolved but Cleeve managed to get a shot in by Brad Martin and Josh Howell worked the ball out of Binfield's half. When a Moles free kick had been taken, an angled shot crossed the area but no forwards were there to try another shot at goal. Jack Watts could not reach the incoming ball as Cleeve made moves into the Binfield area but Chris Grace dealt with the loose ball. Cleeve then defended with a tangle between forward and Keeper but later, the ball ended up with Lewis Clayton, Cleeve's keeper, from Josh Howell. Brad Martin, went to the back of the crowded area, unmarked, and had a free header as Cleeve scored for starters in the 18th minute. Obviously, at this point, this end result was not to be predicted and a few more run chases from end to end followed then Cleeve took a free kick which Chris Grace saved. After a couple of free kicks, Clayton ended up with the ball and Cleeve moved upfield, gaining half the length of the pitch with a long run which Charlie Tuttle defended skilfully Moles turn for a free kick which sent the ball high but Clayton collected the ball. Binfield followed up and the ball returned to Clayton. He then took a free kick which reached Binfield's area. and Gary Smith required treatment for a cut eyebrow but was allowed to return to play. Harrison Iddles effort failed to add to the visitor’s score tally Cleeve pushed forward again but the good cross went out of play although a free kick caused havoc in the Moles' Penalty area and Chris Grace did well to retrieve the ball from the crowd of players. It was then Clayton's turn to make a save at the other end but Elliot Kennedy forced a corner for Cleeve. Sean Moore kept up the good work and the Moles pushed back Cleeve into their half, keeping Clayton busy. Moore took a free kick which sailed over thecrossbar.

The second half began with the Moles bringing out the best in keeper, Clayton. A corner kick ensued and Clayton punched out the ball into space as James Knight caused Clayton more work. Cleeve took advantage of possession of the ball and Adam Mace took a shot which was to no avail but they came back as Watts supplied Martin with a chance but he missed the ball and missed out on doubling the score. From a free kick, Binfield gained a corner kick which was converted into a corner kick from the opposite side. Roger Herridge considered it time for a substitution and Carlo Santoro replaced Khalid Senussi ten minutes into the second half and his fresh legs were significant straight away. Cleeve had other ideas though and Mace sent New a cross which was fruitless. Binfield's back line defenders were under pressure and the ball flew towards the goal and was headed off the line. Cleeve collected a yellow card for a deliberate foul but escaped from the area into relative safety. Binfield collected a yellow card when Sean Moore was booked in the 66th minute and Jack Thomson-Wheeler was booked a minute later. Jemel Johnson then replaced Ian Davies. Chris Grace made another save and Cleeve took a corner but missed a header.and Moles made another substitution Danny Horscroft came on for Josh Howell. Charlie Tuttle was preoccupied in defence then Cleeve made a substitution, Ben Tunnicliffe replacing Elliot Kennedy. Binfield began putting passes together but Sean Moore's attempt went straight to the keeper, Clayton. Late in the game, Binfield had a corner from which Sean Moore attempted to score an equaliser and then Clayton saved from a free kick. The next free kick was punched clear by Clayton then Moore took a longish shot and Cleeve made, Stacey Johnson for Brad Martin. The final substitution was made by Bishop's Cleeve when Tom Hall replaced Jack Watts. Sean Moore collected a second yellow card thus a red card with just minutes to go. A close run result which should encourage the Moles to improve in some aspects of the game.
Grace,(GK), Thompson-Wheeler,Tuttle, Withers, Smith, Brown, Senussi, Knight,(c), Davies, Howell, Moore, Substitutes: Santoro, Horscroft, Johnson, Gavin, Shaw.

Flackwell Heath 1 Brackley Town Saints 3 (away view)
After a stylish victory in midweek this was a far more disciplined and resilient performance against a FH side who never stopped battling and worked very hard to disrupt Saints. To their credit Saints matched FH for effort and intensity and eventually were fully deserving of the 3 points which maintained their third placed position in the league.

The early part of the game was tight, hard fought and niggling, with much of the action in midfield. After 10 minutes FH created the first attempt on goal from a corner, but the header was comfortable for Worby to collect. Saints first opportunity came after a poor clearance from the FH keeper. Ball galloped free down the left but his cross was just too a touch close to the keeper, who collected off of the toes of Jordan. Saints were then fortunate when Worby passed the ball out straight to the FH centre forward but he delayed and Saints did well to snaffle out the opportunity.

Saints were holding their own but the bumpy pitch and wet windy conditions were certainly making it harder for them to knock the ball around in their usual style. However Saints took full advantage of a piece of good fortune on 25 minutes with an incisive move following a hotly disputed throw in, which was given to Saints, but which to most people looked to be a throw to the home team. However most importantly not to the referee. Whilst the FH players vented their frustration at the referee Saints took the opportunity to get on with things and a slick passing move involving Kille, Stott and Hammond saw the latter play Jordan into the box, and although the keeper was able to save Jordan’s shot Stott was on hand to tap in the rebound. The remainder of the half was tight with lots of action in the midfield area but no clear cut chances of note.

Within 4 minutes of the re-start FH had levelled. A long ball down the right wing found Sinclair who timed his run excellently and he was able to lob the despairing Worby. Saints wobbled a little and for the first time were a little untidy around their own penalty area. Even so they were defensively solid and quickly regained their composure and discipline and slowly began to take the upper hand. On 60 minutes Stott played Knight through and his shot was heading for the bottom corner but the FH keeper got down well to tip the ball around the post. Ten minutes later Saints won a corner. Brock swung a long high ball over and Stott rose highest, at the far post, to get a header on target. Although the keeper saved the header Stott was the sharpest to react and tapped in his third rebound in 2 games.

FH had the strong wind behind them in the second half and Goddard and Middleton were bombarded with long kicks from the FH keeper which in the main they were able to cope with very well. Stott again managed to connect with a header from a corner and was perhaps a little unfortunate that it was blocked when goal bound. Saints were in the ascendancy. Baldwin was solid in central midfield and Watts and Hammond were beginning to find more space. Watts was thwarted at the last minute after a typical run through the midfield and Ball hit a stunning left foot shot having cut in from the right wing. The FH goalie pulling off a cracking save to keep the deficit to one goal.

Stott was then released by a great pass from Ball and he played Knight through but the ball would just not sit for Knight as he approached the keeper and the chance was gone. FH ramped up the pressure in the final 5 minutes. Worby made a great save a minute into stoppage time getting down well to his left to push the ball round the post. As FH pushed on they were taking more and more chances at the back and in the 92nd minute Knight ran unopposed through behind the defence and lobbed the keeper for his 6th league goal of the season.

Saints: Alastair Worby, Harry Brock, Charlie Kille, Lewis Baldwin (Jordan Godfrey 94), Olly Goddard, Dan Middleton, George Ball (Owen James 80), James Watts, Alex Stott, Chris Jordan (Ryan Knight 60), James Hammond Subs not used: Eddie Cox, Sam Bridges

Tuffley Rovers 6 Virginia Water 1
Tuffley Rovers finally earned their first home points of the season, at the fifth attempt and in so doing moved above their opponents in the Hellenic Premier Division table, as well as giving their goal-difference a massive boost with a thumping victory on a cold and windy afternoon at Glevum Park. This was a commanding performance by the home club against a team which had adapted itself reasonably well to life in the Premier Division after being promoted at the end of last season as champions of the Hellenic League Division One (East).

Player-manager Mark Pritchett unsurprisingly kept faith with the same starting eleven which had brushed aside Royal Wootton Bassett Town in a cup-tie seven days earlier; and he saw his team make a fast start as they kicked off up the slope, making their attacking intentions clear from the first whistle. An early free-kick taken by Kieran Alder on the left saw Dominik Kent lose his marker at the far post but he could only shoot wide of the goal and did so again a few moments later from a more central position. The next free-kick in Tuffley’s favour came from the other side of the penalty-area; Alder’s kick was punched up in the air by Virginia ‘keeper Matt Jones who was then relieved to see a follow-up header go straight into his hands.

The visitors were struggling to get and keep possession of the ball and only threatened briefly, most notably when Scott Jackson’s cross from the right drifted over Luke Merchant’s goal, and a free-kick taken by Josh Hill suffered the same fate. As their confidence grew, the Surrey club won a corner on the left it was taken short by Steve Williams to Louis Sanders but the latter’s cross was cleared and suddenly several Tuffley players were racing towards the Waters’ goal, a move which ended with Lee Smith passing the ball to Ryan Dobbins who raced clear and then finished confidently past Jones.

As Rovers continued to push on after this early advantage Kent was fouled on the edge of the area but Pritchett’s kick was easily caught by Jones. Smith then created space for himself on the left by beating a defender and although his cross was unlikely to reach a teammate, it was diverted into his own net by Finn Evered. It wouldn’t be the last time Smith was involved in a Tuffley goal. His crisp passing and movement off the ball throughout the match was a major feature of it and a performance worthy of the man-of-the-match accolade was matched by Kieran Alder who had another fine game himself. Virginia Water fought back gamely despite being two goals behind and got a reward when Merchant lost the ball, leaving Jake Baker with a simple tap-in. Rovers nearly restored their two-goal lead when Smith’s free-kick clipped the crossbar and went over right at the end of a first half which Rovers had dominated in terms of possession and efforts at goal and could in fact be disappointed that they did not lead by more than a single goal at the interval.

Ashley Bird came on for the injured Dobbins at the start of the second half and was immediately involved when his chip from the right was caught by the ‘keeper after Alder and James had made progress on the left. Alder then saw a deflected shot bounce back off a post so a third Tuffley goal was becoming more likely and it came when Kent lashed a shot into the top corner after substitute Bird’s shot had been blocked. Rovers kept the pressure on and 3-1 soon became 4-1 when Smith pushed the ball into the net after James’s effort had been blocked. Skipper Joel White was next to get in on the act as he jumped to head Sam Hill’s cross from the right out of the reach of Jones in the visitors’ goal. Then Smith scored again after neat work by James and Paul Carter, who had just come on for Kent. Alder and James combined neatly to nearly set up Smith for what would have been a deserved hat-trick but James left the field almost immediately to be replaced by Jake Rhodes. The substitute nearly scored right after coming on as his header from Smith’s cross produced a stunning save by Jones diving to his left and conceding a corner.

Although they had been outclassed Virginia Water still looked dangerous on the rare occasions when they could mount an attack of their own and as the match reached its conclusion McNamara forced Merchant into an agile save to his left before Josh Hill’s cross was headed narrowly wide by Jackson in what was the final meaningful act of the game. Three Rovers wins in the space of a fortnight have banished the memories of a quite dreadful start to the season and the defensive fragility of those early matches has been transformed too, with only three goals being conceded in the last five games. The goals have been flying in and the team should now be looking forward to repeating this level of performance in midweek against an Abingdon United team beaten comfortably at Lydney Town on the same afternoon when Rovers dished out six of the best to their visitors from Virginia Water.

Windsor 0 Ascot United 2 (away view)
Debutant Luqman Kassim scored a memorable goal as Ascot United eased past Windsor at a sodden Stag Meadow on Saturday. The impressive forward cut in from the left and arrowed an incredible cross-shot into the top right hand corner to give his side the lead, before Nathan Minhas wrapped it up later on.

On paper this was a tough one to call. Windsor’s recent inconsistency had seen them unable to win two successive matches, although each time they had won they scored a hatful. Ascot, meanwhile, arrived off the back off five wins from six, but had needed to dig deep during that spell to maintain their place at the top of the table. The starting line ups included Rob Lazarczuk who had returned to the hosts after a season-long exodus at Ascot, whereas the visitors welcomed defenders Louis Bouwers and Chris Ellis back to the side after missing last weekend’s cup win. And, there was a debut for new Kassim, who joined Ascot after a spell in the Finnish third division.

Kassim would play his part in a dominant Ascot first-half display, but it was their overall shape that snuffed out virtually everything Windsor could muster. Kassim’s jinking run set up Jonny Denton to fire over after 17 minutes and Minhas fired just wide after a neat-one-two six minutes later; Ascot now starting to tick. Another brace of effort from Minhas inside a minute went begging – firstly when his volley was blocked from an Ellis throw-in – and then side footing wide shortly afterwards.

For Windsor, Jeevan Panesar’s free kick from near the half way line brought ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ from the home supporters as it bounced dangerously through to Lee Allen untouched, and Lazarczuk would later scramble a weak header goalwards from Jamie Di Giuseppe’s deep free-kick, but that was as good as it got for the home side.

Minhas came agonisingly close to giving Ascot a 33rd minute with a curling effort from a tight angle after Samir Regragui had won possession and played him in, before Harry Laflin went close with daisy cutter five minutes before the break. However, the visitors could not force an opening that their endeavours had deserved, and it remained goalless at half time.

Early in the second half Panesar’s stopping header from Di Giuseppe’s corner went wide for Windsor, but the visitors would quickly regain control in a performance that oozed confidence and unity. However, it was Luqman’s simply stunning strike that proved the catalyst. With 54 minutes on the clock, he danced his way in from the left wing and struck an inch-perfect effort across Hugo Sobte and in off the angle off post and bar to spark wild celebrations from the visitors.

Luqman fired just wide soon after Minhas had set him up, before Minhas got one chance too many for the home side when he raced clear and slotted past Sobte to make it 2-0 in the 70th minute. Ascot’s Lee Allen made a fine save to prevent a headed own goal 15 minutes from time, but there was still time for substitute Geoff Kibaki to run rings around the tiring home defence and sting Sobte’s palms from close range just before the end. Windsor looked like a well-beaten side at the end, but take nothing away from Ascot whose top-quality performance is a measure of just how far this young side have come.

Ascot United: Allen, Lock, Haworth, Carlisle, Bouwers, Ellis, Regragui (Kibaki), Denton, Minhas, Laflin (Hodges), Kassim (JC Etienne). Subs unused: Boultwood, Sullivan

One West

Clanfield 85 1 Cheltenham Saracens 3
Top of the table Gloucestershire outfit Cheltenham Saracens left Radcot Road on Saturday with all three points in the bag from a game they took control of from the outset, setting up a three-five-two formation the visitors had a game plan that left the home side struggling to find the form of recent weeks.

Saracens took the advantage on twenty five minutes when Ian Sercombe cut inside the home sides defence to fire pass the on rushing Jamie Zoldan, to Clanfield’s credit they went about finding an equaliser with no shortage of commitment and effort but found themselves one down at the interval.

The second half started in the same way and the hosts had a good ten minute spell but again their efforts could not find away passed a solid Cheltenham defence, things became more difficult when the visitors doubled their lead through Kai Mahon on sixty three minutes, driving home from the edge of the penalty area.

Clanfield’s fate was sealed ten minutes later when midfielder Josh Coakley scored a third from a set piece. On ninety minutes Jozef Fullerton fired home from close range for what proved to be no more than a consolation for the hosts, on the day the better side took the points and Clanfield could have little complaint.

The defeat saw Clanfield slip to seventh in the league table, eight points behind promotion chasers Cheltenham Saracens and Easington Sports. The Robins now move forward and on Saturday make the short journey to Eynsham Hall to face North Leigh United in the Uhlsport Hellenic League Division One West, the game kicks off at 3:00pm and Jamie and the side will appreciate any away support in their attempt to get back to winning ways.

Two West

Abingdon United Development 1 Highworth Town Reserves 1(away view)
Highworth Reserves travelled to top of the table Abingdon United Development on the back of an unlucky defeat a week earlier.  This was always going to be a tough game and manager Chris Ayres and his assistant Ross Adams warned the lads that they had to perform at the top of their game if they wanted to get something from the match. 

The game started well for the Worthians and they could have taken the lead early in the game when Dan Grieve headed the ball over the advancing keeper from a long free kick only to see the effort scrambled off the line.  With Highworth seemingly on top, things became very tough for them when after 19 minutes they were reduced to 10 men following the sending-off of Ed Evans for a late challenge. With this, changes were made with the unfortunate Jordan Wilkins taken off in order for Dan Axford to come on and slip in to the back four. With this reshuffle, the emphasis was to try and get to half-time all square, playing a 4-4-1 formation with Dan Grieve having to lead the line on his own. 

Having got to half time at 0-0 and limiting Abingdon to very few opportunities we took the chance to tinker and get a few things in place in order to stay in the game in the second half. With captain Liam Haines leading by example, blocking and making tackles, the game continued much in the same vein with Highworth cancelling out any real Abingdon threat but looking dangerous on the break. 

With 75 minutes gone a goal finally game and it was a much deserved lead for Highworth when a great cross from Jordan Clark led to Dan Grieve and the Abingdon keeper colliding and as the ball dropped loose, it was collected by Max Slinn who calmly slipped it into the empty net. Only minutes later Abingdon themselves were reduced to 10 when a late challenge on keeper Simon Randlesome saw their centre forward given his marching orders. This seemed to inspire Abingdon and they got an equaliser with only 5 minutes remaining after a slight hesitation at back led to the ball breaking loose and it was fired in from close range. 

This was the end of the scoring and 1-1 draw seemed a little harsh on a Highworth side who after going down to ten men were absolutely heroic to a man in the effort, desire and commitment to get something from the game, leaving Ayres and Adams very pleased with the result even if a little frustrated. Next up is Wantage Development away which again will be a very tough game.

Chairmans Challenge Cup

Headington Amateurs 7 Shrivenham 2
In this second of three successive home cup ties, in the Chairman’s Challenge Cup, Headington eventually romped home with Ben Curtis claiming five goals to mark his return from suspension.

With the pitch slickened up by all day rain both sides were able to move the ball at pace & it was no real surprise when Shrivenham took the lead, Danny Hale slamming home a free kick from twenty two yards out after twenty minutes. Shrivenham had chances to add to their lead but were made to pay ten minutes later when John Webb struck an equaliser from the corner of the penalty area into the opposite top corner of Tim Cook’s net. After that the returning Curtis took over striking twice before half time to give Headington a two goal cushion at half time.

Curtis carried on where he had left off, completing his hat trick within five minutes of the re-start before Hale pulled one back for Shrivenham. Headington added another three in the last twenty minutes, Curtis claiming two more & Kyle Perry one as Headington advanced into the second round without the drama of the previous week’s penalty shoot-out.

Berks & Bucks Senior Trophy

Penn & Tylers Green 0 Burnham FC 5


This was almost a Penn reunion. Burnham fielded no less than four former Penn & Tylers players in this afternoon’s County Cup encounter. Nice to see them back here at the club. It was also nice to be able to play a First Team home fixture actually at home. As this was a Berks & Bucks fixture we could arrange the game at French School Meadow. No lights needed of course despite the rain and wind. All the punters who turned up were very happy to watch this game at the right venue.

The game itself is described quite quickly. The home side started the game well and the first 20 minutes or so they were on top and created two or three opportunities to score. After that Burnham woke up and took advantage of the individual errors and they started to dominate. One of our ex-players got the visitors going, when George Weller gave Burnham the lead with a great strike from well outside the box. 

This was followed by a second goal shortly after that when a wind assisted free kick from the right-hand side somehow found the back of the net. The third goal just before the interval killed off the game. The two goals after the break did not matter anymore as the game was over at half time. 

Having said all of that, the home side never gave up and persevered, playing some good football on the way. Maybe the score line was a couple of goals to high. Burnham just showed, that with the experience of players, who have played at a higher level (including an FA Vase winner) against a young side makes all the difference.

After three cup games in a row we can concentrate on the league again when we travel to Wallingford next Saturday.




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