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4-5 September

uhlsport football kitPremier Division

Ascot United 4 Holmer Green 0
Nathan Minhas scored a hat-trick and Dan Price added a wonder-goal as Ascot United produced a scintillating performance to beat Holmer Green 4-0 on Tuesday. The Yellamen were simply too hot to handle in a high-tempo performance which was a perfect response to their FA Vase exist three days earlier. Both sides knew that a win could mathematically elevate them into third place should results elsewhere go their way. However, the visitors would need to complete a double over Ascot to have any chance of doing that, having already beaten them on their turf just three weeks earlier.

The first half was arguably the best 45 minutes that the home side had produced all season. Energetic, creative, vibrant – all words fitting of a superb display – and one in which visiting ‘keeper Aaron Brown also produced heroics to restrict the scoreline to two-nil at the break.

After a quiet opening where the first chance had fallen to the visitors – defender Dean Munday unable to get enough on his free header to trouble Sam Gray – the hosts clicked into gear to devastating effect. Callum Carlisle’s speculative effort from well outside the area brought an unorthodox save from the feet of Brown, but moments later Minhas would plant a precise shot into the top left after Price had teed him up; 25 minutes played. Jonny Denton placed a free kick just over before a fabulous move involving Minhas, Jean-Claude Etienne and Price brought an equally fabulous save from Brown from the latter’s close range shot.

41 minutes in and the home side fashioned another fine move – this time Minhas, George Lock and Price all moved the ball quickly – leading to Denton forcing a full stretch save from Brown from a rare right-footed effort. And, just as the visitors thought they’d escaped one-goal in arrears, defender Ryan Parsons handled in the penalty area and Minhas stepped up to roll the spot kick into the bottom right, taking his goal-a-game ratio to one-and-a-half.

The second half followed a similar pattern to the first – Munday heading over for Holmer Green from a Curtis Stone free kick, but normal service was resumed on the hour mark when Minhas rolled in after Price’s shot had struck a defender and landed kindly at his feet.

Man-of-the-match Price then added the goal of the night with a fine solo effort, spinning away from his marker, driving into the box and arrowing a delicious effort across Brown and into the top right hand corner from the left wing. Munday planted another header wide from a corner with the Yellamen temporarily down to ten men following injury to Louis Bouwers, before Martin Lancaster wasted the visitors’ best chance late-on when he hooked wide when well placed. Minhas might have scored his fourth between those efforts with a predatory snap-shot that rolled just wide, but that really would have been an outrageous goal for the hosts’ hot-shot.

Ascot United: Gray, Lock (Hodge), Haworth, Carlisle (Laflin), Bouwers, F Etienne, Denton, Sullivan, Minhas, Price, JC Etienne, Sub unused: Boultwood

Brimscombe & Thrupp 6 Ardley United 4
Sam Prior's men were looking for their third consecutive win after beating Fairford in the league on Monday week and Ash United in the FA Vase on Saturday but faced a tough task at the Meadow on Tuesday night when Ardley United were the visitors.

It was certainly a game for neutrals with goals aplenty. It started off well for the Lilywhites when they had a few chances to go ahead and it didn't take long for them to finally convert when Sam Blackie found his shot hit the back of the net, Ben Deakin tried his hardest to double the home sides' lead but he saw his curling effort kept out well by the Ardley goalkeeper. The visitors soon levelled the score when Billy Gillett slotted home, Brimscombe retaliated with another Sam Blackie goal after Ben Deakin's low cross found him in the box. Not to be outdone the visitors replied with another equaliser with Tobias London taking advantage of a defensive mistake. It wasn't over and after Ash Gale's long ball upfield was knocked on, a on-rushing Harrison Reeves took a touch before hammering his shot low and hard into the bottom corner away from the Ardley 'keeper.

People wondered whether the five goals in the first half was a sign of things to come and it certainly was, three minutes after the restart Ardley's Tobias London got his second of the evening levelling the scores once again. For the second time in two games Brimscombe had a hat-trick hero this time Sam Blackie slipping the ball under the goalkeeper to bag his third and give the Lilywhites a 4-3 lead, a lead that didn't last for long when Ash Gale was deemed to have taken out a visiting player, referee Kieran Dolphin pointed to the spot and the penalty was slotted away by Billy Gillett. Brimscombe were still looking for that win and it was the man of the moment who gave them the lead again when the ball was knocked in by Blackie. Two minutes later Ben Deakin finally put the ball away when it was loose in the box giving him a well deserved goal.

Fairford Town 1 Abingdon United 2
Abingdon United claimed their first league points of the season with a 2-1 victory at fellow early season strugglers Fairford Town on Tuesday evening.

A late flurry from the home side lay claim on the visitors’ goal, but an early goal in each half proved enough to give the Oxfordshire side the points. The home side made changes to the line-up from Saturday’s FA Vase tie, with Charlie Bailey and Nathan Hawkins coming in with Freddy Ward and Rich Thwaite making way.

It was the hosts who broke the deadlock with frontman Sam Wharton racing clear down the left before sliding the ball home under Ben Mitchell's dive just three minutes in. The first half was played out with few chances despite plenty of possession for the visitors.

Lester Davies scored three minutes into the second half to put Abingdon in the driving seat, cutting in from the right with a neat finish into the bottom corner. The visitors almost added a third moments later but midfielder Callum Preece headed off the line.

Fairford got a foothold back into the game with a reply on 61 minutes. A quick throw in from the left set John Thomas free and the striker bustled his way past his marker before dispatching a neat low finish into the far corner. The home side grew in confidence after the goal and further chances came for the home side, with Lee Smith going closest to restoring parity. With a late handball appeal for Fairford turned down in injury-time, it was Abingdon who left with the share of the spoils.

Fairford Town: Mitchell; Watson, James (Thwaite), Hawkins, S Hall (M Hall); Thompson, D Bailey, Preece, C Bailey (Cairns); Smith, J Thomas Sub not used: Wanless, Beardsell

Abingdon United: Pritchard, Eadle, Moss, Sims, Wright, Green, Wild, Baker, Warton, Butler, Davies Subs: Lynch, Murgatroyd, Bestley, Woodcock

Longlevens 1 Tuffley Rovers 3 (away view)
Tuffley Rovers survived going a goal down, against the run of play, to record a convincing victory at rivals Longlevens on Wednesday evening. Mark Pritchett’s side started the evening bottom of the Uhlsport Hellenic League, Premier Division table and with a last gasp defeat against their hosts, as recently as 14 August, still fresh in the mind they might have been forgiven for some early caution. Luke Merchant was still out with the injury sustained at Lydney Town, meaning Kane Winman continued to deputise in goal, and Pritchett made two other changes from the defeat at home to Brackley Town Saints, as new signing George Corbett earnt a first start, replacing Brad Loveridge after the youngster failed a late fitness test, whilst Jake Rhodes returned in attack, replacing Ryan Dobbins who was unavailable.

A tight opening period followed, although Rovers looked very much the more confident side, and Pritchett had the first chance of note, on 9 minutes, but his long range effort was comfortably held by Ash Wintle in the hosts’ goal. Several chances followed, as Rovers turned the screw, but Brett James, Rhodes, Kieran Alder and Warren Mann all failed to test Wintle and the closest either side came to breaking the deadlock was when former Tuffley Rovers player Kieran Squires almost turned the ball into his own net on 30 minutes, but Wintle produced a smart save and beat the ball away from goal.

Mann had been busy in attack and had a chance of note, six minutes before the interval, when he unleashed a venomous, but rising shot that flew over Wintle’s goal. Unfortunately, for Mann, that was to prove his last significant contribution, as he left the game with a significant knee injury shortly before the interval. Essa Sabally, returning from injury himself, replaced Rovers’ long-serving player. Sabally looked lively and influenced the game immediately, and almost scored moments before the break, as he linked well with Corbett, before the new signing produced a superb cross that Sam Hill almost directed into the path of the substitute, but the ball was beyond Sabally and the Longlevens rear-guard did enough to see off any danger, so that they arrived at the interval with the score at 0-0, despite Rovers’ superiority.

Successive games at home to Reading City, away to Lydney Town and then home to Brackley Town Saints, had all seen a combination of profligacy and poor luck, so it was not too much of a surprise when Rovers gifted their hosts the opening goal in the opening moments of the second period. Longlevens came out like a team wanting to prove a point and when Shaun O’Connor’s cross deflected off Sam Hill, the ball found its way to Logan Roach at the back post, and the youngster hammered the ball home to make it 1-0 on 48 minutes.

If Pritchett might have feared that falling a goal behind, despite first half domination, following a run of poor results, a moment of good fortune on 60 minutes was to prove important. When Paul Carter lined up a shop on the edge of the box, after being teed up by Sam Hill, his strike was full of optimism, but looked to be heading straight into Wintle’s hands, only for the keeper to spill the ball into the back of his own net, levelling the game at 1-1 with an hour gone. Moments later, Pritchett unleashed a rocket shot, from 30 yards, that bounced off the inside frame of the goal, with Wintle helpless, but away to safety, as Rovers continued to attack.

Rovers’ Player/Manager was proving an influential member of the midfield group and he played his part in the next goal, as he sent a high ball into Levens’ area, which presented Roach with a difficult challenge and it was no surprise, to and afterJams pulled the ball down, he left Roach for dead, before pulling the ball back, into the feet of Rhodes, who produced a neat turn, before despatching the ball into the far corner of the net to make it 2-1.

Corbett went close with another chance, firing a shot narrowly wide from 25 yards, as Rovers continued to press, but it wasn’t one-way traffic and the visitors were grateful to Winman, on 75 minutes, as he spread himself well to beat away Philps’ effort. With thirteen minutes to go Bird entered the fray for James and he almost scored within minutes of joining the action, only to be denied first by Squires’ goalline clearance, before his follow up was disallowed as the Assistant Referee flagged for offside. James Campbell shot wide of Winman’s goal in a rare attack from Longlevens and the game ended as a contest within two minutes, as Bird picked up the ball deep in opposition territory, before driving forward and then unleashing a shot that went beyond Wintle to secure a 3-1 lead that remained intact when the final whistle sounded moments later.

One East

Holyport 1 Milton United 1
Holyport came up against a resilient and spirited Milton side at Summerleaze on Tuesday night. Looking back over the 90 mins and Holyport had enough chances to win the game and the Milton keeper rightly took award of MOM for Milton with numerous good saves and the way in which he marshalled his back four.

Off the start it was clear Milton had a game plan of hitting Port on the counterattack and then pressing Holyport as they tried to play out. Credit to Holyport who stuck to the game plan even though at times overplaying caused some difficulties as Milton pressed. The first sniff at goal came from a long Milton goal kick but the Milton forward racing onto the bouncing ball volleyed 10 yards over. Port slowly grew into the game and Rapley was found with a great diagonal ball, cutting inside his man his shot into the bottom right corner went inches wide. Akerman was then next up with a chance as he latched on to a bouncing cross but from 8 yards out he volleyed over.

Milton responded with a move down the left which resulted in the shot hitting the side netting. The last chance of the half fell to Driffill as he worked an angle and got his shot away, this was spilled but no Port player was on hand to tap home.

The first half was a game of few chances. The opening 20 minutes of the second period was all Holyport as Milton struggled to get out of their half, except for long balls over the top looking for the counter attack. Holyport pressed forward and started to win all the second balls. Akerman again went close as his shot from 18 yards was goal bound but for a Milton player throwing himself in the way to block it, Feaver then shot wide from 15 yards out, DeFranco then headed wide at a corner. Driffill saw a delicate chip hit the bar and bounce straight back to the Milton keeper after he had slipped.

After all this pressure Milton hit Port with a sucker punch, Ensby attempted to let the ball run out but another Milton player came up his blind side and stole the ball. Ghosting into the box Quelch dived at his feet and the ball worked back loose to the forward who passed home to give the visitors a 1-0 lead. Holyport reacted and within minutes they were level as Driffill drifted into the left hand side of the box and left his marker on his back side with a neat turn, Driffill then smashed a shot into the top corner of the neat to bring Port level.

The game continued in the same vain and Milton were awarded a dangerous free kick which thankfully flew over Quelch’s goal. Port huffed and puffed in the closing minutes but crosses were cleared and loose balls in the goal mouths were cleared. Whilst Port had the better chances in the game Milton worked hard and stuck to their game plan and deserved their point.


One West


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