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uhlsport football kit11-13 September

Premier Division

Brackley Town Saints 2 Abingdon United 2
Saints manager Gordon Kille chose to make just 2 changes for this welcome, home fixture bringing back Sam Hartley for the injured Joe Ward and skipper Lewis Baldwin replacing Chris Jordan after recovering from an injury.

The first real chance of the game came after 10 minutes for Saints but an impressive double save by Abingdon United's keeper Eddie Cavanagh kept out first Ryan Knight and then the follow up from James Hammond. Moments later Saints did take the lead with a wonderful, unstoppable goal. Clever passing through the midfield opened up the Abingdon defence, Lewis Baldwin slipped the ball to Matt Johnson who played it into space for James Watts and the Saints midfielder smashed it past the keeper from 30 yards, 1 – 0 Saints.

Full of confidence now Watts fired another shot goal ward but just over after 14 minutes and from the next attack striker Josh Bowden rounded Cavanagh but couldn't get a clear strike at goal. Abingdon responded with an attack down the Saints left but the visitors attacker chose to go to ground somewhat theatrically in the area when he probably could have got a shot away then a ball over the top of the Saints defence brought a good 1 v 1 save from Ali Worby. With 5 minutes left before the break a cross into the Saints penalty area was headed against the post by an Abingdon attacker but the home side cleared and were good value for their half-time lead.

With no changes at half-time Saints started the second period on the front foot looking to add to their 1 goal lead to take control of the game and just 5 minutes in Josh Bowden was looked to be in on goal before play was brought to a halt by the assistant referee's flag for offside. Another driving run into the box by the Saints striker saw the ball heading towards James Hammond for a tap-in but Cavanagh in the Abingdon goal reacted quickest and bravely dived on the ball to stop the danger.

Saints were pressing hard now and a deep cross from Matt Johnson offered an opportunity for Ryan Knight but the attacking midfielder just failed to connect and this was followed by a cross from James Hammond that dropped loose in the area but the referee blew for a foul on the visitor's goalkeeper.
24 minutes into the second half Saints switched of momentarily on the left and an Abingdon attacker got behind the defence and played a perfect pass back into the path of Sam Wharton who made no mistake with the finish to level the game, 1 – 1. The Saints youngsters responded well to the setback with a mazy dribble from Matt Johnson and a quick 1 – 2 with James Hammond setting Johnson up to score but unfortunately his well struck shot flew up and over the bar. Shortly afterwards James Hammond was first to another loose ball in the Abingdon penalty area and struck the ball towards the goal but the post and a defender's hand kept it out. Fortunately for Saints the referee was well placed to see the handball and awarded the penalty which was convincingly thumped home by skipper Lewis Baldwin, 2 – 1 Saints.

With 25 minutes still to play Saints players, officials, and fans will have been hoping for another goal especially after being pegged back in the final minutes of the away fixture between the 2 sides a few weeks ago. Striker Josh Bowden spun his marker well and had a run on the Abingdon goal but was unable to hit the target and Saints still had the majority of possession. Manager Gordon Kille replaced centre back Dean March with Sam Bridges and left back Charlie Kille with Alex Stott, moving Ryan Knight back into the defence. Just as it looked as if the hosts had done enough a final break for Abingdon caused problems down the Saints left again but substitute Alex Stott recovered quickly and made a tackle to play the ball away for a corner but the assistant referee flagged energetically to get the referee's attention and signaled for a penalty. Abingdon's Adam French stepped up and beat Ali Worby confidently to level the game at 2 – 2 leaving everyone connected with Saints frustrated at taking just the 1 point when their performance surely deserved all 3.


Highworth Town 3 Tuffley Rovers 0 (away view)
Any aspirations Tuffley Rovers had of interrupting Highworth Town’s 100% start to their league campaign were ended as the hosts showed both defensive steel and a ruthless cutting edge, to run out comfortable 3-0 winners in their Uhlsport Hellenic League, Premier Division game at The Elms.

Mark Pritchett’s side had been in good form in their FA Vase defeat at the weekend and he was able to field an almost unchanged starting line-up, with the only change his own selection in an unfamiliar centre-forward position, with Shayne Bradley unavailable. With several first team regulars unavailable, youngster Will Emery was named on the bench again, alongside Jamie Goodwin, who returned from suspension, and Danny Wallington, who was back from a spell with County League Hardwicke.

Rovers started brightly and Brett James drew a smart stop from Highworth’s keeper Garry Aulsberry, after he was set free following some great combination passing from Alex O’Leary, Courtney Hamilton and Liam Wright, after just three minutes. Highworth Town were quick to demonstrate why they’ve won six consecutive games in their season, to date, and a Tom Cole header, from Nick Stanley’s corner, flew narrowly over Dave Evans’ bar.

Both sides had chances to open the scoring, as the half progressed, with Chris Taylor going closest, as his shot from the edge of the box flew wide of the Rovers net. Shayne Anson then had a volleyed shot from a similar distance that only just missed the Highworth Town goal. Sam Hill was the next to go close, as he produced a cross/shot that sailed over Aulsberry’s head and struck the Highworth bar. It was end-to-end stuff in the first half, with Rovers more than holding their own, and Dan Drewett twice went close, first with a powerful shot from 20 yards, before he was then denied by an excellent piece of defending, as Shayne Anson steered the ball away for a corner as Drewett looked to head home.

All of Rovers’ good work was then undone, as Ross Adams found himself completely unmarked six yards out, to head beyond Evans and open the scoring. Rovers were temporarily taken out of their stride and were pinned back in their half, as Highworth frequently tested the visiting defence, with Aysa Corrick impressive, as he prompted a series of attacking forays. O’Leary had been impressive throughout for Rovers and almost set James up for an equaliser, but Rovers’ wide man could only shoot wide as he closed in on goal, leaving the hosts with a 1-0 advantage that they maintained until the interval.

The second half started with Highworth Town immediately on the front foot and Callum Parsons produced a rasping effort that drew a decent save from Rovers’ keeper Evans. Despite trailing against their high-flying opponents, Rovers looked far from beaten and after James’ attempt to set Pritchett in on goal was thwarted by some stubborn defending, they mounted some pressure on the opposition goal, albeit without seriously testing Aulsberry.

Drewett, who was busy on the right-hand side of Highworth attack, once again unleashed a fierce effort from 25 yards, albeit wide of Evans’ goal, before midfielder Taylor had another chance that also went the wrong side of the post. Corrick had been impressive when the sides had met at Glevum Park in mid-August and he was in excellent form again, prompting many of the hosts’ attacking moves, including playing a key role in the events leading up to his side’s second goal.

After he collected the ball in a deep lying position, the Highworth striker played an inch perfect pass into the path of Ryan O’Hara and Evans had to react smartly to keep the ball out. However, when the resultant corner was played into the Rovers box, Pritchett’s side once again failed to defend adequately and Parsons was unable to poke the ball home from close range, as the ball fell to him at the front post, making it 2-0 with 59 minutes gone.

Six minutes later, the game was over as a contest, as O’Hara produced a well-placed shot, from the edge of the box that bounced into the Rovers goal off the post, to make it 3-0. Pritchett then withdrew himself from the action, after a hard-working performance in attack, as he was replaced by Danny Wallington, and also replaced Alex O’Leary, who is still working his way back to full fitness, with Jamie Goodwin. Evans then made sure Corrick wasn’t able to add to the score, producing a good block with his feet to beat away a fiercely struck effort. That was the final serious effort for some time, as the game was steadily punctuated by a series of substitutions, including the introduction of 17 year old Will Emery, who was making his Hellenic League debut.

Throughout the evening, Rovers’ main threat had come from James, but his finishing hadn’t been sharp enough and he twice failed to force Aulsberry into action, shooting wide when set away by a good Sam Hill pass, then heading over from a corner. For all their effort, Rovers hadn’t sufficiently troubled the Highworth Town keeper and when they did, with almost the last kick of the game, James’ excellent run and shot went beyond Aulsberry but struck the upright and bounced straight back to a defending player, who cleared the ball to safety as the referee’s whistle sounded the conclusion to the game.

Longlevens 1 Fairford Town 1 (away view)
FairfordTown returned to Hellenic Premier Division duty by taking a point from a Wednesday night encounter at Longlevens. After defeat in the Buildbase FA Vase on Friday evening, Fairford went into the encounter looking to make amends and a committed performance brought a deserved share of the spoils.

The visitors made a quick-fire start to the game and went ahead with just five minutes on the clock. Some neat interplay in the box between Josh Morse and Lee Smith saw the latter tuck the ball away from eight yards. Fairford had a golden chance to double the advantage when a superb cross from Morse was headed goalwards only for home stopper Ash Wintle to pull off an excellent save. Three minutes Wintle was at it again to deny the visitors what would have been a third of the night. Josh Langley, included in the starting line-up for only his second start of the season, went down injured by after treatment was able to continue.

Jody Bevan’s men went in a goal up at the break after what had been a committed first half display, but were pegged back soon after the restart. Six minutes into the second half a long throw was not cleared with Myron Turner on hand to slam home the loose ball. Fairford had a chance to get ahead once again when former Gloucester City defender Lyndon Tomkins saw his header fly narrowly over the crossbar.

A mesmerising run by Dave Merrick saw the midfielder’s 81stminute effort cannon off the foot of the post before substitute Martin Hall brought another save out of Wintle at the other end. Despite late chances for both sides, what had been an entertaining fourth meeting of the season between the teams saw the visitors take a point to lift themselves off the foot of the table.

Royal Wootton Bassett Town 1 Lydney Town 0
Having failed to win one of their first eight games of the season, Royal Wootton Bassett Town now have three wins in eight days courtesy of Gio Wrona's curling second half strike that lifted them to a 1-0 victory against Lydney Town. As in any meeting against the Severnsiders, Bassett were forced to graft and it was the visitors who had the majority of possession throughout the game.

But Bassett dug deep, working their socks off from front to back. The defence performed diligently, while going forward Rich Hunter's team asked questions of their visitors. And Wrona proved the difference, collecting the rebound in the right corner of the box after Chris Jackson's shot had rattled the crossbar before twisting past a defender and delivering a delightful low shot into the opposite corner, which Lydney stopper Max Harris had no chance keeping out.

It was a tight contest throughout with Lydney posing a constant threat on the break. Bassett were the first team to come close to breaking the deadlock when Callum Wright spun a free kick around the wall and off the upright. Lydney then had the ball in the back of the net, only for Ross Gabriel to be ruled offside in what was a very close decision before Levi Cox could only find the side netting when through on goal the other end. Dan Lawrence was called into action by Keelan Hamblett twice before the break, but was equal to both of the tricky midfielder's efforts.

After the restart Billy Guest shot straight at the Bassett 'keeper having done the hard work by beating two men, while Wrona saw a glancing header held well by Harris. He made no mistake shortly after, wheeling off in delight as he celebrated what proved to be the match winner.

Thatcham Town 3 Ascot United 1
A spirited Ascot performance belied their league position. Their MOM goalkeeper Lee Allen kept them in the game saving a first half penalty. Joe Blount and Josh Helmore 38 both registered goals for the home team in the first period.

Ascot’s Rob Lazarczuc scored within four minutes of the second half re-start. Continuing to press Thatcham hard throughout the half. Tom Browne converted a penalty for the Kingfishers on 81 minutes.

Thatcham Town 3 Ascot United 1 (away view)
Ascot United stumbled to a seventh consecutive league defeat with a 3-1 reverse at high-flying Thatcham Town on Tuesday evening. The home side were 2-0 up at the break, and although Ascot pulled a goal back, a late penalty sealed their fate.

Tom Browne’s 81st minute spot kick snuffed out any possibility of an Ascot comeback, but visiting ‘keeper Lee Allen had already saved a first half Shane Cooper-Clark penalty with the game tied at nil-nil.

Sadly for Ascot, a quickfire double from Joe Blount’s overhead kick and Josh Helmore’s strike sent the Kingfishers in at the break two goals ahead.

Ascot started the second half encouragingly – as they had done in the first half – and captain Rob Lazarczuk cut the arrears three minutes later. As the wet and windy weather descended on Waterside Park, the visitors continued to give as good as they got, but it was all over when Browne converted from the spot after Jono Malone had fouled in the box.

Allen’s heroics kept the score down once again, although the rearguard have now leaked at least three goals per game in their losing streak, something which must be arrested if the Yellamen are to pick up points.

Wantage Town 3 Brimscombe & Thrupp 1
Wantage gained revenge for their defeat at Brimscombe with a 3-1 win. Chris Jackson headed the first in the second minute and Jack Dunmall made it 2-0 from the spot on 29 minutes. Ollie Pitt pulled one back for the Lilywhites on 78 minutes before Dunmall made the points safe on 90 minutes.

Wantage Town 3 Brimscombe & Thrupp 1(away view)
It was a wet and windy night at Wantage Town as visitors Brimscombe and Thrupp went down 3-1.

Chris Jackson found the net for the hosts in the first minute before Lilywhites goalkeeper Lewis Skyers was judged to have brought down the a Wantage man gifting them a penalty, which was slotted away by Jack Dunmall. John Evans was forced off through injury with Ash Caldwell taking his place.

With the second half underway both teams had chances with Brimscombe hitting the crossbar. Ollie Pitt found the net straight from the corner to pull the game back to just a one goal deficit. It wasn’t enough though and Dunmall got his second of the evening late in the game.

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