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16 September

Premier Divisionuhlsport football kit

Ascot United 2 Highworth Town 6
Highworth Town hit Ascot United for six on Saturday afternoon in a match rich on high quality goals. The visitors’ Nick Stanley scored an absolute screamer to put his side 3-0 up after the break, before Conor Henry and James Goodey replied with sublime strikes for Ascot in their side’s 6-2 defeat. Second-top and second bottom - won all seven league matches and lost seven on the trot – the teams’ respective statistics suggested that anything other than a Highworth win was a  delusion.

Ascot had competed fairly well up until a sucker-punch second goal for Highworth just after the half-hour, although Lee Allen had kept his side in it twice before the visitors took a 21st minute lead. First, he stood up well to deny Callum Parson after Keiron Gleed had eeked out a cross, before denying Parsons again – although it was Sam Boultwood’s incredible goal-line clearance just after which earned the most plaudits. At the other end, the impressive Goodey saw two shots saved by Garry Aulsberry either side of Highworth’s opening goal, a 21st minute close-range volley from Gleed who had ghosted onto Dan Drewitt’s deep cross.

The Yellamen then found themselves 2-0 down when Wayne Turk’s wayward shot struck a defender, wrong-footed Allen, and looped fortuitously into the net after 32 minutes. Highworth took their two-goal lead into the second half and quickly added to it when Stanley’s brilliant left footed effort from outside the penalty area flew into the top left hand corner.

Allen had already denied Aysa Corrick a minute earlier, and was on hand soon after to tip Ryan O’ Hara’s header onto the crossbar from Corrick’s cross. Highworth added a superb fourth when Gleed’s skill took him clear down the left before crossing to Parsons, who hammered home. However, Ascot substitute Henry clipped a delightful effort over Aulsberry from 25 yards after latching onto Goodey’s clever control and pass on 69 minutes – the ball dropping just under the crossbar – before Allen denied another substitute, Ryan Stanners, at the other end.

Gleed then smashed home numbers five and six after 75 and 87 minutes respectively, Stanners saw another effort deflected wide between those efforts, before Goodey volleyed home a deserved consolation with two minutes remaining after latching onto Denton’s clever pass. However, the Yellamen were well beaten and will now contemplate next week’s bottom of the table clash at Fairford Town.

Ascot United 2 Highworth Town 6 (away view)
Another sunny afternoon saw the Worthians take up the challenge of making it eight wins out of eight in the league at the Racecourse Ground, Ascot. 

The early period of the game was fairly even and Ascot may have scored from a corner, but the Worthians were creating chances too and despite some solid defending, goals were inevitable.  The first came after 22 minutes when Dan Drewett angled a cross into the box and Keiron Gleed allowed the ball to drop over his shoulder before volleying it into the back of the net for the opener. Excellent interplay between Ryan O’Hara, Callum Parsons and Keiron Gleed resulted in the ball being laid back into the path of Wayne Turk, whose instant shot took a slight deflection to wrong-foot keeper, Lee Allen and nestle in the back of the net after half an hour. Despite creating more chances, the half-time score-line remained at 2-0.

From the start of the second period, the Worthians were on the attack and Lee Allen made an excellent save from Aysa Corrick’s run and shot. However, he had no chance from the resulting corner when a short ball from Callum Parsons found Nick Stanley on the edge of the penalty box who curled the ball into the far left-hand corner of the net for Highworth’s third. The Worthians could have had a fourth when a good ball in from Aysa Corrick on the right flank found Ryan O’Hara at the far post but the header bounced off the crossbar. However, another attack down the left flank saw Keiron Gleed round the Ascot defence and pull the ball back for Callum Parsons to blast into the roof of the net.

Ascot then took advantage of a rare Worthian defensive error as Conor Henry sidestepped a static backline and lifted the ball over the advancing Garry Aulsberry for a well-taken goal. However, the Worthians were on the attack once more and a header from Tom Cole was guided towards the goal by Ross Adams and cleared off the line but Aysa Corrick latched onto the loose ball and fed it into Keiron Gleed to smash into the far corner of the net.

As the game drew to a close, Aysa Corrick fed the ball out to Aaron Ferris on the left and the tricky winger rounded his man and delivered a short ball into the danger area for Keiron Gleed to slide home for his well deserved hat-trick. In the dying moments, Ascot’s Jonny Denton delivered a fine cross-field ball to James Goodey who unleashed a tremendous shot to hit the back of the net for the final score of the afternoon. The boys played with confidence, skill and application for a comprehensive victory over a tired and jaded looking Ascot United who now find themselves at the foot of the table ahead of Burnham on goal difference.

Brackley Town Saints 3 Windsor 1
On a grey, rainy September afternoon with thunder rumbling in the background, Saints finally got the result that performances have threatened and in the final moments of the game midfielder James Watts lit up St James Park brighter than the distant lightning with his second wonder-strike in 4 days to seal the victory. Missing the league's top scorer Josh Bowden and the injured Dean March manager Gordon Kille brought Sam Bridges in to play at right-back, shifting the adaptable Dan Middleton into the centre of the defence, and gave a club debut to striker Jack Ross.

With Saints perhaps struggling to come to terms with Windsor's wonderful kit it was the visitors who dominated the early part of the game. The first chance came after just 6 minutes when the Windsor right winger easily escaped on the Saints left and played in a low cross towards the onrushing Barry Hayles but keeper Ali Worby showed both bravery and quality as he dived at the striker's feet to get to the ball first. Saints 1st shot on goal came from skipper Lewis Baldwin after 10 minutes but the better chances were all coming from Windsor and it was no surprise when they took the lead as another dangerous ball into the box was deflected past Worby by centre-back Sam Hartley, 1 – 0 Windsor. Although Saints worked hard to get a foothold in the game the half time break came with the visitors being good value for their lead.

Despite being behind at the break Saints fans were still positive going into the second half knowing that the Brackley youngsters would bring energy levels that their opponents may struggle to match, for the Saints it was important to start the half quickly. The home fans were not to be disappointed and Saints started the second half well, moving the ball quickly, and upping the tempo of their play they created an early chance for James Hammond that came to nothing but, after just 7 minutes good play through the middle of the field released left back Charlie Kille high up the pitch and his inch perfect pull back was gleefully smashed into the net by Ryan Knight for a well-deserved equaliser, 1 – 1. With the game now mostly being played in the Windsor half the threat to Saints was from long clearances or quick counter attacks and from one long ball former Fulham striker Barry Hayles broke away from the Saints defence but keeper Ali Worby was out of his goal quickly to make another excellent 1 v 1 save.

To try to stem the tide Windsor manager Michael Woodham brought on the energetic Haydon Clack for Bonilla-Hurtado and the midfielder made a difference, working hard to get on the ball and slow down the home sides attacks. Saints manager Gordon Kille swapped striker Jack Ross for Chris Jordan for more of a goal threat and again the substitute made an immediate impact. Excellent passing on the edge of the box ended with James Hammond setting Matt Johnson up and although his shot brought a good save from the visitor's keeper the ball dropped to Jordan in front of the goal and his first-time finish was sublime to give the Saints the lead, 2 – 1 Saints. With 15 minutes remaining Windsor worked hard to get back into the game but Saints always looked comfortable at the back and were striving to get a 3rd goal that would take the game away from the visitor's.

With 10 minutes left Saints substituted Matt Johnson for Alex Stott. Centre back Dan Middleton showed great skill and composure to bring down a long clearance when under pressure from 2 Windsor attackers to start another Saints attack and with moments remaining great work from Lewis Baldwin and Chris Jordan pinned the visitors back in their own defensive third. From their partial clearance the ball was picked up by midfielder James Watts just outside the Windsor area and, full of confidence from Wednesday, he hit the ball sweetly into the bottom corner of the net giving the keeper no chance, 3 – 1 Saints.

Fairford Town 1 Binfield 2
Fairford went down by the odd goal in three after a frustrating afternoon for the hosts against Binfield. The Reds gave themselves an early mountain to climb by conceding two quick fire goals before a late comeback almost yielded a share of the spoils.

Veteran striker Ian Davies marked his return to the side with a sweet finish from close range just four minutes into the game. Alex Colverd jinked his way inside from the right and unleashed a powerful curling drive past Ben Mitchell to double the lead with 13 minutes.

Fairford, without ten players going into the game, handed a debut to new signing James Campbell and the striker looked lively on a competitive afternoon’s work alongside the experienced Lee Smith in the frontline. Mitchell then produced a smart low stop with 20 minutes played to deny what would have been a Binfield third, before Josh Morse almost capitalised on fine interplay between Campbell and Smith but fired over. Smith wasted an excellent opportunity to reduce the arrears when through, but his attempted lob found the arms of Hill – who had the shot been either side of him – would have been picking the ball out of the net.

Fairford rallied in the second half and a smattering of half chances came and went before Smith finally broke the deadlock with a low sweeping finish after consistent pressure from the home side with eight minutes remaining. The goal was the striker’s sixth in 11 games and Fairford have failed to score in just one game this season. Improvements are being made, but manager Jody Bevan will hope his side can raise their performance when Brimscombe & Thrupp visit Cinder Lane on Wednesday night.

Highmoor Ibis 0 Royal Wootton Bassett Town 3 (away view)
It's now four straight wins and three league clean sheets in a row for Royal Wootton Bassett Town after they sealed a convincing 3-0 away win against Highmoor Ibis. A combination of another outstanding defensive display and clinical second half finishing helped Rich Hunter's in-form side to their latest triumph, which was their most emphatic of the season so far.

Highmoor were arguably the better side in the opening period. But they field to translate their possession into meaningful shots on goal. And it was Bassett who were able to snatch the lead on the stroke of half time when Ben Lodge was brought down in the box and the ever reliable Steve Yeardley slotted home from twelve yards.

Their advantage could even have been doubled before the interval as Kai Robinson went close from Harvey Scholes' outstanding delivery. Bassett upped their game following the restart and a further two goals helped seal a deserved victory. Substitute Sam Collier, who had earlier missed a one-on-one, made it 2-0 as he struck home from 25 yards after build up play for Ryan Withers, who was making his first Hellenic League appearance of the season after enjoying a great start to the campaign for the Development team. Withers then continued to make his case for a first team place as he brilliantly set up Scholes' goal shortly before the end.

Longlevens 2 Burnham 1
Burnham visited Saw Mills, hoping to reverse their fortunes in the league to date and pick up their first win of the season.

It was Burnham who started brighter and deservedly took the lead as Dan Wilson was allowed a free from a corner, his header looped into the top corner. Longlevens pulled themselves level shortly after, when Brad Martin was quickest to react to poke home as the keeper spilt the ball inside the six yard box Levens lost full back Craig Beaton through injury late in the half.

The second half followed the first as level were generally sloppy in possessions and Burnham continued to pose a threat going forward, however it was Martin who came to the home sides rescue when in the 75th minute he rounded the keeper and with defender scrambling back to the line finished well into the bottom corner.

Levens manager Mark Moore reflected by saying; "we were nowhere near out best today, if we are like it on Wednesday we will be embarrassed. However there are no easy games at this level and a win is a win which gets some momentum going for us".

Oxford City Nomads 4 Woodley United 0 (away view)
United made a second trip to Oxford within a week this time in league action looking to extend their unbeaten league run to three games.

Both teams had early chances with Nomads’ Dan Collins shooting straight at Alex Reed on four minutes will a Nathanael Robinson free kick was headed over the cross bar only to be given off side two minutes later before Matt Brown headed the opening goal from a free kick in the seventh minute. The lead was nearly doubled from a corner after nine minutes except for a fingertip save over the cross bar by Reed.

United responded with Robinson being flagged off side when one on one with the home keeper Luke Sanders following a defence splitting pass from Ashley Ledger while Ledger headed a Danny Horscroft free kick straight at Sanders. However, this good passage of play by the visitor was undone in the twenty fifth minute when Will McEachran extended the home advantage. Woodley continued to push forward with Carl Prestidge pulling low cross back along the goal line to evade every one while Robinson outrun the defence from forty yards but his strike was cleared for a corner.

Robinson was dangerous in the second half seeing a free kick go straight to Sanders while Sanders was alert to catch a lob from the Woodley forward. Woodley was enjoying the second half with Jake Nicholls seeing a shot cleared for a corner while Owen Davies also saw a goal line cross evade the oncoming United players.   Looking to score United change formation to keep the momentum but were undone in the sixty ninth minute when the lively Siyanda Khawaja scored on the counter attack from a visitor’s corner kick. Nicholls set up Davies to fire over before Collins competed the scoring with an unmarked header from close range with ten minutes remaining.

Tuffley Rovers 1 Flackwell Heath 2
Despite another positive performance and a first goal for summer signing Alex O’Leary, Tuffley Rovers slipped to a fourth consecutive defeat, in all competitions, against current Uhlsport Hellenic League, Premier Division league leaders, Flackwell Heath, at Glevum Park on Saturday. Following the 3-0 defeat at another of the division’s form teams, Highworth Town, on Wednesday evening, Mark Pritchett made two changes to his starting line-up, as Shayne Bradley took his Player/Manager’s place and seventeen-year-old Cam Williams was handed a first start, in place of Liam Wright.

The visitors had the first attempt on goal, as James Tripp headed Liam Tack’s cross goalwards and, although well directed it lacked power and was comfortably held by Dave Evans, in the Rovers goal. The hosts offered a swift riposte and after Sam Hill and Shayne Bradley combined, to good effect, the former saw his shot deflected wide by an outstretched defender’s boot. Both sides traded possession and showed attacking intent, with the pace of Francis Amartey offering an outlet for the visitors, who were looking for an eight victory in ten league games, whilst much of Rovers’ threat came from the energy provided by their wing-backs, Hill and James. The two wing-backs almost combined to open the scoring on 17 minutes, but Hill’s well directed cross was just a little too high for James, who strained every muscle in his neck to reach the ball, but could only head it tamely wide, without troubling David Lyons in the Flackwell Heath goal Hill then went even closer to opening the scoring, as Marcus Foxwell’s incredible 60 yard pass - from left back to right wing – landed at his feet and after he turned Joel Jacobs, he bent a shot goalwards and, with Lyons beaten, he saw the ball cannon back off the Flackwell Heath crossbar. Amartey then had a glorious chance for the visiting side, as he latched onto O’Leary’s misplaced pass and stole a yard on Foxwell, but his well hit shot was beaten away by Evans, who had narrowed the angle.

Just before the half hour mark, Rovers looked to have opened the scoring, as Bradley met O’Leary’s beautifully measured cross and headed the ball against the bar; and as it bounced down, Rovers players began to celebrate, but neither the referee or his assistant shared their view and, despite protests from Pritchett’s men, waved play on. As Rovers started to look the most likely side to score, James once again went clos, before O’Leary finally opened his account for the club, latching on to some slack defending to tap the ball home from close range, after 37 minutes. The joy that accompanied that opening goal was short lived, as Flackwell Heath immediately went on the attack and after Jamie Essex brushed off a challenge from Marcus Foxwell, he smashed the ball beyond Evans, to make it 1-1; a scoreline that remained until the half-time interval.

In the same way that the first half had been end-to-end stuff, the second period started with both sides trading blows, although the game remained without major incident in the opening ten minutes of the half. The deadlock was then broken by a moment of class from Sheridan Campbell, on 58 minutes, as the Flackwell Heath man picked the ball up, almost 30 yards from goal, took a touch and sent a dipping, swerving shot that went beyond Evans and into the Rovers net, to make it 2-1. Evans then appeared to become the main participant in Rovers’ hopes of salvaging anything from the game, as he twice made saves from Tack, either side of Bradley failing to test Lyons with a header, from a cross by substitute Danny Wallington. Despite their incredibly positive first half performance, Rovers were struggling to get a foothold in the game and could have fallen further behind, with five minutes remaining, although Evans produced another good stop, to deny Flackwell substitute, Dean Allen, and with neither side adding to the scoreline, it ended 2-1 to the current Hellenic League, Premier Division leaders.


One East

Bicester Town 2 Virginia Water 0 (away view)
All good things come to an end, as Waters surrendered their unbeaten start to the season. Rather than focus on a poor showing by us, albeit we gave plenty of effort, in particular a very strong second half, let’s give credit to an excellent Bicester performance. Their two strikers were terrific, and gave our usually solid back four a torrid time. Had it not been for some great saves (two or three in each half) by Matt Jones (MoM) , the scoreline could have been even worse!

When a keeper is named MoM, it would suggest the opposition being on top, or at least deserving of something from the game – this was the case. Bicester clearly know how to play on the severe sloping pitch of Ardley, and we had no answer to be fair. In the first half (and uphill), we had a good header that went narrowly wide from Marc Lansdowne, and a Jake Baker (we wish him well with his injury) shot, to show for our endeavour, whilst at the other end, as mentioned, we needed the help of our keeper to stay in touch.

The second half saw us lift our game and effort (downhill!), and we were certainly the better side for long periods, even if not creating enough clear cut chances. Lorenzo ‘lennie’ Di Felice, saw the ball take a vicious bobble when clean through on their keeper, who in turn made a great save from a later Lennie shot. Joe McBride went close with a diving header, when clearly impeded by their defender, which was not the only good penalty shout we had declined. Adam Mills, Steve Williams, the returning Ryan Curtis, Josh Hill, all had chances/shots on goal, and despite pummelling the home defence with set pieces/corners/long throw ins/etc, they held firm, and a late goal by their Captain and striker sealed a deserved win for them.

It was a missed opportunity for Waters to consolidate the top spot in the league, which we still are, albeit on goal difference, and with teams below having games in hand, but we were second best in most aspects on the day!

One West

Cheltenham Saracens 3 Clanfield 85 1 (away view)
Clanfield 85 expected a difficult visit to Petersfield Park in Division One West and so it turned out to be with the home side taking the points and in doing so going above the visitors in the league table. The Robins had the better of the early exchanges and Chris Blakely should have put them ahead but headed over from a free kick by Joe Hiscock.

Saracens took the lead on 25 minutes when Carl Griffiths headed home and the home side maintained their lead at halftime. Griffiths scored again in the 55th minute to double Saracens lead. Clanfield were handed a lifeline when Lee Toomey was upended in the area and a penalty awarded.However Toomey missed the penalty and his miss assumed more importance when Craig Kent pulled a goal back with a fine header in the 64th minute.

However Saracens were not to be denied and Jamie Locke secured the points with the best goal of the game firing home as he cut in from the left. Not a good day for the West Oxfordshire side who have now lost their last two league fixtures after winning the first three.

Headington Amateurs 5 Woodstock Town 1
Four first half goals, including three in a five minute spell just before the break, gave Headington an unassailable lead in what was otherwise an open & even game in the first forty five.

In for the injured Luke Cuff, Henry Bone might have opened the scoring after five minutes, collecting from Shaun Jacob & seeing his effort from a tight angle beaten away by Matt Ingram. Two minutes later & Woodstock had their first chance, a strong run & cross from Bobby Gosling headed wide from a good position by John Webb. Webb had an even better chance moments later, blasting high from six yards. Chris Peck opened the scoring for Headington with a crisp finish after Jacob & Jay Hill created the opening. Woodstock might have equalised almost immediately as Jacob Haynes charged down an attempted clearance from Harry Jenkins only to see the ball roll Inches wide of a post. Woodstock hit the woodwork twice as they searched for an equaliser but were undone in a five minute spell just past the half hour mark. Ollie Zaja took advantage of a defensive error to run away & notch Headington’s second with a low left foot shot after thirty three minutes & centre back Benji Cuff volleyed home left footed from Aftab Hafiz’s corner kick four minutes later. Less than a minute had elapsed before a strong run from Hill set up Bone for Headington’s fourth.

With a four goal cushion that hardly reflected the balance of play in the first half Headington improved immeasurably in the second period but without the goals to show for it. Woodstock had a couple of early chances through Haynes & Callum Green, Jenkins saving well from Green but the home outfit were generally in control. Liam Morbey, Hill & Bone all had opportunities to increase the lead but it took until the eightieth minute before good play down the right flank from sub Ben Moses & Liam Morbey saw Hill convert Morbey’s cross. Woodstock struck back immediately, Gosling blocking Jenkins clearance & rolling home but the Town would have thought it scant consolation.

Kidlington Reserves 9 Tytherington Rocks 0
Kidlington’s Hellenic side are surprising a few following their promotion to Division One West. They moved up to fifth position when they recorded their third win on the trot with a thumping 9-0 victory against Tytherington Rocks. This was also the third clean sheet on the trot.

The Greens were outstanding from start to finish despite losing their skipper, Callum Rice to a nasty knee injury after four minutes. Kristian Thomas replaced him and plundered a fantastic hatrick. The first a curling 25 yard free kick. Nick East gave a first start to teenager, Ewan Jones, a striker signed from Abingdon United and was rewarded as he also struck a hatrick. Other scorers were Jack Gaul with two and a superb diving header from Mark Gaul who sustained a nasty gash to his forehead needing seven stitches. The most positive thing about the form of the Green Machine is that eleven of the fifteen players named on Saturday were 20 years old or younger. This bodes very well for the future of Kidlington Football Club.

Pewsey Vale 0 Ardley United 4 (away view)
Ardley came in to this match expecting a tough encounter against the team sitting in 2nd place prior to the match and a Pewsey win would have closed the gap to 2 points, or an Ardley win would extend the gap to 8 points.

The first 30 minutes was a fairly even affair and then Ardley gradually took more control of the game against their more physical opponents. It was on 37 minutes that the rejuvenated Greg Hackett put Ardley ahead with a well taken goal and then just before half time Liam Palfreeman added a 2nd to put his team in a commanding lead.

Pewsey came out for the 2nd half fired up to get back in the game, but a great break away by Ardley saw Alex Feaver get down the right and pull the ball across the face of the goal for Palfreeman to add his 2nd and Ardley's 3rd to give them an uncatchable lead. Just 3 minutes later the game was put completely out of sight with an absolute screamer of a goal by Ardley's Tom Moore. As the ball was cleared to the edge of the box, Moore unleashed a cracking left volley straight into the top left corner of the goal, giving the Pewsey keeper no chance of saving it.

For the remainder of the match Ardley continued to dominate and really could have doubled their goal tally, but no complaints with a 4-0 win away to their closest rivals.

 

Berks & Bucks Senior Trophy First Round

Faringdon Town 2 Didcot Town 0 (away view)
Didcot Reserves fell to defeat at the first hurdle in the B&B Senior Trophy at Tucker Park. Despite the Railwaymen dominating particularly the first half a mixture of robust Faringdon defending that saw 5 home 
players booked and a couple lucky not to be sent off and an inspired home keeper in Justin Yates was enough to see Faringdon through. 

Didcot opened brightly and a Kieran Collins shot was deflected wide for a corner. Shortly after a Taylor Janes cross fell handily in the six yard box for Tom Hoskin to poke under the keeper at the second attempt to open the scoring for Didcot. Ross MacDomald had a good run beating two and his cross was met by Collins who shot narrowly past the post. Matheus Madeiros had a good run and passed out to MacDonald whose cross again found Collins but again his shot was deflected for a fruitless corner. MacDonald was fouled but the quick Collins free kick swung out of play with no takers in the box. The next chance fell to Filipowicz whose chip from distance was over the bar and the same player next had a low shot  tipped wide by keeper Yates. 

The first Faringdon booking was midway through the half and just after Aaron Davies inviting cross was just missed by a diving Tom Hoskin.  Two further home bookings ensued the second of which was when MacDonald 
strode clear of two defenders and was brought down on the edge of the box, a clear case of last man tackle but the defender was only booked and Filipowicz's free kick was headed wide. MacDonald was again fouled out wide and this time Davies cross found no takers. The home team's first chance fell to Mike Van De Morkel but he shot over the bar from distance. Collins pass to Hoskin saw keeper Yates smother the attempt and then Madeiros shot over the bar from a flowing move. Didcot were shocked with the last kick of the first half when Faringdon were allowed to progress down the left and cross low in to the box allowing Jordan Wilkins to tap home an equaliser. 

Faringdon had more of the second half but first MacDonald beat two and his shot was headed away from goal. From a nod on James Tranter brought a save from Ashley Stevens in the Didcot goal. The same player again shot with Stevens also saving. With 30 minutes remaining MacDonald cut in past two defenders and his shot from 20 yards clattered the crossbar and was cleared.. Shortly after Alex Marshall replaced Taylor Janes and Tom Hoskin had a back header cleared off the line. Jack Kitchener replaced Filipowicz just before a simple through ball put a Faringdon player clear, Stevens hesitated then came out and brought down the forward and Subsitute Richard Evans shot home the resultant penalty to Faringdon ahead. 

Parish the replaced MacDonald for Didcot A Didcot corner went dangerously through with no takers and a couple of shots from Jack Kitchener were dealt with but Faringdon held on for a win which sent them through to the second round. 

Mortimer 1 Letcombe 2 (away view)
Despite not being at their best, Letcombe secured a hard fought but deserved win at Mortimer in their first ever game in the Senior Trophy. Russell Benham had a chance to give Letcombe an early lead, but he shot over the bar when well placed, but he made amends ten minutes later, glancing a header past Mortimer keeper Geoff Perrin from an Alex Fragata cross. The hosts equalised six minutes later following a left wing break, and when the low cross fell to James Croft, he did well to control the ball and slide it past Charlie McCready from a narrow angle. Letcombe had most of the possession during the remainder of the half, but McCready had to parry a fierce drive from 20 yards.

Ben Hummell had a chance to restore Letcombe`s lead early in the second half, but Geoff Perrin tipped his close range header over the bar. Mortimer had a clear opening to take the lead following a defensive error, but Charlie McCready came bravely off his line to block the shot.   Letcombe finally got the goal they needed with 12 minutes remaining. Good work by Russell Benham gave substitute Adam Bruce the opening, and he placed the ball low into the far corner of the net. Benham had a chance to increase the lead soon afterwards, but shot wide.

This was a competent team performance, with Benham leading the line well, and Tinashe Gwavava making some excellent runs down the right flank.

Reading YMCA 4 Shrivenham 1 (away view)
Although Gareth Davies start to life at Shrivenham got off to the worst possible start with defeat in the Berks & Bucks Senior Trophy against a side two leagues below them, in truth the opposition should be playing far higher than their current level suggests. Davies accepted beforehand that it would be tough against a Reading side who will certainly go on to retain their Championship title, but despite an evenly matched first half, he would have been concerned to see the way that his inherited side capitulate the game so soon after taking the lead.

The game got off to a terrific start for the visitors, with both Leigh Brown and Jamie Prictor both creating early chances before Ryan Adams flashed one wide of Mike Alexander’s upright on 13 minutes. With 20-minutes on the clock, Leigh Brown went down in the penalty area, but the referee, who took no nonsense all afternoon, wasn’t to entertain the penalty shout. Both sides continued to battle and despite some fantastic passing and off the ball movement from Reading, they were unable to carve out any clear cut chances while they were cancelling out everything that Shrivvy could muster in return and an entertaining first half came to a close at 0-0.

If the first half proved to be close, the second was anything but. Shrivvy came out with purpose and a second penalty shout was waved away on 51 minutes when captain Jamie Prictor was brought down in the box before a cross-come-shot from Tyler Sheppard just four minutes later, put Shrivvy in to the lead after it curled round Jamie Froude in the home side net.

Despite taking the lead and appearing to be full of beans, the goal certainly changed things, unfortunately not for the better. As if a switch had been hit, the home side stepped up a gear and it became almost one way traffic from hereon in with the Shrivvy defence being uncharacteristically generous for the first time this season. Sensing they had nothing to lose, Reading began an offensive that would last until the final whistle and ultimately stop just short of a rout.

The equaliser came on 61-minutes after the Shrivvy defence were too lacklustre and Ryan Adams converted from close range and although Alexander was increasingly vocal and trying to organise the players in front of him, just four minutes later he was without protection again leaving Ashley Searle to put the home side ahead Shrivvy were rarely able to muster an attack of their own while the home side continued to dominate play and on 80-minutes, a great run by substitute Nathan Lishman only just went over the bar before fellow sub Jamie Piercy made no mistake just two minutes later – again from close range as the hosts swamped the penalty area.

Three minutes later it was game, set and match when some more poor defending left Alexander stranded once again and Jordan Cox made it 4-1. The home side could have had a fifth on 89-minutes, however Alexander produced a fine save to prevent the score line being a cakewalk for the home side and the final whistle deservedly saw the home side progress to the Second Round of the competition.

 
 
 
 
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