8 August 2020
Ardley United 5 Bure Park 2
Ardley got off to a winning start after beating Oxfordshire Senior League Premier Division side Bure Park 5-2 in an entertaining game at the Nolan Oils Ground. A brace from Bradley Walton and goals from Patrick Starrett, Tyvon Stewart and Jimmy Casbierd sealed the win for the sky blues.
On a hot afternoon Bure Park took control early on, earning a corner with the resulting effort going wide of the goal. Ardley got their first real chance when Caelan Isaac got to the byline and fizzed a ball across the goal line that avoided everyone, brushing the post.
James Nash played a delightful ball through on the 13th minute, feeding in Tyvon Stewart who couldn't quite bring the ball under control before it was smothered by the Bure Park number one. Almost immediately afterwards the opposition got the ball in behind and took the lead, beating Rimmer from 30 yards with a brilliant lob.
Just before the drinks break Bure Park won another corner after a sliced clearance at the back by Novakovic. The resulting corner was cleared by the sky blues.
After the drinks break, Ardley suddenly clicked into life. Some good passing put Tyvon through in the 25th minute, he was brought down in the box amid appeals for offside from the opposition. Walton stepped up from the resulting foul and buried in bottom left, the keeper getting a hand to it.
Ardley struck again two minutes later as Starrett was put through one-on-one and slipped the ball between the keepers legs. Ardley were again clinical in the 30th minute as Walton grabbed his second of the afternoon, putting Ardley 3-1 up with a tidy finish.
Four minutes later Ardley made it 4-1 after a sublime diagonal cross field ball to Tyvon Stewart by Ty Hamilton. Tyvon stood the fullback up before flicking the ball out of his feet and sliding it into the bottom corner.
Bure Park tried to get a foothold back in the game after being put under a lot of pressure, but had their effort in the 42nd minute go wide of the mark after being well marshalled by the Ardley backline. Ty Hamilton had a deflected shot fall straight into the keepers arms, as well as a cheeky effort from Starrett from the halfway line wrapping up a pulsating first half display.
Ardley made wholesale changes in the second half, including a strip change into our yellow away kit. The half time break certainly did Bure Park some good and were on top in the early stages. After some good football, Bure Park forced a save out of second half keeper Adam Waclawek. The resulting corner was cleared as Ardley tried to counter, nearly setting Ricardo Benjamin through. Bure Park countered off that attack and forced another save from Waclawek.
It wasn’t long until Ardley made it five. A through ball to Ricardo was cut out by the keeper, only for it to fall at the feet of Jimmy Casbierd who slid the ball into an empty net on the 52nd minute. Almost immediately after the restart Casbierd nearly turned provider, laying a lovely ball into the path of two waiting attackers. Lewis Middleton couldn't quite direct his effort on goal, the ball slipping wide.
Lewis had another opportunity not long after, forcing a very good save out of the Bure Park stopper. The parry fell to Casbierd who put the effort over.
Bure Park pulled one back in fine style on the 61st minute, burying an effort from 40 yards after seeing Waclawek off his line. The audacious effort came from nowhere and was certainly the best finish of the game.
After the restart, Ardley won a corner. The cross was cleared and led to a fast counter from the opposition, with a clearance attempted by Godwin Nosakhare striking Ben Dyer, falling perfectly for the Bure Park striker before he put it over. Just after the drinks break Bure Park had another golden opportunity to make it three, but blazed it over the bar again after beating Godwin to the ball.
Ricardo Benjamin started to dominate up top as Bure Park legs grew wearier. The keeper pulled off a fine save after he was put through by Zarius. Ricardo did well holding up the ball, laying off Lewis Middleton whose shot was blocked. Lewis then laid it off to Zarius who struck a lovely half volley forcing a good save from the keeper.
Ricardo was again in the thick of the action putting an effort wide after some good build up play. He then skinned the Bure Park right back, putting his effort wide from a tight angle.
Not long after Ardley had another effort cleared off the line, before our opponents countered earning a couple of corners before heading the ball wide. A final effort by Middleton went wide just after a great shout for an Ardley penalty at the death.
Easington Sports 3 Banbury United 2
Easington Sports returned to pre season action in the Ron Thomas Cup against Banbury United.
Banbury raced into a 3-0 lead but were pegged back by a youthful Sports team with the game finishing 3-2.
Matt Giles commented that it was great to return to action, and appreciated the safety measures put in place, although strange to play such a historic game behind closed doors. All instructions were very clear at the ore match briefing from the Club Covid officer and match officials
Letcombe 1 Cricklade Town 0
Letcombe continued their preparation for the new season with a 1-0 victory in a friendly at home to Wiltshire League side Cricklade Town. The balls had all been sanitised, the players changed on the edge of the pitch, and they were asked to provide their own water bottles. The bar was open with a one-way system in the clubhouse, but the fine weather meant that drinks could be consumed outside whilst watching the cricket match.
The only goal came just before half time with a penalty from Harry Monger after Luke Polding had been tripped, but man of the match for Letcombe was centre back Nathan Haresnape who had an outstanding game.
Malvern Town 5 Gala Wilton 0
Malvern Town stepped out on a warm Saturday morning to take on Gala Wilton in our latest behind-closed-doors pre-season friendly.
It was the visitors who created the early half-chances with number 10 seeing a low effort easily gathered by Jordan Dibble and then number 7 forcing a corner which was scrambled clear. Our opponents were not letting us get into our stride in the early exchanges in the heat as their number 9 saw a powerful drive well watched by Dibble. There was a let-off for us when number 11 hit the base of the post following a neat move.
Some patient build-up play yielded our first chance on the quarter-hour mark as we forced a corner which was met with a deft header from Lewis Platt that went wide. It wasn’t long before we opened the scoring as some defensive hesitation saw Matt Turner brought down and he stayed cool to fire home from the spot.
A free-kick from Louis Loader was well tipped over by the ‘keeper as we started to get a hold of the game and it was soon 2-0 when Trialist did well to pull the ball back from the by-line into the path of Turner who made no mistake from close range. Good play out wide from Platt saw his cross find Joe Bates who failed to get the necessary power in his effort but he was to find the net on the half-hour after Jay Sauntson hit the woodwork from a corner and he was on hand to force the loose ball over the line from in front of goal. Some neat play saw a chance open up for Curtis Smith but the visitors had men back to clear, whilst at the other end, appeals for a penalty for the visitors were waved away. With five minutes to go until the break, George Hayes showed good feet to make room for a strike but ended up firing well over.
A couple of free-kicks from Sam Hunt caused concern as firstly he found Platt whose header was saved and then the defensive wall did its job. The last action of the half saw Bates’ cross from deep flash agonisingly across the face of goal as we went in at the break deservedly in front having gradually got into our stride as the game went on.
We went straight on the attack at the start of the second half as Bates’ effort was deflected just wide before some good play from Smith saw him bring the ball out for Nathan Chowns-Higgs who went close. Our fourth goal arrived on 50 minutes when Chowns-Higgs did well in the build-up as Platt turned the ball home. A header from a corner by Adam Sauntson forced a great save from the ‘keeper who then did well to deny Platt but as the attack stayed alive, Matt Fusco was able to convert our fifth goal of the game.
There was a great double save from the ‘keeper to deny Hayes and then Chowns-Higgs from the follow-up as we asked most of the questions at this stage. As the clock ticked down, Dibble saved well from number 10 to keep our clean sheet intact before number 9 went close from the edge of the area. Some sharp play ended with Chowns-Higgs going close to adding to our lead as the players continued to work hard in the heat. In the end we ran out 5-0 winners but more importantly it was another good work-out for us.
Dene Whittal-Williams verdict on the victory over Gala Wilton. "Two goals from Matt Turner plus one apiece for Joe Bates, Lewis Platt and Matt Fusco gave us the win in hot conditions."
“The lads worked really hard in the heat,” said Whittal-Williams. “Our opponents caused us a few problems, particularly in the opening 10/15 minutes where they closed down hard and created a few chances. It took us time to get a foothold, but once we did our quality and fitness levels shone through. There were some fantastic performances out there; massive credit to our visitors because they kept at it and made it competitive, which you want in pre-season.We want to be confident in what we do. There’s still work to be done but we’re on the right track.”
Nailsea & Tickenham 1 Tuffley Rovers 0
Tuffley Rovers' first pre-season fixture of 2020/21 ended in a narrow defeat, away at Somerset County League side Nailsea & Tickenham, but it was a far from disappointing afternoon as Mark Pritchett's side played for the first time in almost seven months.
Rovers' last competitive fixture of 2019/20 had taken place on 22 February 2020, when they had run out 3-1 winners against Brackley Town Saints, so Pritchett's squad were desperately in need of game time, although they might have wished for slightly cooler conditions, with temperatures in excess of thirty degrees throughout the game making it a tough return to football.
The two sides had met in Rovers' opening fixture of the 2019/20 pre-season campaign, with Pritchett's side recording a narrow 2-1 victory, so this promised to be a tough game and it was ultimately decided by a 16th minute close range finish from Josh Benjamin, after good work from Luke Osgood.
Despite the result, there were plenty of positives for the visiting side, as Pritchett was able to give a debut to 16-year-old Jacob Geddes, who looked like a player beyond his years at centre-half, as well as welcoming Harrison Iddles, Henry Birkett and Liam Wright into the squad. There were also appearances for Miles Ferguson and Antoine Thompson, who had only featured briefly during the hastily concluded 2019/20 campaign.
So, despite the result, valuable game time for a rusty looking squad and a couple of stand-out performances for Jake Rhodes, Geddes and wide-man Joe Shutt.
Slimbridge Development 2 Stroud United 0
Slimbridge Development kicked started their preseason off with a game against stroud league side Stroud United.
This was the first outing for the newly formed second Slimbridge side with many of the players starting there first ever match at adult level.
The heat played a big part on both teams in the first half with limited chances being created as Both teams cancelled each other out. Slimbridge rang the changes at half time with no less than 8 subs being used. This seemed to help the home team as they began to take control of the match.
Chance after chance came for the young swans but the Stroud Utd keeper kept the away team in the game with some fantastic saves, Eventually Slimbridge did take the lead through Ethan Dunbar who broke through the stroud defence and slotted calmly under the advancing keeper. 1-0
Slimbridge continued to create chances with both Kieran Marks and Leighton Tuodolo coming close but again the stroud keep come to his teams rescue with some fine saves. Levi Mathews eventually doubled the home teams lead with a looping header into the top corner.
Slimbridge manager Adam Coyle and his Assistant Shane Mathews said they where both very happy with the performance from the young swans in what was very difficult conditions. Coyle continued to say "The young team showed maturity considering they had never played together before this match and will only get better over the coming season.
There where plenty of positives and also lots to work on but we are very happy with where we are at this moment in time,