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Hellenic League Match Report

Bluefin Sport Supplementary Cup - Semi Final

Ascot United 1 Binfield 3 (AET)
Binfield win 3-1 in extra time to end Ascot’s double cup final hopes Binfield booked their place in next week’s Perpetua Press Floodlit Cup Final with an extra-time win over ten-man Ascot United on Tuesday evening. Binfield led at the interval before Ascot fought back to level in the second half, but the Moles eventually saw off the hosts in extra time having looked second best for long spells, despite their numerical advantage. Games between these two local rivals are typically hard to call. Both league matches this season ended in draws, and after Ascot had already reached one cup final in the form of the league cup, Binfield sought one of their own. And, so it was the case again – all square after ninety hard-fought minutes.

Kai Walters would have the first chance of the evening, although his fifth minute shot was easily saved by Binfield ‘keeper David Lyons. Binfield enjoyed the better of the half and might easily have been awarded a penalty when Ian Davies went down after a shove from Harry Laflin, before Gary Smith’s long-ball set Sean Moore free soon afterwards – he wriggled an opening for a shot – and Sam Gray easily saved. Dan Price’s shot for Ascot midway through the half was well saved by Lyons’ feet, but that was a brief respite as Binfield continued to dominate as the rain grew increasingly heavier.

Ascot were then dealt a major blow when Elliott Carey saw red for an elbow in what was an otherwise clean half – 36 minutes played – and from the moment the signs looked ominous. And, Binfield finally got their reward a minute before the break when Davies raced onto Laflin’s weak attempted back-header and slotted past Gray, only to pull up in the aftermath and subsequently hobble from the pitch with a hamstring injury.

The start of the second half was delayed by a seemingly fruitless consultation about the state of the pitch, but once it finally got underway, Ascot would soon be in the ascendancy. Gray had, however, already made a superb diving save to deny substitute Eddie Lee’s glancing header after 55 minutes, but Ascot’s own double substitution soon afterwards would catalyse their recovery.

Luqman Kassim – entering with Geoff Kibaki – would rise to plant a firm downward header past Lyons at his near post when Jonny Denton had been given the chance to return a cross after receiving the ball from his earlier corner. Kassim’s surging run, together with fellow substitute Kibaki’s intervention paved the way for a shot that Price saw smothered, before Laflin was given the freedom of the penalty area to swivel and hit a shot from Kassim’s cross later-on; Lyons on hand to save again. Between those efforts Laflin had done well to ensure Lee’s off-balance shot went wide for Binfield, although they went agonisingly close when Moore’s tremendous long-range effort rattled Gray’s bar 15 minutes before the end.

Both sides could have wrapped the game up in normal time as Price failed to dig out enough of a shot to trouble Lyons and Binfield’s Danny Horscroft shocked everyone by scooping over when it looked easier to score – Lee having done superbly well to wriggle clear of Fabien Etienne and force a cross – but the referee ended proceedings to an almost eerie silence from the watching crowd of 160. As it was, Binfield would warm their visitors’ hand a mere 40 seconds after the restart when Lee’s brilliant finish from Josh Howell’s through-ball gave them an early extra-time advantage, and although Ascot huffed and puffed it still took a saving tackle by Etienne in the 105th minute to deny Moore a third goal for Binfield.

Moore would, however, wrap the game up two minutes into the second period of added time when he converted from a rebound, but there would be late drama as Gary Smith escaped with a yellow card after pole-axing George Lock when clean-through, before the home fans were further incensed when Kibaki was booked for apparent simulation when hacked to the ground.Those decisions wouldn’t have influenced the outcome, and the majority of the crowd were left to focus on their May Day Bank Holiday league cup final date in Ardley, leaving the midweek trip to Fairford for Binfield to enjoy.

Ascot UnitedGray, Lock, Haworth, Carey, F. Etienne, Laflin, Sankoh (Kassim), Denton, Walters (Regragui), Price, Campbell (Kibaki). Subs unused: Taylor, Nice

Easington Sports 1 Thornbury Town 1 (Away View - Thornbury won 3-2 on penalties)
Thornbury travelled to Banbury for the second time this season for the Supplementary Cup semi-final. 

Easington were quickest to settle down forcing a corner in the first minute. Thornbury gradually matched the hosts producing end to end football. A good run by Harry Brock got into the penalty area but was thwarted by the Easington defence. At the 15 minute mark Lancastle put in a cross to Wormwell whose header was saved by Rimmer. Stidder then produced a shot from just outside the box that went just over the bar. Spaull broke away down the right but his low cross did not find anyone to convert the chance. On 27 minutes Lancastle’s ball in behind the Easington defence saw Brock quickest to the ball and squeeze it in the net at the far post. 1-0 to the visitors at half time. 

Easington started the 2nd half with a bang scoring in the 1st minute. The match continued with end to end play trying to avoid extra time. Bennett produced some good free kicks but not good enough to trouble the Easington defence or break the deadlock. Fowler scored the 1st penalty for Thorns while Convey’s shot was touched onto the post by Parkin. Brock & Bennett converted their pens as did Stidder and Hill, 3-2 to Thornbury. Craig Lancastle was successful with his kick but Coombs missed his to give Thorns the win and a Final tie against Wallingford on 27th April at Thame United. 

uhlsport football kitPremier Division

Fairford Town 2 Virginia Water 1 (away view)
Water’s to rearrange this fixture to midweek and assist Fairford backfired in cruel manner, as a late controversial goal, denied a severely depleted VW side of a deserved draw. Before focussing on the game itself, we do hope the officials reflect and gauge opinion on how a poor decision allowed a late winner!?

VW undertook a gruelling trek to our excellent hosts, with 8 first team regulars absent, and losing another CB en-route due to a family member being taken ill – we wish him well with this. This said, we competed well, and although had some excellent Matt Jones saves to thank in keeping us in the game in the early stages, we did grow in confidence as the match progressed, and as alluded to, more than deserved a point!

The home side took, probably a deserved lead toward the half hour mark, when we failed to clear from a free kick, and they slotted home. VW had chances at the other end, with Adam McNamara, Maciej Tajs and Jake Baker all going close.

At 1-0 down at the break and in the circumstances, was not that bad at all, and we remained confident of getting something from the match.VW had the better of the second half, despite, bizarrely, barely getting a decision in our favour – so we felt at least!

Our football improved, and on the hour, deservedly equalised with a great goal by Eddie Lazarcuk, who side footed home after patient build up play, and a defence splitting pass by the excellent Steve Williams. As both sides tried for the win, but a draw looked inevitable, in the final 10-15 minutes or so, the referee gave the home side a free kick in their own half, which they took quickly on a visible rolling ball, the receiving player at least 3 yards off-side, played in their striker to finish well – all of which was missed or overruled by the officials – leaving VW bemused.

This said, we take nothing away from Fairford, and wish them well, but sadly the match will be remembered by VW at least, for a poor/controversial decision, rather than the spirit it was played in by both sides, in front of a large crowd on a cold/wet night in the Cotswolds.

Windsor 3 Brackley Town Saints 0 (away view)
Saints push for the top of the table was dealt a blow at a wet Stag Meadow. Despite the rain the playing surface was very good and at times this was an absorbing match of contrasting styles. Saints were missing the suspended Ali Worby and the injured Ollie Goddard/James Hammond but were pleased to welcome back Lewis Baldwin from injury. 

Windsor were out of the traps fast. On 7 minutes Jack Knight initiated a flowing move which led to a Dan Roberts shot which Eddie Cox, did well to tip over the bar. Even though the game was played in a good spirit an early aerial challenge on Curtis Green set the tone for an evening where a number of Saints players were injured following such challenges. 

Saints gradually eased themselves into the game after a rocky start and on 17 minutes George Ball showed great tenacity on the edge of the penalty box and shot inches wide of the Windsor post. Some very good approach play was being met with good defensive resistance by both sides, and it seemed that the first half would finish goalless. However the final 5 minutes of the half did not go Saints way. On 40 minutes Saints physio, Steve Miles, was red carded for aiming a rhetorical question at the referee following another aerial challenge which saw George Ball needing prolonged treatment to his shoulder. Three minutes later Saints squandered possession on the edge of their own box which led to a Windsor corner, which was accurately delivered beating everybody except George Gould who was unmarked at the far post and headed powerfully past Cox. 

The early stages of the second half were still very tight, but Saints fell further behind on 52 minutes again squandering good possession with a misplaced pass in the final third. Windsor took full advantage and broke at pace down the left wing ending with a great cross along the six yard box which found the division’s top scorer, Dan Roberts, unmarked at the far post and he tapped in to double Windsor’s lead. 

Windsor were buoyant and Cox was required to save the situation on 2 or 3 occasions over the next 10 minutes. Saints were under the cosh and were not helped when Joe Ward picked up a head wound (you will remember that the Saints physio had been dismissed…!!!) which needed to be treated by the Windsor physio (Thank You). It was then Lewis Baldwin’s turn when he was knocked into next week by yet another aerial challenge and was forced to leave the field with a bump the size of an egg on his head. 

Windsor completed the scoring on 74 minutes when substitute Jack Hall shot past Cox with his first touch following a poor defensive header. Despite everything Saints continued to play their football and good movement from Luke Swann and interplay with James Hammond lead to the latter shooting from the edge of the box, but the shot was easily dealt with by Harry Sobte in the Windsor goal. 

So no game for Saints at the weekend which will be a blessing in disguise as it will allow the walking wounded time to recover for the final three very important matches of the Saints season. Two of these are against the first and second placed teams in the division. All of the teams in the top 5 are jostling for position, and many are playing each other over the next 4/5 weeks. If Saints win their last 3 games who knows what may happen….. 

Division One East

Didcot Town Development 4 Woodley United 2
Didcot took all three points to head back in to the top four in the league in this match played in tricky first half conditions. The heavens opened just 30 minutes before kick off with a severe hailstorm which covered most of the pitch in a white sheen. Rain continued for some time, enough for the officials to warn that they would be keeping a close eye on pitch conditions as the game wore on.

Woodley opened by pressing the Didcot defence and the home keeper misjudged a pass after only a few seconds and the ball went straight to a Woodley attacker who squared for Max Laschok to tap home the opener for Woodley. Didcot fought back however with Ross MacDonald brought down in the box but no foul given. Just a minute later and a MacDonald piledriver of a free kick was spooned up by the Woodley keeper and Jack Hollister was on hand to tap home the equaliser.

The conditions were playing a part but both teams were going for it with end to end play. Harry Moreton was brought down from behind for Didcot and although they received a free kick there was no booking for a cynical foul. Just a few minutes later MacDonald was booked for a more harmless tackle for Didcot as the referee continued to be inconsistent in the first half.

Didcot pushed forward but were caught out and Laschok was in the right place to head home to put Woodley ahead in 23 minutes. Back came Didcot though and MacDonald was brought down heavily 20 yards out with a Woodley player being booked. Even here the referee was about to book the wrong player until he finally got it right ! MacDonald dusted himself off and hammered home the free kick for an equaliser in the 30th minute. A minute later and MacDonald broke up the park playing it wide to Caelen Isaac who got an early cross in to Jack Hollister and he slid home to put the Railwaymen 3-2 up. The small but fully engaged crowd were lapping this up and Hollister nearly got a fourth for his team but through one on one he shot at the keeper. Both teams continued to push forward however the half finished with the score remaining 3-2.

Woodley came out fired up in the second half and Matthews in the home goal had a good save with the rebound being hit straight at him. A lovely Harry Hudson cross was chipped on to the bar by Hollister and Isaac in a promising position for the follow up was offside for Didcot. Laschok had a fine shot well saved by Matthews in the Didcot goal. Hollister set MacDonald away whose cross was just missed by Isaac and a low shot for Woodley finished just wide. Didcot defended resolutely in the second half with some good midfield and defensive interceptions and they capped the night when Kieran Davies shot was saved but he followed up to easily shoot home Didcots fourth. MacDonald played in Daryll Harris but he delayed too long and the chance was gone. A good nights entertainment with the home team pleased to take the points.

Thame Rangers 4 Wallingford Town AFC 4
Thame Rangers fought hard for a well-deserved point after being reduced to 10 men after 5 minutes and then 9 after 75 minutes to remain unbeaten in the league this calendar year.

Before too much had happened in the game and spectators had barely taken their seats Rangers goal keeper Tom Plumridge on his debut was sent off on 5 minutes, which did not sit well under the circumstances of the situation and the letter of the law. Still down to 10 men with 85 minutes to go, Tye Budziszewski came off the bench to take over between the sticks and replacing Manager Craig Faulconbride. In a period of regrouping and settling down for Rangers Wallingford capitalized with two quick goals. One being a well-placed effort from the edge of the box and the other being a defensive mix up that presented a tap in to an open goal. Ten man Rangers then began to get a foot hold in the game and went on to dominate a period that produced 3 goals for themselves. The first was a well worked move that opened up Wallingford’s defence with Miles Baxter racing clear. Baxter smashed the ball home from the edge of the box. The second was from the penalty spot. Calvin Evans called for a short corner from Dan Hatton. Evans collected the ball and was tripped as he rounded a defender. Hatton sent the keeper the wrong way bringing the scores level. The third came soon after from another corner. This time the ball being played in to the box where Baxter was on hand to head home his second. What a turnaround for 10 man Rangers as the half came to an end.

The second half produced less goals but Rangers clinched a draw, the very least they deserved out of the game. Budziszewski was called upon early and made a great save from close range. Rangers were happy at this point to let the visitors back four have as many touches as they liked. A continuation of long balls was defended well until a controversial corner was given which Rangers clearly thought the ball had not gone out of play was converted by the visitors from close range. Then the visitors took the lead with a tap in from close range after good work down their right hand side. On 75 minutes Christian Deste was unfortunate to receive his second yellow reducing Rangers to 9 men. Rangers showed no signs of being defeated and on 80 minutes Evans got Rangers back on level terms as he hit a free kick in to the far corner of the goal from the corner of the box. At 4-4 Wallingford paid Rangers a massive compliment and brought on another defender to make it 5 at the back and Captain Stuart Walker thought it was a bright idea to kick as many balls out of the ground he possibly could wasting time. On reflection some might say a missed opportunity for Wallingford but others will say unlucky Thame Rangers.

Division One West

Kidlington Development 6 Cheltenham Saracens 1 
On Wednesday night Kidlington’s development team continued their successful season last night and are currently sitting in 5th. And following their promotion to Division One West at the start of last season they are poised for their highest ever finish in the Uhlsport Hellenic League. They are also in the final of the OFA Oxfordshire Intermediate Cup, where they play Watlington Town from the North Berks League. 

Title chasing Cheltenham Saracens were the visitors to Kidlington’s Yarnton road stadium and the young greens ran out comfortable 6-1 winners. Goals came courtesy of Aaron Morton, Jack Gaul, Callum Rice and a late double from Denilson Silva. Next up for the greens is another title chasing opponent, Thornbury Town away on Saturday.