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2 December

Emirates FA CupBuildbase FA Vase - Third Round Proper

Lordswood 0 Bracknell Town 1 (away view)
Bracknell Town edged further along the Buildbase FA Vase trail thanks to a 1-0 win at Kent-based Lordswood. An early goal from Joe Grant booked their place in the last 32 for the first time since the 1985-86 season, but if the Robins are to make it past the fourth round next month, then they will need to perform better than they did at Martyn Grove on Saturday.

It was by no means among their most impressive displays of the season. However, at this advanced stage of the competition, it's not about playing attractive and entertaining football, it's a lot more about working hard to grind out a result. They did just that! Bracknell travelled to Chatham without TJ Bohane, who was still feeling the effects of his recent car accident. This left leading scorer Adam Cornell as the sole striker in a 4-5-1 formation with Jamie McClurg the most advanced of the midfielders. Town's main threat came from the flanks with Grant and Seb Bowerman creating the bulk of their chances throughout the afternoon.

With Cornell being closely marked, the two wide runners largely ploughed a lone furrow on the grassy surface. But with 10 minutes gone, Cornell did create space for himself to head the ball down to his right, where Grant made ground before lashing the ball into the net. The goal followed a bright start to the game at this stage of the afternoon Town looked capable of going on to score a few more, especially with the home side not appearing too secure in defence.

At times, however, Bracknell did not seem too convincing themselves at the back with Jack Mahon, in particular, looking dangerous and testing keeper Chris Grace on a number of occasions.  Town were also unable to take a tight grip on midfield and they didn't help themselves by giving away free-kicks or not making better use of their set-pieces from corners. Southern Counties East League side Lordswood came more into the game as the first half progressed, but the visitors deserved to be leading at the interval.

In the second half, the Robins were pushed back on a more regular basis and they had a close escape in the 67th minute when Mahon hit the left-hand post low down with the ball rolling across the goalmouth much to Bracknell's relief. Despite forced to drop deep on occasions, Grant and Bowerman continued to be a danger to the home defence, but the end product was lacking on this occasion with the pair also being denied by the keeper, Ryan Chandler. With time running out Lordswood threw three men up front and went close to snatching an equaliser, but the Robins, well marshalled by skipper Carl Davies, managed to hold on to their lead to the final whistle.

Walton & Hersham 1 Windsor 2 (away view)
Windsor have progressed into the Buildbase FA Vase Fourth Round thanks to a goal 3 minutes from the end of normal time and a late winner in time added on at Walton & Hersham.

A goal from Malachi Thomas gave the home side the lead on 72 minutes. Abdeen Abdul delivered a perfect cross into the box from the right wing and Thomas beat the hapless Hugo Sobte from inside the six-yard box. The cross had plenty of pace and whip on it and deserved a goal in truth.

Windsor never let their heads drop though and levelled the scores in the 87th minute. Ashley Smith delivered a cross into the box and, after a shot hit the top of the bar, Bradley Pearce was able to divert the ball home with his face on the goal line.

The winner arrived in the second minute of time added on but was no less than Windsor deserved. Barry Hayles rolled the ball to Pearce who drove into the box and hit a powerful right foot shot under keeper Brendan Norris.

Both team worked hard throughout and in an end to end encounter created chances but the sheer determination of the visitors gave them a deserving victory.

Puhlsport football kitremier Division

Ascot United 4 Brimscombe & Thrupp 0
Ascot United upset the form book as an unanswered four-goal haul blew away sixth-placed Brimscombe and Thrupp at the Racecourse. The visitors had been brighter early-on, but the lively Ben Harris scored a brace and Ben Hodges and Matt Jones also scored to boost the Yellamen’s survival hopes.

The visitors enjoyed the better chances in the first half with Sam Blackie’s volley striking a post as early as the eighth minute. Matt Jones was fortunate not to be booked for the home side following a poor challenge on Chris Greenough – and Jones would be involved in controversy once again when he was fouled in the build-up to Ascot’s opening goal just before half time. However, before all of that, team-mate Ryan Cooper was booked for a foul on Ollie Pitt midway through the half, and Pitt picked himself up to curl a free kick around the wall, which home ‘keeper Lee Allen palmed away at full stretch.

The home side’s best chance came from the foot of Jones, who saw his rising half volley easily palmed away by Ashley Gale after Jones had raced onto Callum Carlisle’s through ball. Cooper was then given the benefit of the doubt when his brave challenge sent Pitt tumbling in the penalty area with 35 minutes played, before Allen tipped another effort over the crossbar and Jack Smith blazed over when well placed. And, the hosts would punish the glut of Brimscombe missed chances when Harris curled a low free-kick around the wall and into the bottom right hand corner after Christien Turner had sent Jones tumbling on the edge of the penalty area.

Ascot were in no mood to hang around in the second half as Jones doubled their tally inside a minute of the restart when his smart finish capped a quickfire attack. As Ascot dominated, Harris then started and finished the move which led to a third after 67 minutes – driving down the right and cutting back before drifting across the six yard box to regain possession and fire home – George Lock involved in the build-up.

Ascot made a trio of substitutions in the final quarter of the game and as Brimscombe looked for a response, the Ascot defence held firm. First, Jonny Denton’s brilliant challenge denied Smith before Louis Bouwers’ strong challenge thwarted Pitt late-on, but sandwiched between those moments of resistance the home faithful had drooled at Ben Hodges’ sublime fourth. The midfielder took Samir Regragui’s pinpoint cross in his stride, controlled the ball on the volley, and thumped it past Gale with his second touch with 15 minutes remaining.

To their credit, Brimscombe never gave up, and John Evans saw a volley flash just wide before Allen stood up well to deny Smith from close range in injury time, but Ascot held onto a deserved clean sheet. The Yellamen will hope for a repeat performance when Fairford visit the Racecourse next weekend.

Fairford Town 3 Highmoor Ibis 1
Fairford registered their third consecutive Hellenic Premier Division win with a 3-1 triumph over Highmoor Ibis on Saturday afternoon. Captain Lee Smith led the way with a double strike in the first half before manager Jody Bevan, on as a late substitute, sealed the points with a near post header. Fairford made an enforced change to the line-up that had won at Woodley a week earlier, with Dan Reynolds missing out with injury.

The hosts made a determined start to the game and went in front with a quarter of an hour played. A low finish from Smith for his 11th of the campaign set the Reds on their way. Smith almost grabbed his second soon after but a good block from the visitors’ rear-guard saw the 1-0 scoreline intact. However, it was 2-0 on the half hour as a speculative shot from George Thrussell was not dealt with by Aaron Watkins in the Highmoor goal with Smith on hand to slide the loose ball home.

Fairford took their 2-0 lead into the advantage but it should have been more after two stone-wall penalty appeals and several further close efforts. Highmoor, fielding a youthful line-up, rallied straight after the break and grabbed a goal back with 79 on the clock with Luke Cox following up after a good save from Ben Mitchell. However, Fairford made sure of the points when substitute Bevan met a near post corner to glance a header past Watkins to make it 3-1.

It was a deserved victory with the Cinder Lane outfit in good form ahead of a stern test of their mettle on Tuesday with a trip to Lydney Town.

Flackwell Heath 3 Tuffley Rovers 1(away view)
Flackwell Heath’s centre-back, Jamie Essex scored a hat-trick, as Tuffley Rovers’ inability to defend set-pieces successfully cost them dearly, as they left Wilks Park on the wrong end of a 3-1 scoreline. Following the defeat against Binfield seven days earlier, Rovers manager, Mark Pritchett, made three changes to his starting eleven, recalling himself, as well as handing starting berths to Macaulay Herbert and Will Emery, whose performances for the reserve team earned a first starting appearance in Hellenic League football. However, Pritchett sustained an injury in the warm-up and had to be withdrawn; Shayne Anson taking his place at left-back.

Both sides started the game brightly, without testing the opposing keeper, with the first chance of note arriving in the fifteenth minute, as Will Emery’s burst into opposition territory was followed by a neat pass into the path of Brett James, but his shot across goal was palmed away by David Lyons in the Flackwell Heath goal. The hosts then went close themselves, and after Anson had committed a foul on the corner of his own penalty area, The Heathens’ skipper, Dean Allen, tested Rovers’ keeper, Eric Edge, with a free kick that swerved, before dropping just far enough under the bar to draw a one-handed stop that pushed the ball over the frame of the goal.

If there were any hopes that Edge’s save was the catalyst for Rovers to kick-on and build on a bright start, they were quickly extinguished, as Joel Jacobs’ corner was met by Essex, who powered a header into the net from 9 yards. Rovers have looked more resilient in recent weeks and they quickly restored parity to the scoreline, on 21 minutes, as James capitalised on a slip by left-back Jacobs to launch on attack from the half-way line. After exchanging passes with Shayne Bradley, he took a touch, before driving the ball low and hard into the bottom corner, beyond Lyons dive, to level the scores. Just four minutes later, James almost capitalised on Lyons inability to hold onto Kieran Alder’s effort, but the angle was too narrow and he could quite convert the opportunity.

By now, Rovers looked to be the more likely team to score, although a Flackwell Heath team full of pace offered a genuine counter-attacking threat and the visitors relied on some dogged defending, with central pairing Herbert and Joel White forming a solid defensive base, to ensure Edge was only seriously tested once, when he was called on to beat away Tom Cant’s shot. Another counter-attack, after James had lost the ball high upfield, saw Francis Amartey dance past several tackles, and only a good covering challenge from Herbert ensured that Edge remained inactive. As half-time approached, the game turned in Heath’s favour on 42 minutes, as Essex met Allen’s dipping free-kick with a sliding volley, amidst a crowd of players, that flashed past Edge, creating a 2-1 scoreline that remained in place until the interval.

With confidence arguably dented by falling behind so close to the interval, after such a competitive first period, Rovers started the second period on the back foot and Ashley Watson almost extended the hosts lead, six minutes in, when he latched onto some uncertain defending, finding space on the right-hand side of the Rovers defence to fire a shot goalwards, only to see it cannon back off the inside of the post and away from the goal.

Fifteen minutes in the second half, Warren Mann and Bradley almost combined well, but the ball into the former Southampton player’s path was slightly misplaced and he was unable to bring it under control, so that the ball eventually rolled harmlessly through to the Flackwell Heath keeper. A spell of Rovers pressure then followed and Alder twice drew comfortable saves from Lyons, whilst Bradley shot narrowly wide, as Pritchett’s side went in search of an equalising goal. Although Lyons was the busier keeper, the game was anything but one-sided and Heathens’ substitute Mitchell Parker almost extended the score in his side’s favour, but fired wide after working to find an opportunity.

The game moved further in the hosts’ favour, on 77 minutes, as Rovers were made to pay for failing to adequately defend another set-piece. Jacobs’ corner into the box was initially blocked, but as the ball looped up, Essex rose highest, at the back post, to power home a header that found its way into the Rovers goal, despite Edge’s desperate effort to keep it out. Rovers had introduced Cam Williams and Ash Bird, for Hamilton and Emery, but were, by now, struggling to create any significant chances and the effort of note was another from Alder, which drew another comfortable save from Lyons, nine minutes from time. When the referee sounded the final whistle, Pritchett was left to rue another performance where his side might well have come away with at least a share of the points, only to find themselves making the trip home off the back of a second consecutive defeat.

Highworth Town 6 Woodley United 0 (away view)
Against the league leaders and title favourites, United got off to the worse possible start conceding two goals in the opening six minutes and being three down after eighteen minutes. Playing down the slope Highworth looked to get the ball forward quickly to their wide men to good effect who in turn delivered good balls into the United penalty area which saw Kieron Gleed head home the opening goal on two minutes and Jason Milhench adding the second.

Woodley’s only joy in this opening spell was Jaydyn Englefield beating Highworth’s full back but his low cross getting caught under the feet of Danny Horscroft and subsequently cleared.

The third goal came via a quick Highworth counter attack following a Woodley free kick deep in the home team’s own half when Gleed added his second.Woodley refused to buckle after this start and to their credit played some good football but only once troubled home ‘keeper Josh Langley who comfortably dealt with Adam Nditi’s shot. However, it took a double save by Alex Reed from Milhence and subsequent Joe Barley clearance to prevent any further score prior to half time.

Haydon Richardson was introduced at half time and worked tirelessly up front looking to bring players into play that included finding Englefield whose cross Woodley evaded United players.  It was another Highworth cross on fifty nine minutes that saw Dan Drewett get between Barley and Pele Hagger to increase the home team’s lead. Richardson had a shot blocked before another home counter attack resulted in the ball being deflected off a Woodley defender for the fifth after sixty eight minutes.

Reed was called on to make another double save before good work between Richardson and Englefield set the tireless Horscroft up only to see his effort blocked with seventeen minutes remaining. The scoring was completed on eighty three minutes when Gleed completed his hat trick following United losing possession in the Highworth half following a pass being intercepted.

One East

Penn & Tylers Green 2 Didcot Town Reserves 2
With Bicester losing to Virginia Water, this proved to be a handy point gained for Penn & Tylers Green FC as they were held to a 2-2 draw at home by a very good Didcot Town Reserve side.

Penn were not at their best but once again started the game well and a good chance was blasted over the bar from close range after only two minutes. However, Penn’s early pressure paid off in the 10th minute when a precision floated cross from Danny Blatchford was expertly glanced into the bottom corner of the Didcot net by Danny Jordan, with the Didcot goalkeeper rooted to the spot, to put Penn 1-0 in front.

Penn continued to have the upper hand but in the 15th minute Didcot broke forward and scored with a hotly disputed when a Penn defender appeared to be fouled in the build-up but the referee waved play on and Alex Marshall headed in the resultant cross from six yards to equalise. The game was becoming very evenly matched and both sides were probing and spraying the ball around on the excellent surface.

In the 22nd minute after a spell of Didcot pressure Penn broke away and a good through ball from Blatchford released Nile O’Meally-Newell who won the race for the ball and rounded the oncoming Didcot goalkeeper and ran the ball into the empty net to put the home side 2-1 up. Didcot came storming back and on 35 minutes a ball over the top of the Penn defence released Macdonald down the left for Didcot and he powered forward and despite the attentions of Jordan Gumbs released a left foot cross cum shot which eluded the dive of Matt Cannings and Tom Hoskins slid in to help the ball over the line from six yards to equalise. Half time arrived with the scores all level at 2-2.

To be honest the second half did not live up to expectations of more goals from both sides and the game become a rather flat and dull end to end midfield battle, with not many chances being created at all. Didcot probably shaded the second half and could have scored two goals but for the brilliance of Matt Cannings in the Penn goal who made two fantastic saves late on, tipping one fierce shot over the bar and saving well with his feet in a one on one situation.

However, Penn had one glorious chance to “nick-it” on 80 minutes when a cross from the right found its way to Jamie West at the far post but he missed the target from six yards. That was more or less the end of the action and both sides settled for a well-earned point which, on the day, was probably a fair result. Not Penn’s best performance of the season and in the end, they were happy with the point.

Penn & Tylers Green 2 Didcot Town Reserves 2 (away view)
The Railwaymen came away from French Meadow with one point in this league encounter and justifiably could have taken all three against a team that have won this league for the last two seasons and are in a strong position again this season. 

The ground was a green oasis amidst thick mist which occasionally crept on to the pitch but not enough to reduce visibility. Didcot started from kick off with Keiran Collins run past defenders although his lay off was flighted over the bar by Michal Filipowicz. Penn however quickly recovered and dominated the next ten minutes. The home team shot low past the post and Jamie West shot over the bar from a flick on. Penn’s opener was only delayed though as Danny Jordan met a Free Kick and headed neatly in to the corner of the net in the 10th minute. 

Back came Didcot though as they put together an impressive spell with first Ross Tanner feeding Ross MacDonald and his glorious cross had the Penn defence stretching to deflect for a corner. Michal Filipowicz’s corner caused mayhem in the Penn defence and although it was partially cleared it fell to MacDonald whose cross this time could not be missed by Alex Marshall who easily headed home an equaliser.Perserverence by Hueller Colonna for Didcot won a free kick and again Penn were panicking to clear. 

Just when it seemed that Didcot might go ahead Nile O’Mealy-Newell cleverly controlled a through ball past advancing Didcot keeper Jack Woodley, ran around him and tapped Penn ahead again in the 24th minute. On the half hour Alex Marshall swung in a lovely cross but Tom Hoskin’s dive failed to reach the ball. A further move down the right ended with a tame Hoskin cross gathered at the near post. Marshall and MacDonald were a handful for the Penn defence and the two combined when Marshall crossed, MacDonald knocked it back but Hoskin shot over the bar. A deserved equaliser was not far off though when Keiran Collins fed MacDonald whose run was too much for the Penn defence and his pinpoint cross found Hoskin outstretching and forcing the ball home from close in. Penn almost snatched a half time lead though but away keeper Woodley had a magnificent flying save to tipthe ball wide. 

Didcot started better in the second half with MacDonald just failing at full stretch to get enough on a Colonna cross and from two ensuing corners the Penn defence scrambled them clear under pressure. Collins fed MacDonald again and his dangerous cross was shepherded out for another corner. Penn brought on two substitutes to try to gain the upper hand and initially Lewis Wilcox had to block a dangerous attack. Back came Didcot though and MacDonald was fouled on the halfway line when about to break through. A few minutes later and MacDonald picked the ball up in his own half and ran the legs off his marker before dispatching a fine shot heading for the top corner however home keeper Cannings pulled out a tremendous save tipping the ball over the bar. Substitute Matheus Madeiros headed over the Penn bar as the home team appeared to be hanging on under the pressure. 

From a Madeiros cross Didcot had a wonderful chance to win it but Hoskin shot at keeper Cannings who had narrowed the angle. Shortly before the end another ball in to the box headed towards Hoskin but he appeared to receive a backwards hand in his face which floored him in the box. Despite the referee having a good view he refused a clear penalty claim and the chance to win all three points had dissapeared in to the Misty extremes. This was a full blooded game at times with three Penn players booked however Didcot were unlucky and it says a lot to know that they were dissapointed with only one point on this occasion.

Thame Rangers 3 Chalfont Wasps 2
A young Thame Rangers got back to winning ways on a dark gloomy afternoon at The ASM Stadium against an experienced Chalfont Wasps team.

In an opening spell, where pretty much every statistic remained equal both sides looked to open the scoring. Chris Hurst had a long range effort for our visitors that flew high and wide and Patrick Buston failed to make the visiting keeper work with Thame’s first effort on goal. The midfield battle was slowly being taken over by Thame with Shannon Jesson, Joe Brittain and Dan Hatton all enjoying time in possession and it was to no surprise the first goal for Thame came through a combination of the three and will be up there as one of the best goals you will see all season. Tye Budziszewski won a header on the edge of our box that fell to Dan Hatton. Hatton then passed to Jesson who found Ben Gray down the inside left. Gray crossed to Brittain and he finished the move off with a left footed strike that curled into the top corner from 20 yards. Both sides continued to look for goals and the visitors had a good spell, which they equalized in with a goal that should never have stood. Dan Bowker in goal for Thame was sat on his backside by Hurst on the penalty spot. Budziszewski managed to get back on the goal line. Hurst then passed to Josh Urquhart who was between Bowker and Budziszewski and clearly in an offside position. Urquhart slotted home and the assistant referee to the amazement of all for whatever reason kept his flag down. Thame responded well and just before the break got Craig Faulconbridge headed home at the far post from a Ben Gray cross. 

The second half was merely a minute old when Thame increased their lead. Another neat move down the right side ended with Patrick Boston slotting home a cross from Brittain. The game changed on 65 minutes and Wasps had a man advantage as Bowker handed outside his box after his clearance was blocked. Fortunately, for Thame former goalkeeper Budziszewski was on the pitch and he took over the gloves. Tom Fifield’s resultant free kick was cleared. On 69 minutes, another Fifield free kick was headed goalward by Wasps skipper Ryan Sweales and Dan Finch applied the final touch for Wasps second of the game. Thame showed great resilience and character to keep Wasps at bay as the applied the pressure in the final stages of the game only giving away a few half chances that Budziszewski handled well and the game finished with a well deserved victory for the home side.

Thame Rangers 3 Chalfont Wasps 2(away view)
The Wasps reshuffled the pack once again and were unable to hit top gear on a misty damp afternoon away at Thame.

Chris Hurst long range sighter drifted off mark early on before a short period of midfield statement ensued. Wasps developed a couple of excellent multi-passing moves without creating the end opportunity. Thame got their 1st after 15 minutes after a swift break and cross was firmly slotted into the top corner. Another even and uneventful 10-minute period followed. Then a Tom Fifield well stuck half-volley was gathered by a well-positioned keeper, and he then slotted a clever reverse through ball to Hurst but as he went to pull the trigger he was adjudged off side. Hurst and Fifield had a couple more half chances each before Hurst rounded the home keeper, and Josh Urquhart was on hand to slide in and make it 1-1 with 5 mins to go. Wasp could not hang on through. Thame got a second before the interval.

Most of the crowd were still finishing off their half time cuppa and missed Thame’s third in the early seconds of the second half. A Hurst penalty appeal was declined and a flag ruled out one he slotted home. Thame also had one ruled out by the lino. Then, some hope for the Wasps, Thames keeper handed outside the area and was sent off. Fifield’s resultant free kick was cleared, the follow up corner was grabbed by the substitute keeper and the immediate danger was averted for the home side. After 69 minutes Ryan Williams was upended on the left flank, Fifield’s free kick was headed goalward by skipper Ryan Sweales and Dan Finch applied the final touch. Now, for those late out for the second half, this levelled up the score – however, reality soon rippled through the visiting crowd. Nevertheless, optimism remained - it was still close at 3-2, 20 minutes remained and Wasps had a man advantage. Mickey Benning came on. Mason Wright’s cross shot was drilled into the opposite side netting by Nick Little and a Fifield swipe flew wide. Dan Little made a great stop to keep Wasps in the hunt but, despite a couple more half chances going begging Wasps could not get the equaliser.

Virginia Water 4 Bicester Town  2
Waters avenged their only defeat on the season so far, with an emphatic win over top of the league Bicester Town. It was a nervy start to the game, with two good sides cancelling each other out.
In the 27th minute Steve Williams opened the scoring when receiving a pass from Richard Bond in space, to drill a shot from 25 yards into the bottom corner, giving their keeper no chance.
At the other end our defence was their usual strength, although Matt was forced into a good save, when their striker shot from 15 yards out. Our full back of Louis Sanders (MoM) and Josh Hill were excellent, ably supported by Mark Lansdowne and Adam Mills at Centre Backs.

We pressed forward for a second, and were rewarded on 41 minutes, when one of many good runs by the tireless Adam McNamara resulted in his cross being met on the volley by Joe McBride to rifle home into the top right hand corner of the net. Soon after we had a glorious chance to make it 3-0, only for Sam Devoil’s effort from close range to be brilliantly saved by their keeper.

After the break it was more of the same, but only after we weathered a brief storm, where Matt was forced into a great double save through a mass of bodies.We went up the field, and from a set piece, Mark pounced to shoot home on 61 minute and put the result beyond doubt.Josh Guichard latched on to a loose ball on 77 minutes to slot home with his left foot from 18 yards. To their credit, Bicester kept working and deservedly grabbed a couple of very late consolation goals after Waters themselves had made three substitutions with the match won.

A great result and performance that maintains a comfortable top three position

One West

Cheltenham Saracens 6 Shortwood Utd Dev 6 (away view)
Shortwood managed to score 5 goals at local rivals Cheltenham Saracens on Saturday and still came out on the losing side. On a pitch that manager Nick Ackland described as “awful”, poor defending cost Wood dearly despite a resolute late fight back.

Wood’s makeshift defence looked vulnerable and were undone twice by early Sarries pressure, and the hosts raced into a 2 goal lead. Wood’s first goal was scored by man of the match, Todd Hathaway. Sarries then restored their 2 goal cushion when right on half time Wood won a penalty, and Chris Earle drove it home.

Immediately  after  half time Wood drew parity when Ben Langworthy struck. Wood now appeared to be matching their hosts but some kamikaze defending saw 3 Sarries’ goals in 10 minutes and the contest appeared to be over. A late fight back saw Hathaway score from Earle’s cross, and sub Regula, who cut in from the right before smashing home, making it 6-5. Wood pressed for a late equaliser but it was not too be.

After wards Nick Ackland commented “Some woeful defending cost us today, but too be fair the pitch was awful. We showed good character too fight back late on, so that’s something positive. My man of the match is Todd Hathaway and Ben Langworthy who both performed well in the middle.”

Letcombe 0 Headington Amateurs 2
Letcombe slumped to their third consecutive home loss, having been beaten by Kintbury Rangers and Easington Sports in the previous two Saturdays, but their cause was not helped by Hungerford Town calling up Conor Lynch, Alex Fragata and Daniel Bailey to sit on the bench for their trip to Chelmsford.   Only the latter made an appearance, meaning that the other two played no football whatsoever.

Letcombe started brightly, and Charlie Knight shot narrowly wide, but defences dominated the opposing forwards for most of the half, with Tinashe Gwavava again excelling at the back for Letcombe.   Knight`s shot went just wide of the far post after 32 minutes, and Letcombe almost took the lead following a corner as half time approached.   Adam Bruce`s shot was blocked on the line, and Iggy Ilott`s follow up was wide.

Letcombe had a great chance in the opening minute of the second half, but stand-in Headington keeper Steve Skyrme saved Shemar Pettet`s shot with his legs.   Charlie Knight had an effort rightly disallowed for offside before Headington took the lead when a precision pass enabled Liam Morbey to place his shot wide of advancing keeper Charlie McCready.   Letcombe were guilty of playing too many high balls into the Headington penalty area, where Sam Gordon won all the aerial contests.   Gordon made the game safe for the visitors with a looping header which dropped just under the bar, leaving Letcombe to contemplate another pointless afternoon.

This was not a poor performance by Letcombe, and there was much to be pleased about, but they need to be more clinical in the last third of the pitch.   They also need to know whether Hungerford are likely to call up players on a regular basis, in which case Letcombe need to find suitable replacements.

Letcombe 0 Headington Amateurs 2 (away view)
Second half strikes from Liam Morbey & Sam Gordon proved enough to secure the points & extend Headington’s winning league run to five & move them up to fourth spot in the league table.

Although conditions were good for football this game took some time to open up with defences generally on top in the first half. Zee Mawema went close a couple of times for Headington & Morbey headed just wide from a corner kick. Around the half hour mark Letcombe began their best spell, Tinashe Gwavava heading just over from a free kick & Charlie Knight just wide a minute later. Forced back into defence Headington were grateful to survive a frantic goalmouth scramble before breaking away with Luke Cuff, Mawema & Shaun Jacob combining to set up a chance for Aaron Williams, his effort from outside the penalty area high & wide. Letcombe’s Knight almost caught Headington’s keeper Steve Skyrme out with a lob from thirty yards but Skyrme gathered comfortably enough.

Letcombe had the first opportunity of the second half, Skyrme saving instinctively with his feet from a close range shot from Ben Hummel. With the game becoming stretched Morbey had the next chance as Headington swept down the right wing but his shot from a tight angle was held by Charlie McCready. With twenty minutes left the deadlock was broken, Cuff & Jacob combining superbly to set Morbey free & beating McCready with a firm right foot finish. Eight minutes later & Headington had breathing space with a second goal. Centre back Sam Gordon, outstanding in defence & up for a free kick that Letcombe could not totally clear, was on hand to head home substitute Chris Peck’s cross. Try as they did in the last ten minutes Letcombe could not break through a determined defence although Headington were indebted to an outstanding Skyrme save from Adam Bruce.


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