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Friday 7 December
Puhlsport football kitremier Division

Royal Wootton Bassett 1 Brimscombe & Thrupp 1 (away view)
Brimscombe & Thrupp headed to the Gerard Buxton Sports Ground for some Friday night football, where they faced a in-form Royal Wootton Bassett.

Brimscombe got the better start when Sam Blackie lost his defender in the Bassett box but he could only find the inside of the post. The Lilywhites still pushed and played some really nice football to try and open the scoring, Ollie Pitt was wiped out by the hosts’ goalkeeper with referee Edward Hall having no hesitation in pointing to the spot. Ash Caldwell stepped up but his penalty was saved by the vastly experienced Kevin Sawyer. Both teams tried their luck but it took till the 41st minute when the referee awarded the visitor’s another penalty, Ash Caldwell this time redeeming himself by nipping the ball past Sawyer’s outstretched hands.

We saw the first substitution for the Lilywhites, Sam Blackie took a knock and was quickly replaced by James Singh. The host’s took their chance and pulled level when T.J Bohane headed in from a Gio Wrona cross. Both teams tried to find the winning goal but it wasn’t to be. Jake Parrott and Dan Hill were replaced by Elijah Simpson and John Evans.
Both teams went home with a point and the Lilywhites face another tough fixture on Tuesday night when they welcome Longlevens to the Meadow.

Saturday 8 December

Ascot United 3 Fairford Town 0
Jonny Denton scored a brace as Ascot United hit three second half goals to beat Fairford Town in the battle of the Uhlsport Hellenic League Premier Division’s form sides. However, both sides were left to rue some errant decisions leading to a dismissal each, in what was an often-disjointed affair by all personnel on the pitch.

The encounter matched second-placed Ascot against mid-table Fairford, and the home side were prepared for a battle to extend their four-game winning streak against Jody Bevan’s resurgent Fairford side with eight wins from thirteen.

Indeed, Fairford could almost afford to relax for the first time in five seasons at this level. Each of their previous four Premier Division campaigns had seen them finish in the bottom three, and last season they relied on a relegation reprieve in the end-of-season shake-up.

And, it was a fully justified one, as Bevan’s side comfortably steered their way through a wind-affected first half which was largely devoid of chances.

When the chances did arrive, they were in Fairford’s favour - firstly when Michael Oakes skied over in the 17th minute before Lee Allen tipped Danny Bailey’s effort wide four minutes later – although the shot would probably have missed the top right.

Danny Gudger’s direct free kick then found the midriff of a well organised Ascot wall on the half hour mark, whereas Ascot’s best chance came moments later when Geoff Kibaki’s overhit cross from the by-line missed a crowd of expectant yellow shirts after Nathan Minhas and Dan Price had fashioned the ball out to the wing.

Having failed to register a shot on target in the opening 45 minutes, the Yellamen registered one with merely seconds on the clock after the restart, although ‘keeper Chris Randall stood up well to save at the feet of Minhas.

Kibaki then shot across goal and wide as Ascot turned up the dial, although their opening goal came from a sublime 25-yard free kick from Price which flew over the wall and into the bottom left hand corner; Kibaki having shown great strength in the build up to force the crucial foul.

Kibaki then smacked an upright from an improbable angle – Minhas having crossed – and although Minhas would fail to extend his own eight-match scoring run, his value as a provider would later be underlined.

For Fairford, Oakes slashed wide after a neat one-two and Bailey’s shot deflected wide for a corner, but the Yellamen settled their nerves when Minhas held up the ball, fed Denton, and Denton drilled a low left-footed cross-shot that slipped through the gloves of the embarrassed Randall.

That goal came after 80 minutes, and Fairford’s prospects of recovery were all-but-ended when Robbie James received a second yellow card for a foul on Price, who had skipped around James only to be crudely tripped.

Sadly for the home side, captain Louis Bouwers then received a bemusing red card for a clumsy challenge that warranted little more than a yellow card, before Denton wrapped it up with another rare right -footed effort in added time; repeating his feat of four days earlier.

Fairford substitute Mason Thompson should have found the target with a stooping header just before Ascot’s third but could only head wide, but it was Ascot’s day after extending their winning run to five matches and returning to second place in the league.

Ascot United: Allen, Kibaki, Denton, Sullivan (Laflin), Bouwers, F Etienne, Sankoh, Carey, Minhas, Price (Richardson), Kassim. Subs unused: Haworth, Lock, Carlisle

Ascot United 3 Fairford 0 (report by Arthur Strand)
Ascot United were hosts to Fairford who are currently in mid-table last Saturday at the Racecourse ground and Ascot moved forward immediately only to see Lamin Sankho dumped on the turf. That initial push forward gave Chris Randall, in goal for Fairford, his first handling of the ball, A free kick to Fairford took the ball down to Ascot's corner flag but the ensuing cross continued across the face of goal.and out of play and the next approach fizzled out. Ascot set about a counter attack and gained ground, even though the visitors had two free kicks in the process. Geoff Kibaki passed on to Elliott Carey who found Dan Price with a chance to supply Kassim with a chance which never materialised. Michael Oakes took a shot which went high over the crossbar but Dan Bailey came back a few minutes later forcing a save by Lee Allen who managed to push the ball out for a corner to Fairford. Fairford were quite robust and mounted another attack, this time it was Dan Gudger's free kick which hit the Ascot wall with no anticipated goal being scored. Nathan Hawkins took a free kick for Fairford and Gudger chased the ball. which was prodded wide of the near post. A free kick on the edge of the D for Fairford presented an anxious moment for Ascot but the ball bounced out of danger. Kibaki moved into the Fairford area but the ball returned and Allen had to clear it away from the edge of his area. Price took a free kick but bad pass gave away the ball. Winning back the ball from Fairford, Ascot gained a corner kick but like the entire first half, no goal. Fairford made a break then but wplay stopped for an injury. After the stoppage, the keeper attended to the drop ball then the first half ended.

After a goal-less first half but Sullivan being replaced by Ascot. Ascot moved into Fairford territory and with the blustery conditions changing to heavy rain throughout much of the second session, the stalemate of the first half was soon broken although Fairford had made another break and Bailey struck the ball over Allen's crossbar. As Ascot had re-entered the visitor's territory, a free kick was awarded to Ascot to which Dan Price was selected to execute.A good choice because, in the 64th minute, he placed the ball inside the near post bottom corner having floated the ball over the Fairford wall Ascot now had a slender lead and Fairford were quite persistent despite worsening weather conditions.Allen claimed the ball from a Fairford free kick but Fairford returned with some useful moves resulting in a corner kick which Ascot defenders cleared. Minhas gave a boost when he assisted Jon Denton who slid the ball under Randall who. gave away an easy goal with 10 minutes still to play. Robbie James was then shown the red card, reducing Fairford to 10 men and 2 - 0 down. The next 10 minutes produced reasonable football but the final moments were somewhat bewildering when Louis Bouwers also received a red card for a clash and as he left the field, his team-mates put things together and Denton was able to bang in a third goal in the first minute or so of additional time. Ascot United are in second place in the League table and 3 goals and 3 points give them a boost for the next game next Saturday against Bishop's Cleeve at home.

Brackley Town Saints 0 Bishops Cleeve 2
A cold and windy afternoon at St James Park. Earlier in the season Cleeve edged a thriller between the two teams in the cup and another close encounter was expected. Saints Manager Gordon Kille was missing his 3 regular centre backs through injury and drafted Bradley Walker into the side for his Saints debut.

The early stages were encouraging with both teams looking to play out from the back. Cleeve showed early intent with a dangerous early cross which was tidily cleaned up by Jordan Godfrey. For 10 minutes there was not much in the game, but Cleeve had the upper hand with Saints appearing to be unusually sluggish and struggling to find space in the middle third of the pitch. On 11 minutes Ali Worby was forced into a good save from Aaron Drake who got a good head onto an in swinging corner. But a minute later Cleeve took the lead from the penalty spot after Saints were caught square and Bates found himself through one on one with Worby who clipped the striker as he toe ended the ball past him. Kennedy stepped up to calmly convert the penalty.  

Cleeve cleverly controlled the pace of the game taking their time over things and generally frustrating Saints. Walker was having a busy debut and made a good defensive header from a dangerous looking corner. Saints were enjoying good possession but not in areas that hurt Cleeve and it took 28 minutes for them to create a clear cut opening when a good break down the left saw Chris Jordan played in at the far post but the opportunity was snuffled before he could get his shot away. On 35 minutes Cleeves Watts had a strong shot on goal that was well saved by Worby, and 4 minutes later Wright headed a corner agonisingly wide of the left upright. Saints were inching themselves back into the game and Ryan Knight and Godfrey both had shots but which did not trouble the keeper. On 44 minutes Cleeve landed a sucker punch when Iddles picked up the ball unchallenged in midfield and split the central defence sending Watts away to stroke the ball past Worby. There was still time for Knight to fire a further shot off target and for an awful tackle on James Watts which saw Iddles shown a yellow card.

Saints licked their wounds at half time and started the second half with more intent, and although still feeling the effects of the tackle before half time James Watts found space to get a good shot away that was just wide. Cleeve were finding it harder to get forward but when they did they broke at speed and on 55 minutes only a cracking save from Worby kept Saints in the game when he tipped a dipping shot over the bar. Cleeve were defending robustly and on 60 minutes Staten made a really poor tackle on James Watts. Staten was also injured and many were expecting that he would receive a red card when he recovered, but the referee saw it only as a yellow card offence.

Saints were pressing hard now with 20 minutes to go and Kille had a good volley saved by goalkeeper Clayton, although Kille was adjudged offside. On 72 minutes Bates picked up a yellow card for an off the floor tackle that perhaps on another day may have been red. Saints were building a head of steam and on 74 minutes a great passing move through the left channel saw James Hammond scoop the ball narrowly over the bar followed 2 minutes later by a left foot shot from Hammond that was just too high after excellent approach play by substitute Caleb Chukwuemeka.

Cleeve broke again on 80 minutes and Kennedy came close with a clever lifted shot. Hammond and Knight then played a lovely one two that saw Knight arrow a shot just wide of goal. To their credit Saints battled gamely and were finally finding their passing range. Knight had a powerful shot saved by Clayton and Watts saw his shot blocked by the defender. Kille then tested Clayton who held firm. Cleeves defending was becoming more desperate and on 90 minutes Wright was booked for stopping Watts in full flight with a tackle more appropriate for Twickenham than a football pitch.

Cleeve saw the game out and were worthy winners in the end of a relatively even match where Saints shaded the possession and Cleeve shaded the attempts on goal and the number of fouls committed. However the most important statistic was the number of goals scored and in a first half where Cleeve played some fine attacking football they took a stranglehold on the game that Saints were unable to release. Cleeve must be applauded for stopping the Saints finding the net for the first time in 16 games.
Saints: Worby, Brock, Walker, Baldwin, Whitmore (Green 62), Kille, Godfrey (Middleton 82), Watts, Jordan (Chukwuemeka 66), Knight, Hammond – Subs not used Ward, Rhema

Virginia Water 3 Reading City 0
Virginia Water gained revenge on an earlier season thumping with a deserved win over a practically rebuilt Reading City side at Stag Meadow.

Playing into a strong wing in the first half, the home side put the match almost out of reach by half time, with three well taken goals. The first was Lorenzo Di Felice on 19 minutes, who rifled home with his left foot after some great build up play by Josh Hill and Jamie Read.

Our second came from a powerful Adam Mills header from a trademark Finn Evered throw on 29 minutes. Then Jamie got his first VW goal on 41 minutes, when he smashed home a right foot shot to leave their keeper no chance. In between we defended well, even though the wind was causing numerous problems for both sides.

In the second half, with the wind at our back, we thought we would kick on, and despite the tireless running of Jake Baker and Adam McNamara, we somehow failed to add to our tally.

To be fair to City, they never stopped and were the better side in the second half, especially following the introduction of two terrific youngsters out wide – the team were a credit to Simon Johnson, who has taken over the side (like VW with Zero budget) following the departure of many top players. They certainly deserved a goal of their own, and Waters had the likes of Joe McBride, Finn and some excellent saves by Matt to thank for preserving a clean sheet.

One East

Holyport 0 Didcot Town Dev’ 1 (away view)
Didcot Town headed to Summerleaze for a league encounter against a Holyport team that were averaging almost 5 goals in each of their last 7 matches and were unbeaten at home this season. The Railwaymen were on a decent run themselves and a composed hard working team performance from a largely young side matched and bettered the home team for long spells on a heavy pitch in windy conditions.

In truth both teams took time to work out the best way to adapt and although Sam Eeles in the Didcot goal was called on to make a decent save early on it was Didcot who created two good chances with Ross MacDonald's inviting cross just being missed by Davies and Hollister and being knocked for a corner. Jack Hollister was put through on goal but the ball just would not bounce kindly enough for him to aim properly and although the ball sailed over the Holyport keepers head it was cleared up the pitch. A Holyport forward did break through just before half time but after rounding Eeles in goal he could not provide a good cross to set up a teammate and the half ended goalless.

Early in the second half Johnny Feaver headed over for Holyport but it was Didcot who exerted a good period of pressure with MacDonald and Harry Moreton both having fine shots saved by the home keeper. A minute later and MacDonald battled through two tackles to create an opening and his fierce shot just shaved the wrong side of the post. Feaver shot wide from a promising position but Didcot were working hard at minimising Holyport chances and keeping the hotshot forwards at bay.James Barnett coolly cleared a dangerous home attack.

MacDonald who had harried the Holyport defence all game slipped his man and played a lovely through ball for Keiron Davis who was through on goal and he calmly slipped the ball under the goalkeeper for the only goal of the game. Holyport attempted to crank up some pressure late on but Didcot frequently moved up the park and retained possession well until the final whistle sounded and a well deserved three points for Didcot.

Some assured performances from a Didcot team with a good mix of experience but including George Gilmour and Harry Moreton from the current Under 18 team and Callum Young and James Barnett from last seasons Under 18's. 

Woodley United 4 Abingdon Town 3
United completed their league fixtures against Abingdon Town on Saturday and just like the first game played on the opening day of the season there were plenty of goals.

The hosts nearly got off to the perfect start when Leon Mannion latched onto a Pablo Fernandez through ball inside the opening sixty seconds. Beating Kieran Beesley in the Town goal, the ball missed to the left by inches. Beesley was then called into action to deny both Fernandez and Max Laschok as Woodley started well. The early pressure yielded the game’s first goal on ten minutes when Laschok fired into the left corner after finding space on the right of the box. Ninety seconds later the scores were level when Jamar Smith netted against the run of play.

Every time United went forward they looked dangerous. Some individual brilliance from Laschok saw him evade several challenges before firing a shot goal wards that was blocked by an excellent tackle. The ball fell kindly to Fernandez who forced Beesley into a fine stop getting down well and getting a strong hand on the ball that was destined for the right corner. Eighteen minutes on the clock saw Jono Malone head back across goal a deep Chace Jewell corner. Sticking out a leg Laschok couldn’t divert Freddie Barron’s low shot on target. Woodley retook the lead on twenty one from the penalty spot. Catching a defender holding onto the ball too long Laschok won possession on the right; looking up, his low cross picked out Mannion who was fouled as he was shooting. Despite guessing the right way and getting a hand on the penalty Laschok’s shot had enough on it to find the right corner.

The home side then had two half chances to increase their lead. Some good individual play by Mannion using pace and power saw him cut in from the left before testing Beesley from twenty two yards. Mannion then turned provider with a nice through ball to Laschok who was denied by the Town keeper from a tight angle on the left of the box. Just past the half hour Abingdon had their best spell of the half; Ryan Brooks forced a comfortable stop from Tom Bryant after some good play on the right. Brooks was then involved in his side levelling the game for a second time in slightly fortuitous circumstances. Striking his shot well it was blocked by a United defender into the path of Marlon James who smashed into the left corner.

Despite the setback Woodley continued to dominate. Fernandez combined with Mannion who had his cross deflect behind with Laschok free at the back post. Laschok then missed the target after ghosting in at the back post to get on the end of a Harry Hawkins pass. Seven minutes before the break United went ahead for the third time courtesy of an excellent team goal. Laschok held his run to stay onside, rounded Beesley then rolled a pass across goal to Fernandez who had enough time to take a touch then smash home. The half ended with a weak Town shot from twenty five yards missing to the right, an effort from similar range easy for Bryant and Fernandez shooting over at the other end.

Woodley started the second period well trying to get a two goal cushion. Fernandez sent Mannion racing clear on the left wing; skipping past several challenges his low cross was cut out by Ben Moses. Barron then had a shot saved from the right before Mannion got a deserved goal on fifty nine minutes when he coolly slotted past Beesley after a Fernandez assist.

The visitors were looking to get back into the game. Courtney Lawrence missed from long range before a brilliant block by Pele Hagger thwarted substitute Adam Doyle. United made a change on sixty six minutes when Adam Barnard made way for Alex Freeth. The change saw Barron join Hawkins in central midfield with Freeth taking over from Barron at right wing back.

With twenty minutes to go the hosts had two half chances. Jewell missed from the left whilst Barron also couldn’t hit the target from the right. In between these chances Brooks had his header saved after a cross from the overlapping Kyeece Martei. Abingdon were a mess defensively with Woodley breaking through on numerous occasions. Mannion found himself in on Beesley who committed early; the United forward chipped over the keeper only to see his effort roll wide of the right post. The away side then had a very good spell that rattled Woodley. James McCarthy just missed to the left before Doyle set up a nervous seven minutes when he curled into the top right corner from the edge of the box. Sixty seconds after the goal McCarthy came within inches of tying the game when his powerful shot hit the right post. United held on and actually created the final two chances. Mannion rounded the keeper but saw a green shirt come round on the cover to clear whilst a Jewell free kick went over after a foul on Laschok.

One West

Clanfield 85 2 Cirencester Town Development 1
DevelopmentAfter successive defeats to the Kidlington Development team and Bishops Cleeve Clanfield returned to winning ways with a 2-1 win against the Cirencester Town Development team in a fairly scrappy game with wet weather making good football difficult.

Before the game a minute's silence was observed in memory of Len Tooley who was Treasurer of Clanfield in the 1980's.

The first half saw little goalmouth action although Connor Hibbs for the visitors came close while at the other end Craig Connor put in a dangerous free kick which no-one was able to get a decisive touch to and Callum Miller also came close to scoring. However towards the end of the half Clanfield took the lead when following Jack Kennedy's ball into the box Callum Miller was the last Clanfield player to touch the ball and as such has the legitimate claim to the goal, even if the ball went in off a Cirencester player.

Early in the second half Cirencester were reduced to 10 men when Dan Roberts was sent off. The home team almost made it 2-0 when Kennedy following up after Callum Miller's initial shot was saved could not quite manage to get his effort on target. Clanfield made it 2-0 when Nathan Kimber produced a good finish following a counter attack.

However Clanfield gave away a sloppy goal allowing Max Lloyd to score and Cirencester captain Sam Farr whose Dad Ian used to play for Clanfield tested the home team's Goalkeeper Luke Haley with a long range free kick.

In the game's closing minutes Lloyd became the second visiting player to receive a red card, but in the end it was a much needed three points for Clanfield who move up to fifth in the table as a result.

Easington 11 New College Swindon 0
Picture courtesy of Edwin Barson @ebarsonphotosEasington proved too strong for our visitors yesterday and were in cruise control for almost the entire match. Sports were 2-0 up after 6 minutes which meant that New College were never going to get back into the game. Credit must go to the young New College side for continuing to make a game of things right to the end. However, these young players were no match for Sports who looked like scoring from virtually every foray into the visitors’ half.

Joe Eyre scored a hat trick, a brace for Callum Convey, Mike Spaull and further goals from Josh Rose, Lloyd Sabin, Joe Coleman Sean Snelling finished the rout. Sports are now up to second place in the league on goal difference.

The result could have been more with a number of squandered chances in the second half including a missed penalty. The deputising goalkeeper for the visitors (pictured with Easington's Callum Convey) made a string of good saves to also keep the scoreline down.

Although New College rarely threatened, Sports had some fine spells of link up play that would have unlocked better opposition defences in the league.

Manager Ben Milner was pleased with the result and the number of goals scored which will certainly boost goal difference which might play a part come the end of the season.


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