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6 January 2018

buildbase Buildbase FA Vase - Fourth Round

Blackfield & Langley 3 Bracknell Town 3 (away view)
Battling Bracknell Town earned a home Buildbase FA Vase fourth-round replay against Sydenhams Wessex League high-fliers Blackfield & Langley with a 3-3 draw after extra time.

The Robins trailed three times to a side that was reduced to 10 men late in the first half when keeper Brad Snelling was sent off for bringing down Kensley Maloney as the midfielder broke free into the area. Fortunately for them, the home side had named a reserve goalie in Callum Maher and, after midfielder Connor Hoare had been substituted, Maher's first job was to pick the ball out of the net as Seb Bowerman found the bottom left-hand corner from the penalty spot.

This 40th-minute goal - the first Blackfield had conceded in nine games - cancelled out the 24th-minute opener from home skipper Sam Poole who headed past keeper Chris Grace after Bracknell had been slow to react to a short-corner routine.

Bracknell, with their man advantage, dominated the second half, but they fell behind again when Lerone Plummer restored the home side's after 57 minutes as he seized on a slip in defence to beat Grace.  His goal looked set to prove the winner when the tie moved into extra time, however, out of the blue came Bracknell's second goal - a left-footed thunderbolt from midfielder Jamie McClurg, who found the top right-hand corner from the edge of the area. Robins  still had to defend and it needed a superb  block by Joe Gater  to deny the hosts  another goal.

They did fall  behind again four minutes into extra time through Sam Griffin, but six minutes later Bowerman's superb delivery into the area saw substitute Terence Bohane bring the scores level  for a third time. Town had strong appeals for a penalty rejected when Adam Cornell looked to be fouled, while Bowerman had a good effort tipped over the bar and they looked the more likely side to snatch a late winner.

It was an exciting game for neutrals, but could not have done the heart pressure of Blackfield and Bracknell fans in the crowd of around 150. With Blackfield tiring, the visitors looked more likely to grab the winner, but in the end, a draw was a fair result and the sides will meet again at Larges Lane on Tuesday. Whilst they have the advantage of playing on their 3G pitch, the Robins still have a lot of work to do if they are to reach the last 16 as Blackfield are certainly one of the best sides they have faced this season. This replay, of course, means that the Uhlsport Hellenic League club's Berks & Bucks Senior Cup tie against Slough, which was re-arranged late last week for this Tuesday, will have to be changed again.

Eastbourne Town 1 Windsor 3 (away view)
Windsor have reached the last 16 of the FA Vase this season after a 3-1 win away at Eastbourne Town on Saturday. Not for the first time, Windsor had to come from behind in order to progress but it was a deserved win and much to the delight of the traveling support.

Windsor made a bright start to the tie at The Saffrons and Barry Hayles saw a low shot saved by the legs of keeper Greg Nessling. The stopper also kept out a header from George Gould that looked destined for the top corner. Eastbourne took the lead with a goal somewhat against the run of play in the 27th minute. A counter-attacking move saw the ball passed out wide to Aaron Capon who crossed low from the right wing for Evan Archibald to slot in with his right foot from inside the box. The home side were unfortunate not to go further ahead moments later when Windsor keeper Hugo Sobte saved a Daniel Rogers header onto the bar with his right hand.

Eastbourne were much the better side early on in the second half but Capon and Archibald were both wasteful in front of goal, while Sobte was at his best to pull of another one-handed save. Hayles should have equalised when his header from a Paul Coyne free-kick was straight at Nessling, but Windsor kept on pushing forward and got their rewards with an equaliser on 78 minutes.

Substitute Nadir Shafi was tripped in the box and Kieran Knight sent the spot-kick past the diving Nessling and to the keeper’s left. Windsor were well on top in the final 10 minutes and went ahead in the final minute of normal time. Substitute Riccardo Cannon fed the ball to Shafi who, from a tight angle, fired powerfully past Nessling and into the roof of the net with his right boot. Shafi was superb in his role from the bench and got the assist for the third goal, squaring the ball for fellow sub Matt Stockhill to roll into the empty net in the fifth minute of time added on.

Windsor boss Mick Woodham said: “It feels amazing - I’m just so pleased and delighted for the players and everyone connected with the club because it was a massive effort today.”

Thatcham Town 2 Biggleswade 1
Thatcham Town had to work extra hard to beat Biggleswade FC 2-1 in their Buildbase FA Vase tie on a day when they were missing leading goal scorers Shane Cooper-Clark (suspended) and Liam Ferdinand (cup-tied). But Harry Grant and Bab Jarra came up trumps with a goal in each half, however, the Kingfishers hero was keeper Chris Rackley who pulled off a string of outstanding saves as Thatcham

In front of a crowd of 216, Grant opened the scoring in the 24th minute and Jordan Brown went close to doubling the lead before the visitors equalised. Rackley brought down Alex Marsh and was shown the yellow card before Nathan George fired home the penalty to make it 1-1 with 30 minutes gone.

The Spartan South Midlands League side then enjoyed a good spell of domination, but the Kingfishers defended extremely well with Rackley looking unbeatable, although he was relieved to see one effort strike the underside of the crossbar and rebound out.

Thatcham - badly missing Cooper-Clark as their target man - lacked their usual threat up front, yet still managed to pull something out of the bag. That came in the 76th minute when they broke away to force a corner, and defender Jarra bundled the ball over the line for the winner.

Buoyed by the goal, Danny Robinson's men looked the better side in the closing stages and substitute Ross Cook was not far away from adding a third, although it again needed smart work from Rackley to deny the visitors a late scoring opportunity.

At the final whistle, there was a lot of jostling in front of the dug-outs with the referee handing out cards to a couple of Biggleswade players. After the match Robinson was honest enough to admit: "They (Biggleswade) were better than us. It was probably the worst we have played this season. I think we had only three shots on goal. We were tested to the max, but all credit to my lads, they stuck together, absorbed a lot of pressure and they got us through. Lady luck shone down on us today, but we earned our luck."

uhlsport football kitPremier Division

Ascot United 1 Abingdon United 1
Ascot United and Abingdon United shared the spoils in an entertaining one-all draw on Saturday. Both sides had chances to win it – and both sides hit the woodwork – but the result was a fair reflection of the game. Abingdon had enjoyed a decent spell of league form entering the match, having taken 11 points from a possible 18 and holding both Highworth and Flackwell Heath to draws. Ascot, meanwhile, had been inconsistent having both scored and leaked up to four goals in a frustrating December, but one which had at least boosted their own survival hopes.

Facing up to life without striker Ben Harris, an end end-of-year transfer to Slough Town after netting seven goals in seven matches for Ascot, the Yellamen turned to Barry Dunbar who made his starting debut. And, just as Harris had scored ten minutes into his debut for Slough on New Year’s Day, Dunbar opened the scoring ten minutes after his own curtain call. The move leading up to the goal itself was excellent. Trevor Mutero did superbly well to win possession in his own half, and after releasing George Lock, the defender galloped forward and struck an accurate cross that Dunbar controlled and slotted under Ed Cavanagh.

Abingdon were, however, good value leading up to their equaliser just before half time. Graham Edney saw a rising effort parried over by Lee Allen and Cian McCormack saw weak header spilt by Allen before Conor Ingram’s follow up was blocked, but it was Callum Harvey’s stinging effort on 35 minutes which brought the best out of Allen, who tipped the shot away.

Either side of that last effort Ascot had lost playmakers Samir Regragui and Mutero to injury, before a thrilling end to the half. First, Harvey brilliantly chipped Allen for Abingdon’s 40th minute equaliser after John Addis had played him in, before Ross Seldon’s left-footed shot for Ascot from outside the area struck the inside of the left-hand post and flew across Cavanagh’s six-yard box. And, there was still time for Sam Wharton to blaze over at the far post for Abingdon and Dunbar to glance a header wide for Ascot, but it remained level at the break.

The second half was ten minutes old when Cavanagh produced his best save of the game to deny Mo Davies’ shot at full stretch, but it was Ryan Cooper’s brilliantly timed tackle at the other end moments later that denied tricky substitute Dejon Noel-Williams a scoring chance. Harvey then rattled the crossbar for Abingdon and Noel-Williams saw a shot fizz narrowly wide, but Allen thwarted substitute Jack Dell as time ran out when he stood up well to deny the clean-through Abingdon man after Wharton had turned provider. Ascot almost had the last laugh only for Dunbar’s effort to be chalked off by the linesman in added time, and with matches running out for Ascot – eight of their remaining eleven matches coming on the road – it remains to be seen how valuable this point will be.

Brackley Town Saints 0 Longlevens 1
Saints welcomed Longlevens to a dry but bitterly cold St James Park for their first fixture of the new year. Manager Gordon Kille, once again forced to make changes due to injury, unavailability, and suspensions, brought Sam Hartley back in to the middle of his back four and gave youngster Keegan Giles a starting role in the middle of midfield in place of skipper Lewis Baldwin.

The first real opportunity for the home side came after 12 minutes when Ryan Knight collected a cross from Matt Johnson inside the Longlevens penalty area but the Saints attacker's shot was deflected wide for a corner. Just 3 minutes later Saints midfielder James Watts hit a well struck shot towards goal but unfortunately straight at Ashley Wintle in the Longlevens goal. With 22 minutes gone it looked odds on that the away side would open the scoring when their striker ran clear of the Saints defence but the home sides keeper, Alastair Worby, pulled off another excellent 1 v 1 save to keep the scores level.

Throughout the remainder of the first half Saints took the game to their opponents creating a number of chances but shots from Keegan Giles, Ryan Knight, Chris Jordan, Tom Kalugin, and Matt Johnson all came to nothing. Longlevens were playing their part in an attacking game and shortly before half-time only a great tackle by Saints centre-back Dan Middleton denied them a goal.

The first attack of the second half saw an excellent shot by Matt Johnson parried out by Wintle but unfortunately Tom Kalugin couldn't quite get to the rebound first and the ball was cleared for another Saints corner. As is so often the case in football, with Saints piling the pressure on the visitors goal it was Longlevens who broke the deadlock when a long clearance drew Alastair Worby out of his goal to collect but, unfortunately for the Saints keeper, the ball held up in the wind and Shaun O'Connor chipped the ball into the empty net, 0 – 1 Longlevens.

For the remaining 30 minutes of the game Saints threw everything at Longlevens to try to get the equaliser their performance deserved. A well struck shot by James Watts beat the keeper but came back of the post and an excellent attempt by substitute Callum Williams was just deflected away for a corner. Saints substitution: Calum Pearce on for Chris Jordan, 80 minutes. From one of the many corners for the home side centre-back Sam Hartley's header was cleared off the line and with just 5 minutes left a good free kick from James Watts was headed millimetres wide by Matt Johnson with the keeper beaten. Despite all the chances Saints couldn't get their equaliser and Longlevens held on to take the points

Flackwell Heath 2 Fairford Town 2 (away view)
Fairford Town captain Lee Smith scored his 14th goal of the season two minutes from time to secure a point at Flackwell Heath on Saturday. The visitors had played well for the point, holding the home side level at the break before Shane Bumphrey opened the scoring on 49 minutes with his second goal for Fairford on his return to the side following suspension.

However, the home side levelled just four minutes later and when the hosts took the lead with 15 minutes remaining, it looked as though a familiar tale was unfolding with Fairford's good work undone. Fairford's cause was not helped when they were reduced to ten men with midfielder Callum Preece dismissed for two bookable offences with eight minutes remaining. However the Gloucestershire side showed their mettle with captain Smith's strike two minutes from time securing a deserved point.

Highmoor Ibis 2 Woodley United 2 (away view)
Woodley started 2018 with a point at Highmoor Ibis. The result keeps United above the relegation zone and ends a run of six consecutive league defeats.

The hosts had the game's first chance and it came with just sixty seconds on the clock. Aaron De Rama tested Alex Reed in the Woodley goal from distance. Thirteen minutes in saw United go ahead with their first shot of the year. Haydon Richardson got on the end of a nice through ball from Toby Briggs and beat Aaron Watkins with a low shot into the right corner.

Woodley continued to look the more dangerous of the two sides with most of the half played in the Ibis final third. Richardson shot well over from a Danny Horscroft corner before Horscroft had an effort deflect behind off a defender. Mid way through the half the scores were level when Highmoor equalised against the run of play; Joe Joslyn set up Kia Alleyene who finished well. Immediately after the goal United had a half chance to retake the lead when wing back Jordan Goddard forced a save from Watkins diving to his left.

Highmoor started the half well. A deep left wing corner found Ricardo Catlyn who had his first shot blocked; the rebound fell to the same player who blazed over. The hosts were gifted a chance to go ahead from the spot on forty seven minutes when Reed bought down Joslyn. Imani Likita stepped up and beat Reed with a low shot into the right corner. Looking for an immediate response Richardson had a shot blocked before Liam Wilson replaced Luke Turner.

Just past the hour Highmoor hit Woodley on the counter when Alleyne raced clear on the wing; he found Joslyn who missed to the right. United made another change on seventy minutes when Goddard made way for Carl Prestidge. The sides traded shots as the game entered the final fifteen minutes. Alleyne missed to the right from a tight angle, whilst Richardson had a shot blocked as the visitors pressed for an equaliser.

With five minutes left the scores were back level when a deflected Horscroft shot found the right corner. Ibis were reduced to ten men in injury time when Austin Best was shown a second yellow for a foul on the left wing. The resultant free kick was taken by Ashley Ledger who found Horscroft; turning in the box his well hit effort was kept out by Watkins.

One East

Holyport 8 Thame Rangers 1
Coming into the game Thame Rangers sat 4 points behind Holyport but with 2 games in hand. After a last minute winner at Thame earlier all those involved would have expected a close game but it was far from that.

In just the 3rd minute Steve Deverall set Fabian Driffill clear down the left channel, after beating his man to the byline his close found Andy Forisky who volleyed home from 8 yards out to give Holyport a perfect start. Just minutes after the restart and Matt Ensby chased down a shot which the Thame keeper spilled. Ensby got past the keeper and squared to the on rushing Alert Marques who had the simple task of passing into an empty nett, 2-0 after just 6 minutes.

Holyport continued to move forward and dominate the game with Thame looking shaken from the early goals. The full backs of Feaver and Ensby were linking up well with Deverall and Forisky and with Driffill causing issues Port looked dangerous on every venture forward. On 20 minutes Driffill got his first of the game as Forsake cut the ball back and Driffill calmly picked his spot to make it 3-0.

His second goal minutes later could not have been any different, picking the ball up on the halfway line he ghosted past three players before smashing a shot home from 25 yards out, 4-0. Feaver then linked up with Deverall and Feaver cut into the box but shot wide when well placed. The back two of DeFranco and Ovens along with keeper Quench were marshalling the Thame forwards, their closest effort came on 40 minutes with a shot that flew over the cross bar. On 44 minutes Driffill completed his hat trick as his shot crept under the Thames keepers body to make it 5-0 at HT

As expected in these games Holyport were a bit disjointed in the second period as players took a few too many touches and over played. On 68 minutes Holyport were awarded a penalty out of the blue which was duly despatched by Driffill to make it 4 goals. From kick off Thame responded and got a consolation goal as Port switched off. As the game wore on DeFrance made it 7-1 with a fine header and central midfielder Evans completed the scoring to make it 8-1.

Penn & Tylers Green 1 Wokingham & Emmbrook 0
Penn scored a late winner to secure a good win on Saturday against a very resilient Wokingham & Emmbrook side and therefore closed the gap on current leaders Bicester Town, who did not play.

With Adam Davies injured and George Weller out with flu, manager John Sepede adhered to the “square pegs in square holes “philosophy, and co-manager James Pritchard stepped into the midfield alongside Danny Jordan to make up a very experienced central midfield partnership, which performed admirably throughout the match. After a two-week Christmas break it took Penn just a minute to get into their stride as Chris Hurst fired an early warning to Wokingham by hitting the crossbar.

Wokingham then nearly caught out the Penn defence with a quick break down the left-hand side but JJ Lofthouse-Smith cleared the danger. For the rest of the half Penn were on top mounting wave after wave of attacks resulting in near misses, corners and to be fair the Wokingham goalkeeper made some fine saves to keep Wokingham in the game. Adam Harman hit the bar with a glancing header, George Gumbs burst through and narrowly missed and James Pritchard almost scored direct from a corner but another good save at the near post from the Wokingham keeper kept the scores level. This pattern continued until half time.

The second half followed a similar pattern with chance after chance going begging for Penn with crosses being fired in and shots going wide or being saved. A glancing header from Hurst went narrowly wide. Wokingham, sensing it may be their lucky day, began to have a spell of counter attacks and had a couple of dangerous free kicks which were well dealt with by the Penn defence.
With the clock ticking away manager John Sepede freshened things up for Penn and the introduction of Fred Tripp up front, Josiah Bridgeman on the right and Nile O’Meally-Newell on the left gave Penn six fresh legs and the bombardment of the Wokingham goal continued.

One searing shot from Fred Tripp was brilliantly tipped over by the Wokingham goalkeeper. Then on 87 minutes with the home support anticipating a disappointing draw two of the three substitutes made their mark. Nile O’Meally-Newell picked up a pass on the left and immediately released Josh Fox for one of his trademark runs down the left wing and his low cross evaded everyone and there was Fred Tripp at the far post to slot home from six yards. The roar of the home support could be heard across Penn pond but the sigh of relief was probably louder! The last three minutes were comfortably played out and very good valuable three points were in the bag for Penn.

Wallingford Town 2 Didcot Town Reserves 2 (away view)
Didcot were the New Year visitors to near neighbours Wallingford for this league encounter brought forward to an early kick off due to home floodlight issues. In truth there was little to light up a dreary first half and the first issue of note was a home goal when Didcot keeper Ashley Stevens dropped a harmless corner kick which squirmed over the line to give the hosts the lead in the 6th minute. A minute later and the home keeper dropped a Jack Hollister cross but Siji Akinlosi just failed to capitalise. Wallingford then returned the compliment to Didcot in the 11th minute when a poor defensive clearance ended up behind the home keeper and Chris Mortimore who was doing his best to close down the defence had the easy task of tapping in to an empty net. So one each when neither team deserved a goal seemed a bit bizarre. 

Some bookings ensued as the home team attempted to thwart mainly Jack Hollister as he attempted to work his way forward and he got a nasty knock on the nose in one move. There was little else to record until just before half time when Mortimore broke up the pitch and crossed for Michal Filipowicz whose hard shot was well saved by home keeper Liam Vaughan. Keiran Collins shot over from an offside position. 

While both teams seemed rusty in the first half things did pep up a bit in the second half with Didcot getting forward more often and in one such move Akinlosi won the ball up the pitch and his strong run resulted in a cross to Jack Hollister whose shot was saved by Vaughan. Didcot applied some pressure from the resultant corner but could not divert the ball goalwards enough to create a clean opening. A good Aaron Davies and Hollister 1_2 found Akinlosi deflecting just wide Taylor Jane’s fed Hollister who was brought down but given no free kick. Steve Gair shot over the bar for the home side before Mortimore got a knock down towards Lewis Wilcox who madeno mistake from close in and give Didcot a lead they deserved. The middle section of the second half continued with Didcot moving forward and some intricate play ended with no player taking the responsibility to shoot and the pressure came to nothing. 

An Aaron Davies free kick reached Lewis Wilcox who deflected a chance just over the bar. A Taylor Jane’s cross found Filipowicz but he could not direct the ball goalwards. With 20 minutes remaining Wallingford were lucky to retain 11players on the pitch as Steve Gair stamped on Keiran Collins and was only booked by the inconsistent referee who by full time had booked six home players (could easily have sent off two) and booked two Didcot. Ben Matthews for Wally had a fierce shot well tipped over by keeper Stevens. Wallingford forced a corner in the 7th minute of injury time and headed home the equaliser and the ref blew for full time on the restart to give both teams a point on a bobbly pitch which made control of the ball difficult. 

One West

Letcombe 1 Ardley United 1
Letcombe can consider themselves very unlucky not to have won this game against runaway league leaders Ardley United having created numerous good chances in the first 30 minutes. Strikers Adam Bruce and Harry Monger both missed clear opportunities in the first quarter of the game, and Letcombe's hard work prevented the visitors from playing their usual passing game. Alex Fragata caused problems on the left, and he beat his full back before shooting narrowly wide, and a fierce long range effort from Monger also went wide. Hard working Ben Hummel put Ardley keeper Steve Lewis under pressure who did well to clear the ball, before the visitors broke away to take the lead against the run of play. The home defence failed to clear a ball through the middle, allowing captain Deon Gallagher to score.

Letcombe again pushed forward in the second half with Danny Lachacz and Iggy Ilott winning the midfield battle, and Letcombe got the equaliser they deserved when a pass from Adam Bruce enable Ben Hummel to race clear and calmly place the ball past keeper Lewis. Lachacz and Monger both went close as Letcombe searched for the winner, and Jack Heggie raced clear on the right but chose to shoot from a narrow angle when a cut-back to the onrushing forwards may have been a better option.

Ardley raised their game in the last quarter, and home keeper Charlie McCreadie made three outstanding saves as Ardley suddenly looked like taking all three points. Letcombe manager Garry Cook decided to settle for a point, and replaced two attacking players with more defensive midfield ones.

Letcombe would probably have settled for a point prior to the game, but were left to reflect on those missed first half chances. A draw was probably a fair result however.

Letcombe 1 Ardley United 1(away view)
Ardley knew they would be in for a tough encounter away to a strong Letcombe side and they weren’t wrong. On a sticky pitch in wet windy conditions, following a lengthy break from football over the Christmas period, it was going to be nothing else but a battle.

Letcombe had the better of the chances in the first half, following defensive lapses and they really should have scored a couple of goals from those chances.  However, although Letcombe looked the more likely to score, it was Ardley who took the lead in the 35th minute through captain, Deon Gallacher. He was put through and skipped round the advancing keeper on the edge of the penalty area and then turned inside a defender and finished well from 18 yards to send Ardley in at the break with a 1 goal lead.

The second half saw Ardley come out stronger, but against the run of play they conceded a goal when Letcombe finshed well from a counter attack in the 55th minute. From then on the longer the game went on the more Ardley dominated, but credit must go to the Letcombe keeper who was in fine form. This was a game of 2 halves and a draw seemed a fair result at the end of play. Ardley now look forward to hosting Pewsey Vale at home on Saturday.

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