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26 January

uhlsport football kitPremier Division

Ascot United 1 Flackwell Heath 3
Flackwell Heath beat Ascot United 3-1 on home stalwart Jonny Denton’s 100th appearance for the club. The Heathens were good value for their win, racing into a two-nil lead, and survived Ascot’s threatened recovery to maintain their own good run.

On paper this was tough one to call. Flackwell arrived in resolute form, with the league’s meanest defence underpinning just one defeat in fifteen stretching back to late October. Meanwhile, The Yellamen had entered January off the back of their second team-of-the-month award this season, although prior experience had proved that the accolade can transpire to be something of a curse.

And so it played out. The first half was desperately poor for the Yellamen who had two lame attempts to show for their intricate but ultimately fruitless passing, whilst managing to concede a farcical goal at the other end.

Adam Thomas opened the scoring for Flackwell in the 12th minute direct from a corner, and if that wasn’t bad enough, Leius Sinclair tapped home with a near-embarrassed expression after Lee Allen and Louis Bouwers had fluffed their lines when attempting to clear after Sodike Anyadike-Thompson’s shot had come back off Allen’s feet. Between those efforts, Thomas struck the crossbar with a wind-assisted effort from distance, and although Ascot improved, only Lamin Sankoh’s scooped effort which sailed well over and Harry Laflin’s mis-timed header were anywhere near of dragging the hosts back in it.

The hosts rallied in the second half and claim close early-on when Elliott Carey poked over Jonny Denton’s corner was flicked on. However, they got their reward in the 53rd minute following a quick break. Geoff Kibaki did well to thwart a Heathens’ attack, allowing Chris Ellis to thread the ball down the right wing, and after Laflin’s second attempt at a cross picked out Luqman Kassim, Kassim swivelled and fired past Aaron Watkins.

At that point, it looked good for Ascot, and man-of-the-match Denton – who was one of the few home players that stood out – delivered a sublime 59th minute cross that neither Kibaki or Sankoh could force past Watkins. However, all hope looked extinguished when Ascot conceded a penalty for handball – 72 minutes played – only for Allen to claw Thomas’s resultant spot-kick over the bar. Sadly for Ascot, their renewed hope was short-lived as substitute Marcus Oshiro-Lumb curled a sublime effort over Allen and into the top right corner two minutes later.

Denton saw a free kick strike Kassim and bobble wide as Ascot sought an unlikely way back, but Flackwell might have added a fourth only for Thomas to shoot wide as Allen came off his line before Sinclair’s late effort was tipped over by the Ascot ‘stopper late-on. It wasn’t quite the party which Denton’s stature in the club warranted, but the Yellaman can have few complaints at the result.

Ascot United: Allen, Kibaki, Denton, Carey, Bouwers, Ellis, Sankoh (Haworth), Regragui (Lock), Laflin (Lalustani), Price, Kassim. Subs unused: Carlisle, Kadi

Ascot United 1 Flackwell Heath 3 (neutral report by Arthur Strand)
Jonny Denton celebrated his 100th appearance on Saturday last at the Racecourse ground and the team then faced Flackwell Heath, a couple of places lower in the table, with a tough game ahead. The visitors, in red strip, kicked off and Adam Thomas soon reached the corner flag rounding the defender and forcing a corner. which then landed on top of the net. Ascot then moved upfield whereby Chris Ellis, the long throw-in specialist sent in the ball that ended up out of play for a corner to Ascot. Two free kicks later, Flackwell had a chance with a long range free kick which missed the target. After 12 minutes, the ball was in the Ascot penalty area.when it went out for a corner kick. This was taken by Adam Thomas and swung into the top corner at the far post just beyond the reach of Lee Allen. Thomas arrived in Ascot's danger zone again and beat his man and the ensuing shot hit the crossbar, to the keeper's relief. James Mansfield won the ball for the visitors but Allen dealt with the ball sent direct to him. A similar effort the other end went through to Aaron Watkins, in Flackwell's goal. Attention was drawn to the either end, although Luqman Kassim had chased the ball forward and Flackwell returned to Ascot's end when Sodike Anyadike-Thompson's shot rebounded from Lee Allen's boots and Louis Bouwers and Lee Allen were both attempting to clear the ball simultaneously, giving Lewis Sinclair an easy prod into the net after 23 minutes. Dan Price made ground but the ensuing cross was cleared by an attentive Flackwell defender and a shot went over the bar. Next thing was Ascot's next move saw the keeper claim a high ball and Flackwell took a free kick in their own area. The visitors broke away into Ascot territory but were stuck temporarily on the sidelines. Eventually, Sodike Anyadike-Thompson was beaten off hte ball and Ascot were able to clear with a series of passes but offside was flagged nd a free kick was taken by Flackwell who continued to press forwards and sent a long range shot for Lee Allen to gather in. After Ellis was left on the turf, Ascot countered again and took a corner. The header which missed goal was followed up by a free kick in Flackwell's box. Cameron Gray started a move for Flackwell but the cross from the left wing went past the defence and was too much for any approaching forwards. With half time on its way, Ascot's Harry Laflin headed wide of the mark then Flackwell had a chance although Anyadike-Thompson missed entirely.

Ascot kicked off to restart the game for the second half as the second session commenced and the approach work was good but the outcome was incomplete and a defender cleared the ball only for Ascot to return forcing a corner, Denton found the middle of the box and the ball was nudged just over the bar. After ten minutes, Ascot made a break as Luqman Kassim went forwards , flicking the ball over the head of an approaching defender and Ascot had pulled back a goal and play had improved. Denton and Sankoh combined but the ball went out for a goal kick. A free kick to Ascot arrived in the arms of Watkins and Flackwell began to recover from the knock back as Kassim retrieved the ball for Ascot and went off along the left wing. Ellis then sent a long throw in towards goal but Watkins managed to punch the ball away. Ascot then created a corner kick from a free kick, the corner was an in-swinger that Watkins found no trouble. Play stopped when the net in the roof of the goal required attention. Flackwell players were soon busy at the other end and gained a penalty for handball, taken by Adam Thomas and superbly saved by Allen. After Marcus Lumb, substitute, cracked a shot in , Flackwell had made up for the unsuccessful penalty in the 74th minute. Ascot made a double substitution and the third substitute came on soon after.[see below]. As the game drew to a close, it fizzled out somewhat and Ascot had improved greatly during the second half reducing the domination of the first half by the visitors whose defence was solid although some of their tackles were a trifle severe.

Reading City 0 Tuffley Rovers 2 (away view)
112 days after registering their last win in the Hellenic League Premier Division, Tuffley Rovers finally recorded three points, as they overcame a determined second-half performance from their hosts, Reading City, courtesy of two goals in the closing moments of the first period.

Rovers boss, Mark Pritchett, made three changes to the starting line-up that left Virginia Water with a point seven days previously, as Shayne Bradley made way for Jake Rhodes, Paul Carter replaced Henry Birkett and Tyreece Briscoe regained a starting place in favour of Kieran Alder. Both sides came into the game in lowly league positions, although Rovers were on an unbeaten run spanning league three games (all draws), which was a positive position in comparison to City, who had lost their last four league games.

A fairly even opening fifteen minutes saw both sides share possession without seriously threatening, before Carter’s free-kick drew a routine stop from Matt Carr, in the Reading City goal. Rovers were now on top and a wave of attacks, punctuated by the odd break from City - usually involving the pace of Ousman Darboe – with Brett James and Warren Mann both prominent in the build-up, although Carr was relatively untroubled in the hosts’ goal. A few moments later, James should have opened the scoring, only to shoot wide from 4 yards, albeit under pressure and on the angle, after Macaulay Herbert had headed a Carter free-kick into his path. James was adjudged to be offside three minutes later, as he and Rhodes looked set to compete in turning the ball into the City goal.

The half continued with Rovers very much on top, without creating any clear chances, and it took until the 43rd minute for Pritchett’s side to take a deserved lead. Rhodes, who was involved in much of Rovers’ attacking play, did wonderfully well to break two challenges before rolling the ball into the Reading City net, to make it 1-0. No sooner had the game restarted than it was 2-0, as James, who was otherwise profligate in front of goal, turned home Mann’s cross from close range, after the diminutive Rovers wide man had been well-supported by Briscoe and Rhodes’ effort to meet the cross was enough to draw attention away from James. Moments later, the referee sounded his whistle for half-time and Rovers entered the break with a genuine hope of collecting all three points.

The game resumed with the hosts very much on top, with Darboe remaining a threat and well supported by Adam Cashin-Murray and Jordan Alves from the midfield. With 60 minutes gone, Marcus Whittaker swung over a terrific cross, only for Ellis Cowd to head wide, as City looked to make Rovers pay for a lethargic start to the second period. Luke Merchant, whose return to the Rovers goal - after a short spell as a first choice at parent club Cirencester Town – has coincided with two positive results, made a decent save to deny Alves, when he looked set to score, before making another decent claim, from a difficult cross, to ease the pressure. At the other end, Rovers continued to look capable of breaking effectively, although their hosts were far more resilient once Nasir Boukarie entered the fray, adding solidity to their defensive line.

By the half-way point of the second period, the home team were on top and should have pulled a goal back, as Matt Deadfield found himself with a glorious chance, but he blazed over with only Merchant to beat. Rovers continued to threaten on the break but the hosts defended well and with neither side creating a clear chance, the second half drew to an end with the score unchanged and Rovers celebrating a result that took them above Abingdon United to 17th in the Hellenic League table and within five points of catching City, with a game in hand.

Wantage Town 2 Windsor 0
Wantage took on a Windsor side who have made it through to the fifth round of the FA Vase and who defeated second placed Brackley Town Saints on their own turf in midweek but made sure of the points with a goal early in each half.

Defending up the slope and into the wind Windsor came unstuck inside the first minute when a ball out to Wantage’s left was cleverly flicked into the path of the overlapping Jack Dunmall by Dan Sadler, and the striker’s first time shot curled into the far corner with keeper Hugo Sobte grasping at thin air. The visitors’, for whom Barry Hayles started as centre back after Andy Ingram pulled up in the warm-up, had their first chance of the half five minutes later, Kane Fitzgerald curling an effort to the far post only for Curtis Meare to stretch out an arm and tip it on to the post and away to safety. That aside Windsor were struggling to get out of their half with the wind returning many of their clearances and Wantage won a string of corners as a result but were unable to take advantage.

Midway through the half Dunmall should have done better when he timed his run perfectly, but could only find Sobte’s midriff at the near post, and on 25 minutes Callum Wright’s drive from 25 yards went the wrong side of the post. Windsor had another good chance on 28 minutes, Kieran Knight getting in behind the Wantage defence but his attempted chip shot was high enough to give Meare time to recover, and as it happens was drifting wide anyway. Sadler then came close to getting on to a great Mark Flanagan cross on the half hour that was just begging for a touch, and Steve Robertson could only stab wide a Sobte fumble two minutes from the break. Windsor must have been looking forward to the second half with Wantage only one ahead and having the increasing wind now at their backs, but after an early Hayles strike was comfortably held by Meare it was Wantage who scored again.

With three minute of the half played Dunmall made progress down the left and his drive across the goal found the gap between Sobte and his defence to arrive at the feet of Sadler who couldn’t really miss to double the advantage. Looking for a quick response Windsor’s Daniel Roberts almost broke free on 51 minutes only to be clipped by the recovering Brad Cox who took one for the team with the resulting yellow card. Prior to the free kick being taken Windsor made their first change, Matt Stockill replacing Ben Smyth, and play resumed with Robert Lazarczuk’s place kick being tipped over by Meare. Windsor were struggling to adapt to the conditions, with driving rain now added to the mix, with many an over hit clearance running harmlessly through to either Meare or out for goal kicks.

Hayles then thought he’d reduced the deficit on 75 minutes, but the well placed official spotted that the ball had been kicked out of Meare’s hands and the free kick went to Wantage. Roberts then fired narrowly wide two minutes later. Robertson then came close for Wantage on 78 minutes meeting Ben Cook’s ball in from the right, but his flick drifted wide of the far post, and with the strength sapping conditions taking their toll he was replaced shortly afterwards by the ever energetic Connor Mattimore. Cook was then replaced by Ryan Markham a couple of minutes later, and finally youngster Jordan Parrott was given two or three minutes after having impressed for the Development team and U19s this season.

Next up for Wantage is a home game against Brimscombe on Tuesday; they were without a game today and had a posse of four or five watching so we’ll see what they learned in a couple of days!

Wantage Town: Curtis Meare, Dan Comer, Mark Flanagan, Matt Cheetham, Chris Jackson (C), Brad Cox, Ben Cook (Ryan Markham 83), Callum Wright, Steve Robertson (Connor Mattimore 80), Dan Sadler (Jordan Parrott 92), Jack Dunmall. Sub n/u: Ben Sadler
Windsor: Hugo Sobte, Kai Davis, Jamie Di Guiseppe, Luke Brooks-Smith (Matthew Stockill 59), Barry Hales, Ben Smyth (Jack Hall 52), Kane Fitzgerald, Paul Coyne, Daniel Roberts, Robert Lazarczuk, Kieran Knight

One East

Abingdon Town 0 Didcot Town Development 1 (away view)
Culham Road was the venue for this Division One East Local Derby Part 2 ( 2 games within7 days) and another three points were garnered for the visiting Railwaymen. The circumstances of the second win could not have been different though on a sticky pitch that passed a morning inspection mainly based on the likelihood of significant rain holding off until after the match,

Clearly the Abbots had strengthened throughout the week and several new faces lined up for the home team. Didcot dictated the play and 2 early fierce shots from Ross MacDonald were beaten away by home keeper Keiran Beasley. As the half wore on it became apparent that the home team would get 11 players behind the ball at every opportunity and the main opportunities for Didcot came from Harry Moreton who had a header cleared off the line and a Keiran Davies shot that hit the post.

At half time it was one sided but goalless however Didcot came out with their tails up in the second half forcing several corners. The first main chance came from a MacDonald cross with Harry Husdson’s shot being well saved. The game defining goal came on the hour mark with a through ball finding MacDonald central just outside the box he flicked it through for Davies to run on to, win a tussle with keeper Beasley and roll the ball into the net.

Abingdon had sporadic moments but never really created a clear chance and Didcot came closest to scoring again when George Gilmore headed over from only five yards out from a corner move. Substitutes Taylor Janes and Nick Skiller came close to scoring with shots saved and just past the post as the game petered out with the promised rain arriving in force. Well done to Abingdon for grafting a hard working team together at short notice and for their hospitality and to Didcot for grinding out the win.

Thame Rangers 1 Woodley United 1 (away view)
Against promotion chasing Thame Rangers, United returned with a deserved point in a match that was constantly interrupted with free kicks and saw the visitors having to play into rain during the second half.

Rangers started quicker putting Woodley under pressure which saw a header over the cross bar and Adam Barnard block a shot before the opening goal came in the fifteenth minute. Thame took a short corner from which George Ashworth fired home through a mass of bodies from the edge of the penalty area. The lead was nearly doubled two minutes later when Thame were allowed an unchallenged header, following a free kick, that went over the cross bar.

With United’s struggling to get into Thame’s half, a chance to equalise arose in the eighteenth minute when Max Laschok was fouled for a penalty kick. However, an inordinate delay before the kick was taken appeared to unsettle the forward who put the kick over the cross bar. However, the miss saw a change in Woodley’s performance as they sought to take the initiative. Pablo Fernandez was unfortunate not to have been awarded a penalty following a challenge while the same player hit the side netting from a free kick. Rangers’ Tom Hutton fired a shot from distance at Tom Bryant but the visitors remained buoyed and equalised three minutes from half time when Laschok robbed Matt Johnston of the ball on the edge of the home penalty area to slot past Dan Bowker in the Thame goal.

Early in the second half Barnard saw a free kick blocked and Jon Malone headed straight to Bowker. Thame followed with a good spell of pressure, winning several corners in quick succession and Pele Hagger making an excellent block when Ashworth only had Bryant to beat. With conditions worsening Harry Hawkins went down under a challenge in the hosts’ penalty area but play was allowed to continue while Bowker parried a Fernandez free kick but with no United players following up the ball was cleared to safety.

Free kicks continued to be awarded with Jake Desouza firing straight at Bryant while Luke Axton-Hall blocked another free kick and the rebound before Bryant was called upon to tip a shot over his cross bar. In stoppage time Liam Wilson and Harry Swabey both saw shots blocked to ensure the scores remained level.

Oxfordshire Senior Cup

Easington 10 Bicester United 2
Easington Sports are through to the quarter finals of the Oxfordshire Senior Cup and set up another cracking tie against Banbury United that will be played at the Banbury Plant Hire Stadium in February. This tie was over in the opening 10 minutes as Sports blitzed Bicester United with goals from Henry Rose, Mike Spaull and Joe Eyre.

Another flurry of goals on the halfhour mark put Sports completely out of sight. George Coombes converted a penalty and then 2 minutes late Joe Eyre scored his second and finally completing his hatrick on 37 minutes. Henry Rose scored just before half time to make it 7-0 at the break.

The half time score certainly reflected the difference in quality between the two sides, however, Bicester United made Sports work hard to create the chances and there were some excellent spells of attacking football that would have unlocked Hellenic defences. At half time, manager Ben Milner gave Joe Eyre a rest and Charlie Hill came on and Josh Rose and Sean Snelling came on around the hour mark to give all players some game time.

Although Bicester stemmed the flow of goals, there were still some excellent pieces of combination play with Henry Rose impressing in midfield whilst Tom Smith and Mike Spaull combined well down the right to put some testing balls into the box. Conor Grant finished off one excellent move created down the right to add to the goal tally whilst Charlie Hill finished off a well worked team move towards the end of the game. Perhaps the goal of the game came from Dave Buckwell who showed cut inside two players and then he curled a left foot shot into the top corner from the edge of the penalty area.

This was an entertaining game in front of a healthy crowd. Bicester United did manage score twice in the second half with a brace from Brandon Walsh which gave the young Bicester followers something to cheer about in the stand. Easington are therefore safely through to the next round and are delighted to face Banbury United in the next round of the cup.

Two East

Risborough Rangers Reserves 2 Virginia Water Development 0
After last weeks disappointing performance Andy made a lot of changes to the squad for the visit of Virginia Water Development. Luke Midwinter returned to the club and made a start in goal, Gary Rymer, Ryan Daly returning from long term injuries, Matt Hatt and James Shrimpton available again proved to add the experience the team required.

Straight from the off Rangers were looking to prevent a third lose to the same team from Virginia Water in the same season and it soon looked positive with Gary Rymer and James Shrimpton working hard in the middle of the park providing the ball constantly out to the width of Don Fundira and Stephen Tavender. We took the lead in the 6th minute when the lively Ben Cullen received the ball out wide outpaced the defender to drill the ball low into the 6 yard box which seemed slightly behind the run of Don Fundira but he superbly back heeled the ball into the far corner beyond the keepers reach. For long periods we controlled the possession but midway through the half the away team passed the ball out wide but their number 10 looked certain to score only for Luke Midwinter to stand up well and the forward put the ball high. Shortly after a rare cross was put into our area but Luke Midwinter in goal punched confidently clear away from any danger. Joel and Notty kept the strike force of the away team very quiet which had a former Aylesbury Utd player in Maciej Tajs allowing the impressive Corey Flynn and Rob Firth to work the ball forward at every opportunity. Looking dangerous from set pieces we looked to add another goal but put several chances wide and off target. But it eventually came a minute before half time when Ben Cullen reacted quickest to fire high into the net. Half time 2-0 and well deserved

All we needed to do in the second half was to manage the game and with the added bonus of having a strong bench that was the plan. We continued to press and restrict the away team time and possession and with the impressive Gary Rymer completing 60 minutes this gave us a chance to freshen up the midfield replacing him and Tav with the returning Ryan Daly and regular starter Ben Lewis.  We continued to work hard and drive forward throughout and looking dangerous going forward which gave Luke in goal an opportunity to watch his fellow players without having to do a lot himself other than organise what was in front of him well. Matt Hatt went down with cramp and was replaced by Nick Bressington to slot into a now 5 man midfield. The midfield fed the ball out to Corey advancing down the right hand wing which he delivered to the back post but Don couldn’t just get enough on to get a effort on goal. Job done and a welcomed 3 points to move us up to 7th in the table a more realistic position.

The manager commented afterwards “It was pleasing to have a few more players available for selection and as a team we need to work harder at training if we want to produce performances like this week in week out, also was nice to have over 40 spectators supporting our Reserve team much appreciated”

 

 
 
 
 
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