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23 - 24 October

uhlsport football kitPremier Division

Brackley Town Saints 5 Shrivenham 2
Sometimes when bottom plays top it can be hard to tell which team is which. That was certainly the case at half time when Saints found themselves a goal behind and left the pitch seemingly flat and deflated. It says a lot for the spirit of young Saints that a strong second half team performance reminded all why they are currently flying high.

It had all started so well, on a fantastic looking St James Park pitch, with Saints taking the lead after only 4 minutes. James Hammond picked the ball up on the left 10 yards outside of the penalty area, turned and drove forward directly at the centre of the defence which opened up nicely for him and although Dan Lawrence got down well to save his shot Charlie Kille was on hand to lift the rebound into the top of the net (1-0).

Despite the setback Shrivenham settled well and were knocking the ball about confidently without really creating any clear cut chances, although it was clear that their physical presence might cause problems at set pieces. Saints were stuttering a little but now and then showed glimpses of their attacking flair. A great break by Harry Brock led to Charlie Kille being set away down the left wing. He whipped in a left foot cross which Ryan Knight met first time. Somehow Lawrence kept the shot out and then responded to also save Hammonds follow up shot.

Lawrence then contrived to gift the ball to Kille but made amends with a super save. For some reason Saints seemed to run out of steam. Too many touches and Shrivenham setting up with all eleven players behind the ball stifled their momentum. At the other end Saints survived a couple of scares with an Ali Worby throw out being intercepted, luckily the forward was not able to make him pay, and on 25 minutes Dan Middleton made a fine last ditch tackle to thwart the same player at the expense of a corner. However from the corner the Shrivenham winger drove a low ball at the near post, and a clever dummy left Lewis Petrie free to skilfully back heel the ball into the empty net (1-1).

The Saints were very flat for the remainder of the half and neither side threatened to add to the scoring. Saints though conceded an unnecessary free kick in a dangerous position right on the stroke of half time. The ball was again played to the near post where this time an unchallenged header diverted the ball through to Petrie who tapped in for his second. The proverbial sucker punch (1-2).

Clearly Saints needed to step things up and the expectation was that Shrivenham would sit deep and look to soak up the pressure breaking when possible. It took Saints 5 minutes to get settled but the signs were there. Hammond shot over from the edge of the box, Knights free kick was on target but straight at the keeper and Hammond again found himself in the box but having turned well was unable to get in a telling cross. On 60 minutes Saints made their move. Hammond started the move galloping out of defence with the ball and setting Brock away. Brock broke at speed over the half way line drawing in a couple of defenders and coming up with a cute chipped pass into Hammond’s path. Hammond outpaced the full back and crossed for the on rushing Knight to fire home the equaliser (2-2).

Within a minute James Watts swung in a wicked corner which Lawrence managed to claw out at the back post. But 4 minutes later Saints took the lead back. A long high ball found Kille free on the left. His excellent first touch allowed him to play Hammond down the left wing, and once again Knight was on the end of Hammonds cross. Lawrence did magnificently to block the attempt but Alex Stott was on hand to cleverly take his time and lift the rebound into the net (3-2).

The game had been turned on its head and Saints were like a caged tiger that had been released. Stott turned sharply and skilfully and a vicious cross was just too close to the keeper. Shrivenham did not help their cause when McAuley Dodson picked up a second yellow card for a foul on George Ball. No real protests and to be fair the referee who had a very solid game had little choice but to send Dodson off.

Saints were in their element. There was more space and the Shrivenham defence was tiring. A rapid break from penalty area to penalty area saw great wing play by Ball who jinked past the full back and laid a cross in to Dan Middleton whose front post shot was brilliantly turned aside by Lawrence. From the corner though Brock swung the ball over and Stott rose at the far post to head past Lawrence (4-2).

Chris Jordan had replaced Knight with 10 minutes to go and he got his name on the scoresheet with a couple of minutes to go finishing off a flowing move by meeting a Middleton cross and skilfully diverting the ball into the bottom corner (5-2).

So the typical game of 2 halves. Saints were really average in the first half but really very good in the second half. Lots of credit to Shrivenham who battled hard and caused Saints plenty to think about. Hats off to the resilience of the young Saints. They did not panic and the whole team from goalie to centre forward were involved in the build up to the goals that turned a difficult position into another 3 points.



berks and bucks badgeBerks & Bucks Senior Cup

Ascot United 0 Marlow 3
Marlow eased to a three-nil win over Ascot in the Berks&Bucks Cup second round on Tuesday. The Southern League visitors took the lead just after hold-up due to floodlight failure, and never looked back as Ascot failed to match their heroics in round one.

The visitors were a tricky prospect. With just eight goals scored and four goals conceded in eight league games the neutral might have predicted a low scoring affair, but they ultimately found their scoring boots with ex-Yellamen Charlie Samuel involved in two of their three goals.

Ascot made an enterprising start and Nathan Minhas rose to meet Samir Regragui’s right wing-cross, only to see it flash wide of the top left corner.

Chris Ellis’s long throw then paved the way for another half chance, although Regragui found the angle too tight after Kai Walters’ back header had picked him out; Regragui’s shot finding the side-netting.

Marlow then came into the game and Samuel’s dangerous cross was flicked wide by Jordan Brown, before the lights went out just after the half-hour.

The ten-minute delay seemed to favour the visitors, who emerged from the dark in more ways than one. Samuel had already struck the post with a snap shot after 33 minutes, but his fierce cross in the 36th minute would find its way in at the near post via a cocktail of Kelvin Bossman’s faint touch, a post, and ‘keeper Lee Allen; 1-0 to Marlow.

Ascot would ring the changes on the hour mark with a trio of substitutions, although one of them – Regragui’s exit – was a forced hand after defender Curtis Chapple’s horrible challenge ended with Regragui’s knee on ice after hobbling gingerly from the field.

Before that, Minhas went close to levelling matters just after the restart, but apart from a late deflected effort from substitute Jean-Claude Etienne that also went wide, the half belonged to Marlow.

Substitute Marcus Mealing easily nodded home number two directly from a 61st minute corner, and after Samuel had wasted a chance for number three five minutes later, the lively forward was on hand to help Allen Bossman’s effort into the path of Jay Welch for an 85th minute tap-in.

Ascot will now look to bounce back in a top of the table clash with Brackley Town Saints on Saturday, whereas Marlow will contemplate a possible tasty draw in the quarter final of the county cup.

Ascot United: Allen, Boultwood, F Etienne, Denton, Bouwers, Ellis, Regragui (Haworth), Walters (Carlisle), Minhas, Laflin (JC Etienne), Kassim. Subs unused: Hodges, Kibaki


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