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27 October

uhlsport football kitPremier Division

Ascot United 1 Brackley Town Saints 1
Ascot United held on to deny visiting league leaders Brackley Town Saints a seventh consecutive league win on Saturday. The Yellamen deservedly led thanks to Harry Laflin’s early goal, before Brackley flexed their title muscles after the break and were equally deserving of their equaliser, although both sides might have gone on to win it.

Brackley’s hot streak had seen them open up a seven-point lead at the top of the table after their midweek win over Shrivenham. Ascot, meanwhile, were looking to avoid back-to-back defeats for the first time this season and boasted a miserly home defensive record that suggested this would be a close game.

And, indeed it was, although by half time the hosts had a fully deserved one-goal lead due to a combination of Laflin’s early header backed up by an energetic high line which left Brackley largely devoid of ideas. The hosts established that lead after ten minutes. Laflin, who played well throughout the half, started and finished a well-worked move by picking out Geoff Kibaki on the right – and he beat a defender before crossing to Laflin who had surged into the six-yard box and planted a downward header past Alastair Worby. Worby’s timely interceptions averted danger throughout, but his inch-perfect intervention denied Kibaki two minutes after that goal when Kibaki had raced onto Nathan Minhas’s through ball and threatened to nick it past the big ‘keeper.

Minhas himself wriggled clear of a challenge only to see his left-footed shot blocked midway through the half, before Brackley improved and Alex Stott’s effort was ruled out for offside before glancing a later header wide of the right-hand post in first half injury time.

The second half was a disappointing one for the hosts, although they could – and should – have nicked it when Minhas was gifted a late chance only to see Worby stand up well to his shot and avert danger in the 85thminute. Before that, the visitors eked their way into the game as Ascot wilted, and might have won it themselves. Brackley substitute George Ball shot over when well-placed after Fabien Etienne had done well to block an earlier effort and James Hammond shot over after Jordan Godfrey had picked him out, but after knocking on the door, the visitors soon got their reward.

That reward came from Stott, who tucked home in the 65th minute after Godfrey had dinked the ball back into the six-yard box for Stott to plant past Lee Allen. Hammond then shot wide of the top right from a good position as the visitors piled on the pressure, and that pressure looked like increasing further when Fabien Etienne’s trip and push looked worthy of a red card, only for a yellow to be shown to the Ascot defender.

For Ascot, Minhas had already side-footed wide from a difficult angle earlier in the half, and when defender Olly Goddard dawdled before being robbed by the league’s top scorer with five minutes remaining there looked like only one outcome, although Worby failed to read the script and matched Minhas by beating his shot away. A draw was a fair result, although both sides will reflect on missed opportunities to have taken all three points.

Ascot United: Allen, Lock (JC Etienne), Haworth, Denton, Bouwers, F Etienne, Kibaki, Walters (Carlisle), Minhas, Laflin (Price), Kassim. Subs unused: Sullivan, Hodges

Binfield 3 Longlevens 0 (Report by Arthur Strand)
Longlevens arrived at Stubbs Lane last Saturday from Gloucester and nestled in the lower half of the Premier Division with Binfield ready to earn three points. Longlevens took the ball into Moles' area immediately with Chris Grace in attendance, preventing an opening minute strike and giving Binfield a chance to counter attack. This they did but lost possession before reaching the opposite penalty area. Carlo Santoro tried a header in the next phase of play but it was deflected behind for a corner to Binfield and the visitors cleared hte ball out of defence with James Cambell sprinting after the ball without catching up with it. Sean Moore, who had a good game. tried a long shot but it went straight to Ash Wintle, Lomglevens keeper. It was then the turn of Longlevens to approach goal but Chris Grace punched the ball out then saved the ensuing shot from danger. Ryan Dunn made a break but Binfield returned. Sean Moore then made a promising move with Charlie Tuttle and in the 10th minute opened the scoring for the Moles. The score did not stay at 1 - 0 for long because the Moles took a corner and next thing Liam gavin had added a second. Santoro figured in hte next approach and his header went nowhere but Moore struck the ball over the top of Wintle's crossbar. After a thwarted counter by Longlevens, Binfield put together a series of passes with Josh Howell striking a low ball direct to Wintle. James Barnett was injured and Mason Lewis entered the field of play. Minutes later, Longlevens were reduced to 10 men as Kieran Squires clashed with an attacking Binfield player on the wing.and was dismissed. Fter the 10 men made a bold break, Binfield ventured along the right flank once more but Santoro was not able to finish, Moles then pushed up more and Howell which Wintle saved. The visitors gained free kicks for minor fouls The next one, Shaun O'Connor tried hard to find the net and Chris Grace eventually won back the ball while down on the turf. Binfield returned to the opposite end but the rest of the first half saw Longlevens plug away at the Binfield defenders with Shaun O'Connor shining brighter than his colleagues.

Binfield started off the second half but Longlevens made a break and chased the ball but Grace won the chase.It was Josh Howell's turn to have a pot shot at Wintle's goal with a low curler which found Wintle but Moles gained a corner kick after Referee and Assistant conferred. The visitors took a free kick then Myron Turner whacked the ball over the Binfield crossbar. .Gary Smith collected a yellow card before Roger Herridge made a double substitution, replacing Santoro and Shaw with Carl Withers and Jemel Johnson while Sean Moore was being booked a few minutes later. Longlevens missed again then had to clear the ball after a Binfield counter attack as Gary Smith broke out of defence. Back came the Moles and somehow Longlevens defenders held out as a full back cleared a header off the goal line. Josh Howell was injured - nose was adjusted, then Smith was caught in the face. Binfield missed another chance. and Danny Horscroft replaced Josh Howell. after pay resumed, Binfield having scored a third courtesy of Sean Moore, in the 77th minute. Longlevens continued to move forwards whenever they could although Binfield began to link up with good passing until Thomson-Wheeler missed. Wintle then saved a shot from Moore and the finale was completed with both teams alternating attack and defence. Three points for the Moles.

Binfield: Grace,(GK), Shaw, Tuttle, Thomson-Wheeler, Smith, Gavin, Santoro, Knight, (c), Davies, Moore, Howell. Substitutes: Withers, Johnson, Senussi, Downes, Horscroft.

Shrivenham 2 Tuffley Rovers 1 (away view)
Despite playing against ten men for 25 minutes, Tuffley Rovers contrived to lose against bottom of the table Shrivenham, on Saturday, extending their run of defeats to four games in the process.
After a 4-1 reverse at Abingdon United the previous weekend, Mark Pritchett made three changes to his starting line-up, with Lee Smith returning alongside recalls for Dom Kent and Ryan Dobbins, with Jack Phillips and Liam Gale both unavailable, whilst Brett James only made the substitutes’ bench, after picking up a calf injury in training.
With both sides struggling to accumulate points it was no surprise that the early stages were fairly tight and it took until the eleventh minute before either side had a clear sight on goal, when the hosts’ Dan Hale smashed his effort well wide of Luke Merchant’s goal from a good position.
Chances were few and Rovers first chance of note came when Pritchett headed Paul Carter’s excellent corner narrowly over the bar, after 18 minutes, but a pattern was developing and Rovers looked increasingly in control of the game.
Shrivenham’s keeper, Dan Lawrence, was called into serious action for the first time, on 26 minutes, beating away Kent’s strike, after the Rovers youngster had found space to latch onto Smith’s pass, after good work from Kieran Alder.
Alder had a chance himself a few minutes later, after good work by Dobbins, before Smith volleyed wide of the Shrivenham goal, after great work by Carter and Henry Birkett, but neither side could conjure up a goal and the interval arrived with the score at 0-0.
Rovers came out on the front foot and took a deserved lead on 50 minutes, as Smith held off his marker, before spinning the ball into the path of Kent, who bent a shot around Lawrence, who had got caught in no-man’s land, after he started to rush out to meet Smith’s pass.
Lawrence redeemed himself five minutes later, producing an excellent save to deny Alder, but Rovers were reminded of the need to maintain their performance levels, as Merchant produced an excellent double-save to deny Petrie and Morse as the hour mark arrived.
The game appeared to take a turn in Rovers’ favour with 25 minutes remaining, as Hale – who had been cautioned in the first period for an over-zealous tackle on Birkett – received a second yellow card for a crude tackle on Harry Walker.
If anything, the numerical disadvantage seemed to spur Shrivenham into life and when the ball found its way into the Rovers area, Merchant’s desperate attempt to make a low save wasn’t enough and the ball eventually fell to Petrie, who poked the ball home from close range, with 14 minutes to go.
Rovers briefly threatened and Smith saw a shot go narrowly wide when well-placed, but the hosts took advantage of some loose play to seize the initiative. Shrivenham’s first goal had come via a counterattack, after Rovers conceded possession high up the field and it was a similar story as possession was surrendered too easily and Petrie found himself through on goal. Merchant’s sprawling save was a moment too late, as Petrie looked to round him, and a penalty award followed.
Merchant looked to have done what was needed, as he saved Josh Morse’s spot-kick, but the ball fell loose to substitute Sean McKeown, who smashed the rebound home from close range, leaving Rovers trailing against the ten men, with two minutes remaining.
As the visitors pressed for a late equalising goal they forced a series of set-pieces, but only one further chance followed, as Merchant, who had come up into the Shrivenham area for a corner kick, headed narrowly wide at the back post. Moments later the referee’s whistle sounded the end of the game and the hosts climbed above their visitors in the Uhlsport Hellenic League, Premier Division table.

Virginia Water 3 Fairford Town 1
VW achieved back to back victories with a deserved win over Fairford. Indeed had we taken our chances in the first half, we could and should have been 3 or 4 up at the break, but only had two goals from Adam McNamara (21 mins) and Jake Baker (34 mins) to show for our efforts. The first coming from a sweeping move where the excellent Liam Whyte found Louis Sanders with a cross field ball, and his cross was volleyed home by Adam. Jake then forced their keeper into an error, which allowed him a tap in, jake putting in a trade mark high energy 90 minutes! Further chances came and went with Adam, Josh Guichard, Jake all going close. At the other end the back four, in particular the dominant Adam Mills, and Matt in goal, comfortably dealt with anything thrown at them. It should have been easier for the home side in the second half, but we had a difficult early period, when we gave the ball away sloppily, and then brought their striker down, for Fairford to convert from the penalty spot on 53 minutes. Thankfully VW rode the storm, missed more chances to secure the win, with all the front men stated above, Lenny Di Felice and Scott Jackson all going close, before Lenny finally sealed the win with a great shot from Adam’s lay off on 70 minutes. Like I say, a deserved win in the end, but Fairford kept going to their credit, and we wish them well for the rest of the season. For the Waters its two daunting long haul trips away to Wootton Bassett and Bishops Cleeve in the next week, that will surely test our resolve.

Virginia Water 3 Fairford Town 1 (away view)
Fairford Town went down to a 3-1 defeat at Virginia Water on Saturday, as the Reds were condemned to their first away defeat since August.

Jody Bevan handed a full debut to new recruit Danny Gudger, signed in midweek from Cirencester Development. Gudger finished last season as top scorer in Division One West and has made a strong start to the season with 11 goals in ten games to date.

However it was the home side who made the stronger start as Adam McNamara struck Virginia Water into a 21st minute lead before Jake Baker doubled the home side’s advantage just after the half-hour mark. 

It stayed at 2-0 until five minutes after the restart when Fairford captain Callum Preece converted a penalty. Lorenzo Di Felice made sure of the points for Virginia Water when he made it 3-1 with 20 minutes remaining as Fairford returned from Windsor empty handed. Fairford’s next league encounter is on Wednesday night when they make a Halloween trip to Longlevens.

Fairford Town: Ellis, Watson, Hawkins, Saunders, Weaven; D Bailey, Morris, Preece (c), C Bailey; Gudger, Lodge Substitutes: Beardsell, Cairns, Hall, James, Snook

Oxfordshire Senior Cup

Clanfield 85 FC 7 Cropredy 0 (AET)
Saturday afternoon saw Clanfield and Cropredy play out one of the most remarkable games ever seen at Radcot Road. For ninety minutes the visitors from the north of the county played with great resolute and determination in defence whilst always looking dangerous in attack, three times the home keeper James Domm pulled of excellent saves, one of which he pushed on to the cross bar and away for a corner kick during regulation time in this Oxfordshire Senior Cup tie. 

On thirty-one minutes Cropredy had a free kick well inside the Clanfield penalty area when Domm picked up a back pass from central defender Matt Knapton, however the home side held firm and defended the situation with virtually every player on the goal line. 

The Hellenic League side survived another scare on sixty-eight minutes when the county league side made a strong claim for a penalty after an eledged hand ball in the area, match referee, James Wassell had other ideas and way play on much to the bemusement of the visiting players.

Chances throughout the ninety minutes came and went for both sides with Zac Oliver having a header cleared off the line during the first half, with the same player testing former Hook Norton keeper Kurt Fox from distance just before the interval. The second period produced much of the same and the game concluded on ninety minutes with the deadlock still unbroken with the score level at 0-0 forcing extra time.

The following thirty minutes then produced a period of football the likes have never seen before at Clanfield, within two minutes of the restart Nathan Kimber drove a twenty-yard shot past the diving Fox and into the left-hand corner of the visitor’s net. Two minutes later and Jozef Fullerton doubled the homesides leads when shooting across the keeper and inside the far-right post.

On ninety-nine minutes Robin skipper Adam Pendall pounced on a loose ball inside the area to score his first goal of the season and increase the lead to three. Worse was to follow for the county side when their hosts were awarded a penalty for handball in the area, Fullerton duly converted to spot kick. Further efforts were added when Karl Roberts headed a fifth and Pendall struck again to make it six. In the final minute of extra time Fullerton completed his hat trick when tapping home passed the hapless defence at the far post to complete an amazing thirty minutes for the home side.

Woodcote & Stoke 0 Easington Sports 1 (away view)
Easington Sports are through to the next round of the Oxfordshire Senior Cup after a securing 0-1 win against a spirited Woodcote & Stoke side from the step 7 Thames Valley League. A solitary goal from Mike Spaull after 52 minutes was enough to secure a more comfortable victory than the scoreline suggests.

Injuries to Charlie Hill and Andrew Stidder and the unavailability of Tom Smith meant that Ben Milner had to shuffle the pack for this important away game. Milner’s men were keen to get back to winning ways after two defeats in recent weeks. Sports were up against a very well organised side who made themselves difficult to breakdown for most of the match.

This was not a great game for the neutral played in difficult conditions, however, the majority of goalmouth action was at the home end whilst Adam Rimmer had very little to do at the other. Although the first half ended 0-0, Henry Rose and Joe Eyre had chances to give Easington the lead. Rose saw a flick header go just past the post whilst Eyre was through on goal but couldn’t keep his shot down.

The crucial goal came from a well worked team goal after a bright start to the second half by Sports. A corner was half cleared out to the left but Henry Rose showed good strength and endeavour to pick up the loose ball and to avoid the incoming challenge before threading a ball to the far post. Spaull showed good composure after a number of weeks out of action to control quickly before shooting back across the keeper into the side netting. Joe Eyre looked to be enjoying more of the ball out wide and had two half chances to extend the lead. Niall Higgins also had two long range efforts that whistled over the bar but the scoreline remained the same.

Manager Ben Milner was left satisfied with the performance and certainly avoided a potential banana skin against a side that would fair well in the Hellenic League. He was also able to rotate players to give all substitutes important game time and came away without any further injuries. Sports will be hoping for another extended run in the Oxfordshire Senior Cup which end last season with a Quarter final tie against Banbury United in February.


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