Week 30 Football Report

By David Evans

Congratulations Cassington but Premier Division and Division Three titles will wait for final games!

Midweek Games

Junior Shield Final

Hailey travelled to Oxford City to face off against Graven Hill from the Banbury league, looking to defend their Junior Shield crown. They made the perfect start too, Gino Castagene putting the ball in the net at the near post following fine work by Freddie Buckingham. Then a stunning 10 minute spell from Graven Hill turned the game round. In the 8th minute Graven Hill equalised before two more strikes found the net before the game had reached the 20th minute. Hailey stunned, but not out of it, had the chance to make it 3-2 but Buckingham’s strike was well saved by the Graven Hill keeper.
Into the second half and once again Hailey started brightly but were once again broken down as Graven Hill found a fourth. With fifteen left, Graven Hill looked content to sit back, only for Jack Wood to glance in from a free kick but Hailey couldn’t reduce the deficit any further and Graven Hill held out for a worthy win.

Premier Division

For the second time this season Hanborough took points off Enstone to effectively rule Enstone out of the title race for another season. Back in February, Hanborough came away with all three points after a 2-1 win and left with a point this time in a 1-1 draw. Sean Quinn scored for Boro, with Dan Bott replying for Enstone. Enstone are now three points off top spot with only one game left and a significantly inferior goal difference.

Division One

Tower Hill consigned Faringdon Town Development to bottom spot of Division One after a 2-1 win on Wednesday night. Peter Fletcher scored for Faringdon to give them some hope of escape but Fenn Carey and Jack Scott’s goals gave Tower their ninth win of the season and a chance of finishing inside the top four in their first season back.

Division Two

There’s still a lot of games left in Division Two and still plenty to play for at both ends.

Jacob Hambidge’s hat-trick gave Brize all three points on Wednesday night, a win which moved them to within one point of Cassington at the top. Brize were made to work by Freeland Reserves, Jack McNamara’s goal and Regan Pritchard’s brace had Freeland well in the game but Dylan Briggs, Lee Litton and Sam Crossley all scored one each to give Brize a 6-3 win. The defeat leaves Freeland four points from safety but with two games in hand on Faringdon A above them.
Faringdon missed the chance to close the gap on Freeland as they lost 4-0 to Bampton.

Jim Littlewood’s late winner moved Milton a step closer to safety after a narrow victory over Kingham. Alex Ayres followed up his brace from the weekend for the first team with a strike before half-time. Dom Hemmings scored for Kingham but Littlewood popped up where he was needed most in the 88th minute to earn Milton all three points and push them seven points clear of Freeland.

A crazy opening five minutes saw three goals before Siege pulled away to beat Spartan Rangers Reserves. Only two minutes had passed when Danny Allsworth put the ball in the net and it was 2-0 less than sixty seconds later as Jamie Kennedy doubled Siege’s lead. Instead of wilting Spartan hit straight back, Daz Craig rising highest inside the Siege box to nod home past Steve Lazarus to make it 2-1 with only five minutes on the clock. The game settled after that, Lazarus making a couple of comfortable saves, Craig Harris in the Spartan net at his very best to tip a curling strike from Ryan Clish onto the bar as the game reached half-time on the same score line.
Ten minutes after the break and Siege scored the goal of the game. Neat play between Kev Lewis and Craig Kiley saw the ball released to the onrushing Dan Crossman who burst into the box and fired calmly past Harris. Corey Toms was a constant threat down the right and made two or three excellent runs only to fluff his lines once in the box. Siege killed the game off from the spot. Ryan Clish sending Harris the wrong way to put Siege 4-1 up. Spartan almost had one back but the offside flag gave Siege a reprieve and the game finished with a three-goal victory for the men in gold and black.

Eynsham maintained a hold on third spot with a hard-fought victory over Leafield. Adam Drhourni and Ash Bowerman’s goals were enough for three points. Ciao Jusius replied for Leafield in the 2-1 reverse.

Division Three

Eynsham Reserves gave themselves the best possible chance of not finishing bottom of Division Three with an 8-0 thumping of Sherborne Harriers. Luke Hamill, Mogan Oxendale and Stephen Chappel all scored twice. Kane Lewin and Chris Baldwin added the extras. The sixteen-goal swing means that Eynsham’s goal difference is now better than Sherborne’s and Eynsham are now just one point behind with two games to play.

Leafield Reserves also remain only point ahead of Eynsham after a 2-0 defeat by FC Mills. Dean Mays’ fourteenth goal of the season, plus Ben Thomson’s sixth goal in three games gave Mills their fourteenth win of the campaign.

Saturday's Games

Division Two

There’s only one place to start when a title is decided, and that’s in the relevant division. Congratulations to Cassington Rangers who have sewn up the Division Two title with two games to spare. Despite Brize bringing it back to within a point midweek, a combination of a walkover victory and a win on the pitch has given Cassington the title. On a sunny Saturday afternoon, they visited eleventh placed Faringdon and were made to work for their title winning three points. Ben Kibble opened the scoring but Faringdon hit back thanks to Nathan White’s wonderful solo goal. In the 27th minute, Jordan Lyne hit the goal of the game, a screamer from outside the box rocketed into the back of the net to give Cassington a half-time lead.
Into the second half and Faringdon held firm for twenty minutes but Declan Green scored to give Cassington daylight and substitute Aaron Pyke confirmed all three points with a 74th minute goal to give Cassington a 4-1 win and allowed the celebrations to begin.

Freeland Reserves remain in trouble at the bottom after a 5-0 thrashing by Eynsham. The division’s top scorer, Ben Oates, hit twice to take his tally to 23 for the season. Andrew Stratford, Stephen Chappel and Malek Chok all scored one each to keep Eynsham third. Freeland are a point behind Faringdon with a game in hand, which they play on Tuesday night against Milton Reserves.

Milton Reserves completed a memorable April with their fourth win in five after another late winner got them all three points. A bright start by Milton, against a dogged Siege defence, saw no joy in front of goal but just as it looked as though the first half would end goalless, Nathan Randall excellently controlled a long ball before beating a defender and smashing the ball home to give Milton the half-time lead. Just like in their midweek fixture against Spartan though, Siege started the second half brightly and within ten minutes they were level, Connor Morgan firing home the leveller with 55 on the clock. Both teams searched for a winner but nothing could get through, that until the 85th minute. A cross into the box was flicked on by Randall and Jake Newland met the ball on the half volley, smashed the ball against the underside of the bar and into the net. It’s the third time in six fixtures that Milton have scored later than the 85th minute to win a game. Their twelve-point haul recently has guaranteed their safety after starting the month in the bottom two.

Seven different goal scorers got in on the action as Kingham beat Leafield on Saturday afternoon. Defender Grant Oliver was in between the sticks for Leafield for the first half but he and the Leafield defence had a torrid afternoon. Shane Cooper opened the scoring on nine minutes, Dylan Ellis benefitted from a flick-on at the near post from a corner to scoop the ball home for two on twenty minutes. Just four minutes later Mitchell Faulkner scored his goal, with Damian Corbin getting a fourth. Leafield weren’t passive though. They hit the post, forced two good saves out of Patrick Doe and were the better side in midfield throughout. If Leafield were looking for an improved second half, it was dented just a minute into the second half, Joe Shirley firing into the back of the net with less than 100 seconds of the half gone. Leafield continued to get about the pitch with Doe saving from two more one-on-ones as Leafield broke the offside trap but Kingham continued to find the net with regularity, Lucas Souza’s deflected strike found the top corner. Sean Collins was one of a number of players playing his second game of the day and he scored the seventh. A selfless square ball played across the box to Collins in acres of space for him to poke the ball into the net for a 7-0 lead. The goals weren’t done and just to show their fighting spirit, Leafield pulled on back in added time with the goal of the game. Ciao Jusius picking up the ball on the right, beat three defenders as he weaved his way into the box before sliding the ball past Doe and into the net. 7-1 the final score.

Bampton’s recent excellent form continued, winning their eleventh game in a row. A goal in each half gave them a 2-0 win over Witney Royals Reserves. Jake Pritchard and Harry Davies the goal scorers.

Premier Division

It might be down to a two horse race but the title battle was blown wide open on Saturday afternoon. Enstone dealt Stonesfield a huge blow with a 2-0 win for only their second league defeat of the season. Jay Mair hitting his eleventh goal of the season and Nathan Bott his thirteenth as Enstone ended their campaign with an impressive victory.

Victory over Minster Lovell for Hailey would put the title race back in their own hands but it was a bleak start for the reigning champions who found themselves two down after Mark Norridge and Chris Bowles scored for Minster. But Hailey dug deep to fight back, with Tom McCudden scoring before the Wood brothers, Jack and Sean, both found the net to give Hailey a comeback victory which could prove critical. Hailey face bottom side Spartan next Saturday before the title decider against Stonesfield on the 9th May.

Senior Cup Quarter Final

Hanborough are the first name into the semi-final draw after a squeezing past Tower Hill. They had to come from behind against their Division One opponents. Lewis Bartlett scoring in the 15th minute to give Tower the lead which they held onto until half time. The second half saw a different Hanborough emerge as they relentlessly battered the Tower Hill box with chances galore. Eventually their persistence paid off, Reece Deasy’s floated cross found Aston Leach in the box who used his strength to win the header and equalise. Minutes later Hanborough found their winner. Carl Austin’s ball over the top found Craig Mays who superbly despatched the ball into the net to seal the win.

Division One

RAF Brize Norton ended their league campaign with a hard fought victory over Combe. Charlie Ibbitson continued his remarkable form in front of goal with his sixth goal in four games and Matt Walker added a second for Combe. But Brize managed to go one better on the day, Zak Vale, Maahir Alam and Allando Davis all scoring one each for a 3-2 win. The defeat means Combe will have to wait on the Hailey Reserves result on Saturday to see if they finish in the bottom two or not. Hailey Reserves forfeited their fixture against Witney Royals to leave the bottom of the table in the balance.

Division Three

The Division Three title race will also go to the final day of the season. Yarnton A and Wootton didn’t play as both their fixtures were cancelled by the opposition meaning walkover victories for both sides. Yarnton go into the final day with a one-point lead over Wootton but with a worse goal difference so a combination of results could see the title go either way. Yarnton will travel to Sherborne on Saturday hoping to win the league there. Anything less than a win will open the door for Wootton who host FC Mills next Tuesday.

There were still twelve goals in the two games that were played. Aston Reserves beat Eynsham Reserves for their ninth win of the campaign. Charlie Harper’s brace plus goals from Reece Waine, Lewis Scott and James Fleming gave them a 5-3 win. Eynsham can still avoid bottom spot if they better the Sherborne Harriers or Leafield Reserves result in the final games.

Stonesfield Reserves ended their campaign with a fourth win in five and a 4-0 victory over Kingham Reserves. James Cox, Daniel Thomas and Jacob Oliver (2) did the damage for Stonesfield’s fourteenth win of the season.

Deer Park Rangers also received a walkover victory over Tower Hill Reserves.

Where next?

Week 31 Football Report Yarnton crowned on Coronation day and Cup Semi-Finals sorted in another bumper week of fixtures.
Jack Busby Cup Final Hailey Res retain the trophy

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