As the second month of the season draws to a close it can no longer considered to be early season luck that sees RAF Brize Norton and Carterton United lead the way at the top of the Premier Division table after a hat-trick hero for each side earned them important wins at the weekend.
Carterton kicked things off under the lights at Kilkenny Lane on Friday night, hosting a struggling Stonesfield side who have seen their team decimated by injuries this season. Carterton were in clinical mood though and used the pace of Jack Bellenger and Noven Labor to great effect throughout the first period. It was the latter who caused the first breakthrough, Labor’s lightening speed breaching the offside trap to set him free and his pinpoint cross found Conner Townsend for 1-0. Ten minutes later the lead was doubled by the former, Bellenger storming down the left, powering into the box and slotting home for 2-0. Just past the half hour mark and Jay Revill made it three, Jay Revill pouncing on the bouncing ball to slam the ball home for clear daylight. There was still time in the final five minutes for Townsend to double his tally and send Carterton in at the break four goals to the good. Credit where it’s due to Stonesfield who reinvigorated themselves in the second period and clearly had more of the ball and more territory as they tried to ease their way back into the game. Will Barker’s fizzing first time volley stung the palms of Corey Kelly in the Carterton goal and there were plenty of scrambles in the box as Carterton resolutely defended the numerous corners they conceded. James Mathias then scored the goal of the game. As the ball fell to him on the edge of the box, his cracking half-volley evaded the bodies in the box and slammed against the bottom of the post, the ball pinging sideways and resting in the opposite side netting to put Stonesfield on the scoreboard. As Stonesfield pushed Carterton exploited the spaces in behind but found their goal scoring charms from the first half had disappeared as Bellenger, Townsend and Revill all missed numerous chances to restore the four-goal cushion. Eventually the goal did come, Townsend scoring his third to complete his hat-trick as he sent himself joint top of the scoring charts on the night. Stonesfield would have the last say though as Will Barker scored a second for Stonesfield, a goal that his performance warranted to at least leave Stonesfield with second half bragging rights. Carterton won 5-2 to move second.
RAF Brize Norton hosted Hook Norton on the base eager to maintain their unbeaten start and regather their six-point cushion that Carterton had eaten into the night before. A win for Hook Norton would see them move level on points with Carterton and Brize would have two teams breathing down their necks as October ended. A cracking encounter ensued, which went back and forth, saw both teams lead and then late drama take hold to see the game swing the other way in the final minutes. Brize took the lead thanks to Mike Flavell’s first goal of the season but Hooky drew level during the first half. Flavell clearly had a taste for goal as his second put Brize ahead again and they held on until the break. Into the second half and Hooky hit back again and then took the lead for the first time with under 30 minutes to go. Brize were staring at defeat for the first time this season but summoned the resolve that had seen them win five of their first six games to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. First, Flavell turned provider as his pass found Callum O’Brien who scored for the second game running with fifteen minutes left and five minutes later Flavell notched his hat-trick to the delight of the home team to make it six wins in seven after the final whistle sounded. Hooky’s goal scorers were Cole Davis, Jay Mair and Logan Mitchell.
Charlbury Town joined the condensed mid table scrap as one of four teams on ten points after beating Milton under Wychwood 5-2. William Sweet scored twice for the home side, Jack Eley, Sam Lewis and Stefan Lang adding one each. Josh Catling and Jack Lonsdale scored in reply for Milton who remain bottom of the league on goal difference.
Hailey remain in the hunt after a come-from-behind win against Hanborough. Boro took the lead thanks to a calm Alpha Breezy Kamara finish after good work from Jack Morton and Charlie Collins. Hailey equalised during the first half with a free header from a corner but Hanborough finished the stronger, having a goal ruled out for offside and Jack Morton guilty of missing two chances before the break. Into the second half and it proved to be more huff and puff than real quality on the pitch. Neither side able to use the ball efficiently enough but Hailey managed to grab a second goal on the break and then held firm to take their third win of the season. Hailey’s scorers were Wasim Alissa and Omar Semlali.
Ducklington’s impressive October concluded with another victory which saw them finish the month unbeaten as they inflicted another defeat on Chadlington. The early stages were even but the fine margins fell Duck’s way. Chadlington’s first meaningful shot hit the post before Ady Kew’s deflected strike sent the ball past Will Foster and into the goal. Kew doubled his tally later in the half as cleaned up the rebound left from an initial Foster save but Chadlington deservedly got back in it just before the break, Ethan Bennet’s 28-yard piledriver flew into the net for 2-1. Duck dominated the second period but needed a poor back pass to help them extend their lead as David Pryse latched onto the loose ball and restored the two-goal cushion. Karl Guschtscha added a fourth with a tap in to seal the points, although Ewan Thomas had the final say on the goal scoring front with a penalty ten minutes from time. Duck winning 4-2 to move up to fourth.
Brize Norton made it back to back wins for the first time this season with a 4-1 win over Spartan Rangers. Dylan Briggs scored all four of Brize’s goals in a commanding win which lifts them up to 11th. Matt Swiergon scored for Spartan who remain bottom of the table.
Hanborough Reserves moved up to fifth with a 2-0 win over Eynsham. Josh Marques and Eliot Major’s goals were enough for three points and a fourth win of the season.
Combe upset Witney Royals to throw the race for promotion wide open. Robbie Cockroft’s goal for Royals was bettered by goals from Ollie Crossley and Luke Barton for Combe who remain tenth.
Tower Hill moved top of the league without kicking a ball. Their walkover victory over Hailey Reserves combined with Chadlington’s defeat to Duck means the two sides swap places. The top six are separated by just six points and the three sides outside the promotion places all have games in hand on the sides above them.
There was nothing to separate Bampton and Heyford Athletic as a rare 0-0 draw played out between the sides.
Yarnton A moved into sixth place after recording their biggest win of the season against Chadlington Reserves. Five different goal scorers combined to record a 7-0 win. Roger Moss and Michael Trafford both scored two each. Daniel Saunderson, Freddie Collins and Ben Fouracre scored one each for Yarnton’s fourth win of the season.
Wootton’s Jamie McCuaig scored twice as he moved into double figures for the season in their 5-1 win over Witney Royals Reserves. Craig Gilboy, Theo Keravnou-Flatman and Lee Spencer’s goals made for a fine afternoon in front of goal. Kyle Grimmett scored Royals’ consolation.
Lee Brooks moved top of the goal scoring charts for the division, and the entire league, as his four timer helped Moreton Rangers Reserves to a 5-2 win over Leafield. A Rangers own goal and Marcus Vinicius’ strike put Leafield in the game but Javan Nurse’s goal made sure of the points that keep Moreton top.
Kingham remain bottom after falling to a 4-1 defeat to Faringdon Town Development. Mitchell Faulkner scored for the All Blacks but Justin Yates, Richard Evans, Robbie Harrington and Daniel Opoku-Amoateng helped to give Faringdon a healthy win.
John Chapman’s brace gave FC Mills their fifth win of the season. Their 2-0 win over Siege leaves them third, four points off the promotion places above them.
Freeland have their second win of the season thanks to a solitary Paul Inch goal. Their 1-0 win over Milton under Wychwood Reserves enabled them to jump two places to 10th and drop Milton to twelfth in the process.
Heyford surrendered top spot in the league after succumbing to their first defeat of the season as an inspired Tower Hill Reserves side put them to the sword with a 4-0 triumph. Ethan Barrett secured the impressive record of scoring in every game in October, his double taking him to nine goals for the month in total. Matthew Gallagher and Will Watts added the extras as Tower moved within three points of second place.
Aston Reserves’ Reece Waine scored for the third game in a row and moved into double figures for the season as Aston went top with a 5-0 win over Spartan Rangers Reserves. Nick Angus, Alex Murrell and Lewis Gardner all added one each to give Aston a three-point cushion at the top.
Carterton Town have found their stride early on this season as their third consecutive league victory put some daylight between them and the congested midtable sides. Travis Cozier’s double, plus Benjamin Pullen’s goal secured all three points. Louis Hegarty’s reply wasn’t enough to prevent the 3-1 reverse for Faringdon Town A.
Kingham Reserves stole the points late on against Eynsham Reserves on Saturday afternoon. A tough battle played out between two sides who were well matched, failed to create any significant clear-cut chances until Dan Case raced through from a flick in the 35th minute and calmly slotted the ball home. In the second half Eynsham dominated more and tested Dom Rickard in the Kingham net multiple times only to find him in fine form. However, the pressure paid off as Jack Knight rose highest at one of the multiple corners to power the ball into the net. It looked as though the points would be split, that until Jamie Youngson pounced quickest on a loose ball to poke the ball into the net following a Kingham corner. Knight could have stolen a point in the dying embers but his powerful header fired wide to bring the game to close. Kingham winning 2-1 in the end.
Stonesfield Reserves earned their first win in four games as they squeezed past bottom side Leafield Reserves. Alfie McDonough and James Wade both scored for Leafield to give them hope of their first point of the season but Stonesfield had other ideas and grabbed their second win of the season thanks to a Jacob Oliver brace and a Kieran Grant effort.
Bampton Reserves and Yarnton B played out a 2-2 draw, a result which gave Bampton their first points of the month and meant Yarnton finished the month unbeaten in the league. Alex Timms and Kacper Adamowicz scored for Bampton. Barney Quick and Chad Blackman replied for Yarnton.
Deer Park moved up to second after a walkover victory against Sherborne Harriers.
Jack Busby Quarter Final Draw
At Monday night’s committee meeting the draw for the Jack Busby Quarter Finals took place. Ties will be played in December at the ground of the first named team.
Heyford Athletic Reserves vs Witney Royals Reserves
Milton under Wychwood Reserves vs Kingham Reserves
Hanborough Reserves vs Stonesfield Reserves
Aston Reserves vs Hailey Reserves