Football returns with a century of goals!
No Witney and District football had been played since Halloween following the four week lockdown that dominated November. With the teams finally returning to competitive action over the weekend no less than 100 goals were scored over the 17 fixtures that were played.
There was an early cancellation as Minster Lovell forfeited their game against Carterton FC, leaving Carterton with the easiest of their 6 recorded victories this season. This placed pressure on the chasing pack who knew they’d have to secure victories of their own to stay within touching distance of the league leaders.
Second place Hailey FC duly stepped up as they brushed past second bottom Charlbury Town. Tom Gregory scored his sixth goal of the season to move into second place in the Premier Division’s goal scoring chart. Cameron Foster and Sam Wheeler fired in their first league goals of the season and although Josh Sylvester hit back for Charlbury, Freddie Buckingham and Devon Wright made things comfortable for Hailey in the 5-1 win.
Enstone maintained their fourth placed position after seeing off Spartan Rangers by the odd goal in 7. Rhys Woodward continued his fine pre-lockdown goal scoring form by hitting two more this time around but he was cancelled out by a Warwick Tompkins brace for Enstone. Luke Pettifer and Dan Bott cancelled each other out for goals five and six, but Enstone were not to be denied and with Jordan Godfrey slotting home goal number seven, all three points went to the home side.
Stonesfield jumped two league places after taking the three points in their away fixture against Milton. A brace apiece for Carry Rice and Tom Weedon put Stonesfield comfortably in control. Alex Ayres grabbed the reply for Milton in the 4-1 reverse.
Out of the 100 goals scored at the weekend, ten of them were contributed by Carterton FC Reserves as they went on the rampage against Spartan Rangers Reserves. Dave Cross led the way as he opened up his account for the year with a hat-trick, Ryan Colleton ably backed up his strike partner with a brace of his own. A waddle of penguins followed as Brad Bryant, Tommy Burns, Joe Langdon, Chris Hirons and Nick Rose all got in on the goal scoring act too.
They didn’t have it all their own way as their miserly defence, which had only conceded once all season, leaked three at the hands of the youthful Spartan attack. Ethan Barrett, Omar Semlali and Fabio Fernandes all scored once in reply but it finished 10-3 to Carterton.
Witney Royals are up to third after beating bottom club Brize Norton 3-0. Reuben Wertheim marked his promotion from the Reserves with a goal for the first team to open his Division One account. Luke Rippington also scored his first goal of the season and Ryan Harris scored goal number two for the season to complete the scoring as Royals jumped two places.
They climbed over Bletchington and Wootton Sports as they suffered defeats to Chadlington and Hook Norton respectively.
Much like Carterton Reserves, Bletchington’s usually solid defence, which had only conceded four goals in three games, were stunned into submission as Chadlington smashed six past them in 90 minutes. Lee Woodward’s hat-trick set Chadlington well on the way to victory, Richie Wells hitting one back for Bletch. Chadlington spurred themselves on and extended their advantage through Ethan Bennett before Miles Taylor and Pete Tate made sure of the points with a 6-1 win.
Goal number 15 was enough for Jay Mair to secure victory for Hook Norton and preserve their 100% record this season. The one goal was enough to overcome Wootton Sports in their encounter, their lead at the top still 12 points, having played three games more.
Hailey Reserves have their first win and first points of the season, dispatching Bampton United for a very welcome three points. Bampton scored through a Chris Laurence free kick but Hailey were able to hit back through a Luke Perkins penalty. Joey King scored his second goal of the season to put Hailey into the lead and Moh Semlali scored goal number three to grab win number one.
Cassington Rangers halted their two game losing streak by staging a stunning comeback to snatch three points away from Aston. Aston were in control after Kieran Watts had slotted home two penalties to give the home side some breathing space. However, Cassington had other ideas and Tyler Walker halved the deficit, restored parity and then scored the winner as he completed a marvellous hat-trick to steal the points for the away side.
Another five game thriller in Division Two had Wootton Sports Reserves and Siege FC engaged in battle. Andy Makepiece fired Siege ahead only for James Minchin to draw Wootton level. Greg Neath scored Siege’s second but Wootton clawed them back for a second time but Andy Makpiece scored his second, Siege’s third and Wootton had no response. Siege returned to Carterton with all three points.
In the mid table battle Chadlington Reserves faced off against Milton Reserves with the home side prevailing 2-0. Level on points and nearly identical goal difference before the start of play, goals from Sam Coles and George Slatter were enough for the three points as Chadlington leapfrogged their match day opponents in the table.
Nine was the seemingly magic number in Division Three as the entire division contributed 40 goals to the overall weekend total. Hook Norton Reserves and Brize Norton Reserves both scored nine in securing big wins, and Kingham All Blacks Reserves won by nine goals as goal differences were significantly swayed in a free scoring afternoon.
It was a five star performance from Brad Smith as he scored half of Kingham All Black’s goals in their 10-1 rout of Spartan Rangers A. James Rawlings, Jake Godfrey and Pat Kim all scored one each and the demolition was complete when Olly Peters slotted home twice to take the score to ten. Mike Hole grabbed a mere consolation for the away side in the nine goal defeat.
Brize Norton Reserves scored nine at the weekend but were made to work hard for their win over Sherborne Harriers. Jason Hirshfield scored early on from the spot but Sherborne pegged them back when Josh Betteridge fired in a free kick from 25 yards. Just five minutes later Betteridge beat the offside trap to head home from 9 yards out and Sherborne had the lead. It stayed that way until 10 minutes before half-time when Danny Briggs turned smartly in the box and fired in the equaliser through a defender’s legs, leaving the keeper helpless.
All square at half-time. Players from both sides took speculative long range efforts to break the deadlock but all were wildly off target in the second half until Joe Hatt finally managed to give Brize the lead again. Just minutes later it was 4-2 as Danny Claridge made a smart run behind the Sherborne defence, the through ball was perfectly weighted and the winger casually rolled it into the back of the net. Sherborne weren’t done though and a defensive mix up was capitalised upon by Scott Hartop who poked home to half the deficit.
The Brize keeper had to make a smart reflex save onto the bar and over as a deflected Josh Betteridge strike almost restored parity again. But on 70 minutes, Lee Litton took the game by the scruff of the neck and turned the tide in Brize’s favour for the three points. First he restored the two goal cushion firing home from inside the box. Next, with some tricky footwork in the centre circle, he skipped past two challenges, before rolling the ball into the path of Cameron West, who needed no second invitation to make it 6-3.
Litton completed his double as he sprinted across the pitch, evading three defenders, before firing a low shot back across goal and into the bottom corner. Inside 8 minutes, Brize had opened up a four goal cushion. Scott Peaper saved the best goal until second last as he stole in at the back post to lob the keeper with the outside of his boot for 8-3 and the scoring was complete in the 88th minute as Joe Hatt outmuscled a defender to fire in the net for his second and Brize’s ninth.
Hook Norton also scored nine but did so without reply as they handsomely improved their goal difference against Witney Royals Reserves. Mitchell Faulkner moved to fourth in the Division Three goal-scoring charts as his double got Hook Norton started. Tom Lane opened up his account for the season with a single goal and there were further goals for Marc Clifton and Lewis Smith. Damien Corbin scored for his fifth of the season but it was left to Dom Hemmings to grab the headlines as he notched a hat-trick to complete the defeat. Hook Norton remain in second place in the league.
FC Mills are still the league leaders after seeing off a spirited Bampton United Reserves side. An impressive defensive performance helped Mills tremendously. Bampton, who were the league’s top scoring side at the start of the day could find no way past the Mills defence. Meanwhile, one of Mills’ goal-scoring machines this season, Darren Smith, had no problems finding the net as he scored twice. John Chapman hit Mills’ third and the game finished 3-0. Next week’s mouth-watering fixture sees FC Mills host Hook Norton Reserves in a top-of-the-table clash.
Stonesfield Reserves recorded their second league win of the season, firing five past FC Ascott Rangers Reserves. First league goals for Ethan Holloway and Kai Barnes set Stonesfield on the path to victory. Liam Hatton also opened his account but managed to go one better by scoring two, to take Stonesfield’s tally to four. James Lloyd finished off the scoring with his second goal of the season as it finished 5-0.