Witney & District Reports - Week 9

By Ant Barlow

Written by David Evans

Super sub Stubbs clinches three points for Carterton

Premier Division
Alex Stubbs came off the bench to score a double for Carterton to help maintain their three point lead at the top of the Premier Division. Facing off against second bottom Charlbury in their first game back since lockdown, perhaps some of the rust was still apparent as they struggled to break down their stubborn opponents. But the introduction of Stubbs proved to be a masterstroke as he made the most of his opportunity on the pitch to score both goals in the 2-0 win. The defeat leaves Charlbury second bottom and still winless this term.

The most hotly anticipated fixture in the Premier Division saw third play second as Carterton Rangers hosted Hailey and the game didn’t disappoint. As early as the first minute the drama started as Rangers were awarded an early penalty. However, they missed their opportunity to leave their mark on the game as they squandered their opportunity from 12 yards. It was to prove a chance they would rue as it was one-way traffic on the scoresheet after that.

Jack Wood doubled his league tally for the season by scoring twice for the visitors. Tom Gregory and Freddie Buckingham scored for the second game in a row to make things comfortable for Hailey and Sam Britnell rounded off the 5-0 win to leave Hailey firmly in second place.

Spartan Rangers and Milton cancelled each other out in a 2-2 draw as they bounced back from defeats last week. Alex Ayres scored for Milton only for Frank Clarke to bring Spartan level. Sean Godfrey gave Milton the lead again only for Ethan Barrett to restore parity once again and the game finished all square

Stonesfield remain sixth after being held to a 1-1 draw against ninth placed Tower Hill. Raffy Rice notched his sixth league goal of the season, Ollie Squires levelling for Tower.

Division One
Wins are like buses for Hailey Reserves it would seem after recording a second victory of the season, just 7 days after recording their first. Joey King nodded home after being left unmarked at the back post to give Hailey the lead. Chadlington were then awarded a penalty but with regular penalty taker Matt Chadwick in goal, Jarvis Morley stepped up, only to fire the ball well over the bar. The scare was enough to fire up Hailey as from the resulting restart they ended up down the other end and Moh Semlali fired home from twenty yards to double the advantage. Early in the second half Hailey had the chance to seal the game but Luke Perkins imitated Morley’s earlier effort by sending the ball well over.

To compound his miserable game, Perkins was sent off minutes later for violent conduct to leave Hailey battling for the remaining 40 minutes with only ten men. But hold on they did and in a tightly contested division, now find themselves just 3 points off third place.

Carterton took their December tally to nineteen goals after thrashing Brize Norton. Four different goal scorers combined to give Carterton the win. Dave Cross made it five goals in two games as he followed up from last week’s hat-trick with a brace this time around. Chris Hirons, who also scored last week also found the net twice and Jamie Kennedy opened up his account for the season, also finding the net twice. Ryan Barrass went one better than all of them, firing in a hat-trick to also open his account. Jake Farrugia and Nathan Walton hit back for Brize in the 9-2 reverse. Brize remain bottom and winless so far.

It’s nine out of nine for Hook Norton but they survived a real scare on their visit to Bletchington. Tom Knox on his last appearance for Bletch banged in a double to give them the half-time lead. Whatever was in the half-time refreshments did the trick for Hook Norton as they came out firing in the second half to take back the initiative. The two Max’s, Harris and Bayliss scored once each to bring Hook Norton back into the game, George Rickard fired in a third and no Hook Norton game would be complete without Jay Mair scoring. His double has taken him to 18 goals now in the 20/21 season and cemented the three points for Hooky with the 5-2 victory.

There was more than one second half comeback as Bampton United gave a spirited second half performance to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat against Witney Royals. Royals went in at the break two goals to the good, thanks to strikes from Ryan Harris and Ricky Williams. But Bampton’s half-time oranges clearly did the trick as the second half brought about a much improved performance. Chris Laurence halved the deficit to get them back in the game before Connor O’Shea brought them level. It was left to Laurence to fire in his seventh goal of the season to leave the Bampton players celebrating and the Royals players stunned at the final whistle.

An eight goal thriller at Wootton as they hosted Kingham All Blacks but both sides had to settle for a share of the spoils in an entertaining 4-4 draw. Michael Steers picked a good day to get his first goals of the season as he hit two but Kingham got themselves back into it with goals from Matt Deakin and Shane Cooper. After that Dan Lay scored twice for Kingham, either side of goals from Lee Spencer and Craig Gilboy for Wootton as the game finished all square.

Division Two
Combe’s return to the Witney and District continues to remain positive as they stormed past Chadlington Reserves to jump into second place in the table. Mauro Esteves had struck for Chadlington before Combe took control of the game. Rory Ward, Callum Snook and Herbie Hamilton all scoring once apiece to take Combe just three points behind leaders Eynsham and with an important game in hand.

Ducklington showed their steely resolve to stage a comeback against Carterton Town B. A Tom Costley own goal got Ducklington off to the worst possible start. Ducklington got back on level terms through Charlie Fisher and victory was complete as Ady Kew fired home to give Ducklington a 2-1 win. The win takes Ducklington third. In next week’s fixtures, Combe will host Ducklington in an important fixture for the outcome of the division.

Jason Blackman rediscovered his early season goal scoring form as he hit four in Cassington Rangers demolition of FC Ascott Rangers. Blackman, who opened the season with consecutive hat-tricks, found the net four times to score his first league goal since the 26th September. Last week’s hat-trick hero, Tyler Walker, scored once again and there were further goals for Nick Edwards, Nathan Prestidge and Lewis Hooper in the 8-0 victory.

For the second week in a row Siege FC were involved in a five goal thriller but this time it was North Leigh who won by the odd goal in five to record just their second league win of the season. Just like last week, Andy Makepiece scored twice for Siege but the combination of Liam Varney, Lewis Hathaway and Jack Clarke found the net for North Leigh for their first away win of the season.

An entertaining second half saw Aston and Milton Reserves share four goals in a 2-2 draw. A poor first half with no efforts to trouble either keeper made way for a barnstorming second half from both sides. Just 10 minutes after the interval Dan Hooton broke the deadlock as he cut inside from the left wing to fire a rasping drive high into the top left corner to spark Milton celebrations. Aston controlled possession and territory but Milton continued to create chances. Following a messy corner, Milton lost their goalkeeper to hand injury and Aston sensed blood. Milton held on bravely but eventually gave way as Max Hazell fired into an open goal following a cross that the keeper tried to gather. Aston plugged on and had Charlie Harper to thank for giving them the lead as they hunted the three points. But just three minutes later, Hooton was the hero again. Taking command of a free kick on the left hand side of the box, his low free kick bent round the wall and under the scrambling keeper and into the bottom corner to take home a well-deserved point for Milton

Bourton Rovers and Wootton Sports Reserves shared the same score line in their encounter. Fin Griffiths grabbed both goals for Bourton but one each for James Perella and James Minchin ensured the points were shared. Wootton earning just their second point of the season whilst Bourton recorded their first draw.

[b]Division Three[/b]
On paper, the fixture to keep your eye on in Division Three this week was between league leaders FC Mills and second place Hook Norton Reserves and on the pitch the match lived up to expectations. Both sides boasted a 100% record going into the game but knew that by the end, one, if not both of those would be gone. Mills took the lead in the first half as Darren Smith moved into double figures for the season and that’s how it stayed until half time. As the second half got going tempers started to fray and the action intensified.

Will Wall equalised from the spot only for Mills to retake the lead as Stu Cutts turned home from a free kick which the keeper should have caught. Hooky’s second equaliser was a carbon copy of Mills’ second as Mitch Faulkner turned in from a free kick which should have been caught by Gary Williams in the Mills goal. With ten minutes to go Hooky took the lead for the first time. Dom Hemmings with a sweet strike from the edge of the box which rocketed past the stranded Mills keeper to lead 3-2.

The drama still wasn’t over as Mills had one last opportunity to snatch a point but substitute keeper Daryl Middleton denied Smith his second when he was clean through on goal.

The victory was enough to see Hook Norton leapfrog Mills but they don’t take top spot.That honour goes to Hailey who jumped two places to lead the division by virtue of goal difference following a 6-0 rout of Kingham All Blacks Reserves. Another top performance by the second best defence in the league ensured a clean sheet and they were clinical at the other end of the pitch. Ryan Stockford now has 13 goals in all competitions for the season after bagging a brace.

Jake Fisk followed suit by scoring two as well. Zack Payne scored one to take his seasonal tally to three and it was left to Curtis Hathaway to slot home for goal number six. Hailey A now top the table with a goal difference one better than Hook Norton’s.

Aston Reserves missed the chance to record their first win of the season after surrendering a three goal advantage to draw against fellow strugglers FC Ascott Rangers Reserves. Aston hit the ground running and quickly found their feet. Benji Sunblad broke the deadlock to give Aston the lead and their advantage was doubled when Sunblad fired home from the penalty spot soon after.

Aston were three up as Reece Waine continued his fine goal scoring form this season and it looked like the points were secured. But Rangers hit back through top scorer Brian Wright and the deficit was reduced to one when Jake Bee fired home. It was left to Luke Wiggington to complete the comeback and snatch a point for the home side.

Stonesfield Reserves made it two wins in two since the restart with a hard fought victory over Sherborne Harriers. Once again, Josh Betteridge was on the scoresheet for Harriers but Stonesfield fought back through Jack Barker. Ben Blagden gave Stonesfield the lead and Sam Hibberd stretched their advantage as Stonesfield looked to secure the points. Sherborne showed their fight by reducing the gap to one but Stonesfield held on in a nervy finish to take home all three points.

Witney Royals Reserves bounced back from last week’s heavy defeat to beat Spartan Rangers A with a 3-1 win. Three different goal scorers for Royals this time around as Sam Perry, Ben Horne and Zack Ryall all scored one each for the win. Things may have been better for hosts Spartan had player-manager James Macke not skied his spot kick over the bar, throwing away the chance to take a half time lead, therefor their only consolation was a well taken Dan Jeffrey goal.

Brize Norton Reserves received a walkover victory against Chipping Norton Town.

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