16th March 2019

UHL Hellenic League Premier Division

Brackley Town Saints (5) Ascot United (1) 

Saints: Worby, Middleton. Brock, Godfrey, Goddard, Ward , Ball (G), Watts, Knight, Hammond, Kille

Subs – Bowden, Swann, 

Given the dreadful windy conditions this was a very entertaining game in which both teams had their moments but in which Saints were absolutely clinical in front of goal. The first 15 minutes or so were very even as the 2 teams tried to come to terms with the strong and gusting wind which was blowing straight down the pitch. Ascot chose to play with the wind at their backs and found it hard to find their range of pass with many overhit throughout the first 45 minutes. 

On 17 minutes Saints burst into life. First Harry Brock worked a great throw in routine with Charlie Kille and burst into the box after a cute one two. Brock pulled the ball back to James Hammond whose shot was headed for the bottom corner but was tipped round the post by Sam Gray in the Ascot goal. 

But Saints took the lead 3 minutes later when a flowing move from back to front involving Dan Middleton, Jordan Godfrey and George Ball saw Ryan Knight cleverly played in behind the Ascot defence and he calmly slotted past Gray. 

Saints continued to knock the ball about smoothly and nearly doubled their lead on 23 minutes when a dangerous Brock corner found Joe Ward who flashed his header wide. Ascot had not created a scoring chance but on 36 minutes Geoff Kibaki showed a rapid turn of speed as Ascot broke following a Saints corner and only a good one on one save by Worby preserved the Saints advantage. 

Saints remained in the ascendancy and on 38 minutes Godfrey released Kille down the left wing. He put over a fantastic cross, given the conditions, which arrived exactly where Knight wanted it and his right foot volley was too powerful for Gray to keep out.  Saints continued to press and another quick break saw Hammond and James Watts slice through the midfield and release Ball who squared for Knight who pulled his shot just wide of the post. 

However Knight did not have to wait too long for his hat trick. In the first minute of the second half Hammond and Godfrey exchanged passes. Hammond moved forward at pace and played Knight into the box where he was taken down by a late challenge. Knight jumped up and despite having trouble getting the ball to stay on the spot kept his calm and cooly slotted the ball home for his and Saints third goal. 

Saints were in the middle of a purple patch and on 49 minutes Watts broke free on the half way line only to be taken out by a desperate challenge by Chris Ellis who was shown a yellow card. From the free kick Saints worked the ball around the area to Kille whose right foot shot was curled just the wrong side of the post. 

Ascot then enjoyed a 10 minute period where they settled into the game and were finding some rhythm and it took a good save by Worby at his near post to keep out George Lock. Ball was having a growing influence for Saints and finding space on the right wing. On 60 minutes Worby found him with a long clearance. His first touch was excellent followed by a great turn at pace to skin the full back he cut in on his left foot and struck a powerful drive which Gray managed to keep out and although the rebound came back to him Ball could not get his follow up shot on target. On 70 minutes Brock made a good tackle on the edge of the Saints area. He played an accurate ball down the line to Knight who attacked the full back and played in a tantalising low cross/shot which Gray could only parry out to the onrushing Ball who gleefully stroked the ball into the empty net. 

Ascot shot themselves in the foot a minute later when Ellis was sent off for a second bookable offence for another late tackle on Ball. He was not happy but it looked pretty clear cut from where I was sat. Within a minute Saints extended their lead when Ball again showed the defence a clean pair of heels and squared for Kille to slot home Saints 5th

Ascot had a good final 10 minutes where they hit the post and Kibaki forced a good save from Worby. They got the consolation goal that their performance deserved when Worby came to punch a cross, but missed and James Richardson was left to head into an empty net.  

All in all a very positive Saints performance. Some strong individual performances but more importantly a great team performance. Other results have made matters very interesting, and Saints are still in their battling