6th August 2019
Hellenic League Premier Division
Ardley United (1) Brackley Town Saints (1)
Saints : Crowther, Gabbidon (Sherratt 69), Brock (Hartley 51), March, Goddard, Middleton (D), Ball (Middleton L 66), Godfrey, Knight, Hammond, Stott.
Subs not used: Dowse, Jacucha
An early season local derby played on a good playing surface, but with neither side really ably to find the quality to break down 2 solid defences. The early stages saw both teams create chances with Saints coming close from a corner after 3 minutes followed by a dribble full of tricks from George Ball bringing a fine save from the home keeper Jake Pritchard.
At the other end Matthew Crowther was forced to make 2 excellent saves from the lively Twariq Yusuf who was finding lots of space wide on the left and cutting back in on his right foot to great effect. It was Yusuf who opened the scoring on 19 minutes sweetly finishing a move that he had started with a calm lob over the advancing Crowther.
However the lead lasted only 4 minutes when Saints skipper Ollie Goddard was in the right place at the right time to turn in a Brock corner that Pritchard was unable to gather. It was Saints turn to take the ascendancy and good work by Ball set up James Hammond whose lob over the keeper landed on top of the crossbar and Ball himself then struck a 30 yard shot which Pritchard saved comfortably.
Right on half time Dean Gallagher broke through the Saints rear-guard unchallenged but his attempted lob over Crowther was under cooked and the keeper was able to snuffle the chance.
The second half was tight. Lots of very long passes exchanged and neither side really able to string a telling passage of play together. On 50 minutes Alex Stott jinked free and sent in a rasping shot from 25 yards but straight at Pritchard. Five minutes later Yusuf cut in on his right foot and shot across goal, but Crowther made a good save low down to his left. Saints were defending well, with Goddard commanding at the back, but also bringing the ball out of defence confidently with a number of marauding runs.
With 5 minutes to go the sides exchanged good chances. First Dean March was on hand to make a crucial block when a long throw fell at the feet of an Ardley attacker and then Tobias London fashioned some space but screwed his shot wide of the Saints goal. At the other end Jordan Godfrey found Ryan Knight with a precise pass and Knight’s crisp left foot volley was well kept out with his legs by Pritchard.
In the end it was probably a fair result overall in a keenly contested local derby. Saints will move on now to face Wantage FC in the FA Cup on Saturday renewing last years local rivalry yet again. Come on you Saints….!!