30th October 2019

Hellenic League Premier division
Brackley Town Saints (2) Ardley United (0) 

SAINTS: – Crowther, Gabbidon, Brock (Middleton L 82), Sherratt, Middleton D, March, Ball (Wood 87), Hammond (Watts 62), Knight, Godfrey Stott. 

SUBS NOT USED – Kirkum–Okele, McConnell 

On a great night for a game of football Ardley and Saints served up a match full of good quality, good goals, good saves and all played in a great spirit. Ardley took the early initiative looking comfortable in possession and within a few minutes the impressive Alex Wheeler burst through on the left and smashed a shot into the side netting. 

Saints were struggling to get and keep hold of the ball, however on 7 minutes a slip in defence was pounced upon by Ryan Knight who nipped in behind the defence before squaring the ball to Alex Stott who skilfully curled the ball around goalkeeper Jake Pritchard into the bottom corner. Saints were buoyed by the goal and a lovely move involving Stott, Knight and James Hammond finished with a George Ball cross which was inches ahead of the onrushing forwards. Shortly after Ball showed the trickery that he has in his locker and finished with a shot which was just wide. On 11 minutes Alex Stott broke through the left channel and cleverly shifted the ball to Knight who was just about to pull the trigger when the ball was taken off his toes by the defender however the ball fell kindly for Hammond whose first time shot was straight at Pritchard who did well to parry the ball to safety. 

Although Saints were creating the chances Ardley were still dominating possession and created a nice opportunity for Joe Flarry who was unable to get his shot on target. 

On 19 minutes James Hammond picked up the ball on the right wing and worked his way infield across the pitch, jinking past three or four defenders and found himself just outside the 6 yard box but was unable to get his shot away thanks to a good last ditch challenge by Rio Burgoyne. 

Just before half time Stott almost claimed his second goal when Knight and Jordan Godfrey combined well and only a deflection kept his curling shot out.
The second half started with Saints on the front foot and a Godfrey break ended with a dangerous cross which Dean March headed straight at Pritchard who was again in the right place to make the save.  However, Pritchard could do nothing on 50 minutes. Hammond again picked the ball up wide on the right, cut back and worked infield drifting across the edge of the box before curling a left foot shot around Pritchard and into the far corner. Quality goal. 

Two minutes later Hammond was close again following excellent approach work from Alex Stott who set up Hammond, who took a touch and fired a rasping right foot shot heading for the bottom corner, but this time Pritchard got down excellently to tip the ball past the post.

There were no more goals, but Saints continued to create chances along the way particularly in a late flurry where both Lewis Middleton and Ryan Knight were foiled by Pritchard’s legs.
Overall Saints were very much in the ascendancy in this game however Ardley played their part with some really excellent possession football and even though they lacked a cutting edge it was great to see them stick with their passing football which was very pleasing to the eye.
It was a really good result for Saints which moves them up three or four places in the league table in a division which is really tight with only 6 points covering position 4 to position 14. There were some real positives for Saints in this game. Firstly, 3 points and a clean sheet. Saints defended well across the team with Ardley kept well away from the Saints goal and Matt Crowther was not troubled during the second half. Secondly the return of James Watt who played the last 15 minutes and it is a great fillip to seeing him progressing back to full fitness. Thirdly Sam Sheratt’s first full game after his injury. Really steady game doing simple things, disrupting the opposition and being in the right place at the right time. 

The games are coming thick and fast now. Saints travel to Royal Wootton Basset on Saturday. 3 pm kick off. Good set up there. Well worth a visit if you fancy it?? 

Come on you Saints.