North Berks Football League Roundup - 3rd September 2016
Richard Underwood, NBFL Media Relations Officer

Wittenham defeat Champions in season Opener

Last year’s Division one champion’s Kintbury travelled to the Bodkins sports ground to face a tricky season opener against Long Wittenham and came away empty handed with a narrow 2-1 defeat. In very blustery conditions Kintbury started the stronger of the two teams and went ahead as early as the 7th minute when Nick Monger headed a ball through down the left to Shaun Thorp who then ran towards the edge of the box to deliver a inch perfect ball for Toby Bridges to fire pass the Wittenham keeper Matthew Sammons from eight yards. Kintbury could have doubled their lead a few minutes later only for Bridges to see his snap shot half volley sail over the bar from just outside the box. Wittenham were struggling to get a grip on the game in the conditions and Kintbury continued to press and mid way through the first half Thorp found himself through on goal but his shot was saved by the advancing Sammons which resulted in the games first corner and then just five minutes later Thorp saw his effort cleared off the line by a Wittenham defender when it looked easier to score. Wittenham started to come into the game on the half hour mark and had their first real chance when Michael Farrelly's deflected cross was parried by the Kintbury goalkeeper Kyle Clough luckily falling to a Kintbury defender who headed the ball to safety over his own bar. As well as the blustery wind, rain started to fall heavily as the teams battled the elements and it was Kintbury who ended the half the stronger seeing two half chances go a begging with Bridges effort saved by Sammons at close range and Sam Mulvey hit his 20 yard drive over the bar. The 2nd half started slowly with both teams cancelling each other out and chances were few and far between with neither keeper really troubled. Mid way through the half Wittenham came close when they struck the Kintbury bar from a close range header only for this effort to be ruled offside and only minutes later Kintbury found space down the Wittenham right and Substitute Owen Cummins precise cross found Bridges who's header crashed against the Wittenham bar from close range. Wittenham continued to search for the equaliser and eventually this came with around twenty minutes remaining when a fine ball put through Joe Murphy on goal who kept his composure to side foot his effort past the advancing keeper. Kintbury should have then regained the lead minutes later after a fine move down the Wittenham left and Chad Abrams cross found Bridges at the back post in acres of space but failed to hit the target from close range. These Kintbury misses were starting to mount up and Wittenham took full advantage with ten minutes remaining to take the lead when Andy Cooper put in a high cross which Clough came out to punch amongst challenging Wittenham players only to see his punch kindly land in front of substitute John Willis to drill the ball home into an empty net from close range. Kintbury went in search of the equaliser and had two half chances that eventually amounted to nothing and Wittenham closed out the game to collect a valuable three points. An excellent game played by two very good sides we'll marshalled by referee Phil Rose in very tricky conditions.

Other games in Division One saw Berinsfield hit the ground running with a fine 5-3 victory over Lambourn with goals coming from Max Palmer and Charlie Lee who both hit two goals with David Murphy also finding the net. Newcomers Burghclere travelled to Saxton Rovers and came away with a point in an entertaining 3-3 draw with two goals from Daniel Langford and one from Mitchell Willmoth whilst Saxton replied through Tom Stanley who scored twice with the other coming through Louis Bloomfield. Stanford-in-the-Vale started with a fine 3-2 victory when they entertained Wallingford Town at the Cottage Road ground in a game which saw three red cards. Stanford goals came from two goals from Luke Murphy and the other from Jamie Tuck with Wallingford replying through Steve Hawes and Joe Webber.

In Division Two Westminster started their campaign in excellent fashion with a thumping 9-1 victory over Faringdon Reserves with a hat-trick from Tom Srawley with other goals coming from Joshua Bourton, Dan Hill, Jason Hillis, Michael Hooton, Simon Joyce and Luke Lewis-Rippington whilst Faringdon’s reply came through Jamie Broadfield. Hungerford Town Swifts also started with three points with a 3-0 victory over Steventon with goals coming from two goals from Charlie Allsop whilst the other coming from George Smith. Relegated Dorchester found Division Two a little easier when they came away from Kintbury Reserves with a 3-1 victory. Ashea Townsend hit a hat-trick for the visitors whilst Kintbury replied through Craig Bruce. Hanney United travelled to Sutton Courtney and posted a fine 2-0 victory with goals coming from Craig Payne and Neil Pimm.

In Division Three Benson Lions started with an emphatic 7-3 victory over Compton with a hat-trick from Luke Willis with Alexander Smallshaw and Michael Gardener both scoring two goals each with Compton replying through two goals from Liam Murray and the other through Jack Baker. Ardington arrived back in the league with a bang by hitting Marcham for six with goals coming from Oliver O' Hanlon and Jonathan Dix who both hit two goals a piece with the other goals coming through Luke Wilkins and Jamie Gregory whilst Marcham replied through David Yallop. Highworth Town Development also arrived into the league with a victory in a 4-1 win over Watlington Town with goals coming from a brace from Brandon Fenwick with other goals scored through Joe Ouldridge and Kieran O' Daly.

In Division Four Blewbury travelled to Coleshill United and came away with a high scoring 5-4 victory with a hat-trick from Bryn Ingram whilst other goals came through Max Hollick and Chris Crickmore with Blewbury scoring through a two goals from Shane Blake with Andrew Lynham and James Tranter also finding the net. Drayton returned back into the league with a narrow 2-1 victory over Hagbourne United with goals coming from Nathan Merry and Lewis Collacot with Hungerford replying through Grant Shears.

NBFL Roll Of Honour – Week One.

Long Wittenham narrowly defeat champions Kintbury.

Berinsfield hit five past Lambourn Sports.

Westminster hit nine past Faringdon Reserves.

Benson Lions fire seven past Compton.

Ardington hit Marcham for six,

Blewbury win by the odd goal in a nine goal thriller.

Ashea Townsend hits hat-trick for Dorchester.

Tom Srawley hits a hat-trick for Westminster.

Luke Willis hit a hat-trick for Benson Lions.

Bryan Ingram hits a hat-trick for Blewbury.