North Berks Football League Roundup - 10th February 2018
Richard Underwood, NBFL Media Relations Officer

Hodgkins late winner keeps Saxton title hopes alive

Saxton Rovers kept their title hopes alive when they put in a fine second half performance to come back from a goal down to claim all three points in front of one hundred strong spectators at a wet and windy Laye Avenue. In an expected ferocious start both sides held nothing back as tackles were not for the faint hearted as referee John Barlow knew he was in for a long afternoon.Saxton produced the first real chance of the game on ten minutes when a Louis Bloomfield low free kick was saved by Berinsfield keeper Tom Lovett low down as Saxton’s Kyle Allsworth was on the scene to mop up any loose ends. Moments later Berinsfield took the lead with their first real chance of the game as following a long cross the ball was knocked back into the danger area by Berinsfield striker Max Palmer and after a few ricochets the ball found its way to Luke Holdsworth on the edge of the six yard box and he fired the ball home from close range. Berinsfield then forced a flurry of corners as they started to turn up the heat but they could not turn this into any worthwhile chances as the Saxton’s defence held firm. Berinsfield then created another fine chance when Mark Ingram found Simon Kenny on the Saxton right and his cross found Palmer in space but his header went straight at Saxton keeper Jack Absolom when in a great position. Then just after the half hour mark Berinsfield’s Palmer linked up well with Kenny but his first time snap shot went straight at Absolom which followed with Saxton going close at the other end after Tom Mullord heading over from close range following a fine Allsworth free kick. Berinsfield who had more of the possession in the first half looked to extend their lead and came close just before half time when a low Ingram free kick was well saved by keeper Absolom low down at his near post. Just on the half time whistle Saxton had a glorious chance to level the scores when Allsworth collected the ball on the right following a good move between Tom Stanley and Bloomfield and his cross found Dan Parry in acres of space ten yards out but his glancing header went inches wide of the far post with Lovett rooted to the spot. The second half started with a bang as following a late challenge from Saxton Tom Booker who had already been booked in the first half which followed with a mêlée of players confronting each other which eventfully ending up with Booker getting a only a final warning from the referee to the home fans dismay. Minutes later following a Saxton corner Berinsfield’s keeper Lovett performed a close range double save to keep his sides lead as the ball bounced around the six yard box which eventually was cleared to safety.Saxton who struggled to get going in the first half started to get a foothold in the game and on the hour mark drew level when a fine ball found Allsworth on the edge of the Berinsfield box and he ran and fired over a low cross which found the unmarked Stanley who fired home from close range. Saxton looked to push on and Bloomfield saw his long range effort go high and wide which quickly followed with Berinsfield nearly pressing the destruct button when a mix up in the defence nearly let in Stanley but eventually it was headed away to safety. Both sides then had half chances which were either saved or missed as both sides pushed forward in hunt for the winner. Then with five minutes remaining Saxton took the lead when a fine ball from Frank Haines found substitute Ollie Nadin on the Berinsfield right and he ran beat a defender and put over a pin point cross for the running on Niall Hodgkins who headed home from ten yards passed the diving Lovett. Berinsfield then had a great chance to level the scores minutes later when Palmer put through Charlie Lee one on one with Absolom but Lee saw his close range shot saved by the out rushing keeper which followed with the rebound somehow being cleared off the line by Saxton defender George Miles which resulted in the corner being headed inches wide of the far post. Saxton then had the ball in the Berinsfield net in the dying minutes but after the referee had a few words with the linesman this was ruled out for offside. Then with Berinsfield pushing forward they were caught on the break and Haines put Hodgkins clean through on goal but he could only see his low shot saved by Lovett which quickly followed with Haines heading over from close range following a long Hodgkins cross. The final whistle eventually blew with Saxton claiming victory in a game that was played hard but in good spirit against two very good North Berks sides.

North Berks Charity Shield Quarter Final
Westminster travelled to Division One rivals Long Wittenham and posted a fine 2-0 victory thanks to Mike Hooton who scored both goals and now Westminster go on to play Kintbury Reserves in the Semi Final.

Division One
East Hendred moved into third place in Division One after they claimed a fine 4-1 victory over Steventon thanks from goals from Ben Taylor, Tom Austin, Dan Timbrell and Mike Farrelly whilst Steventon replied through Blake Latimer.

Division Two
In the only game played in Division Two Watlington Town caused a mini upset when they ran out 3-1 winners over league leaders Saxton Rovers Reserves thanks to two goals from Adam Holloway with Alex B’Layachi also finding the target whilst Conner Spraggs replied for Saxton Rovers Reserves.

Division Three
Cholsey United moved back into second place in the table when they claimed a narrow 1-0 victory over Drayton with Steve Hawes scoring a late winner being the only goal of the game. Lambourn Sports Reserves maintained their fine run of form with posting a thumping 9-1 victory over Uffington United with Luke Peacock hitting a hat-trick with Kieron Watson and Dan Glozier both scoring twice and Luke Chandler and Jake Allen also hitting the target whilst Dalton Harfield scored the Uffington consolation. Hagbourne United got back to winning ways when recording a fine 4-2 victory over Marcham thanks to two goals from Dom Lovegrove with Jamie Clark and Ben Drabble also finding the net whilst Marcham replied through Kyle Dann and Josh Christopher

Division Four
Marcham Reserves bounced back from last week’s cup defeat when they moved into third place in the table with a fine 4-2 victory over Watlington Reserves thanks to Jamie Salter who scored all four goals whilst Darren Outten and Ashley Dixon were on target for Watlington.

Roll of Honour
Westminster moved into the Charity Shield semi-final
Lambourn Reserves hit nine against Uffington United
Jamie Salter hits a four timer for Marcham Reserves
Luke Peacock hits a hat-trick for Lambourn Reserves.