North Berks Football League Roundup - 15th April 2017
Richard Underwood, NBFL Media Relations Officer

Cottrell Injury time strike seals victory for Ardington

Ardington lifted the North Berks War Memorial Cup when they defeated fellow Division Two side Blewbury by a last minute goal from Josh Cottrell in front of 250 spectators at Wantage Town Football Ground. Ardington started slighted better of the two sides with Chris Hogan and Jamie Gregory having snap shots from just outside the box that never really tested Blewbury keeper Darren Gibbons which followed with Ryan Johnson firing a free kick wide from just outside the Blewbury box. Moments later Blewbury thought they had taken the lead when the ball was bundled over the line at the far post following a Blewbury free kick but this was ruled out for an Infringement. Ardington then produced a fine move that should have been the first goal of the game when Sam Connors put Gavin Jones through down the Blewbury left and his cross found Gregory at the near post who flicked on his header to the far post where Jonny James somehow put his header wide with the goal at his mercy. Blewbury then created a few half chances of their own with the best of these being when Arran Gray pounced onto a loose ball on the edge of the Ardington box but his shot was saved low down by keeper Craig Payne. Then Gray fought he had put Blewbury into the lead on forty minutes when he latched onto a through ball from Warren McCabe and Gray took a touch beat the out rushing Payne and fired his shot from ten yards towards a empty net only to see an Ardington defenders outstretched leg clear the ball off the line and out to safety. The game then took a turn for the worst for Blewbury on the half time whistle when referee Dean Caven showed Lee Chapman his second yellow card following a foul on Connors and Blewbury would now have to play the rest of the match with ten men. Blewbury started the second period well with a man down and Gray failed to get anything on a fine cross that caused panic in the Ardington six yard area. The game then went into a period where both sides never created any chances to note with both defences holding firm until the hour mark where Luke Faircloth put over a pin point cross but James could only direct his header straight at gibbons when in a good position. Ardington were now starting to have a lot of possession and created two fine chances firstly when Jones found Faircloth just inside the Blewbury box and he turned took a touch and fired towards goal only to see the outstretched keeper Gibbons turn the ball onto the post and out to safety which then followed with James firing a free kick from the edge of the box inches wide of the Blewbury far post. Ardington’s Ryan Johnson was then booked following a reckless challenge which followed with Faircloth having another shot from just inside the Blewbury box which was saved low down by Gibbons. Blewbury were holding firm and looked to catch Ardington on the break but as tired legs set in this was starting to become more difficult as both sets of players started to down with cramp. Then with time starting to run out both sides created half chances firstly Ardington’s Shane McGowran fired over just outside the box when in a good position which followed with Blewbury’s John Robinson producing a fine run and cross which no one could get on the off. Then as extra time looked destined Ardington took the lead with near on the last kick of the game when McGowran collected the ball on the left edge of the Blewbury area he then produced a twinkle toes moment when beating two defenders fired over his cross where it was met by Gregory who shot was deflected into the path of Josh Cottrell on the edge of the six yard box and he fired home from close range with Blewbury then looking over at the linesman who’s flag stayed firmly down. The whistle for full time blew seconds later and Ardington collected the trophy in a game that was played in good spirit with both sets of players giving everything.

Stanley’s four timer sends Saxton through to final
Saxton Rovers moved into the final of the Charity Shield thanks to a four timer from Tom Stanley when they beat last year’s winners Berinsfield 5-1 at the Sutton Courtenay Football Ground .The first quarter of the game saw both sides cancel each other out as chances were few and far between with Saxton’s Niall Hodgkins hitting the side netting from an acute angle being the best them. Then just on after twenty minutes Saxton created a rare chance when Gary Belcher went down the Berinsfield left and his cross found Frankie Haines who could only fire over when in a good position. Moments later Saxton took the lead after referee Phil Rose pointed to the spot following a late challenge from which Tom Stanley stepped up and fired the ball past Tom Lovett. Berinsfield did not have to wait long to draw level when Michael Hinkin got on the end of a long cross and he nodded the ball down into the path of Luke Saunders who fired the ball past Saxton keeper Jack Absoslom.Saxton then pulled in front with their next attack when Tom Stanley latched onto a through ball and kept his head and slotted the ball past the out rushing Lovett and into the net. Then as the half time whistle was about to blow Berinsfield had a glorious chance to pull level when Max Palmer got on to a long ball took a touch but fired just wide from around ten yards out with keeper Absolom beaten. The second half started and Saxton hit the ground running and went 3-1 up on fifty minutes when Haines was played through on the Berinsfield right and he pulled the ball back across the edge of the area for Stanley to fire a unstoppable 20 yarder past Lovett to claim his hat-trick. The same player nearly made it four moments later when again Saxton got in behind the Berinsfield defence and Stanley latched onto a cross ball from Haines only to see his effort save low down by Lovett. Berinsfield then created a few half chances of their own but these were easily dealt with by either the defence of keeper Absolom.Saxton then had a fine chance on seventy minutes when Louis Bloomfield put through Haines one on one with keeper Lovett but he delayed his shot and missed his chance for a shooting strike as Berinsfield cleared to safety.Saxton though pulled further clear minutes later when Bloomfield found substitute Ollie Nadin in space just inside the Berinsfield area and he kept his head to fire the ball past Lovett from the edge of the six yards box. Berinsfield then were lucky not to be reduced to ten men following a reckless challenge as Saxton looked to see the game out. Then just on eighty minutes Stanley hit his fourth and Saxton’s fifth following a quick free kick Stanley gathered the ball on the edge on the box and hit a twenty five yarder past the outstretched Lovett and into the back of the net to seal a fine afternoon for Saxton as they booked their place into next week’s final against Westminster.

Berinsfield beat Champions to lift League Cup
Berinsfield Reserves lifted the North Berks League Cup after beating Division Four champions Cumnor Minors U21 3-2 at Milton United Football Ground in front of over 200 spectators. Berinsfield started well and were in front as early as the fifth minute when leading scorer Jon Welch latched onto a long ball took a touch and fired a twenty five yard shot that nestled into the top right hand corner of the net with Cumnor keeper Darren Smee rooted. Then both sides had half chances that were either saved or missed and Berinsfield then went two up when they were awarded a free kick from just outside the box where Mark Ingram stepped up and curled an unstoppable shot past the outstretched Smee and into the top left hand corner of the net. Cumnor then should of pulled a goal back minutes later when Joshua Rough sent over a pinpoint cross where it was met by Adam Gilroy but he could only head over the bar from six yards out with the goal at his mercy. Then Berinsfield went close moments later Mennan Calvo ran onto a through ball just inside the Cumnor box and fired his shot past Smee only to see it hit the outside of the post and out to safety. Cumnor then thought they had pulled a goal back when Jordan Howe collected a long ball and then played through Levi Webb and he saw he shot from around eight yards out brilliantly saved at point blank range by Berinsfield keeper Jacob Perkins but Webb then followed up to fire home the rebound only to be cancelled out by the referee assistant for offside. Cumnor did not have to wait long though to pull a goal back when Rob King put through a fine ball to Cumnor’s leading scorer Howe and he kept a cool head and fired past keeper Perkins and into the roof of the net. The second half started with both sides cancelling each other out with chances few and far between with the best of these falling to Cumnor’s Howe who fired just over from just outside the box. The just after the hour mark Berinsfield were awarded a penalty after Calvo was adjudged to have been brought down in the box and Ingram stepped up only to see his penalty saved by Smee but Ingram was on hand to fire home the rebound to give Berinsfield a 3-1 lead. The game did not have to wait too long before Cumnor pulled a goal back and what a goal it was when Rough collected the ball mid way in the Berinsfield half and hit a half volley from thirty yards that dipped over keeper Perkins and into the corner of the net. Both sides then created half chances which were dealt with by both keepers and Berinsfield’s Welch then latched onto a through ball but his shot was saved by the out rushing keeper Smee.Then with time running out Calvo collected the ball on Cumnor’s right ran and put over a fine cross which the running on Harvey Moore just could not get enough on the ball to direct it goal wards. Berinsfield saw out the remaining moments of the game to claim a 3-2 victory to then lift the North Berks League Cup in a game that was played in good spirit with both sides giving everything.

Division One
Westminster moved up to third place in the table with a fine 7-1 victory over North Oxford with goals from Michael Hooton, David Humphreys, Aiden Di Toro, Andy Younie, Tom Srawley and Kostas Diamantopoulos with North Oxford replying through Charles Appiah.Hanney United got back to winning ways with a 2-1 victory over Steventon with goals from James Bishop and Matthew Woodside whilst Phil Barton scored for Steventon.

Division Two
Saxton Reserves kept tabs on the leaders with a fine 6-0 victory over Faringdon Reserves thanks to hat-tricks from Harry Winn and Liam Smith. Kintbury Reserves got back to winning ways with a 2-1 victory over Wallingford Town Reserves thanks to goals from Rob Denison and a Luke Connor penalty.Watlington Town and Sutton Courtenay had to settle for a point a piece in a 2-2 draw with Watlington scoring through Ben Little and Adam Holloway whilst Sutton replied through Kieron Kerby and Rhys Griffiths with a mention to the Sutton Courtenay keeper Dan Hope for making three or four outstanding saves to gain a Sutton a point.

Division Three
East Hendred Reserves were crowned champions of Division Three with a fine 5-1 victory over Marcham thanks from Chris Kennedy, Jamie Wilkins, Ben Eltham, Liam Revell and Luke Hayes who scored his first goal for the club. Cholsey United got back to winning ways with a narrow 1-0 victory over Lambourn Sports Reserves with Howard Hawkins scoring the only goal of the game. Long Wittenham Reserves remained in second spot in the league with a fine 3-0 victory over Wallingford Town A thanks to two goals from Andy Sutherland with Steve Malloy also hitting the target.

Division Four
In the only game in Division Four Appleford produced a fine 4-2 victory over Steventon Reserves thanks to two goals from Eddie Stanhope with further goals coming from Ed Dunbar and George Lee.

Roll of Honour
Ardington win the War Memorial Cup Final
Berinsfield Reserves win the North Berks League Cup Final
East Hendred Reserves clinch the Division Three Title
Saxton Rovers reach the Final of the Charity Shield
Tom Stanley hits a four timer for Saxton Rovers
Liam Smith and Harry Winn both hit hat-tricks for Saxton Reserves