Match Report – Goring Utd OB’s 0 – 1 Faringdon Town Vets
After a 5 week festive and new year break, Town Vets were back in action last night to get their promotion challenge up and running again. This weeks opponents were Goring Utd Old Boys who Town dispatched 5-1 at home earlier in the season but whom Town were not going to be complacent of.
The Town squad was bolstered by Anthony McCusker and Ben Spencer making their debuts and the squad were buoyed by the announcement of Andy Lynham also registering with the squad but not in time for this fixture. The playing surface at Abingdon Town was heavy and it meant flowing football was difficult with mud collecting on players boots. Town started brightly and closed the home side down, passing the ball with positivity, however they probably overplayed and did not test the home keeper.
The first chance came on 9 minutes when a Glenn Townsend crossed was flapped at by the keeper and the loose ball was struck goal-wards by McCusker but blocked and cleared off the line. Town were maintaining the pressure and on 15 minutes, Damian Francis hit a dipping volley from the edge of the area, which just missed the target with the keeper stranded. With Town pushing forward, they became susceptible to a quick breakaway and on 20 minutes they broke through the Town back line and but for a great sliding challenge from Townsend, could and should have taken the lead.
The match was becoming a midfield battle with neither side making any clear chances, but as the half came to a close, Paul Smith ran onto a Pat Graham through ball, hit his shot early, only for the home keeper to make a great save and push the ball out for a corner. Town had a number of corners to see the half out, but struggled to get the ball into the mixer!!
The halftime chat was to not get frustrated, support the front man quicker and try and play two-touch football, getting the ball down the sides. Town started brightly with all the substitutes making an impact particularly down the right side and Town won a succession of corners five minutes into the second-half. Dave Legg took the restarts and his second from the right was missed by everyone at the near post and the keeper to go over the line and give Town a fortunate goal and lead.
Shortly after and Town struck the woodwork when Gav Stevens cross come shot looped over the giant man in orange, striking the bar before eventually being cleared to safety. Town were making their younger legs count and a great passing move between Spencer and Smith saw the latter break into the box and draw another good save from the home keeper. For all the early second-half pressure, Town couldn’t find the second goal and the home side began to gain in confidence and stretch Town, who were struggling to clear their lines and find a team-mate with a pass.
Just after the hour and Town’s Jolly Green Giant Lee Ruddle, pulled off a terrific diving save to his left from a close range swivelling volley to keep Town’s lead intact. The home sides pressure was building and Town were giving free-kicks away around their own area, but luckily Old Boy’s couldn’t find the target. Town striker Colin Yates was provided two great opportunities to end his barren run of goals but failed to put both one on one chances away, with one failing to reach the keeper and the second being well saved.
Shortly before the final whistle, Paul Hulme blazed over when well placed and breaking clear of the home defence. The final whistle was blown from the excellent man in black and Town gained a hard fought 3 points.
The management team commented, “It was always going to be a tough encounter after an extended lay off, heavy pitch and much improved opponents. The positives are that we won, gained 3 points and have moved five points clear with four fixtures remaining. We must take our chances though and particularly with our next match being the cup quarter final against Thame Utd at home, where we are massive underdogs, chances are likely to be in short supply, so any we get, we have to take.”
MOTM: Damian Francis (Makes the side tick, missed his influence in the second period, if not the hot head!)
DOTD: Colin Yates (the goals will come mate!)
Team: Lee Ruddle, Glenn Townsend, Dave Legg, Damian Francis, Gary Sutton(c), Nick Wojcik, Paul Hulme, Pat Graham, Paul Smith, Colin Yates, Anthony McCusker, Steve Pugh, Gav Stevens, Ben Spencer, Phil Thompson, Troy Redman.