ROTUND RUDMAN HAUNTS EX CLUB SHRIVY!
Town welcomed local opponents Shrivenham Development to Tucker Park, with a number of former players in each sides squads. Town gave a full debut to striker Morgan Watts, who lead the Town frontline.
Town opened with the first shot on goal in the 4th minute when Matty Pill drove at the visitors’ defence, but his shot was easily saved. Shrivenham had the next attack, which saw Connor Guinness-Smith make a double save during a goalmouth scramble.
In the 10th minute, Town’s Jack Green should have done better with two chances when failing to connect clearly with his head and left foot, whilst the away side were only attempting long-range shots. Watts had his first Town effort at goal, as Adam Rudman seized on a loose ball from the visitors’ defence, before crossing for Watts to rise above his marker, but his header could only cannon off the top of the crossbar.
With the winds at their backs and attacking the Playground End, the visitors exerted some pressure as Town struggled to get any flowing football going. With the half coming to a close, Shrivy took the lead on 43 minutes as an inswinging corner from the visitors left was met at the far post by the number 6 who volleyed home from six yards.
To Town’s credit, they came fighting back and were awarded a free-kick 10 yards into the Shrivenham half, on the left-hand side of the ground. Pill’s ball into the box was punched clear by ex-Town keeper Yates over bodies, but the ball was volleyed back by Rudman who had been bombed out by the Shrivy management in pre-season, a fully 35 yards from goal and into the corner of the goal, for the deserved equaliser and giving the healthy Don crowd something to cheer and talk about in the bar later! Rudman will never hit a better strike and it was made sweeter against the opponents.
Town knew the first half had been ok, but they could do better in the second half. Town started brightly and on 49 minutes Watts was fouled on the edge of the Shrivy penalty area. Sam Saunders stepped forward and brought out a great save by Yates, low to his right-hand post. Three minutes later and Town thought they had taken the lead, when Watts made a great run along the goal line inside the visitors’ area, pulled the ball back to Saunders, who finished neatly.
Unfortunately, the sub linesman felt the ball had gone out of play, despite him being on the opposite side of the ground and 10 yards up the pitch! Moments later and more controversy, as Town had another goal chalked off by the match official, as skipper Josh Forth rose highest to head home a Saunders free-kick, but it was ruled out for a fouled, much to most people’s amazement.
Just after the hour mark and Town introduced Ryan Bradbury, back after suspension and his first involvement was to leave the left-back spinning near the touchline, before placing the ball across goal, only for Adam Sly to slide in at the back post but fail to connect.
Shrivenham were struggling to get out of their half, but a long ball over the top of the Town defence on 77 minutes saw Guinness-Smith hesitate to collect the ball and as he did so, fouled the visiting striker, with a penalty awarded. This looked like it could be a real smash and grab defeat for Town.
However, Town’s number one made amends with a diving save to his left to deny the number 10. Town cleared their lines and as the ball was played back to Yates who was 35 yards off his line by a visiting defender, Yates failed to control the ball and it gathered momentum towards his goal. Yates sprinted back and attempted to clear, but with Town celebrating that the ball had crossed the line, the match official awarded the goal, from a long distance away, much to the visiting benches dismay.
Shrivenham were now disheartened and Town then took the game away from them finally with five minutes remaining as Liam Hares (another disgraced by the visitors) neatly headed the ball to Adam Sly on the edge of the Shrivy penalty area, Sly took on his marker before sliding the ball past Yates and Town gained a deserved three points.
Town were not at their best today, but they deserved the three points and extend the unbeaten run to 8 games as we go into a cup quarter-final with Adderbury Park next Saturday in the Chairman’s Challenge Cup.
Final Score: Faringdon Town 3 – 1 Shrivenham Dev.
Team: C Guinness-Smith, A Rudman, A Lynham, M Pill, L Davenport, A Goodchild, J Green (sub 63 R Bradbury), J Forth(c), M Watts (sub 63 L Hares), S Saunders (sub 86 J Evans), A Sly Sub Not Used: L O’Sullivan
Images Courtesy of Will Oglesby Photography