Town were on the road for the first time since the 26th October, which saw a run of nine home games, when we travelled to Inkpen Road, the home of Kintbury Rangers Reserves.
It was a bright fresh afternoon, however, the wind blowing across the pitch was going to cause both sides issues, along with a heavy playing surface, which started to cut up in the warm-up.
Town started brightly and what turned out to be the winning goal, was scored on the first real attack in the third minute. Adam Sly from left-back found the run of Matty Pill down the left, Pill played the ball into Sam Saunders who steered the ball home left-footed, to score his third goal in two Town starts.
It then became an endless run of attacks on the Kintbury goal for the rest of the half and if not for poor finishing and excellent goalkeeping, Town should have been out of sight. In the 7th minute, Jack Green played in Ash Piotrowski who found himself one on one with the keeper, but his weak shot was easily saved.
Onto the 15th minute and skipper Josh Forth played the ball to Sean Creeley down the right-wing, who pulled the ball back across goal to Green who saw his effort blocked on the line. Creeley then had his first effort on 21 minutes, but the Rangers keeper pulled off a good save. The Rangers keeper then made a tremendous save to deny Green as he headed goalwards from a Piotrowski flick-on.
Rangers had their first sight of goal on 27 minutes when a free-kick from the right was played into the Town area, but the number 10 could only volley high and wide. Town went straight down the other end with Creeley breaking the offside trap and rounding the keeper, however, the ball took an awkward bounce which took him away from goal and he could only find the side netting.
As the half came to a close, Piotrowski went through one on one, again his shot was saved and from the rebound, he gathered the ball to lay off to Sanders whose shot cannoned off the crossbar to the keepers’ relief!
The second half repeated the first, with Town dominant, winning their individual battles but failing to put the game to bed. Creeley had two opportunities when breaking through the Rangers backline, the first he fired over and the second was well saved by the Kintbury No. 1.
Pill also had an opportunity to double the lead, but he took too long to get his shot away before being challenged and Saunders effort from the loose ball went wide of the far post. With Town not taking their chances, Kintbury were always in the match, but it was the 71st minute before they had a shot in the second period, but the effort failed to trouble Town keeper Connor Guinness-Smith.
Shortly after and Creeley hit a 20-yard strike which was goal bound until the Kintbury keeper made another superb save to put the ball out for a corner. From the restart, Pill had an inswinging effort, which the keeper had to tip over. Town were now playing out the final minutes of the match before the final whistle was blown.
This was a convincing performance and victory, however, the scoreline doesn’t show this and Town know that missed chances could have cost us on another day. It’s now 6 games unbeaten in all competitions and with no fixture next week, we are back at Tucker Park on Saturday 15th February with Wantage Town Development the visitors.
Squad: C Guinness-Smith, A Rudman, A Sly, J Forth(c), A Goodchild, L Davenport, M Pill, S Creeley, A Piotrowski, S Saunders, J Green (sub 55 W Bazen) Subs not used: J Tomes, M Morris, J Vaughan.