into yet another Berks & Bucks FA Senior Trophy semi-final where they will meet either Sandhurst Town, Old Bradwell or fellow Thames Valley Premier League outfit Newbury Town. Indeed, it is a great accomplishment by the TVPL to have two teams represented at this stage of the competition as while United knocked out the last remaining Hellenic League team, Newbury did for Spartan League outfit Buckingham Athletic and we congratulate our compatriots and hope that we meet in the final.
As an aside congratulations also go out to Wrightchoice & Unity who knocked Hellenic League Holyport out of the Reading Senior Cup yesterday. Mind I’ve long held the opinion that the top sides in the TVPL are more than a match for step 6 sides based on United’s encounters and our own experience of the Hellenic League which also includes the lower bottom half of step 5, the main difference is floodlights.
Defeat isn’t always so easy to report on and United must now turn their attention to the league now a semi-final spot has been ‘banked’ and with two further cup quarter finals to look forward to.
United face Cookham Dean at the AMG next week on the back of two successive home league defeats 1-2 to Cookham and 0-2 to Mortimer knowing that defeat to Cookham while not decisive will put the hosts in pole position. A draw is acceptable but a win for United would turn things strongly back in United’s favour but it doesn’t stop there as the following week United travel to Mortimer. Others of a more cynical nature might think that forces were conspiring to halt any potential title charge as United are scheduled to meet Woodcote Stoke Row on 9 February meaning they will have completed their fixture schedule against the top 6 teams before the Spring sun is even in the sky! This imbalance means there are teams in the bottom half United haven’t played at all yet, but I’m not cynical and actually believe this is in United’s favour as it keeps the team on its toes and lessons will have been learned from the previous two defeats and it is my sincere belief that if United play well, they win, for me its as simple as that. Opportunity has been given for other teams in the lower half of the table to strengthen and undoubtedly United will fall foul of midweek fixtures due to so many blank Saturdays but Manager Pritchard has built a squad to cope with all eventualities and I’m confident that will be the case. Every game now takes on cup final proportions and that’s exactly where any team would want to be, playing meaningful games week in week out and Pritchard’s team has been built exactly for that purpose and this imbalance will level itself out although the fixture v Woodcote has to be moved due to the Berks & Bucks FA Senior Trophy semi-final being scheduled for that day.
The reserves fought out a 4-4 draw at home to Hurst reserves yesterday to maintain 8th place in Division Two.
Around the Premier Division Cookham narrowly beat Woodley United Royals 1-0 while Woodcote fought back from 2-0 down to edge things against Burghfield 4-3 as Westwood took all three points 2-0 at Richings Park and Wokingham beat Reading City Under 23 2-0.
As stated previously United cross the river for another epic encounter with our fiercest rivals Cookham Dean next week and the reserves host AFC Corinthians at Derehams Lane. Both games KO 2pm.
Updated 11:43 - 14 Jan 2019 by Alan Turner