NOMADS BEAT RISING TIDE TO CRUISE PAST CRICKLADE
Cricklade made a bright start to the match on a pitch that had held up well to the storms and Sam Reason tested Milan Barisic early on. But after this early warning Nomads began to assert themselves and Barisic had a fairly quiet time for the remainder of the half.
Nomads had the edge over their opponents for pace, with John Rixon in particular proving to be a constant threat on the right flank, though passes were too often finding green-shirted defenders. Still, Aaron Posey saw a shot fade just past the post, while two deep crosses from Rixon went close to producing a goal, and Lance Shaw twice showed the defence a clean pair of heels within a minute, but mishit his final ball.
Nomads continued to press, but had to wait until the 27th minute to open their account. Rixon again got the better of his marker on the right and, having raced to the goal-line, hit a low ball across the face of the goal and Cricklade�s No5 was unfortunate to get the final touch and bundle the ball past ex-Oxford United keeper Elliott Jackson.
The visitors tried hard to raise their game and Barisic had to be quick off his line to deal with Craig Ratcliffe�s cross. Cricklade had their best chance of the match to get on the scoresheet on 35 minutes when, with Malcolm Masawi having ventured upfield for a shot, a lofted clearance bounced awkwardly over Joel Meade and Steven Winchcombe ran unimpeded onto the loose ball, but delayed his shot too long and Barisic spread himself well to smother the ball. The green shirts now spent a short while camped in the Nomads� half: Winchcombe curled a free-kick just above the bar, and Barisic had to dive among the boots as several Cricklade players tried to force a loose ball home.
Nomads bounced back and, with a minute of the half left, Posey fought well to claim the ball from a Cricklade defender, took the ball to the goal-line and crossed to the unmarked Lance Shaw who had the easiest of tasks to double the lead from close in.
HALF-TIME: Nomads 2-0 Cricklade
Nomads had even more of the game in the second period and a well-ordered defence with Neil Greig and Darren Quegan hardly missing a tackle on the two flanks, and Meade and Masawi taking control in the centre. Good passes from midfield gave Rixon, Shaw and Lewis Colwell plenty to chase but the offside flag brought an early end to too many of the attacks.
Jackson was kept busy and some particularly heavy pressure saw three corners in quick succession conceded by the overworked Cricklade defence, but that final touch was eluding the Nomads� players. Rixon, Tony Njogu and Lenny Sackey all had shots marginally off target and, as the rain began to fall harder, it looked as though the Nomads might have to be satisfied with a two-goal margin.
Jon Hawkins, on for Colwell, tested Jackson with a rising shot, but, with the puddles growing by the minute, overelaboration on an unhelpful surface was not helping the home side�s cause.
With eight minutes remaining a long ball out of defence by Joel Meade found Rixon in space, and he bore down on goal and struck a low, skidding shot that Jackson couldn�t hold and Meade, who had continued his run, made no mistake from five yards.
John Ramsey hit the post with Jackson beaten, and Hawkins cleared the bar when set up by Posey as Nomads finished strongly.
In the 90th minute Rixon tried to thread his way through the puddles and, with players from both sides finding it harder and harder to keep their footing, won a free-kick on the edge of the box that Posey took and struck hard enough for the ball to slither through Jackson�s hands and into the net.
FULL-TIME: Oxford City Nomads 4-0 Cricklade Town
Nomads: Barisic, Quegan, Greig, Meade, Masawi, Rixon, Posey, Njogu (Davies), Colwell (Hawkins 75), Shaw (Ramsey 70), Sackey L.