First Team Win At Woodley
Wantage Given A Scare By Woodley
Wantage made the trip to Woodley for a re-arranged game following the postponement at the end of December. Missing several players through illness and injury saw Joe Grant in the starting XI, with Sam Sheppard as the only player on the bench.
After a fairly even start Wantage got their noses in front on 23 minutes when Grant met a cross in from the left to fire home just inside the post and out of reach of home keeper Alex Reed.
The lead was short-lived though, as nine minutes later James Tennant reacted the quickest to prod home the equaliser after Curtis Meare parried a fearsome shot from Owen Davies.
Wantage were shading possession, but lacked the final ball to punish the hosts until Ben Willoughby took it upon himself to restore the lead ten minutes before the interval. Breaking down the left flank he cut inside before unleashing an unstoppable shot that curled into the top near corner, giving Reed no chance.
After the break Wantage had the best possible start to the second half when after just two minutes a great through ball from Jim Glover set Steve Robertson away and the prolific striker made no mistake in sliding the ball past the advancing Reed.
That should have been that, but Woodley hadn’t read the script and began to force the play back towards the Wantage goal. The hard running Grant, who had helped the visitors press high up the field, was replaced by Sheppard, and gradually Wantage were pushed back.
And it was no real surprise when Woodley pulled a goal back with eight minutes to go when Toby Briggs was able to bundle home a loose ball after a scramble in the Wantage box.
Meare was increasingly called into action as the hosts threw everything at Wantage in search of the equaliser and pulled off a point-blank save on 88 minutes from Davies on the edge of the area which unfortunately saw him poleaxed from the force of the shot. The referee allowed the game to continue as the ball fell to a Woodley player, but thankfully the shot at the unguarded goal struck the crossbar, bounced down and was hacked clear.
It was backs to the wall for the last few minutes with Wantage happy to clear the ball in any direction, but it paid off as they hung on for three precious, if undeserved, points.
Wantage: Curtis Meare, Dan Comer, Mark Flanagan, Ryan Markham, Bradley Cox, Matt Cheetham, Joe Grant (Sam Sheppard 78), Jim Glover ©, Steve Robertson, Jack Dunmall, Ben Willoughby. Subs n/u: Paul Braithwaite, Ben Sadler, Josh King.
Woodley: Alex Reed, Sam Guze, Carl Prestidge (Liam Wilson 77), Jake Nicholls, Idris Kamara ©, Mitch Cooper, Owen Davies, Abdul Kamara (Toby Bridges 60), Toby Briggs, Danny Horscroft, James Tennant (Gregory Beckett 72). Sub n/u: Luke Turner
Referee: David Cox
United suffer narrow loss to Wantage
By Chris Burnett
Despite laying siege to the visitors goal in the second half Woodley go down to 3-2 defeat
The opening fifteen minutes of the game were even with a couple of over hit crosses from the visitors whilst Woodley's best bit of play came courtesy of a nice run down the left by Owen Davies.
United had the game's first shot and it came courtesy of left back Carl Prestidge after a good spell of possession. His shot from distance was easy for the Wantage keeper.
Town had two half chances twenty minutes in. Striker Steve Robertson delayed his shot too long allowing Abdul Kamara to block before Ben Willoughby missed to the left from a tight angle.
The away side went ahead half way through the half when Joe Grant turned in a left-wing cross.
Wantage's lead didn't last long, as nine minutes later James Tennant scored from a rebound after Davies' shot from the right was brilliantly kept out by Curtis Meare.
Moments after the equaliser, Meare was the catalyst for a swift counter when his throw out to the right caught United with numbers forward. The resultant through ball had a bit too much on it allowing Alex Reed in the Woodley goal to race off his line and clear.
Nine minutes before the break saw Town retake the lead with a fantastic strike from Willoughby. Out on the left flank and with nothing seemingly on, he fired an unstoppable shot into the top corner.
The half ended with the sides trading shots. Robertson narrowly missed to the right from fifteen yards whilst Tennant shot over from just outside the box.
HT Woodley United 1-2 Wantage Town
The second half started in the worst possible way for United when Robertson beat Reed with a low shot from eighteen yards.
Rather than deflating the side, the goal spurred Woodley on, with the hosts going on to dominate the rest of the game.
A lovely move working the ball from left to right ended with a low cross from Davies being hacked clear. United immediately regained possession allowing Danny Horscroft to force a decent stop from Meare.
On the backfoot, Wantage went on to create only one more meaningful chance. A really clean strike from Willoughby was well held by Reed after United could only partially clear a corner.
Woodley made a change on the hour when Toby Bridges made his debut in place of Abdul Kamara.
The following ten minutes saw Wantage's defence hold firm.
With eighteen minutes left the home side made another change when Tennant made way for Greg Beckett.
The introduction of Beckett nearly paid off immediately when he fed in Jake Nicholls on the left. His pass to Toby Briggs saw a shot on the turn miss to the left.
The pressure on the Town goal was mounting; a lovely move ended with a Beckett shot having all the pace taken off it due to a deflection, allowing Meare to save.
Wantage's goalie was keeping his side in the game; his next stop was much more difficult but he was up to the task, keeping out a Horscroft effort headed for the left corner.
United made their final change with thirteen minutes left; Liam Wilson came on for Prestidge.
Five minutes after the change, Woodley got a deserved second to set up a grand stand finale when Briggs bundled home a right-wing cross at the back post.
The final chance in an entertaining game saw an incredible passage of play. A Briggs pass to Davies on the right saw Meare off his line quickly to cut the angle and pull off another decent save. The rebound fell to a United player twenty-five yards out who crashed a shot against the bar; the second rebound also fell to a blue shirt who had a powerful effort cleared off the line! Desperately unlucky.
FT Woodley United 2-3 Wantage Town