First Team See Off Fairford
Wantage Remain In Third Place
Wantage entertained Fairford on Saturday looking to maintain their 100% winning start to 2018. It was almost two weeks since Wantage had kicked a ball following the postponement of the game at Burnham last weekend, whilst Fairford had been in action mid-week, giving their survival hopes a huge boost with a 4-0 win over Royal Wootton Bassett.
Wantage included ex-Fairford player Johnny Davoile in the starting XI who completed his move from league leaders Highworth a day or so earlier.
The home side started the strongest, Brad Cox heading a Ryan Markham corner wide as early as the fifth minute, and within sixty seconds Jack Dunmall got in behind the Fairford defence before crossing, but Steve Robertson was crowded out before he could get his shot away.
Fairford were looking to the pace of Conor Lynch who got in behind Cox and Matt Cheetham a couple of times but lacked any real support from his colleagues and wasn’t able to capitalise.
On 34 minutes a smart turn and shot from Markham was turned away for a corner by Ben Mitchell in the Fairford goal, but he was powerless to stop Robertson opening the scoring from the resultant corner as Wantage took a deserved lead.
Fairford were defending resolutely, but The Freds kept the pressure on and almost increased their lead in the final minute of the half, this time Robertson could only find the side netting from another Markham corner. And right on the whistle Dunmall’s shot was bravely blocked to leave Wantage taking just a single goal lead into the break.
The second half saw much the same with the hosts unable to break the Fairford defence down until the introduction of Nick Thorne with just over 20 minutes to go. The change almost paid immediate dividends when he swung in a cross from the left only for Robertson to put his header over the bar.
But the second followed soon after on 73 minutes, Thorne capitalising on a strong challenge to win the ball on the left touchline before driving into the area and finishing through Mitchell’s legs right on the near post.
Fairford were handed a way back into the game five minutes later when a robust challenge in the Wantage area gave them a chance from 12 yards. But Curtis Meare guessed right and was able to turn Lee Smith’s spot-kick away.
Robertson had another couple of chances to add to his tally, but couldn’t find a way past Mitchell and so the game ended 2-0 to Wantage. A vital three points with second placed Thatcham dropping two points at home to Windsor and fourth placed Flackwell losing to Binfield.
Next up for Wantage is a trip to Flackwell on Saturday 24th February as they look to keep the momentum going.
Wantage: Curtis Meare, Dan Comer, Mark Flanagan, Johnny Davoile, Bradley Cox, Matt Cheetham, Ryan Markham, Jim Glover © (Nick Thorne 68), Steve Robertson (Joe Grant 86), Jack Dunmall, Ben Willoughby (Harvey Scholes 81). Subs n/u: Paul Alder, Mark Threlfall.
Fairford: Ben Mitchell, Lee Worgan, Nathan Hawkins, Ben Saunders, Matt Boucher (Josh Gregory 63), Ben Newman, Dan Bailey, Lee Smith ©, Dan Reynolds (Shane Bumphrey 71), Conor Lynch. Used Sub: Shaun Brian for ? Subs n/u: James Hemming, Jody Bevan
Referee: Grzegorz Kornasiewicz