This Saturday see Wantage face a stern test in Ardley United who visit Alfredian Park in the latest pre-season game.
Ardley appointed experienced manager Jules McCalmon in November last year and so are approaching their first full (hopefully!) season under his command with little football having been possible between times.
When last season was curtailed Ardley were one place off the bottom of the Hellenic League Premier Division with 4 points from 10 games. Upon resumption in April Ardley took part in the Hellenic Challenge Cup, winning three and losing three in their group stage matches, before bowing out in the first knock-out round of the Supplementary Cup to Division One side Long Crendon.
Following the FA restructure over the summer Ardley initially remained in the Hellenic League, but being one of the most easterly teams in it appealed the decision and were subsequently moved to Spartan South Midlands League for the 2021-2022 season.
This will be Ardley’s fourth pre-season game, having gone down 2-1 to Flackwell Heath on 10th July (A. Trialist scoring their goal from the spot). Last Saturday fellow SSML Premier Division side Harefield United paid them a visit and went down3-2, Ardley securing a last minute winner through Dan Middleton.
And in mid-week Ardley travelled to Milton United, racking up a 4-1 win against a side that has recorded some impressive pre-season results, including beating us and Kidlington.
Ardley have been regular Hellenic opponents since 2004-2005, but we first met in Division One in 1994-1995, with our record for league games being:
P 26 W 9 D 5 L 12 Goals 33 – 43
In addition they have seen the better of us in the Hellenic League Floodlit Cup Final of 2012-2013 and two Hellenic Cup semi-finals in 2007-2008 and 2010-2011.
Our last meeting was here in February 2019 when we won 5-1 in the Reading Senior Cup with Steve Robertson (3) and Connor Mattimore (2) getting our goals.
Saturday’s game is a 1 pm kick-off. The bar and kitchen will be open from 12.
Entry will be £5 for Adults and £3 concessions, accompanied U16s are free.