Wantage go through to the Semi-Final of the Faringdon Thursday Cup with an excellent home win. Tom Broad obviously took this competition seriously, having won it on numerous occasions as a player himself, and fielded a strong side that made no mistakes in securing the teams fifth win on the bounce, leading into our first league game Saturday. The game started very competitively, with the visitors pressing high and trying to stop Wantage playing. The first chance of the game came from our own mistakes, Tom Eatwell challenging and the ball falling unkindly for Jack Smith, who slide tackled the ball back to Harry Whitehead, who picked the ball up, earning the visitors a indirect freekick for a back pass, which was well blocked by Eatwell.
We were playing some great stuff out from the back, getting in behind on both sides, but it was a simple clip over the top from Jack Smith that unlocked the Hanborough defence, Calum Pryce was first onto it, his pace already causing a lot of trouble for the away team, Calum volleyed over a keeper stood in no-man’s land, the ball bouncing into the roof of the net. Just 2 minutes later our lead was doubled, when Dan Timbrell clipped a ball through for Frankie, the keeper was sharper off his line and the 50:50 challenge outside the box saw the ball wriggle free for Kieran Kerby. Kerbs volleyed towards the empty net, but got it all wrong, the ball coming out of the sky with ice on it. The keeper recovered to save (yeah, the ball went that high, the keeper had time to jog back to his line), but flapped at it, palming the ball down to Frankie’s feet, who took a touch and drilled it in the bottom left from 8-10 yards. The stats man gave Kerbs an assist for this... very generous if you ask me.
Wantage continued to play some great football, mixing up their play well, showing a lot of composure and getting in behind on multiple occasions, down both wings. However, it was Hanborough who made the most significant opening, the Wantage defence trying to hold a high line, their number 7 running through from deep, nobody tracked him, absolutely clean through, dead centre of the pitch, and Harry makes a fantastic one-on-one save for us to crucially keep the tie at 2-0. Calum Pryce was running through players for fun, and was unlucky not to get an assist to go with his goal, when he beat 2 men down the right and whipped in a deadly cross, which seemed to be dropping right onto the head of the oncoming Jared Jones, but it was stolen off him by a stretching Kieran Kerby, who could only head over. However, JJ did admit later, if Kerbs had left it, he had no idea where that ball was going, but it almost certainly wasn’t hitting the back of the net… So we go into half time 2-0 up, playing some good stuff.
The second half started fairly similar to the way the first ended, and on 58 mins the third was scored. Jared Jones picking the ball up in the right back area off of Barry Brownbread, and we played some gorgeous one and two touch, passing football, into their final third in 6 or 7 passes, then Badge passed to Kerby, who passed to Badge, who took on a man and passed to Kerby, who played a one two with Badge, (the Cramp twins like to pass to each other wherever possible), Kerby then squared it to Dan Timbrell, who took a touch and calmly slotted into the bottom left bin. Great team goal, 3-0 the score.
Calum Pryce continued to threaten with his pace and trickery down the right hand side, beating a man and crossing to Badger, who was well challenged. On 72 minutes we made it 4, Jack Badger threading a little pass for Owen Shaw, who cut left, then chopped right, and back left again, dribbling through 2 men like they weren’t even there, drills hard and low with his left foot into the bottom right corner, keeper no chance, another superb goal, from the scorer of Great Goals. He’s honestly just like a young Matt Le Tissier.
Just 3 minutes later it was 5, Luke Faircloth weighting a lovely pass through to Jack Badger, who touched it past the defender and squared well to Cameron Hollick, who had the easiest of finishes, 8 yards out, dead centre of the goal, under no pressure at all. He took it first time and made no mistakes. There was still time for a few more chances, Wantage’s quick passing and creativity continuing to menace Hanborough; Kerbs volleying into the Leisure Centre car park, Cam volleying one into the ground which spun up and deceived the keeper, only to hit the face of the bar, and finally Heggie almost picked up another assist following a good performance Saturday, although, Dan couldn’t quite get his body around it at the back post.
Overall, an excellent result, and an excellent performance. Man of the Match could have gone to any one of 7 or 8 lads, but in the end we chose Cameron Hollick, he was constantly on the ball, constantly finding space and threading difficult forward passes to the wingers and strikers. An excellent performance and thoroughly deserved his goal.