24th November 2018
UHL Hellenic Premier Division
Abingdon United (1) Brackley Town Saints (3)
SAINTS : Worby, Green (Rema), Brock, Godfrey, Baldwin, Whitmore, Ball, Watts, Knight, Jordan (Hayley), Stott
Subs not used:Wheeler, Chukwuemlka, Kille
Saints arrived at Northcourt Road with a few injuries forcing manager Gordon Kille to shuffle his pack a little. However this performance showed that Saints have strength in depth and a flexible squad with players that can cover a number of positions.
They made a confident start and were soon knocking the ball around patiently, and took an early lead after only 4 minutes when top scorer Ryan Knight coolly chipped the keeper after an astute pass from Jordan Godfrey.
The home side had an immediate chance to level the scores when Tom Butler took advantage of a defensive slip and found himself through on goal but a good save by Ali Worby maintained Saints advantage.
Abingdon were happy to play out from the back and Saints pressed well putting keeper Jake Pritchard under pressure on a number of occasions. George Ball was very prominent in these early stages putting in a couple of dangerous crosses and finding plenty of space.
Saints extended their lead in the 27th minute with a great team goal full of short passing and great movement ending with a cute pass from Alex Stott who played Chris Jordan through and he finished precisely past Pritchard into the bottom corner.
Although Saints had enjoyed the upper hand for the first 30 minutes Abingdon were lively on the break and on 33 minutes they pulled themselves back into the game finding space in behind the left hand side of the Saints defence and when the ball was fed back to Lester Davies he was given too much time to size up a shot which he duly smashed past Worby and into the top of the net.
Saints showed composure and resilience and cleverly took the sting out of the game. There was a period of 40/50 consecutive passes where Abingdon seemed happy to sit deep and so Saints kept the ball and passed and probed and although this passage of play did not finish with a shot on goal Saints did finish the half with a good header by Ball just over the bar following a good run and cross by Curtis Green and a further header from Lewis Baldwin from a Knight free kick that was well saved by Pritchard.
HALF TIME - Abingdon (1) Saints (2)
Abingdon had a great start to the second half. Within a minute of the restart Worby was forced to make a great reflex save from Davies and almost immediately the left winger was through on goal. He should really have squared the ball but shot from the tight angle and could only hit the outside of the post.
As so often this season Saints reacted positively. They won a free kick just outside their penalty box in the right back area. Worby fired his kick across to Ball on the left wing. Ball did not have to move as the ball arrived directly at his feet. His first touch was sweet allowing him to be on the move immediately. He committed the right back, cut in then cut back out again onto his left foot and shot and although his shot was off target the ball ran through to Alex Stott who calmly slotted past the keeper. The wind was taken from the Abingdon sails and Ball again cut in on his right foot and delivered a dangerous dipping cross which was tipped over the bar by Pritchard.
Abingdon were still in the game and Lewis Baldwin was on hand with a great saving clearance after a swift break down the right wing. Worby was then forced to be on his toes to save well from close range with Harry Brock being in the right place at the right time to tidy up the rebound.
Saints continued to look dangerous coming forward. James Watts had a great burst down the left wing and his cross was nearly turned into his own net by the centre half. On 73 minutes there was almost a second goal for Jordan but he slipped as he shot at the end of another fine passing move. Abingdon replied with an excellent left foot strike from the edge of the box which whistled past Worby’s right post.
On 83 minutes Saints caught Abingdon on the break and Ball nearly settled matters with a shot that he pulled a foot wide. There were a spate of bookings in the last 10 minutes as players tired. On 89 minutes Abingdon had their last chance from a well worked free kick but the striker failed to hit the target with a free header at the far post.
So a fully deserved 3 points for Saints. Another great team performance but special mention to the defence with different set of personnel but with a very solid performance backed up by the ever reliable Worby. Abingdon gave an excellent account of themselves in what was a very entertaining game to watch.