9th February 2019
UHL Hellenic League Premier Division
Reading City (1) Brackley Town Saints (0)
Saints: Worby, Ball (S), Brock, Godfrey, Goddard, Middleton, Ball (G), Watts, Knight, Hammond, Kille
Saints disappointment following this defeat was compounded when it became clear that they had missed the chance to peg back league leaders Brimscombe & Thrupp, who lost at Tuffley.
As a spectacle the game was awful played on a lifeless pitch, the game was constantly interrupted with free kicks, bookings, arguments about free kicks and bookings, delays whilst replacement balls were found. It was in the end a very stop start affair.
Saints began the game on the front foot and were to dominate possession for the majority of the game, although they were guilty of pushing a little too hard at times when trying to find the final ball. Reading were competitive and resolute. They needed the points as much as Saints to help with their battle to stay in the division. Their game plan seemed to be to suck the life out of Saints, sitting deep and battling hard. A spate of free kicks given against Reading in the first 10 minutes set the tone for the whole game.
On 35 minutes Saints had their first real chance to take advantage of their superiority when a neat move saw the ball floated into the box where Knight’s excellent first touch deceived the defender. There was a suspicion of handball, but the referee was happy that it was not deliberate.
The decisive moment in the game came on 38 minutes when Saints were caught one on one at the back and Bradley Brown showed good composure holding up the ball and playing in Trevor Muntero. Bizarrely he slipped as he shot and fell and in doing so kicked the ball on to his standing foot which caused the ball to loop up and over a helpless Ali Worby.
In the final 7 minutes of the half tempers got very heated with a number of bookings including a controversial one for Knight for simulation. Right on halftime time Knight mistimed a further challenge and despite loud protests from the home fans the referee showed leniency and gave only a warning.
Saints lost Olly Goddard at half time to injury with Joe Ward taking his place. Immediately Knight had a shot on goal which reared up off of the pitch but Matt Carr in the Reading goal was able to push the ball around the post.
Saints continued to boss possession. James Hammond had a shot on target but it was easy for Carr to collect. Kille was having some joy down the left wing and a couple of good crosses just failed to find Knight in the middle. Kille also had a good chance with a header at the far post on the end of a Harry Brock corner which fell wide of the post.
The last 10 minutes saw Saints move up a gear and an excellent team move saw Sam Ball free on the right edge of the box. He chose to shoot when perhaps a cross was the better option. On 88 minutes Knight was set free and he looped the ball over the advancing keeper which hit the post and rebounded to George Ball whose follow up shot was cleared off the line.
In added time another George Ball shot was blocked by a defender on the line and a further optimistic shout for a penalty for handball was declined by the ref.
Saints next game is scheduled for Tuesday 12th March at Wantage Town this time in the Floodlit Cup. Saints will be seeking revenge for a narrow reverse against the “Freds” 10 days ago.
Come on you Saints…..!!