19th October 2019
Hellenic League Premier Division
Brackley Town Saints (3) Windsor FC (2)
SAINTS – Crowther, Gabbidon (Middleton L 90), Brock, Middleton D, Goddard, Hartley, Ball, Hammond, Knight, Godfrey (March 77), Kille (Sherratt 83).
SUBS NOT USED – Watts, Dowse
Another enjoyable game for the Saints fans, but again more fingernails to be bitten right at the end. It was the proverbial game of two halves. The first half saw both teams being cautious and although Saints dominated possession the build-up was generally ponderous punctuated by numerous offsides and misplaced passes. The second half was a whizz bang 45 minutes with lots of pace, good football and four goals including a 13 minute hat-trick by Ryan Knight at the beginning of the half that changed the dynamic of the match and put Saints in control, but only just.
Windsor started with a high defensive line which Saints struggled with and were caught offside on numerous occasions over the first 10 minutes. The first real chance came on nine minutes when a Jordan Godfrey pass set George Ball free and his clever chip shot was just too high.
Against the run of play Windsor took the lead on 12 minutes when Saints failed to clear a free kick. Windsor recycled the ball on the edge of the Saints area and worked ball out to Samiar Ballia on the left wing who had loads of space to cut inside and as he jinked past Hartley he was tripped with the referee having no hesitation in pointing to the penalty spot. Dylan Ive cooly converted the penalty low and to the right of Matt Crowther in the Brackley goal.
Saints were straight back up the other end and a nice passing move down the left wing ended with a Harry Brock cross which Lewis Gabbidon did well to rise and connect with a good header which was just over the top of the bar. On 18 minutes George Ball turned and twisted his way through the Windsor defence to create a one-on-one with Nojus Trinovas in the Windsor goal. Trinovas did well to keep Ball’s shot out with his legs.
Saints continued to have much of the possession and created a few half chances. On 24 minutes Knight found space but lifted his shop over the top of the keeper but also just over the top of the bar. As the half wore on Windsor were frustrating saints defending deeply and allowing saints to pass the ball and retain the ball but in areas that weren’t hurting Windsor. It was not until just before half-time that a really pleasing Saints passing move ended with another Knight shot that was deflected just over the bar.
HALF TIME - SAINTS (0) Windsor (1)
Saints were out of the traps like a whippet and within 30 seconds of the start of the second half were awarded a penalty. A long ball out of defence by Sam Hartley found its way through to Knight who cleverly rounded the keeper only to be pulled down. There were loud Windsor appeals for offside, but it appeared that it was Charlie Kille in an offside position he was judged not to have interfered with play. There were also shouts for the goalkeeper to be red carded, but a penalty and a yellow card was about the right decision overall. Knight calmly stepped up and converted the penalty sending Trinovas the wrong way.
That was to be the start of a real purple patch for Saints who dominated the next 20 minutes. On 50 minutes Godfrey played a perfect pass behind the defence to Knight who squared the ball across the 6 yard box and only a last-minute frantic defensive lunge managed to scoop the ball over the bar and away from danger. On 55 minutes a flowing move ended with Gabbidon breaking down the right wing and putting in a cross, but which eluded everybody in the middle.
Saints continued to press and on 56 minutes James Hammond broke from midfield and slipped a perfectly weighted pass through to Knight who galloped away from his marker and showed great composure to roll the ball past the keeper into the net from a tight angle.
There was barely time to draw breath before Saints won the ball in midfield and an incisive move down the left wing ended with Harry Brock delivering a pinpoint cross which Knight met perfectly to head into the top left-hand corner.
Saints had found top gear now and on 63 minutes only a good save by Trinovas denied Charlie Kille whose shot look goal bound.
After a period on the ropes Windsor slowly pulled themselves back into the game and on 69 minutes a good ball into the box appear to strike Gabbidon’s hand although the referee waved protests away, I think on the basis that he had played advantage. The game was very open, flowing from end to end. On 74 minutes George Ball made a great run, committed the full back and pulled the ball across the penalty area where it found Knight but his right foot shot was too high. Windsor countered and on 78 minutes Crowther was required to make a good save from a snapshot.
Saints appeared to be seeing the game out but on 87 minutes Windsor were awarded a corner when Crowther was judged to have carried the ball behind the goal line. Windsor took full advantage with Ive whipping in a beauty of a corner that eluded everybody except for centre back Andrew Ingram who nodded in from 2 yards. From nowhere it was suddenly squeaky bum time and Saints were guilty of conceding possession and more importantly free kicks in very dangerous areas. In the 91st minute a left footed freekick was headed goalward by Luke Appleton but thankfully for Saints straight into the arms of Crowther.
So, another very entertaining game with lots of good football. Windsor played a big part and good luck to them for the rest of the season. Saints now move on to face Virginia Water FC in the league on Tuesday night in Windsor. Final comment. It was brilliant to see 96 supporters watching the game creating a good atmosphere. Let’s see if we can make that 100 in the next home game against Ardley on the 30th of October.
COME ON YOU SAINTS