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Fixtures Glance
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2011/2012 Match Reports

uhlsport Hellenic League Premier Division - 9 April 2012
Thame 1 Ardley United 4

With a strong wind blowing diagonally across the pitch, and slippy under foot it was difficult to get the ball under control, An early chance fell to the visitors when a Ryan Brooks cross flew across the goal, but no one was on hand to get the final touch.

Thame had the wind advantage and a speculative shot from range was well off course. Ardley opened their account when Tom Green, fed Troy Bryan, his cross to the far post was met by Nick Thorne who was brought down in the act of shooting. Brooks picked up the ball and blasted the spot kick into the top corner of the net.

Well into the half Thame had a good chance foiled by the Ardley keeper, coming off his line to deny Matt Hall.

With the wind advantage in the second half, a long goal kick allowed Brooks to turn and gamble, his pace leaving the defenders behind. He picked his spot wide of the Thame keeper to give him and Ardley their second. His hat trick came just five minutes later receiving the ball from Nick Thorne he was allowed to turn and made no mistake. Thame had their backs to the wall by this stage as it was proving to be one way traffic.

Carl Standen replaced Brooks and was unlucky not to get on the team sheet. Darren Becket crossed from the right, and Standen’s shot at the far post took a deflection off a defender for a own goal, much to his annoyance.

With Ardley guaranteed third place in the league, they played with flair and panache in this penultimate league game of the season. No pressure just an afternoon of enjoyable football

uhlsport Hellenic League Premier Division - 7 April 2012
Slimbridge 1-4 Ardley United

After two consecutive victories, the Swans came crashing back down to earth, when a skillful and highly organised Ardley side, smarting from two heavy defeats of their own in a week, delivered a lesson in finishing to the home side at Wisloe Road this afternoon.

After Slimbridge edged the early exchanges, the Swans were hit by two sucker punches in the 18th and 21st minutes, with Ryan Brooks nabbing a quickfire brace to put Ardley firmly in control of the match. Scott Bridges' third just after the break sealed the victory for Ardley, and two late goals, one from each side, finished off a disappointing afternoon for the home side.

Slimbridge started the game brightly, with Ross Langworthy, back from college for the holidays, and Liam Harding combining well to create a couple of early chances - with just two minutes on the clock, Langworthy's shot was scrambled away for a corner, before Harding was penalised for pushing as the corner came over.

Four minutes later, the same two combined again - Langworthy's break down the left saw the youngster play a neat cross into the Ardley box, and Harding was unlucky to see his shot drift just over as he got his strike in under pressure.

The game seemed to be settling down to a midfield battle, with both sides cancelling each other out, when Ardley scored two quick goals to change the complexion of the game completely. With 18 minutes on the clock, Rob Hine misjudged a through ball which sailed over his head to leave Ryan Brooks through on goal, and the striker finished neatly past the stranded Dave Evans to put the visitors ahead.

Before the Swans had time to regroup, Ardley struck again - this time a swift short passing move took the Swans defence apart down the middle of the park, and put Brooks through on Evans again - for the second time, the Swans Keeper was given no chance by a strong finish.

The lead gave Ardley a stranglehold on the game that they rarely looked like conceding, as their passing football continued to prove troublesome to the home side.

The Swans had an opportunity to pull a goal back on 35 minutes, but Micky Bryant shot high and wide after being set up after good work by Marv Roberts, as Slimbridge struggled to find any sort of rhythm. Two minutes later, Lewis Wilton's header which drifted over was the result of a good passing move from the home side. In the end, the offside flag meant the effort would not have counted anyway.

Three minutes into the second half, it went from bad to worse for Slimbridge, when Nick Thorne drilled home after a goalmouth scramble to increase the lead to three goals, and effectively kill off the game with over 40 minutes remaining. Ardley could have gone further ahead three minutes later, when a cross from Nick Thorne drifted just over the crossbar.

As the home side continued to struggle, tempers began to fray and Freddy Ward and Will Wellon both found themselves in Referee Damon McCellin's book.

Manager Leon Sterling used all his subs in an effort to shake things up, but the introduction of Alex Higgs, Jamie Martin, and Karl Nash (for Micky Bryant, Ross Langworthy and Marv Roberts respectively) failed to alter the tempo of the game.

There were further opportunities for both sides - Brooks brought a good save from Dave Evans just before the Ardley striker was substituted, and Higgs blasted the ball over on 73 minutes when he was through on goal with a golden opportunity to get on the scoresheet.

Two late goals finished off the afternoon. Ardley went four up when Ben Thomas netted on 87 minutes, and Slimbridge went straight down the other end and got a goal of their own - Jamie Martin nodding home over Ardley Keeper Joe White.

White still had time to beat away a powerful strike from Nash as time ebbed away, but it would be difficult to argue that the result didn't reflect the balance of play at the final whistle.

Report courtesy of Slimbridge AFC

uhlsport Hellenic League Premier Division - 3 April 2012
Shortwood United 4 Ardley United 2

Those fortunate to be at Meadowbank on Tuesday witnessed a feast of entertainment as both sides threw caution to the wind and attacked with vigour. They also witnessed possibly the best team goal scored at Meadowbank all season. There were so many close shaves for both sides that the score could easily have been doubled but there was no mistaking the value and worthiness of Shortwood’s win. John Evans was understandably delighted with the win! “We kept going after giving away two sloppy goals and we came back. All credit to Ardley who have two of the best front men in the league – and they caused us problems – but we deserved our win!” TJ Bohane had one of his best games for the club and he and James Coates, who continues to impress, were joint men of the match.

Wood made the best possible start when, in the second minute, Parrott launched a ball towards Tustain. Keeper White came to meet it but Ben Thomas headed it back too firmly for White to take cleanly. Tustain took full advantage slamming the ball into the empty net. Tustain forced White into the first of many saves before Ardley equalised with their first attack of note after 12 minutes. They built from the back and when Thorne ran at the defence they stood off and gave him far too much time and space. His shot into the bottom corner was excellent. Twice in the next couple of minutes Wood were almost caught out by chipped balls over the top but Shortwood almost scored a second after17 minutes. Bohane’s control of King’s long clearance was outstanding and was matched by his turn and shot which cannoned back off  the post with White beaten. The game continued to ebb and flow and both sides had spells of pressure but it was Shortwood who came the closest to adding to their score before the break but White kept them at bay.

Ardley tore into Shortwood in the opening minutes of the second half. King denied Brookes with a fine double save and Meredith did well to kick a Bryan effort off the line. A goal was not long in coming however as again Thorne had enough space to shoot across King into the far corner. This seemed to inspire Shortwood and they flew at the opposition. Coates came close with a 25 yarder and then with57 minutes gone Bohane flicked the ball into Slack’s path and he sped through and hammered the ball home. It was 3-2 after 65 minutes. A flowing move from the edge of their own area left Bennett wide left. His low cross went to Slack on the edge of the area but his way was blocked. Slack simply dummied the defenders and stepped over the ball and Parrott, coming in behind him, shot first time into the bottom corner. Wood were in the ascendency and the fourth goal was just icing on the cake. Under pressure from Tustain a defender laid the ball back to White who was immediately shut down by Haddock. His attempted clearance was blocked and Haddock had the simple task of running the ball into the empty net.

This result lifts Shortwood over Ardley into second place.

Report courtesy of Jim Cuneen Shortwood United

uhlsport Hellenic League Premier Division - 31 March 2012
Oxford City Nomads 7 Ardley United 1

This pivotal match in the race to win the Hellenic League title, saw Ardley a well beaten side by the slick inter passing and fitness of Oxford Nomads. Three top class strikes from range all found the net, when on another day they may struggle. Take nothing away from Nomads, on this form they will lift the title, and deservedly so.

Kamran Abbassi opened the scoring when his height advantage allowed him to head home from a well executed corner. Ardley should have pulled level minutes later, Matt Brandish was clipped in the box.  Scott Bridges put the resulting penalty wide of the post to the delight of the home supporters.

Albi Skendi made it two nil on the half hour with a solo effort, twisting and turning through the defenders he was patient in the execution placing his shot wide of Ardley keeper Joe White.

On the stroke of half time it was three, a ball was laid back to Adam Morris who sent the home side into raptures as the ball nestled into the net.

Oxfords top scorer Mc Donagh was determined to get in on the act. A through ball played him in, and with only the keeper to beat he was not going to waste his chance.

Ardley did pull one back when Brooks forced home from a corner, but were now looking at a mountain to climb if they were to get back into the game.

Nomads next three came in the last twenty minutes two of which were quality finishes Mc Donagh turned and shot from 20 plus yards. Skendi got his second with a similar effort, and the humiliation of Ardley finished on the stroke of full time. A nomads corner hit the back of an Ardley defender and flew into the net to make it seven. The score line did not do justice to the visitors who gave Nomads a game, but as the saying goes when your lucks out.....................

Referee Adrian Matthews handled the occasion well, with no bookings for either side. 

uhlsport Hellenic League Premier Division - 24 March 2012
Ardley United 0  Binfield 1

A depleted Ardley failed to show any conviction or bite in this mega important fixture for the run in to the league title.
Stuart Bridges and Troy Bryan both unfit, failed to start. Ryan Brooks and Nick Thorne both returning from injury were far from their best, in a game which Ardley failed to even trouble the Binfield keeper.

The only goal came after 24 minutes, Dean Smith attempted to clear a Carl Davies cross, but his effort only managed to find his own net. Manager Brock rang the changes early on in an attempt to shore up the midfield, but Binfield were in control throughout, and were unlucky when twice they rattled the woodwork, and saw Ardley keeper Joe White pull off a finger tip save.

Ardley now have to face both Oxford Nomads and Shortwood in their next two games and will have to vastly improve their work rate and effort if they are to get anything from these title deciding fixtures.

uhlsport Hellenic League Premier Division - 20 March 2012
Ardley United 3 Witney Town 1

With both regular strikers sidelined through injury, Ardley went into this fixture wondering where the goals would come from. The return of both Nick Thorne and Adam Richmond were enough to secure all three points against lack lustre Witney.

A penalty 13 minutes in opened the scoring. Nick Thorne had worked his way into the box and was caught from behind. Darren Beckett took the responsibility, blasting the ball into the top corner giving Daryl Simms no chance of getting a hand on it.

10 minutes later Ardley were 2 up when a free kick was put across the goal, a weak back header by Adam Garner looked as though it was an easy take for Simms, the Witney keeper, but somehow he managed to drop the ball. Scott Bridges reacted first, toe poking it home.

Witney had little of the first half and were lucky to go in at half time just 2 down.

Ardley looking to increase their goal difference came out full of confidence. A tremendous passing movement culminated in the third. Scott Bridges received the ball from Darren Beckett. With his back to goal he laid it back for brother Stuart to make no mistake from the edge of the area.

Witney were now looking for damage limitation, the mid field dropped back to defend. Manager Kevin Brock brought on his subs and with full time looming it took a slip in the home side's defence which allowed Andrew Younie to finish well and reduce the arrears.

Witney never posed much of a threat, and Ardley were disappointed not to have increased their goal tally by more.

uhlsport Hellenic League Premier Division - 17 March 2012
Wantage Town 1  Ardley United 0

Ardley’s title aspirations took a serious setback when they failed to overcome Wantage Town At Alfredian Park. This was five points dropped in their last two games on the road, and leaves them chasing Oxford Nomads at the top of the league.

Wantage started the game much the stronger side, and grew in confidence in the first fifteen minutes. The visitors mid field slowly started to take control, and chances were being developed. Recently returned Scott Bridges could have opened the scoring , but his effort was wide of the post, as his lack of match fitness was showing when again he wasted two further chances.

Wantage went ahead on 35 minutes, a long throw was headed across the goal by Jake Rowe for Tom Butler to nod home at the far post. Valiant efforts by Ardley to square it up before the half time whistle were snuffed out by a resolute Wantage defence.

The second half Ardley were in control and they tried desperately to get their prolific goal machine Ryan Brooks into the game, but Wantage were having none of it, marking him out of the game.  Another recent return to Ardley, Jason Castello was in brought off the bench to change things around.

A long ball saw Brooks in a chase for the goal, but he pulled up holding his hamstring, and was later substituted for Carl  Standen. This was to be a valuable 3 points for Wantage in their bid to avoid relegation, and a miserable afternoon in Ardley’s bid for the title. 

Oxfordshire Senior Cup Semi-Final - 13 March
Ardley United 1 Oxford City 2

Ardley United were up against the highest placed non league side in Oxfordshire,in this semi final tie for a place at the Kassam Stadium in the final.

City came out of the blocks at a good pace and pushed Ardley onto the back foot. Losing the ball in mid field to Felipe Barcelos gave Oxford the dream start. The ball was squared to Darren Pond, and City were one up with four minutes on the clock.

Ardley rallied, and played some good passing football,  denying the opposition possession, but could find little penetration against a strong back four. City had  a chance to make it two when a Mark Bell thunderbolt rattled the post with the Ardley keeper stranded, but the half time whistle saw just one goal separating the two sides.

If City had the dream start in the first half, Ardley emulated it in the second. With the defence pushed up to the half way line, Right back Dean Smith played a perfectly weighted ball over the top. Ardley striker Ryan Brooks took off in pursuit, flanked either side by two centre half’s, the ball bounced in front of him and he headed over the 6ft 8in frame of the advancing keeper to make it all square three minutes into the half.

City took control of the mid field, but struggled to test the Ardley Keeper due to some stout defending with Ardley looking to hit on the break.

A strong penalty shout was waived away by referee Ben James when Ardley’s Ben Thomas appeared to catch Darren Pond in the area.

With three minutes of time added on City won a corner, the cross came in and ran along the cross bar keeper White managed to get a hand to it but could only help it into his own net. A devastated Ardley saw their chance of a Kassam appearance disappear for another season.

uhlsport Hellenic League Premier Division - 3 March 2012
Cheltenham Saracens 1  Ardley United  1

Ardley have dropped into second place in the Hellenic League tables after failing to capitalise on their chances against a mediocre Cheltenham Saracens.

Both centre half’s were missing for this trip to Cheltenham, along with Nick Thorne,( wide mid ) who suffered a swollen calf after the mid week encounter. The squad should still have been strong enough to take all three points, but allowed chance after chance to go begging.

Ardley opened the livelier of the two sides , with Ryan Brooks hitting the post, Tom Green and Troy Bryan both seeing their shots well saved by the Sara’s keeper, and all this in the first five minutes.

Cheltenham came into the game and defended well looking to hit on the break, but despite dominating the first half Ardley went into the break all square.

Sixteen minutes into the second half a through ball behind the defence allowed Ryan Brooks to shake of his marker and open the scoring, sliding the ball past Tim Griffiths in the Saracens goal.

Brother, Carl Griffiths had been causing the visitors defence problems all afternoon, and when he was allowed to get his cross in Mike Rhodes was unmarked to level scores.

With ten minutes left on the clock Ardley went looking for the winner, and when Brooks was again through on goal it looked like he would be the hero, but his shot rebounded off the post into the grateful  hands of the keeper.

With the visitors pushing on Cheltenham had a chance to steal all three points but a good save from Joe White saw the game finish on level terms, leaving Ardley to ponder on their title challenge. 

OFA Senior Cup Quarter Final - 28 February
Headington Amateurs 0  Ardley United  2

Ardley progressed to the Semi Final of the Oxfordshire Senior Cup, but were made to fight all the way by a very determined Amateurs side.

The match played at Ardley due to Headington having no floodlights was never going to be a spectacle. Amateurs from the Hellenic division  one West came to spoil the party. They never let up and were in the thick of it from the start. Ardley found it difficult to settle, when wave after wave of attacks were broken up before any real threat on goal could be made.
With 31 minutes on the clock Ardley were awarded a needless free kick for a push just outside the area.  Stuart Bridges dispatched the kick direct into the top corner of the goal, much to the relief of the home supporters.

This rattled Headington and a minute later a speculative shot from range eluded the defence and hit the post, going out for a goal kick.

With only one goal in it a the break Amateurs were far from out of this game, and came out with a good spell early in the second half.  Ardley now on the back foot soaked up the pressure looking to hit on the break.  Harry Jenkins pulled off a couple of good saves to deny Ardley any further score until the  82nd minute. Mathew Brandish won a strong tackle, leaving his man, he drew the keeper, squared to Ryan Brooks who blasted home to seal the tie for a grateful Ardley.

A competitive tie played in a good spirit was well handled by referee Kevin Norris and a credit to the Hellenic League contenders.       

The draw for the semi finals has yet to take place, but with Oxford City, North Leigh, and Thame making up the numbers there will be no easy path to the final.

uhlsport Hellenic League Premier Division - 19 February 2012
Ardley United 5  Wokingham & Emmbrook 3

Heavy rain, just 30 minutes before kick off,  made for difficult conditions in Ardley’s first home game in a month.

Wokingham got off to a dream start against the run of play. With the home side’s defence keeping a high line, a ball over the top allowed Matt Jones to run through and put the visitors one up with 14 minutes on the clock.

Ardley were back on level terms two minutes later, Ryan Brooks ran at the defence, beat his man, and saw his shot parried by the keeper, the ball fell straight into the path of Matt Brandish who took the easiest of chances.

Not to be out classed Wokingham took the lead once more. From the kick off a long ball found an unmarked Luke Lee who rounded the advancing Ardley Keeper to make it 2-1

Troy Bryan had a good chance to even the scores following a free kick but his shot was well saved by the Sumas keeper. At the other end a long clearance by Ardley Keeper Joe White  found Ryan Brooks who slipped past his marker and shot from some 20 yards, the ball skidded off the mud and under the keeper to make it all square with 25 minutes gone.

The home side were now looking good value for money and when a Stuart Bridges in swinging corner took a deflection of a defender to make it 3-2 Ardley were looking comfortable. The fourth came following another corner when Ben Thomas headed home, and they went into the break with a two goal advantage.

Wokingham tried desperately to get back on terms but with the heavy pitch sapping the strength of both sides chances unlike the pitch were drying up. 25 minutes into the half Stuart Bridges played a free kick into the penalty area, a scrambled clearance was picked up by Ben Thomas who put away his second of the match.

At 5-2 Manager Brock introduced his subs to the game, with 90 minutes on the clock it looked all over, but a resilient Wokingham were determined to have the last say. Matt Jones who had opened the score line latched onto a cross and made it 5-3 with the last kick of the match.

uhlsport Hellenic League Premier Division - 28 January 2012
Abingdon Town 1   Ardley United 4

Four first half goals saw Ardley on their way to victory at Culham Road on Saturday, with Ryan Brooks completing his fourth hat-trick of the season.

With the early exchanges of this game being fairly even, the first incident of note came when Ardley centre-half Ben Thomas had to leave the field of play due to a bad facial injury caused by an elbow which went unseen by the referee.

Ardley opened the scoring in the 19th minute when Nick Thorne was felled in the penalty area and Brooks stepped up to convert the spot kick. Barely two minutes later Adam Garner almost put Ardley further in front from a free kick from the wide right, but Gareth Walker in the Abingdon goal managed to get just enough on the ball to send it over the bar. Ardley had now taken full control and Brooks saw a shot hit the outside of Walker’s right hand post having been played clean through the middle. The visitors doubled their lead just a minute later though when good work by Thorne in the centre of midfield saw him play a lovely through ball for Troy Bryan whose shot from an acute angle could only be deflected into the net by Walker.
A number of the home players were displaying a degree of indiscipline and in the 34th minute Adam Lovegrove was booked for something he said and when he applauded the referee for giving him the yellow card he was promptly booked again and shown a red one. Now Ardley really dominated, and in the 38th minute Stuart Bridges’ defence-splitting pass sent Brooks free on the inside right channel and he placed his shot past the keeper into the bottom right corner of the net. Brooks completed his hat-trick just before half time when he was again set free on goal only for the keeper to bring him down and allow him to score his second penalty of the half.

The second half saw the home side looking to limit the damage as far as possible and hit the visitors on the break whenever they could. This meant that the game was not such a good spectacle for the spectators, but it certainly worked in Abingdon’s favour as they managed to score a good goal via a splendid Mark Janes turn and shot which gave the Ardley keeper no chance. Ardley continued to create half chances but none could be converted, and the home side were restricted to few scoring opportunities for their lone front man. Full time:  Abingdon Town 1  Ardley United 4


uhlsport Hellenic League Premier Division - 21 January 2012
Witney Town 1   Ardley United 3

On an afternoon of high swirling wind three goals in a four minute spell sealed the points for league leaders Ardley.

Witney set out to defend the tie, hoping to hit on the break, and it certainly frustrated Ardley who were unable to gain any headway despite creating most of the chances in the early exchanges.

The deadlock was broken after 37 minutes when leading goal scorer Ryan Brooks picked up the ball just inside the oppositions half, and ran at the defence. A path opened up for him. With only the advancing keeper to beat he feigned his shot, leaving the Witney stopper on the floor, and had a simple tap in to open the scoring.

No sooner had they kicked off, a through ball from Stuart Bridges again put Brooks in behind the defence and Ardley were two up. Witney were in chaos and could not regroup. Nick Thorne whipped in a cross from the left which flew across the goal, the ball was laid back to Stuart Bridges on the edge of the six yard box and Ardley were three up with 40 minutes on the clock.

Half time saw the introduction of Ardley new signing Jack Welch, replacing Darren Beckett who had suffered ham string problems in the first half.

Witney created a couple of chances early in the half, and were able to pull one back on 55 minutes from a free kick. Tom Austin drove his shot over the wall, and found the net with a little help from the swirling wind. This gave the home side more belief and passion and the game was played out with some end to end chances for both sides.  

uhlsport Hellenic League Premier Division - 14 January 2012
Reading Town 1  Ardley United 4

ben thomas ardley unitedA rare hat trick for centre back Ben Thomas, and one from the spot courtesy of Ryan Brooks put Ardley back on the winning track.

Reading took the game to the visitors in the early exchanges, and were unlucky not to have gone ahead after 10 minutes when Tom Williams latched onto a loose ball just inside his own half, cutting inside from the left he was allowed to get a powerful shot away which was well saved by keeper Joe White .

Minutes later the ball was played down the centre to Marcus Richardson who lobbed the advancing keeper to give the home side a well deserved lead.

This acted as a wake up call to the visitors, with 24 minutes on the clock a free kick was driven in by Stuart Bridges, and Ben Thomas headed home to level the score.

Reading had a strong penalty appeal turned down, when following a corner the ball appeared to strike a defenders arm, but was adjudged to be ball to hand by referee Christodoulou.

Ardley took the lead when Bridges curled in a corner, and Ben Thomas was again on hand to  head home. With 45 minutes on the clock a free kick was driven at the Reading keeper, which he failed to hold onto , the ball fell at the feet of Thomas giving him a tap in for his hat trick and a sweet tasting cup of tea for half time.

Ardley came out and dominated the second half, happy to pass the ball around and frustrate Reading. 13 minutes into the half a corner was laid back to Adam Garner, his shot hit a defenders arm and Ryan Brooks stepped up to put the game out of reach of a now weary Reading Town.

uhlsport Hellenic League Premier Division - 7 January 2012
Ardley United 0  Ascot  2

It was 11 days since Ardley last played, and it certainly showed. A lethargic start did not help the cause, with Ascot pushing on, they took the opening exchanges.

Ardley’s first effort came on 16 minutes Ryan Brooks thought he had opened his account following a corner, only to see his shot blocked on the line.

 With the boring first half coming to a close the home defence lost the ball, allowing Ascot to get in a cross , Benny headed goal wards, Ardley keeper Joe White could only palm the shot away, and Luke Seldon was on hand to put the visitors one up at the break.

Whatever Manager Brock said at half time appeared to work wonders as a more fired up home side took command and forced Ascot to defend their lead in numbers. Despite numerous efforts on goal the visitors were holding on. A scrambled clearance found Jon Bennett down the right wing and a first time cross failed to be dealt with by the defence allowing Lee Boon the easiest of chances to make it 2-0.

Ardley were not going to take this lying down, they brought on another front man, playing just three across the back in an attempt to get something out of the game. It was all to be in vain, despite constant pressure for the remainder of the match Ascot soaked up whatever was thrown at them and left the field deserved winners. 

uhlsport Hellenic League Premier Division - 27 December
Ardley United 3  Thame United 1

The crowd of 112 experienced a cracker of a game in this local derby.

Both teams fought hard for dominance in the early exchanges, but it was Ardley who had the first real chance when Nick Thorne was adjudged to have been brought down in the box. Ryan Brooks stepped up but saw his shot clip the outside of the post, to leave the scores even.

Brooks made amends on 44 minutes when he was played in, and placed his shot wide of Milan Barisic to give the home side the half time lead.

Three minutes into the second half Brooks again was through on goal, Barisic palmed the shot which fell to Troy Bryan, again Barisic managed a hand to his effort, but Darren Beckett made no mistake at the third attempt to put away the second for Ardley .

Thame took control, then following a good 10 minute spell Luke Ricketts saw his corner hit the far post and ricochet into the net  to make it 2-1 and game on.

Both teams fought hard, and it was end to end football, but Thame had no answer to Ryan Brooks, he had already had numerous long range efforts denied him, but with four minutes left on the clock Barisic failed to get his body behind a further  effort, and allowed the ball to pass beneath him, sealing all three points for the home side, in a game well worth the entrance fee.

uhlsport Hellenic League Premier Division - 17 December
Ardley United  4 Wantage Town 0

Ardley sit on top of the tree for Christmas, putting four past a Wantage side who have lost their touch in front of goal.

The only thing that separated the two sides at half time was a Ryan Brooks penalty. Wantage should have taken the lead early on. After a couple of long range speculative efforts which never troubled Ardley keeper Joe White, a quick clearance, found Richie Claydon behind the Ardley defence and this time with the keeper beaten his shot ricocheted off the post and out for a goal kick.

With 25 minutes on the clock Troy Bryan broke into the Wantage penalty area, but was held back leaving referee Sian Piret no option but to point to the spot. Up stepped Ryan Brooks to send Gareth Tucker the wrong way.

The second half was only a minute old when Stuart Bridges found the head of Troy Bryan who headed the ball on for the ever lurking Brooks to dispatch his second with the help of the post.

Wantage appeared demoralised, with the home side taking the advantage when Tucker flapped at a corner which fell to Troy Bryan whose shot took a deflection on it’s way into the net.

Manager Brock brought two of the bench, and both were instrumental in the final goal. 17 year old first team debutante Chris Foster played a delightful through ball into the path of Andrew Stidder who promptly placed it wide of Tucker to wrap the game up, leaving a Wantage side wondering where it has all gone wrong this season.

uhlsport Hellenic League Premier Division - 10 December
Binfield  0  Ardley United  3

ardley united ryan brooksA Ryan Brooks hat trick kept Ardley on top of the Hellenic Premier league against a well marshalled Binfield.

This was always going to be a crucial game for both teams Binfield had games in hand over the league leaders and needed to keep the pressure on. Ardley were desperate to stay in top spot, with the pack snapping at their heels.  

The visitors had the first chance to go ahead after just 8 minutes when Nick Thorne received the ball from a throw in and went on a searching run into the Binfield box. A miss timed tackle left referee Jim Chalmers no option but to point to the spot. Ryan Brooks stepped up but saw his effort well saved by Binfield keeper Dan Wealt.

On the half hour both sides had produced good chances and when Joe White made a low save in the Visitors goal a strong appeal that the ball had crossed the line was waived away by both the referee and his assistant.

Four minutes remaining in the first half saw a Stuart Bridges corner fall to the feet of Brooks allowing him to stab home his first.

Despite the goal Binfield had probably shaded the first half. The second saw Ardley step up a gear and deny the Moles much of the ball. Troy Bryan on his return from an injury linked up well with Brooks and following a one two Brooks pace saw him shake off the defence and round the keeper to make it two on 79 minutes.

Nick Thorne was looking for some of the action, beating his marker wide left he let fire a ferocious drive, hitting the near post. Binfield tried in vain to get back into the game but a resolute Ardley defence was not for turning.

On 83 minutes it was beyond redemption, with his back to goal Troy Bryan received the ball and calmly flicked it on for Brooks to run onto. Finding himself one on one with the advancing keeper he lobbed the ball over the top and celebrated his hat trick and Ardley’s eleventh league win in succession.

Binfield having progressed in the Vase last week against high flyers Flackwell Heath were a well beaten side on the afternoon, and were left to reflect on their title aspirations.

uhlsport Hellenic League Premier Division - 3 December
Ardley United 2   Abingdon Town 1

Ardley fought back from one nil down at half time to take all three points against a resilient Abingdon.

Abingdon were happy to play the long ball game feeding the pacey strikers, whilst the home side struggled to get control of the game on a windy autumnal afternoon.

It took just 12 minutes to break the deadlock when Town were awarded a free kick some 20 yards out. Corey Forbes placed the over the wall and it found the top corner of the net giving Joe White the keeper little chance.

This spurred the visitors on and they were unlucky not to go two up minutes later when Anacalet Odhiambo lobbed the advancing White only to see the ball nestle on top of the net.

With the first half belonging to Abingdon, it was to be Ardley who dominated most of the second. Ten minutes in a Stuart Bridges free kick found the head of Adam Garner who headed across the goal where Ryan Brooks was lurking to even the score.

Ardley took the lead courtesy of another free kick not dissimilar to that of Abingdon’s in the first half when Stuart Bridges found the net direct from his effort.

The closing fifteen minutes saw Abingdon pile on the pressure looking for the equaliser, and certainly went close when the rattled the cross bar, but in a close run game Ardley registered their 11th consecutive league win to remain top of the table in the run in to Christmas.

uhlsport Hellenic League Premier Division - 26 November
Ardley United 2  Kidlington 1

Ardley registered their 10 consecutive win in their Hellenic league campaign, but it took the full ninety minutes to overcome a resilient Kidlington.

With a strong wind blowing down the pitch both sides got off to a somewhat slow start. With a good cross into the Ardley box from Mark Baker on 12 minutes it was the ever prolific Ryan Curtin who was on hand to give the visitors a dream start.
The equaliser came in much the same style when Ben Thomas was on hand to meet a Stuart Bridges cross, making sure from close range.

Ardley looked to have taken the lead shortly before half time. With his back to goal Nick Thorne hooked the ball over his head and into the goal, but referee Ian Lowe considered it a dangerous kick and disallowed the effort much to the annoyance of the home crowd.

The second half could have gone either way , both sides failed to take their chances and with 90 plus minutes on the clock it looked as though the points would be shared. That was until Matt Brandish got onto the end of a cross and bundled the ball into the net. Kidlington were not a happy side after seeing their hard work come to no avail. Ardley were happy to have played their get out of jail card and left the field in a joyous manner.    

uhlsport Hellenic League Premier Division - 22 November
Bracknell Town 1 Ardley United

ardley united scott bridgesScott Bridges lasted only thirty minutes before leaving the field holding his ham string, but it was enough time to see him score a hat trick. Replacement Carl Standen went one better putting away four, before the final whistle saved Bracknell Town from a double figure defeat.

Scott Bridges got the faintest of touches with his head to divert brother Stuart’s free kick into the net. Two minutes later Stuart Bridges was again involved when he played in Ryan Brooks, who neatly laid the ball into the path of Scott to take the easiest of chances. The hat trick came courtesy of the penalty spot, Ryan Brooks was through on goal only to be pulled back by his shirt, making it an easy decision for referee Lennon Davies.

carl standen football ardleyScott Bridges limped off on the half hour, much to the relief of the Bracknell bench, but his replacement Carl Standen was to prove to be another pain in their side.

Ardley’s fourth saw Ben Thomas execute a overhead kick which went in off the post. With half time looming the Ardley defence failed to deal with a through ball, Shane Miller nipped between them and gave the home side a glimmer of hope at the half time whistle with the score line 1-4.

Six minutes into the second half Adam Garner headed a corner back across the goal and it was Standen that picked his spot to make it 5. Three minutes later a long goal kick by Joe White was helped on by Ryan Brooks, and Standen was on hand to lift it over the advancing keeper.

Brooks again was through on goal only to be scythed down by Jake White whilst in the act of shooting. Referee Davies pointed to the spot, but only saw fit to brandish a sympathetic yellow card. Brooks took the spot kick which was palmed away by the keeper but following up he made no mistake.

Bracknell by now was a well beaten side. A good run down the left flank saw Nick Thorne put in a deep cross and it was Standen again who found the net for his hat trick.

With 90 minutes on the clock Stuart Bridges flicked the ball into the box, and it was always going to be Standen who completed a night of misery for Bracknell Town.

uhlsport Hellenic League Premier Division - 12 November
Ardley United 5 Henley Town 1

ardley united tom greenWith the home advantage, and on a pitch more suited to football, Ardley posted a more convincing win than last weeks encounter at Henley's triangle ground.

Ardley’s first came courtesy of brotherly love when Stuart Bridges played a through ball to Scott Bridges. Scott steadied himself before placing the ball wide of the keeper to open the account on 14 minutes.

The home side were well in control, denying Henley the ball. Ben Thomas skilfully played in an unmarked Adam Beckett who took his chance well.

After 39 minutes it was Ryan Brooks who turned the screw when he fired off a speculative shot from some 25 yards beating David Lyons in the visitors goal.

Three down at half time Henley came out more determined to get back into the game, twenty minutes into the half  Ahmed El-Amir pulled one back when Ardley lost possession, not for the first time since the break. El-Amir picked up the gifted pass and made no mistake from close range.

Despite Ardley’s sloppy play Stuart Bridges made it four when Ryan Brooks fed him the ball inside the area.

With fifteen minutes left on the clock all three subs were deployed, this appeared to liven up the home side. A quick throw to Brooks saw him take the ball to the bye line, play it across the face of the goal for Tom Green (pictured) to latch onto and score his first of the season.

Ardley had put in better performances this season and the score line flattered them somewhat, but it put them in the top spot heading for Christmas.

Oxfordshire Senior Cup - 15 November
Ardley United 8  Stonesfield Swifts 0

Ardley had a comfortable passage into the next round of the Oxfordshire Senior Cup putting 8 past Senior League side Stonesfield Swifts.

Stonesfield defended the first twenty two minutes of the tie denying Ardley an early goal, but once the deadlock was broken the floodgates opened.

Ardley were allowed to play attractive football with Stonesfield having very little of the ball. Half time the home side were three up courtesy of Nick Thorne, Stuart Bridges, and Ben Thomas.

The second half fitness started to play a big part, three minutes in Adam Beckett made it four and the visitors were struggling. Beckett added to his tally on 69, and Andrew Stidder made it six after 79.

To be fair to Stonesfield although a few of them were dead on their feet they never gave up trying to stem the flow. Ardley added two more in the dying minutes with both Stuart Bridges, and Nick Thorne putting away their second of the evening.
The final whistle came as a relief to the visitors, as it could have been double figures had Ardley been more clinical in their finishing.  

uhlsport Hellenic League Premier Division - 12 November
Henley Town 3 Ardley United

A hard fought second half by Henley gave Ardley a fright. They levelled the scores at 3-3 on 72 minutes and were unlucky not to share the points in this premier division thriller.

carl standen football ardleyOn a heavy and uneven pitch Ardley found themselves one up after five minutes. Nick Thorne broke down the left and squared to Ryan Brooks, unable to get his shot away he played in Scott Bridges who was also well marked, he in turn passed to Carl Standen (right) who made no mistake from close range.

Minutes later Henley could have equalised when a Matt Jacobs shot rattled the cross bar, but the visitors were well in control and made it two after 36 minutes. Nick Thorne was causing all sorts of problems down the left and when his shot was blocked on the line, the ball came out to Ryan Brooks who saw his effort ricochet into the net of a defender.

Three minutes into time added on in the first half Henley were awarded a penalty after Adam Beckett was adjudged to have held onto a player in the area. Warren Baxter stepped up and sent the Ardley keeper the wrong way.

ardley united scott bridgesHenley came out for the second half with more passion and belief, but Ardley restored their two goal cushion on 49 minutes, a long free kick taken by the visitor’s keeper found Adam Garner who headed square across the penalty area, Scott Bridges (left) was on hand and volleyed into the net for the goal of the game.

Henley’s second goal came from another free kick. The long drive by Chris Dean was dropping over Joe White, the Ardley keeper; he chose to punch the ball, only to see it glance off his glove into the net.

Henley rallied and believed they could get something out of the match. A corner on 72 minutes was driven into the near post, Matt Brandish missed the clearing header and the ball went in direct from the corner.

With the scores level the home side could smell victory, and worked extremely hard to find the winner, but it was to be their downfall, exposed at the back a long through ball found lone striker Ryan Brooks who beat the defender and slotted away the winner with five minutes left on the clock.

Try as they would Henley could not find a way back, and it was the rather relieved visitors who came away with the three points.              

uhlsport Hellenic League Premier Division - 5 November
Ardley United 6  Shrivenham FC 0

Ardley recorded their third clean sheet in succession whilst putting 6 past Shrivy.

It took only five minutes for Ardley to open their account. A throw in from Carl Standen was received by Ryan Brooks, who brushed off two defenders and shot wide of the keeper.

With the home side having most of the possession, it was only minutes later that Stuart Bridges deftly lifted the ball over the square defence for Adam Beckett to run onto and  put away number two. Troy Bryan was unlucky not to make it three on fifteen minutes when his speculative shot rebounded of the bar.

With the limited possession Shrivenham were looking to hit on the break, and it took a top draw save from Joe White to deny them just before the break.

Ardley started the second half were they left off, another long throw was headed onto the far post where Brooks was lurking to score his second. Brooks was also involved in the home side’s fourth when he squared the ball across the box for Matt Brandish to blast home.

The home side  were now in command, and Brooks hat trick came on the hour when a poor kick from the Shrivy keeper went straight to the striker who returned the ball into the back of the net.

Five goals to the good, keep ball was now the name of the game, and Shrivenham were becoming more frustrated at not being able to get control of the ball, but there was more humiliation to come when Brooks let fire a speculative shot, the keeper looked to have it well covered but it took a wicked bobble and nestled in the back of the net.

Shrivenham were glad to hear the final whistle and looked a well beaten side, whilst Ardley climbed one place onto second place in the tables.

Bluefin Challenge Cup - 29 October
Ardley United 3  Thame 0

Ardley progressed into the last 16 of the Hellenic League Challenge Cup , sponsored by Bluefin Insurance, after a convincing win over Thame United.

The opening goal after just 7 minutes was a somewhat strange affair, Ardley having elected to play down the slope, and with a strong wind on their backs, saw a cross from Carl Standen float over a stranded Thame Keeper  and into the net.

ardley united nick thorneMinutes later Thame had a penalty appeal turned down when it looked like Stuart Barr was caught from behind in the box. Referee Williamson waived play on which incensed the Thame dugout, not for the first time in the game.

With the blustery wind playing a big part, the score remained at 1-0 until the first minute of the second half when Nick Thorne (pictured) was allowed to cut in from the left, making his run to the bye line it looked as if he would pull the ball back, but he had other ideas and shot from an acute angle finding the top corner of the net.

Ardley were now running the show, forcing Thame to defend deep and denying them any real chances to get back into the game. It was all over when Troy Bryan received the ball and skilfully flicked it through for Ryan Brooks to run on to and place wide of the keeper.

uhlsport Hellenic League Premier Division - 25 October
Ardley United 2 Flackwell Heath 0

Table toppers Flackwell Heath suffered only their second defeat of the season, at the hands of Ardley, pushing the home side into second spot.

Both goals came in the first half in a well and evenly contested game. The opening 15 minutes was end to end, with both teams cancelling each other out.

The first goal came when the Ardley striker Troy Bryan went for a 50/50 ball with Flackwell keeper Sam Southerden, the ball shot vertically into the air, on landing it appeared the spin on the ball carried it into the net.

Undeterred Flackwell fought on, and there was little to choose between the teams. With time running out before the break Ryan Brooks attacked the visitors goal, scuffed his shot, but with the keeper unsighted by his defender the ball had passed him by and nestled in the net for a two goal lead at half time.

The following 45 minutes saw both sides create chances, but few were on target, apart from Flackwell hitting the woodwork late on.

A game that could of gone either way, with both teams well matched. Being the fourth time they have met this season the score now stands at two wins apiece.

FA Carlsberg Vase - 22 October
Ardley United 1  Reading Town 3

Three first half goals proved sufficient to dump Ardley out of the FA Vase at the first hurdle.

Despite the home advantage, it was Reading who forced Ardley onto the back foot from the off. Following some good inter passing Ray Spence got his shot away and with the Ardley keeper Ryan Watt only managing to take the pace out of the effort it  agonisingly trickled over the line to put the visitors one up after 15 minutes.  

Ardley rallied to the wake up call and got more into the game. With the Reading keeper being called upon the make a couple of good saves it could of gone either way, but following a good run down the left the ball was crossed to the far side where Ray Spence was unmarked, his shot went across the face of the goal and in off the far post to give him a brace after 27 minutes.
Minutes later Reading had a strong penalty appeal when Graham Lewis went down in the box. His treatment held the game up for a considerable amount of time but referee Wayne Chalmers was having none of it.

Reading’s third came when a long clearance from their own area found Ardley defender Adam Garner, his attempt to clear his own lines hit the oncoming Graham Lewis, the ball ricoched behind the defence and Lewis made no mistake to put Reading three up at the break.

Ardley were playing down the slope in the second half, but it was that man Ray Spence that was causing them problems down the wing. The home side did have the ball in the net when Ben Thomas headed home from a free kick, but was adjudged offside.

With 70 minutes gone Ardley manager Kevin Brock decided it was time to gamble, he elected to play three at the back and pushed Andrew Stidder up front to try to get something out of the game. His plan was assisted with the substitution of the ever dangerous Ray Spence who went off holding his ham string.

The gamble played off when a Stuart Bridges free kick took a deflection of the wall and nestled in the far corner of the net. With only 15 minutes of the game remaining Reading were able to slow the pace and run the clock down, giving them a much deserved passage into the next round.   

uhlsport Hellenic League Premier Division - 18 October
Ardley United 3    Shortwood 0

Ardley edged the first 20 minutes of this match culminating in a headed goal by Adam Garner, from a free kick by Stuart Bridges.This caused Shortwood to step up the tempo, looking for the equaliser, despite a lot of the ball in midfield they struggled in the last third to make any serious threat to the Ardley goal.

The second half saw the Wood carry on where they left off in the first. A great midfield battle was developing, with the visitors looking to play down the wing and the home side happy to play through the middle. One such move put Ryan Brooks in behind the Shortwood defence, his shot was spilled by Tom King and Carl Standen gratefully accepted the tap in to make it two.
All three subs came off the Wood bench to try and change the game, but the Ardley defence were solid.

On 77 minutes the match was wrapped up when Nick Thorne went on a run and had his heels clipped in the area. The resulting spot kick was despatched by Ryan Brooks to inflict only the second defeat for Shortwood in this campaign.

uhlsport Hellenic League Premier Division - 15 October
Fairford Town 2  Ardley United 3

In a game were Ardley dominated possession, Fairford were never going to concede the points easily, and were always a threat going forward.

The visitors were in command from the off, with Fairford having to defend deep to deny Ardley an early goal . Ryan Brooks was denied the opener after 23 minutes when he turned and shot, but the home keeper was up to the challenge diving to his left conceding a corner.

Five minutes later Brooks had his revenge when Luke Adams failed to deal with a Bridges corner. The in swinger sliced of the glove of Adams and fell to Brooks who made no mistake to give the visitors the lead.

From the resulting kick off the ball reached Nathan Gambling down the left flank whose cross , come shot eluded the Ardley defender and bounced over the keeper to put Fairford back on level terms.

The score remained level until after the break when Fairford played with more conviction, and took the lead, after the Ardley defence failed to clear their lines. The ball broke to Dan Bailey whose shot was wide of the Ardley keeper.

The visitors kept playing their passing game, Nick Thorne received the ball just in the Fairford half and went on a maize run beating defenders, he made it into the box and squared for Stuart Bridges to tap home.

With the scores now equal Fairford were looking to hang on for a point, but the visitors had other ideas, a free kick from the halfway line again found Thorne who slipped it to Castello who in turn set it up for substitute Andrew Stidder to blast home the winner.

A tough game against a side whose league position does not do them justice.             

uhlsport Hellenic League Premier Division - 8 October
Kidlington 3  Ardley United 4

Those who attended all three games during the Uhlsport Hellenic League’s annual Groundhoppers Day could not have wished for a more entertaining match than that served up by these two sides at the Yarnton Road ground on Saturday evening.

After the home side had seen an early attempt on goal thwarted by the crossbar, Ardley took the lead in the 5th minute when Nick Thorne cut in from the left wing and his mazy run in to the box was ended as he was felled by a defender. Darren Beckett stepped up to convert the resultant penalty.

The game continued at high tempo with the visitors enjoying the greater possession but Kidlington always looking dangerous on the break. Ardley doubled their lead in the 24th minute when a free kick reached Thorne on the left side and he again outpaced the defence to unleash a shot past home keeper Tom Mcnamara.

Kidlington got themselves back into the game 10 minutes later when, following some good work down the left flank by Danny Clarke, the ball reached an unmarked Lewis Coyle at the far post and his shot sailed past Ardley Keeper Ryan Watt. The game continued from end to end at pace and three minutes before the break the visitors restored their two goal advantage when a through ball was reached first by Troy Bryan who steered it past the keeper.

Kidlington emerged for the second period in determined mood and just three minutes into the half  pulled a goal back. A free kick 25 yards out was expertly bent around the Ardley defensive wall by Ryan Curtin to find the far corner of the net. Again Ardley continued to enjoy far greater possession and were passing the ball as they are apt to do but could not convert this into goals, - Carl Standen going particularly close with a lob over the keeper that just cleared the bar as well. Kidlington also had their chances, but Watt denied them with a good save low to his right before they managed find an equaliser.

A goal-mouth melee appeared to end with Adam Beckett dribbling the ball clear only to be scythed down by a tackle which the referee saw as a fair challenge. With Beckett on the floor, the ball was played back in for Curtin to stab it home through a forest of players while the Ardley players protested at the earlier challenge.

To their credit, the visitors refused to allow this to rattle them and continued to play as they had in the rest of the game, and they were rewarded with the winner five minutes from time.

Prior to this season, long-serving defender Darren Beckett had never scored for his team but he turned an unlikely goal into a totally unheard-of double when he appeared on the right edge of the box to receive Stuart Bridges’ pass and slam the ball past McNamara to the delight of his team-mates. This took his season’s tally to three and gave Ardley  the same number of well deserved points.

uhlsport Hellenic League Premier Division - 27 September
Ardley 1 Holyport 5

This was a well contested game, with Ardley one up until the 70th minute when they then pressed the self destruct button and shipped 5 in twelve minutes.

Ardley started the stronger of the two sides, and won 5 corners in as many minutes. Nick Thorne looked to open the scoring with a wicked shot that was well saved by Warren Carter. After 22 minutes the deadlock  was broken when Ben Thomas placed his header wide of the keeper from yet another corner.The home side were having more of the ball but Holyport always looked strong and a threat on the break, they were unlucky not to equalise when Jamie Hanscomb was played in , only to see his effort clip the outside of the post.

ardley united joe white keeperFifteen minutes into the second half the Ardley keeper, Joe White (left) suffered a blow to the head, and shoulder when a collision between himself and his own two centre half’s took place. White released his grip on the ball when he lost consciousness. Holyport’s Callum Coull latched onto it and shot for goal . Ardley left back Carl Standen palmed the shot away, possibly thinking the game had stopped. Referee Neil Morrison saw it different and dismissed Standen, awarding a penalty for hand ball.

After a lengthy stoppage White opted to play on, diving to his left he saved the spot kick, only to further aggravate his shoulder and was unable to continue. With no recognised keeper on the bench, and no one keen to take the shirt it fell to Alex Feaver to take his debut between the sticks. The next 12 minutes saw Holyport score at will courtesy of Callum Coull (two) Jamie Handscomb (two) and Lewis Driver (one) Ten man Ardley appeared to have thrown in the towel, offered no protection to the rookie keeper, and were lucky to have kept it down to five, in an afternoon best forgotten.

uhlsport Hellenic League Premier Division - 27 September
Ardley United 7  Bracknell 1

To be fair to Bracknell, Ardley never really got to grips with this game until the second half. An early penalty shout was waived away by referee Paul Widdeson, but there was no doubt in his mind when after 16 minutes Jason Castello was brought down, and Troy Bryan the Ardley striker stepped up to the mark. Bracknell keeper Chris Adams was equal to the effort, but was only able to clear the ball to Alex Feaver who powered home.

The visitors equalised when an intended cross from the left, saw the ball fly into the far corner of the Ardley goal much to the pleasure of Harry Swabey. The jubilation was short lived, when a short free kick was played to Mathew Brandish just inside the opposition’s half, running at the defence he unleashed his shot from some 25 yards and saw at fly home.

At 2-1 Bracknell started the second half still in the game, but were quickly undone when a cross to Troy Bryan was turned on off his chest to Stuart Bridges who netted the first of his hat trick.

ardley united stuart bridgesTwo minutes later Bridges (pictured) scored his second. Feaver managed to lay the ball in his path whilst going down from a tackle, and Bridges made it 4-1.

The home side’s fifth saw Bridges involved again, when he slotted the perfect through ball for Jason Castello to hit on the volley past the stranded keeper.

Feaver and Bridges again linked up playing a delightful one two inside the box to give Bridges his hat trick inside 10 minutes. Bracknell heads were down and all the Ardley players were looking for part of the action. Nick Thorne went on a weaving run, with the defence standing off he got his shot away. The visiting keeper managed to get a hand to it, but the power in the shot saw it trickle over the line for number 7.

Eight minutes remained on the clock and Bracknell feared the worst, but held out until the final whistle.

uhlsport Hellenic League Premier Division - 24 September
Highworth Town 0 Ardley United 2

A sending off proved to be the pivotal point in this well contested but controversial match.

Both teams created chances but failed to convert them in a half that was entertaining and fairly even . With only seconds remaining before the break Ben Snook produced a high tackle, studs showing , on the Ardley wide mid fielder Nick Thorne. Referee Ben Whitty had the red card in his hand as he arrived at the incident reducing Highworth to ten men for the second half.

Ardley took full advantage and dominated from the restart. Troy Bryan did well to turn in the box , only to see his effort sail over . Minutes later centre half Adam Garner powered in a header from a corner, but Kurtis Sharkey between the Highworth sticks saved well.

Fifteen minutes into the half Ryan Brooks picked up on a through ball and was left with only the keeper to beat, when he appeared to be brought down from behind. Everyone was expecting the whistle, which would have given the visitors a penalty, and reduce Highworth to nine. But play was waived on leaving the crowd, and the Ardley dug out, rather bemused.

The first goal did come after 68 minutes following a goal mouth scramble, Nick Thorne appeared to have his boot clipped from behind, and this time referee Whitty pointed to the spot. Ryan Brooks made no mistake giving the visitors a much deserved lead.

Ardley were now looking comfortable on the ball, substitute Jason Castello threaded an inch perfect pass to the Ardley striker, Troy Bryan who rounded two defenders and coolly lobbed the advancing keeper.

Nick Thorne could have made it three when he worked his way across goal only to see his effort palmed around the post.

A joyous Ardley came away victors, leaving Highworth to ponder where it all went wrong.

uhlsport Hellenic League Premier Division - 20 September
Flackwell Heath 5   Ardley United 0

Ardley lost their unbeaten record big time when high-flying Flackwell Heath put 5 past them without reply.

The match started at a frantic pace with Flackwell winning the early exchanges. Harry Pritchard was allowed to run from the half way line, with the Ardley defence waiting for him to pass the ball, which never happened. He placed his shot was wide of keeper Joe White to go one up after eight minutes.

This acted as a wake up call to Ardley who got more into the game, despite some midfield domination they still had no shot on goal.

It was Pritchard again who scored the second when following some good passing movements in the box the ball was laid wide to him and the home side were 2 up after 27 minutes.

Ardley had 2 penalty appeals just before half time, but both were waived away by referee Livingstone and the visitors had to settle for a two goal deficit at the break.

The visitors started the half the stronger, but could find no way through a stout defence. Flackwell were awarded a free kick on the edge of the area, but wide of the goal. With the shot covered by the Ardley stopper, it took the slightest deflection off Ricardo Cannon to nestle sweetly into the net.

Three down it was do or die for the visitors Management team, pushing three up front, and leaving the back a little exposed. Ardley were awarded a free kick, which was quickly cleared up field to Seldon Grant, the defence had failed to get back in time and Grant was happy to place his shot wide of the keeper. The home side were now rampant, and when Adam Harman decided to go on a run everyone stood off him allowing him to put away number five, this left Ardley to lick their wounds and reflect on an evening they would rather forget.    

uhlsport Hellenic League Premier Division - 17 September
Ardley United 4 Oxford Nomads 3

ardley united ryan brooksWelcome to the Ryan Brooks show.

Nomads were three up at the break and cruising, but had not reckoned on Brooks putting four past them in the second half.

League leaders Oxford Quarry Nomads showed why they held the top spot as they had Ardley chasing shadows for the first 20 minutes. Playing a short passing game it only took five minutes for Conor Mc Donagh to open the scoring, when after some sloppy defending the ball was laid back, and he made no mistake from ten yards.

Two minutes later the same player was unlucky when he crashed one against the bar. Ardley struggled to find an answer to the rampant side. There was twelve minutes on the clock before the home side managed their first effort when Ryan Brooks saw his effort palmed wide of the mark by Paul Davis in the Nomads goal.

The visitors second came on 22 minutes, Ardley mid field lost the ball deep in their own half, it was quickly played through to Mc Donagh whose shot took a deflection wrong footing the keeper.

Nomads third was a spectacular affair when a cross was met on the volley by Adam Morris, giving the visitors a worthy three goal advantage at the break.

The start of the second half saw Ardley coming more into the game, Nomads were happy to protect their three goal advantage by slowing the pace. 

Seven minutes into the half Ryan Brooks collected the ball and run at the back four, riding two tackles he deftly placed the ball wide of the keeper to give Ardley a life line. Minutes later the assistant referee was flagging for  hand ball, after consultation referee Vallanc pointed to the spot, and Brooks put away his second.

It was game on, belief had returned to the home side and Nomads were on the back foot. Both the Ardley strikers were linking up well, and a through ball from Troy Bryan found Brooks, his shot hit the right hand post, flew across the goal and nestled in the side netting for his hat trick.

The visitors could not believe they had let slip their first half advantage, and were desperate to hang on for a point. With only two minutes left on the clock it was only going to be Brooks who sealed the points with a close range effort. A jubilant Ardley had broken their run of draws and had notched their second league win of the season courtesy of the Ryan Brooks show.       

uhlsport Hellenic League Premier Division - 10 September
Shrivenham 1 Ardley United 1

Ardley remain the only unbeaten side in the uhlsport Hellenic League Premier Division, but need to start converting draws into wins if they are to put up a challenge for the title this season.

It took less than a minute for Shrivenham to open the scoring when the ball was played down the right side of the pitch, the cross came in and was laid back for Steve Robertson to give them the dream start.

It quickly became obvious that the strong wind blowing down the slope would play a big part in the game. Shrivenham were causing big problems to the visitors, who were forced to defend in numbers. In fact it took 12 minutes before Ardley managed their first foray into the opposition’s penalty area. Winning a corner the ball was laid back to Louis Travers, who could only see his effort drift wide of the post.

Ardley were now battling the wind and getting more into the game. A ball over the top allowed Brooks to use his pace but his shot was well saved by the Shrivy keeper.

ardley united troybryanShrivenham were looking good, playing a short passing game they waited for an opportunity and it took a resolute Ardley defence to keep the score down to just the one at the break.

Ardley came out for the second half looking a different side, with the wind on their backs playing down the slope and no doubt a few sharp words from Manager Brook ringing in their ears they set about the task in hand.

Seven minutes into the half following a few sharp passes, Louis Travers got in his cross for Troy Bryan to head home the equaliser.

It was now Shrivenham’s turn to feel the pressure, they also were forced to defend in numbers, and when Brooks broke free of his marker it looked like Ardley would take the lead, but he could only look on as his shot was hooked of the line.

Shrivy were desperate for the final whistle, and were happy with their point, unlike the visitors who came away knowing it was two points dropped in their quest for the title.    

FA Cup Sponsored By Budweiser Preliminary Round Replay - 6 September
Ardley United 1 Wembley FC 2

Ardley were dumped out of the FA Cup after a replay on Tuesday evening, with Wembley being two up at half time, leaving the home side it all to do in the second half.

It was a dream start for Wembley. Ardley kicked off, played the ball back to the keeper, his clearance fell to Adrian Dinham who crossed the ball to an unmarked Daryl Atkins, Atkins headed over a stranded Joe White in the Ardley goal to put them 1 up after 30 seconds, and give them the confidence they required to push on.

Wembley had the ball in the net again from a free kick, but was marginally offside.

The home side got back into the game half way through the first half. Adam Garner saw his header well saved from a free kick when the Wembley stopper Ini Amaegbe palmed it away. Ardley front man Louis Cordice was substituted on 29 minutes after a kick to his calf. Alex Feaver went on taking up the wide right midfield position allowing Jason Castello to play up front.

Ardley were taking control, only to allow a breakaway attack by Wembley, Atkins left his defender on the floor and netted his second on 38 minutes.

The second half saw the home side push on, but with Wembley defending in numbers any penetration was difficult. With 70 minutes on the clock Manager Kevin Brock did a straight swop for front man Castello, bringing on Andrew Stidder.

Five minutes later Stidder repaid his manager when Wembley keeper punched clear only for Stidder to volley it into the net.

It was game on and Ardley were hungry for the equaliser, but they could not emulate the late Wembley goal from Saturday, and so it was that Wembley go through and Ardley have to look forward for a run in the FA Vase.  

FA Cup Sponsored By Budweiser Preliminary Round - 3 September
Wembley FC 1 Ardley United 1

Ardley will be licking their wounds today after failing to capitalise on numerous chances to put this tie to bed. A determined Wembley popped up in the 4th minute of added on time to equalise in a goal mouth scramble.

ardley united ryan brooksArdley took the lead in the 21st minute when Ryan Brooks pushed the ball behind the Wembley defence and used his pace to get his shot away.

Minutes later the other half of the visitors strike force, Louis Cordice found himself one of one with Birthday boy and Wembley stopper Ini Amaeghi. Amaeghi came off best safely gathering the effort.

Wembley were getting more into the game and looked the sharper of the two sides, but the visitors defence denied them any chance of an equaliser.

In the second half Brooks had a chance to emulate his first goal, but this time Amaeghi dived at his feet to deny.

Brooks was again involved when he squared to Cordice who placed his shot into the keepers hands.

Wembley could not deal with the pace of Brooks and once again he could have put the game out of reach only to put his effort wide.

Wembley threw caution to the wind and started to play a long ball into the Ardley box, forcing the defence to retreat. With the away supporters looking at their watches and questioning the time added on Wembley achieved their dream. Chris Korten managed to scramble in the equaliser and set up a replay on Tuesday , kick off 7.30 at Ardley.

uhlsport Hellenic League Premier Division - 29 August
Holyport 1 Ardley United 3

Ardley started the game with a bit more effort and determination than they did against Wokingham two days ago. Inside the first 10 minutes Louis Cordice managed to slip his marker and curl his shot to the far post, only to see it crash off the cross bar to safety. A minute later Cordice was again involved when it appeared he was wrestled to the ground inside the penalty area, but referee Shaun Tobin was having none of it and waived play on. The visitors were taking the play to Holyport and they were forced to defend in numbers.

Following some good play in the box Alex Feaver got his shot away and again the woodwork came to the rescue of Holyport.
30 minutes on the clock it was now the home side who found the woodwork, when keeper Joe White failed to take the cross from a corner. The ball was cleared up field and Jason Costello showed his skill twisting and turning to find himself room to unleash a spectacular unstoppable shot to make it 1 – 0

Five minutes before the break Ardley were two up when Stuart Bridges scored direct from a free kick just outside the area. The half finished on a high when an Ardley in swinging corner was punched into his own net by keeper Carl Dennison to put the visitors three up.

If the first half belonged to the visitors then the second belonged to Holyport, they started with a lot of possession and determination to turn the game around, with only 3 minutes of the half gone the home side pulled one back, an indirect free kick for foot up found it’s way past the defence to give Jamie Handscombe just reward for his efforts and a life line to Holyport.
Despite an entertaining second half no further goals were forthcoming and Ardley were worthy of their 2 goal advantage.

uhlsport Hellenic League Premier Division - 27 August
Wokingham & Emmbrook 1 Ardley United 1

Ardley maintained their unbeaten record in a game that could only be described as a "snore" draw.

A slow start by both teams culminated in a free kick after 6 minutes just outside the area. Ardley Captain Adam Garner stepped up and played the ball along the ground, with the wall jumping it found its way into the corner of the net.

The second goal of the game came on 42 minutes, with long range shot by Sam Wyatt which appeared to go under the body of the Ardley stand in keeper Karl Adams.

Wokingham played the second half with a little more determination and desire, and the visitors were forced to defend and rely on a breakaway attack. Wokingham had a couple of half chances but never looked, despite their possession a threatening force.

On 90 minutes Andrew Stidder put in a long range effort which struck the inside of the Wokingham post and shot across the face of the goal, but that was as much excitement as the crowd had seen all afternoon.

uhlsport Hellenic League Premier Division - 23 August
Ardley United 4   Highworth Town 1

ardley united troybryanA brace for Troy Bryan, and one apiece for Ben Thomas, and Ryan Brooks gave Ardley the kick start to the season they were looking for. After drawing the first two games this was a must win situation, and the players responded to the call.

The opening exchanges belonged to Highworth, the pitch suiting their short passing game, yet the first goal was a solo effort from Danny Hilder. Following a clearance from an Ardley corner, Hilder ran the length of the pitch through the depleted Ardley defence, and slotted past an advancing keeper to give the visitors the lead after 22 minutes.

The equaliser came 15 minutes later with some good work by Louis Cordice up the left side, crossing the ball for Troy Bryan (pictured) to head home.

Ardley were now forcing the pace and won a corner on the stroke of half time. It was a bullet header from Ben Thomas that gave the home side the lead and left a bitter taste in the Highworth team.

The second half started with Highworth determined to get back in the game and despite dominating the first 15 minutes, they were unable to penetrate a solid back four.

On 70 minutes the game all changed when Town’s Craig Curtis was dismissed from the field play. After a long consultation with the linesman, referee Paul O’Hare gave Curtis his marching orders for denying a goal scoring opportunity. There were strong complaints that this was a case of mistaken identity and the wrong player was walking, but the ref was not for turning.
Highworth lost their way after this incident and Ardley capitalised when Alex Feaver played in Troy Bryan who chipped the keeper for his second.

Two minutes later Ryan Brooks scored what was the goal of the game when he volleyed from the left corner of the box giving keeper Charles Steward little chance.

A flattering result for the home side, but a much needed win, and 3 points.  

FA Cup Sponsored by Budweiser - 20 August
Ardley United 3 Flackwell Heath 0

The reward for beating Flackwell in the extra preliminary round of the FA Cup (Sponsored by Budweiser) is a trip to Wembley. Alas not the famous National Stadium but Wembley FC who progressed in the competition at the expense of Ascot United on Friday evening.

In a cautious start by both sides, there was 6 minutes on the clock before the first chance of the game fell to Ardley. Ryan Brooks cut inside and fired a curling shot which was a fraction the wrong side of the far post. Flackwell also looking dangerous worked their way through the home side's defence, but their finishing let them down.

ben thomas football ardleyA corner for Ardley was driven in by Stuart Bridges and found an unmarked Ben Thomas (pictured) who headed home on 15 minutes. Two minutes later the home side had the chance to double their lead when Louis Caprice had only the keeper to beat, but his effort was skied over the bar.

With just over the half hour gone Flackwell had a great chance to equalise, but Ardley keeper Joe White was on top of his game and denied Ricardo Cannon. From the resulting clearance the ball was fed wide to Ryan Brooks who this time made no mistake to make it two before the half time break.

15 minutes into the second half Brooks was again involved when he played in Troy Bryan who smashed home from close range to give a three goal cushion.

Flackwell were not going to surrender and after bringing on the subs to try and freshen things up were again were unlucky when a shot was just wide of the post.

Ardley played keep ball to run the clock down, and were emphatic winners at the end of the day.

uhlsport Hellenic League Premier Division - 16 August
Ascot 1 Ardley United 1

Ardley played their first away fixture of the season at Ascot United, a club who will be part of FA history on Friday night as the first team playing in this season's FA Cup campaign, which is to be televised on the through an arrangement between FA Cup Sponsors Budweiser and social media site Facebook.

Back to Tuesday nights' fixture, the opening exchanges were fairly even, with the game being played at a good pace. Both of the teams had early half chances, Ascot seeing an overhead kick go wide of the mark, and Troy Bryan pulled the ball wide of the post for the visitors.

With 23 minutes on the clock Bryan was fouled from behind, and the referee pointed to the spot. Darren Beckett (pictured) duly dispatched his shot giving Tim Kilpatrick no chance in the home goal.

15 minutes later it was Ascot who were celebrating the equaliser when a quick throw found Cooper Clark his cross was controlled by Jon Bennett who was allowed to turn in the box and volleyed home.

Ascot could have gone two up on 42 minutes when a defensive error allowed them a shot which ricochet off the post.

The restart saw a revitalised Ardley. Adam Beckett, playing on the wing, saw a shot on goal swerve just over the bar.

Manager Kevin Brock made changes to try and gain advantage, introducing Alex Feaver wide left he pushed Adam Beckett to left back, with Louis Cordice replacing Andrew Stidder up front.

The visitors were now in command and it took two top draw saves from Ascot Keeper Tim Kilpatrick to deny Ardley the winner. The final whistle saw relief from Ascot, and frustration from Ardley, but a draw was probably a fair result.

uhlsport Hellenic League Premier Division - 13 August

Ardley United 2  Slimbridge 2

The opening fixture of the season got off to a cracking start, with 4 goals in the first 20 minutes, in a game of slick passing, high tempo, and well worth the admission fee off the small crowd of 53 people.

Slimbridge drew first blood with only 7 minutes on the clock, a shot from Brad Martin took a deflection and looped over  stranded Joe White in the Ardley goal.

A couple of minutes later the scores were equal when Ben Thomas headed home his debut goal from a well taken corner by Stuart Bridges.

lewis cordice football ardleyArdley were taking most off the possession, a through ball saw the pacey front man Louis Cordice (pictured) leave his marker in his wake, and cooly slot home past the advancing keeper to give the home side the lead.

The Slimbridge equaliser came courtesy  of some good work by Karl Nash  who rounded the defender, made himself some room and made no mistake blasting past the Ardley keeper.

The second half never quite lived up to the first, with the pace dropping off in the warm, humid,  afternoon.  A strong penalty appeal was turned down when Troy Bryan appeared to be  fouled in the area, but apart from that no real efforts were worthy of the winner,  and a draw was accepted by both sides with some gratitude.

Pre-Season - 30 July

Ardley United 2-2 Didcot Town

Didcot and Ardley played-out an exciting draw at a sun-baked Ardley United on Saturday.

Playing down the slope in the first half the home side made most of the running and quickly took a two goal lead.

It was Didcot however who had the first chance when Jamie struck the bar with a cross-cum-shot.

But there was no surprise when ex-Didcot midfielder Stuart Bridges opened the scoring for Ardley after a calamity at the back had presented him with a shooting chance from the edge of the box.

Another mistake at the back allowed the home side to go into what looked like an unassailable lead on 25 minutes. A long punt upfield allowed Troy Bryan to run 50 yards un-opposed before clipping the ball over Ramos Perreira.

On the half hour Didcot reduced the arrears when Rob Carr lifted the ball home from 15 yards.

And in the second half Didcot improved markedly soon drawing level through Carr who converted from close range.

Both sides had chances to win it but in the end a draw was probably a fair result on a day when fitness and formations were more important than the scoreline.

Report Courtesy of Steve 'Babs' Clare

Pre-Season - 19 July

Daventry Town draw 1-1 with Ardley United

New look Daventry Town draw 1-1 against a very good Ardley side.

Daventry Town's new experimental team got a draw against a tough and very good footballing side in Ardley United. The Town started very well and went ahead through Howard Forinton after some good work by new boy Travis. Aaran Parkinson went off injured and from that moment Town struggled to keep tabs on the lively Ardley forwards and movement.
Eventually Ardley deservedly drew level after some good work down the left.

Second half changes were made and Daventry looked more likely to score, apart from Ardley hitting the post Daventry too the game more and more to their opponents. Chances came and went, and to be honest they weren't clear cut chances, and when the referee blew his whistle the teams knew they'd both been in an entertaining (if not at times littered with bad passes).

We wish Kevin Brock and his Ardley team all the best for the forthcoming season in the Hellenic Premier League. They are indeed a very good side.

Courtesy of Daventry Town FC

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