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Thame Rangers U18's - Match centre

Thame Rangers U18
Aylesbury United Youth
Sun 19 Mar 10:30 - League Full time

Brave effort not enough to stop league leaders

Rangers punished by clinical finishing as Aylesbury push for the title

The result of this top versus bottom encounter suggests a predictably one-sided match. There is no doubt Aylesbury deserved their win but the scoreline hides the fact that this was for the most part a competitive game in which the Rangers players matched their opponents for long periods in every department except finishing.
Although he had to pick the ball out of his net on six occasions Eddie Hart had surprisingly few saves to make. Aylesbury took the chances that came their way with cool efficiency while at the other end the ball never quite seemed to fall for Billy Herbert and his teammates.
Both teams deserve credit for overcoming a strong wind that had threatened to dominate the game. Thame started well but fell behind in the 8th minute when a free kick from well outside the area dipped over Eddie Hart and underneath the crossbar.
The Rangers response was impressive. A strong run from Alex McStay was halted when the Rangers midfielder was fouled by the Aylesbury keeper giving Tom Howard the opportunity to cooly level the score from the penalty spot.
As the first half neared its end Thame were enjoying their best spell only for the game to slip away in a couple of minutes of bad luck and controversy. It began with winger Matt Wigglesworth going desperately close to giving Rangers the lead with a long range shot that the visitors keeper did well to tip over his crossbar. For reasons known only to himself the referee gave a goal kick . Wigglesworth by now had been injured and was prone on the pitch. While the Rangers players called for the ball to be kicked into touch so their winger could receive treatment, Aylesbury ignored the striken player and built an attack that ended with Hart blocking one shot only for the ball to fall kindly to another United forward who converted his tap in.
If that wasn't cruel enough , in the last couple of minutes before the interval the Rangers defence failed to clear its lines and were punished again. Suddenly it was 3-1 down with the fierce wind likely to favour Aylesbury in the second period. The Thame boys faced a test of character.
The second half was predictably hard but Rangers refused to surrender even after the table toppers ran in another three goal. The coaches were impressed that right to the end Thame were trying to add to their own score, Niall Davies having a long range shot saved by the Aylesbury keeper while George Bennetts went even closer rattling the crossbar.
Not many games will be as tough as this. Credit to all for not throwing in the towel and especially to Jack Thurnham for a powerful performance in the holding midfield role.
Squad: Eddie Hart, Matt Gomm,Jordan Baker, Tom Darling, Tom Howard, Ed Hickman, Jack Thurnham, Niall Davies, Ollie Gibson, Alex McStay, George Bennetts, Jack Howland, Matt Wigglesworth and Billy Herbert.

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