Thame go back on top
Youth team leading the division at Xmas
Thame rode some overdue luck, took their chances well and showed plenty of grit and determination in horrible conditions to post their 6th win in 8 league matches this season. In parts we played some lovely football but Tower Hill were a little unfairly served by the scoreline. They were the stronger in the second half as injuries, the mud and the general misery of the weather knocked the youth team back, but we showed our usual character to finish on top.
First half Thame pretty much had 3 chances and converted all 3. A swift break on 8 minutes from the back saw Brandon pull away in the inside right channel-his shot was saved low down to his right by the keeper-but swept home by Chris who had sprinted 50 metres to be in the right place at the right time. Thame pressed well throughout midfield with some smart interplay between Billy and Charlie, and Brandon and Jordan combined well up front. 12 minutes and Thame are 2 up-a long throw bounces into the penalty area and Jordan seized the ball, pulled away from the defender and tucked away a very well-taken goal. Then-glory be-another superb delivery from a Thame corner on the left from Brandon and Felix met it first time, tucking his header inside the right hand post.
Tower Hill were a bit shell-shocked as they had probably had the lion's share of the territory: twice they shaved Robbie's left hand post when through but otherwise Thame's defence worked well: Robbie swept up with his usual assurance and made one splendid take under pressure from a corner. We rode our luck at times but Matty and Jacob made some important interventions with headers and tackles. Thame finished the half on top with Ty replacing Charlie who had a knock and showing his usual ability to get into the right place and play the right ball.
By now the rain was numbing and if the legendary MVP mistral wasn't quite at its worse, the surface which was wet mud on still semi-frozen ground was becoming tricky. Tower Hill adapted better and got some good crosses in, but Robbie, Matty, Lloyd and Alex made any number of important last minute interceptions. Going forward we didn't quite get the run of the ball in spite of Brandon, Jordan, Billy and Scott's best efforts on the break. Pushed back-there was an air of inevitability about the Tower Hill goal after a series of goal line scrambles-though there was a hint of handball. That said they hit the bar from a free-kick and drew a couple of sprawling and point blank saves from Robbie.
So we needed the classic Thame counter: Jordan got on the ball in midfield, created his own space and threaded a ball through left of centre: Brandon had a lot to do but out sprinted his defender and slotted coolly home. Brandon then finished the game in goal after Robbie was carried off after a superb and brave save at the feet of the onrushing forward whose recklessness brought him a yellow card.
Thanks to Tower Hill and the referee for switching the fixture and getting a game on when most were postponed; and also for a game played in mostly good spirit and well managed in difficult conditions. Thanks also to Ady for the line and our supporters-they deserve something nice from the players for pitching up in that!
Good efforts 1-14 today, great control in the centre from Charlie and Ty, good movement going forward especially from Jordan, Brandon and Billy and nice to see Eddie get some game time after nearly 7 months out (and the weather was almost as bad as when he got injured at the Chinnor tournament in May!). Joint men of the match: Jacob who showed great strength and composure and was always popping up when the opposition looked to have got through; and to Robbie who was brave and skillful and gave a lot of confidence to his defence in the way he swept up in defence and cleared his lines.
Thame reach Xmas on top of the league a point ahead of Grove who have a game in hand-but we have both fixtures against them still to play. It's in our hands!