Much better from Thame
By Ian Bottomley
Thame rediscover some form in "Champions League"
Thame lost their first fixture in the new Oxford Mail-Witney “champions’ league” but produced a much better performance than the week before. Grove were very well-organised and committed opponents and deserved the win, but Thame improved through the game and dominated the second half.
The result turned in the end on the goals that Thame conceded in the first half. 2 minutes in and Grove lined up deep for a corner-but the ball went straight in at Robbie’s front post. After Brandon had levelled 4 minutes with a carbon copy effort straight from a corner at the other end, Thame gave Grove the lead when they failed to clear a ball across their own area. Various defenders failed to deal with the situation and Robbie had no chance, unsighted by the bodies in front of him.
This typified the first half: Thame were unsteady in defence and lacked momentum going forward: Alfie and Matty kept us in it defensively, and Brandon and Scott had long-range efforts while Josh went close from a Scott corner. Jake provided energy and commitment off the bench, but somehow individual efforts didn’t add up to an effective team performance.
Nevertheless, we turned around only 1-2 down and from the off picked up the pace and the teamwork began to click. Josh was instrumental-linking with Alfie, getting the ball under control and driving forward. Both players produced some intelligent forward passes for the willing Chris, Billy and Brandon. As we settled to our football there were some superb passing moves with neat interplay between Ty, Chris, Alfie and Billy especially.
This improved play was summed up by a couple of sweeping moves: firstly, Alex won a 50-50 at left back, worked the ball down the line where Billy and Chris created the space for Josh to carry forward from inside left and played in Brandon; he was held up but went out to Ty on the right who showed neat feet to play Brandon back in on goal. Then Josh won a midfield ball and threaded the ball to Alfie who carried forward and Brandon’s shot was just over.
It was disappointing to concede a third on the break from missed tackles, but generally our defensive play was improved with Alex recovering his poise and Robbie and his defence rediscovering their communication. Billy went close from a free kick (just over) and we deserved a second goal.
So-a third defeat in a row but Thame could have got something out of the game, and we recovered our drive, snap and direction. Key to this were Josh in an attacking midfield role and the consistent Alfie playing deeper: both read the game, brought the ball under control and made good use of it throughout. They were jointly men of the match.
Next up-the trek to Newbury v Woolton Hill Argyle.