Thame U16 Colts 1 Carterton Town U16 2
Excellent Colts valiant in defeat as Carterton grab the points
The U16 Colts lined up for arguably the biggest game of the season so far on a pleasant afternoon at Meadow View Park. The boys looked a little tentative to start with, and matters weren't helped by going a goal down from the visitors' first serious effort on goal, a free-kick that deflected off the wall beyond Reuben's outstretched left arm. As per the away game Carterton's physicality and pace were testing, but Thame started to assert themselves as the first half progressed and the balance of action began to tip towards the away side's goal as James G's well-executed curling free-kick was saved reasonably comfortably, then Ioan turned and shot after good build up play on the right by Henry and Cameron, but straight at the 'keeper. However, just as Thame were improving Reuben was beaten again, this time low to his right by another free kick from distance which he just failed to keep out despite his best efforts. The Colts weren't disheartened though, and further chances came before the interval in the form of Henry's free-kick to the near post, which fell to Ioan whose volley fortuitously fell into the 'keeper's midriff, and Adam's curler from virtually on the goal line after gamely chasing down a 'lost cause', which hit the inside of the post and somehow failed to cross the line. A really determined half of football by the Colts, who found themselves harshly two down at the break but with plenty to be positive about.
Progress continued in the second period, as more and more of the play was in the direction of the Carterton goal. Eventually the Colts were rewarded for their not inconsiderable efforts, Tom F receiving the ball on the edge of the box and passing to Ioan who squared it to Adam, whose shot low to the keeper's right gave him his fourth goal of the season. This spurred the hosts on still further and Thame were now the better side, a fantastic achievement given the nature of the defeat in Carterton a few months ago. Opportunities to level came via James H's shot after a precise downward header to set himself up, then Ioan made space for himself, headed for goal and shot just over from ten yards out. Tom F then passed to Ioan, who in turn laid it on for Adam to shoot just wide. A slightly bizarre incident then followed where James H tussled with the previously excellent Carterton number 12 for a ball that was clearly going out of play and that neither had a hope of getting to. The visiting defender ended up putting James in a headlock and was shown a red card: James earnt a yellow for his part in proceedings but exercised sensible restraint in not getting involved more than he did. Although maybe not something we'd like to see too often it epitomised James's commitment, something that all 14 players displayed in spades during this fixture.
On the final whistle it was evident that despite the result the boys were rightly pleased with their performance, as was Mike. Aside from the two set-piece goals Carterton's forays were largely snuffed out by the truly excellent Barna, George W, Oscar, Louis and Tom E while industrious displays by Henry, Tom Fowler, Curtis, James G and James H turned the tide in midfield after an slightly iffy opening 15 minutes or so, when Carterton were looking dominant and conjured worrying reminders of our long trip west. Adam, Ioan and Cameron all offered plenty of energy up front, and Reuben was vocal throughout with sound decision-making and safe hands. The two displays against this weekend's opponents were like chalk and cheese, and if the Colts can produce showings like this for the rest of the season they will undoubtedly be 'there or thereabouts' at the end of it. Next up a break from league action as the Oxford and Witney Inter-League Competition begins with a visit to Crowmarsh Revolution, currently 7th in the C League...