Streatley Strikers U16 6 Thame U16 Colts 4
4 goal headstart a bridge too far for Colts
Cold conditions more worthy of November than the end of April were the reward for another lengthy away trip to Streatley for the Colts and their supporters. This game was 'must win' to have any chance of a third place finish in the D league, and Jonno's early shot and great play from Tom E on the left to set up James G for an effort from just outside the box suggested an enjoyable afternoon was in store. However, the hosts got their noses in front against the run of play with their first attack after a break down the right. Cameron then had the ball in the net only to be flagged offside, but a Streatley shot from just outside the centre circle which went just over proved to be a warning sign of what was to come, as well as an unwelcome reminder of events in the reverse fixture at Thame earlier in the season. Taking advantage of kicking with the wind, a free-kick from inside the centre circle sailed over Reuben and into the net for 2-0. Barna went up front to test the home back line with his pace, and this almost paid immediate dividends as he broke down the right, holding off two defenders and shooting across the 6 yard box. 2-0 at half-time then, but with the bonus of the wind behind them and playing down the slope to come in the second period.
However, all hopes of a comeback seemed to be extinguished almost immediately after the restart by a third goal for the home side, as the Colts defence was caught flat-footed culminating in a tidy finish. A fourth followed shortly afterwards from a corner which hit the near post and wasn't properly cleared, Reuben inadvertently palming the ball to a Streatley player in the 6 yard box who smashed home. Barna was then denied again by the linesman's flag, and things got a bit fractious as the visitors' frustrations began to tell and the absence of an official referee perhaps became a factor. James got Thame back in with a shout with a fine strike from the left hand corner of the box, then followed up 2 minutes later with a looping shot from 25 yards which dipped over the home goalie and into the net. Our valiant 'keeper's miserable afternoon continued as a long range shot slipped through his hands to make it 5-2 after a good spell of attacking for the Colts, but Joe’s tackle and through ball was chased down by Barna for the visitors third. The goal of the game followed almost immediately as Joe fed Jonno, who put Cam in down the left to cross for Oscar to head home brilliantly. Just as it seemed an unlikely point might be up for grabs Streatley scored again to make it 6-4 with the last kick of the game.
Our lads produced a rousing comeback, but overturning a four goal headstart was always going to be a big ask: credit to them though for nearly managing it, helped by some astute changes by Mike. East Oxford have forfeited their last few games, so as it turns out this was the Colts' final fixture of the season. They finish on 27 points: only Streatley can overtake them, needing a win and a draw against Carterton (who are challenging for top spot) and second-bottom Kidlington to do so.
Well done to all the squad for their efforts in what has been an enjoyable and entertaining season, to Mike for his coaching and encouragement, to Dominic for funding the Astro training sessions, to Graham, Jason and Ian for running the line/occasional reffing, and to all parents for their encouragement and lifts. We shall see what next season brings at U17 level!