Wantage Town Boys U16 2 Thame U16 Colts 2
By Tim Darch
Points shared in wet Wantage
Damp, cool conditions greeted the Colts and their chauffeurs on arrival at Wantage Town's ground for a crucial fixture if a late challenge for the title was to be mounted. The boys got off to a less than ideal start, going 1-0 down after just a few minutes when the rebound from Reuben's save fell kindly for a home player to slot home. The Colts weren't disheartened though and Cameron nearly levelled soon after, shooting over after a 1-on-1 when the the ball just 'sat up' a bit. It was end-to-end stuff as Wantage broke down the right and shot just wide, though our 'keeper looked to have it covered. He followed this up with a great save just a minute later, changing direction brilliantly as a shot from close range after a corner seemed to be destined for goal. Wantage then had another effort just wide after a break down the left, then Ioan looked in on goal on but a heavy touch just gave the home 'keeper the advantage in the chase for the ball. Barna shot just wide after Tom E's throw, then Cameron was denied by a great diving save when through on goal. Adam then lost possession in the right-back position but Reuben's good save spared his blushes as Wantage surged forward as a result. The Colts then grabbed the equaliser their efforts deserved, as Barna crossed, Cameron held the ball up and fed Ioan who shot home. No sooner had the visitors levelled though than the home side went in front again: a chipped pass seemed to to hold up on the soggy pitch, catching Reuben in two minds and allowing the Wantage striker to beat him to the ball and score. There was still time in the first half for Oscar to meet a well-taken corner firmly with his head, alas sending it just over the bar. 2-1 to Wantage at half-time, and a chance for everyone to catch their breath after a frantic and entertaining first period.
Compared to the first half the second was much quieter, though Thame were in the ascendancy as it progressed. Reuben made a couple of comfortable saves from long shots but solid defending meant most threats were well dealt with (well done Tom Felstead in particular for some great tackling and calm passing off the bench). The Colts kept going and had plenty of the ball in the Wantage half, eventually deservedly levelling as Ioan received the ball, turned and put Barna in down the right for a run on goal culminating in a tidy finish. Moments before the final whistle Jonno put in a great saving challenge to deny a winner for the home team. 2-2 at full-time then, and a thoroughly entertaining if somewhat damp afternoon for those who'd make the long trip.
Realistically 3 points were probably needed from this game to sustain a realistic challenge for the title. However this was a good display in grotty weather and a point away from home against a decent, well-organised side has to be applauded and it keeps the Colts in the mix. Thanks to Jason for running the line: next up Streatley Strikers at home at 12.30 next Sunday, followed by CSA at MVP on Wednesday 18th at 6.30.