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FOOTBALL: Ardley survive fright to go top
6:40am Monday 21st April 2014 in Non League
ARDLEY United regained top spot in a thrilling two-horse race for the Uhlsport Hellenic League Premier Division title with a 5-1 victory away to bottom club Abingdon Town on Saturday.
With title rivals Wantage Town involved in cup action, Ardley now lead the table by one point, having played a game more.
They were given an early shock as Abingdon took a sixth-minute lead through Leon Howard’s deflected effort, which looped over keeper Jack Harding Ardley suffered another blow when top-scorer Ryan Brooks was forced off with a groin injury.
But they soon equalised when Jon Gardner crossed to Stuart Bridges and his pass set up Joe Eyre to volley home.
Eight minutes later, Gardner set up a chance for Ollie Stanbridge, who rifled Ardley in front.
Troy Bryan was denied by a great save from Abingdon keeper Jake Butler to leave the score 2-1 at the break.
Early in the second half, Gardner paved the way for Bryan to make it 3-1 With Howard in particular proving a handful, the Ardley defence could not relax.
But further goals from Ben Thomas, who turned in Eyre’s cross off the near post, and Bryan with his second, ensured maximum to keep up the pressure on Wantage at the top of the table.
They are both involved today, with Ardley entertaining Thame United and Wantage at home to home to Reading.
There could be a tight finish in Divsion 1 East where leaders Milton United were held to a 1-1 draw away to Maidenhead United Res.
Rob Joyce equalised for Milton after the hosts had taken an early lead through Reside Coxi-Sebastiao.
Milton, with just one game to play, can now be caught by AFC Hinksey, who won 1-0 away to Chinnor.
Their only goal came just before half-time when Triston Lawrence’s header was saved on the line, but Ryan Curtin smashed in the rebound from close range.
Hinksey trail Milton by six points, but have two games in hand a better goal difference.
Headington Amateurs will miss out on the title, despite winning 2-0 at home to Chalfont Wasps.
First-half goals from Joe Cook and Tom Payne proved enough to give Amateurs a third successive win, but they cannot now catch Milton.
Didcot Town Res lost 2-0 at Burnham, who scored Joe Cook and Tom Payne.
Letcombe, despite finishing bottom of Division 1 West, showed fighting spirit in a 2-1 defeat at home to Carterton.
Reece Bayliss and Dan Bishop scored for Carterton, with Harry Broad replying with his first goal for Letcombe.
- WANTAGE Town slipped to a 3-2 defeat away to Ascot United in their Bluefin Sports Challenge Cup semi-final on Saturday.
Ascot took a 2-0 first-half lead thanks to a brace of goals from Daryl McLean.
Steve Davis pulled a goal back for Wantage midway through the second half and then skipper Mark James appeared to be bundled over in the area, only for the referee to wave away their penalty appeals.
Jermaine Roche restored Ascot’s two-goal advantage three minutes from time, and Richie Claydon’s late goal proved no consolation for the visitors.
Ascot face either Ardley United or Highworth Town, who meet in the other semi-final this Saturday.
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