04/04/12...Thame's head's held high despite defeat at North Leigh -
MATCH REPORT (Contributed) Semi final – Oxfordshire Senior Cup: North Leigh 2, Thame United 1- Tuesday, 3/04/12.
THE Thame United players returned from their Oxfordshire Senior Cup semi final clash with North Leigh, which was played at Oxford City’s ground on Tuesday, with their heads held high. They had lost the match 2-1 but every player had given it their all and, despite the fact that they had spent an almost an hour of the game with only 10 men, it was a very close thing.
The side from the Southern League took the lead on 10 minutes when striker John Mills found enough space to hit a strong 15-yard shot pass Nick Bennion, giving him no chance. United were on the back foot for a while and it looked that a heavy defeat was possible. Then, in the 18th minute Luke Rickets collected the ball in the middle of the pitch and made run on the left before hitting a perfect cross which Lewis Cordice calmly headed in at the near post. Five minutes later Bennion made good save when he parried a free kick but then reacted with amazing speed to block a follow up at point blank range.
Thame were gaining the upper hand, and Cordice went close when he met a corner with a header which just cleared the bar. Shortly after, Mitchell Meredith was scythed down in the box but the referee ignored Thame’s penalty appeals. The game was getting physical and after 30 minutes, Connor Hayes received a blatant elbow in the face, and the offender was booked. Alex Stewart then mistimed a tackle and was dismissed from the pitch. North Leigh’s second goal came just before the break when Bennion blocked a fierce shot but then Ben Reardon knocked in the loose ball.
The second half saw United determined to equalise despite being a player short. They created far more chances than their opponents who seemed content to hold onto, rather than increase their lead. Minutes after the restart Ricketts hit a 25-yard shot which struck the cross bar. Five minutes later a Cordice free kick went inches wide. Cordice again had a half chance which went agonisingly close. With 15 minutes remaining Dan West was injured in a clash with the goalkeeper and was replaced by Adam Rhodes. The plucky Thame side fought to the final whistle but it is North Leigh who will play to the final.
Thame United: Bennion, I Pykett, Hall, Meredith, N Rhodes, Hayes, Connelly (Barr), West (A Rhodes), Stewart, Cordice, Ricketts.
Next Saturday 7th April United are away to Fairford Town. This season’s last home game is on Easter Monday when Ardley United are the visitors. Entrance is free as the game will be the main attraction of a Family Fun Day which starts at 1.30 with a Thame boys U7’s match. There will be a bouncy castle and a variety of competitions for young and old alike.