SUPER sub Liam O’Brien headed his first goal of the season to earn KIDMORE END their first victory of the Premier Division campaign, a 2-1 win that leaves KENNET VALE still pointless.
Kidmore End, who drew their opening match, took the lead on 10 minutes when Kieran Chard turned sharply to score from 25 yards. Vale equalised soon after via a deflection but with 10 minutes remaining, O’Brien headed home to snatch all three points.
Kidmore had started the brighter of the two teams and striker Chard, one of several players called up from the reserve team, justified his inclusion by giving the away side’s keeper absolutely no chance from the edge of the box.
Even Kennet’s equaliser arrived via an optimistic shot that deflected off the unfortunate Simon Butler and into the goal. That was harsh on the Kidmore defender who had an otherwise outstanding match. Kennet stepped up a gear after that and nearly took the lead when a strike from the edge of the box hit the bar.
Kidmore player-manager Steve Braisher made two changes after half-time and both paid dividends, O’Brien heading home from five yards following a Braisher free kick to secure the points.
The win leaves Kidmore just two points behind EMMER GREEN who beat BETHEL UNITED 3-0 with just 10 men.
Premier Division outfit Emmeronly had 11 players available for selection due to a mixture of holidays, illness and even a birth! They then lost David Page to a calf injury after just 30 minutes with the score at 0-0. But Green adjusted and 10 minutes later the 10 men took the lead after Richie Froude lobbed the Bethel keeper.
The score at half-time was 1-0 and Emmer Green doubled their advantage within 10 minutes of the restart when Froude was brought down in the box and Adam Tombs made it 2-0 from the resulting penalty. With five minutes left to play Ross Verrall sealed all three points for Green with a diving header that capped a superb team performance from a depleted line-up.
Frustrated HENLEY YMCA didn’t get to play in the Premier Division on Sunday after their match with THE TYRE BAY was unexpectedly postponed. In their last and only outing so far this season Henley YMCA won a ding dong clash at Kennet Vale 3-5. This Sunday they hope to return to the same kind of form on their travels when they visit Bethel United.
In Division 1 East YMCA UNITED went down 2-1 at THE COUNTY. YMCA lost out in a close and hard fought away match played in extremely hot conditions.
Both teams were evenly matched in a first half which was mainly played out in midfield. However, following a half-cleared corner, The County went ahead with half-an-hour gone when a hooked shot looped into the top corner. United came back strongly at the end of the half with Jack Taylor going close after good work from Ricki Keeley. YMCA controlled much of the second half but despite their dominance The County broke away after a failed YMCA sortie and substitute goalkeeper Aymer Wilson could only parry a shot into the path of an oncoming striker who doubled the home’s side’s advantage.
The remainder of the game saw concerted pressure on the County goal which eventually paid off with United pulling a goal back. Aaron Brittain made a crunching challenge on the edge of the opposition penalty area and the ball ran through for Sam Taylor to slide the ball past the County keeper. YMCA continued to push for an equaliser but could not make the pressure tell and the match ended in a spirited defeat.
Elsewhere in Division 1 East, HENLEY TOWN beat POLISH SOCIAL 2-1. Paul Nobes opened the scoring for Town on 18 minutes when his first shot was saved before the ball was recycled in the box and he tucked it away from close range. Matt Crouchman put Henley further ahead after 70 minutes when he was put through by substitute Luke Harris and made no mistake. Polish Social pulled one back with 10 minutes to go with a spectacular free kick from distance.
In Division 1 West, GORING UNITED drew 1-1 with the THE MOD at a sunny Sheepcote. After a bright start by Goring, The Mod scored after 10 minutes from a corner.
But it was an even game and Goring were indebted to a great display of goal keeping by Andy Symonds. He kept the scoreline at 0-1 until Goring striker Simon Browne struck with 10 minutes left to secure a share of the points.
In Division 3 West GORING UNITED RESERVES eventually won 3-0 away at COLEY PARK after either side failed to score before the break. The game exploded into life in the second half with Goring scoring within minutes, a classy finish by striker Mark Sachse giving them the lead.
They went two up on the hour mark, when a quickly taken free kick was fumbled by the home keeper and Sachse was quickest to react to score from close range.
On 70 minutes Coley Park won a penalty but missed the spot kick before Goring’s Alex Mortlock made sure of the points a few minutes later with a fierce drive across the keeper.
In Division 3 East SC UNITED won 5-2 away to FC BERKSALONA at South Reading Leisure Centre. Striker Paul Read scored their first goal with a free kick on the edge of the 18 yard box 10 minutes in and added a second five minutes later from a Jonathon Moss through ball.
Moss himself scored their third after running the length of the pitch after United broke away from a Berksalona corner. Berksalona came back after the break to make it 3-2 before midfielder Danny Jakubiszyn volleyed in first time from 20 yards. Kasonde killed the game off soon afterwards.
Elsewhere, in Division 2 West CHECKENDON are looking forward to returning to action having had no game at the weekend. They’ve won their only game so far, a 4-2 home victory over HORSE & JOCKEY and this weekend are away to WHITLEY ATHLETIC.
MAPLEDURHAM CAVALIERS are still third in Division Three 3 East despite losing 2-1 away at REAL READING. They travel to SC UNITED on Sunday.
FOLLOWING their biggest defeat of the season last weekend Henley Town have a week off in which to re-group with Saturday largely reserved for games in the FA Vase, a competition from which Henley have already been ousted.
The Sunday side travel only as far as Lawson Road to meet local rivals YMCA United in a league fixture. Kick-off is 10.30 am. On Thursday, the youth team will again be at home, this time against Highmoor/Ibis Youth in the first round of the Allied Counties League Cup, kick off 7.30pm.
A number of people have asked me whether the Town’s start to the present season is the worst they have ever experienced, to which the answer is no or, at any rate, not yet!
The worst start of all was in 1926-27 when the first seven matches in the Reading and District League Division 1 were all lost and the Lilywhites were knocked out at the first stage of four different cup competitions.
In the current season, Henley have lost their first six league fixtures, conceding 31 goals and scoring only once, as well as being knocked out of the FA Vase.
They have, however, beaten Hambleden to win the Stewards Cup, though this is a competition for two teams so hardly the toughest of tests.
A more pertinent comparison can perhaps be made with the 1982-83 season.
Then, as now, virtually the whole of the previous season’s first team was lost and the club had to rebuild with a young side.
The first six league games were lost then too, while 37 goals were conceded and only four scored. In their next match, the Town went to Lacey Green and, amidst great excitement, won 2-1 in the High Wycombe Senior Cup after extra-time.
However, four cup ties and another two Ercol Senior League encounters elapsed before a league victory finally came along on December 11.
Luckily, the team improved sufficiently to avoid the bottom two places and the need of applying for re-election.
There is nothing like history to give you a sense of proportion!