WATLINGTON TOWN’S bid to reach the semi-finals of the Ben Turner Cup was ended on Saturday despite a spirited display at Division 1 contenders Eynsham.
Town, fielding a depleted side, only travelled with 11 men, forcing manager Matthews into a major reshuffle.
Watlington, playing their first match for five weeks, started the game brightly but it was Eynsham that took the lead on the half-hour mark. Dan Mcniffe’s mistimed challenge was cause enough for the referee to award a penalty which was calmly slotted away by the Eynsham player despite James Conn in the Watlington goal getting fingertips to the ball. Watlington replied almost immediately when Stevenson’s free kick was parried by the Eynsham keeper. Bridges was first to react only to see his effort saved again. After a goalmouth scramble, the ball was eventually bundled over the line with Ashman getting the final touch.
Both teams had their chances to take the lead before the break, firstly Eynsham but for a great one-on-one save by Conn, and secondly Watlington when Stevenson fired over from close range after a through ball from Rigozzi.
Eynsham went into the break on top after a breakaway goal left Watlington with it all to do in the second half.
The second half again brought chances for both teams. Stevenson saw his effort pushed just wide while Luke Yeulet had a shot well saved by the home side’s keeper. On 75 minutes Eynsham had a player sent off for violent conduct.
Watlington piled on the pressure but were unable to capitalise on their numerical advantage. With minutes left, Watlington conceded again when caught napping at the back.