Woodcote/Stoke Row 1 Highmoor/Ibis Reserves 1
GOALKEEPER Kane Roberts proved himself the hero of the hour as he pulled off two penalty saves to help Woodcote/Stoke Row hold title-challengers, Highmoor/Ibis Reserves, to a draw in the Senior Division of the Reading Saturday League.
The visitors enjoyed a lot of possession throughout the match, but a combination of over-elaborate build up play and solid defending by the hosts meant that clear-cut chances were relatively few.
Highmoor looked most likely to take the lead in the opening exchanges, but it was Woodcote who broke the deadlock after 18 minutes. Frank Dillon’s dipping swerving shot from distance was too hot for the keeper and when it rebounded off his body Paul Knox reacted quickly to find the corner of the net.
Two minutes later Roberts pulled off a double save as Highmoor piled forward in search of an equaliser.
On the half-hour mark Woodcote had a chance to increase their lead when Michael Butcher’s cross-field pass found Toby Nowell, but his shot was well saved by the keeper. With the half drawing to a close Highmoor could have equalised but once again Roberts did well to save in a one-on-one situation.
Highmoor began the second half in determined fashion and an early chance was spurned when a forward rounded keeper Roberts, but shot against the upright.
Seven minutes into the half Highmoor were awarded a penalty for a foul in the area. The spot kick was hard and low but Roberts dived to his right to save.
On the hour mark Highmoor equalised when a long punt down the middle beat the home defence and a forward latched on to it and finished coolly.
Roberts was soon in action again as Highmoor pushed forward sensing victory. This time he reacted smartly to make a point blank save.
On 70 minutes the visitors were awarded a second penalty for a foul in the box. This time the kick was high to the right and Roberts flung himself to claw the ball away to safety.
Highmoor continued to press but were thwarted by an inspired defence marshalled by Darren Russell. As the game entered its final minute there were strong Woodcote appeals for a penalty when Nowell appeared to have been brought down, but the referee waved away the protests.