Hanslope Reserves – 1
Steeple Claydon Reserves – 0
Hanslope reserves scored the only goal of the game on Monday night at Stratford Fields to lift the North Bucks & District Football League Reserve Team Challenge Trophy despite playing for seventy-five minutes with ten men after Reece Akano was sent off for a lunge on Richard Smith in midfield. Both sides created chances despite the numerical mismatch however both keepers proved difficult to beat, the game decided within seconds of the second half starting from a corner routine that saw Alex Kennard net at the back post, as much as their opponents tried to find a leveller that solitary strike was enough to lift the trophy.
Barely sixty seconds had elapsed before the first effort of the evening when a Steeple clearance fell to Ed Wheatley twenty yards out but he blazed high over the top, a free kick to their opposition saw Adam Piosek float into a congested penalty area but no one could get a touch and it simply bounced away for a goal kick. A Hanslope counterattack almost saw the opener as Deanio Bailey Browne stole possession in midfield before laying out to Mason Luya who cut into the box and drilling low forcing Jack Edwards down low to the foot of his near post to save, at the opposite end a long throw from Josh Bell found the head of David Phillips but he could only loop over the bar.
The team in black & white were seemingly disadvantaged on the quarter hour mark when both players were heading towards the main stand when Akano dived in to tackle for the ball, the referee had no hesitation in blowing his whistle and after a very short chat flashing a red card to the furious front man, the dismissal didn’t deter his side from pushing forward as a cross from their left found Paul Hollingsworth on the edge of the eighteen yard box whose volley had Edwards diving to his right to push away, a long clearance from the Hanslope defence saw the Claydon keeper advance outside his area to clear but he drove straight to Luya but he couldn’t direct towards the empty net.
Hanslope keeper Tyler McGregor ensured parity was kept shortly after when he had to rush out from his goal and block a run from Phillips who was away down the middle of the pitch, the shot stopper then denied with his feet after an effort from Craig Thornton had looked dangerous from twelve yards, a Steeple corner was cleared as far as skipper Scott Porter who laid into the path of Smith but he drove over the top. H/T: 0-0
Within two minutes of the restart Hanslope were ahead from a corner, lifted in towards the near post a flick on found Kennard at the furthest upright who pounced to open the scoring, shortly after a cross found Bailey Browne in the penalty arc who attempted the acrobatic bicycle kick however he never connected properly and it was comfortable for Edwards to gather. On the hour mark Steeple looked for a way back when Thornton was played diagonally across the box but going away from goal he could only drive wide of the far stick, at the other end Luya was fed inside a defender but just as he shaped up to shoot a challenge came in to take the ball off his foot and the chance was gone.
Claydon missed two great chances as the half wore on, the first for Phillips who was played in between the black & white back line into the box where his shot was saved by the feet of McGregor and moments later the same front man received the ball inside the penalty arc where he curled straight into the stopper’s gloves. Hanslope almost doubled their advantage when Hollingsworth collected a clever pass through the Claydon defence but after fighting off a marker he drove over the top, whilst a free kick on the eighteen yard line saw Bailey Browne absolutely smash at goal where Edwards had to just stick out his hands and take the impact, the bounce was kind allowing him to collect at the second attempt. F/T: 1-0
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