ACYFL; Athletic run out of steam in title race

Buckingham Athletic U18 – 2

Didcot Town U18 – 3

Buckingham Athletic Under 18’s lost to Didcot Town on Thursday evening at Stratford Fields, suffering their second defeat to their opponents inside two weeks. Unbeaten in the league, Town stretched their lead over Athletic to thirteen points albeit having played two extra games, and even with half of their games yet to play the deficit looks healthy enough even with Didcot having to travel to Buckingham again before the season ends. Didcot took the lead, and despite being pegged back were confident enough to attack with pace and retake the lead before the interval, an early third goal after the break was immediately replied to straight from the kick off, but the home side could not find an equaliser, and had skipper Matt Chew sent off late on for a second yellow card to add to their woes.

The away side attacked from the off, two early offside flags thwarted their attempts and a tackle on the edge of the box by Athletic keeper Larry Mills certainly seemed to impede the Town player trying to latch on to the pass however neither of the officials in that half saw anything wrong. On seven minutes Town striker Henry Horton cut in from the left flank and unleashed a fierce drive that Mills had to push around his right hand post for a corner.

Walters makes vital tackle

An Athletic attack broke down shortly after and a superb long ball through the home defensive backline saw Brett Gardner get in behind full back Evan Walters, as the Town front man looked to shoot Walters recovered brilliantly to slide in and knock the ball away for a corner. The early pressure from the visitor’s paid off on fourteen minutes when another Buckingham attack was broken down in midfield, Horton threaded the ball through to Gardner who deftly lifted the ball over the advancing Mills and with one bounce the ball nestled into the empty net.

The hosts won a free kick on the edge of the box on twenty minutes, Rory Busby curled his effort around the wall and Town keeper Ash Stevens got his fingertips to the effort to turn over his crossbar. Just past the half hour mark saw Athletic equalise, a sublime pass from Chris Atkinson inside his own half saw Sam Olawale away on goal, his pace easily taking him away from any defender and once inside the box he tucked into the bottom corner with ease.

Moments after the equaliser Buckingham had another great chance when moving the ball neatly around the midfield leaving Busby a chance from twenty yards but he could only lift high over the bar. Then eight minutes before the break a Didcot attack saw Atkinson bring down a Town player and the referee did not hesitate to point for a penalty. Harry Hudson calmly stroked the ball home to regain his sides lead. H/T: 1-2

Six minutes after the interval Didcot increased their lead, a ball into the home penalty area caused chaos with numerous shots coming in that saw Mills & his defence throwing themselves at the ball to block, however it eventually fell to Riley Marshall who side footed home. Before the visitor’s had chance to calm down after their celebration they conceded, straight from the kick off Olawale made a nuisance of himself forcing an error which led to him in on goal with no one around him to reduce the deficit.

Didcot score from spot

Didcot continued to press when they could, one such attack saw Jack Badger played in behind the defence but a great sliding tackle from Harry Byron stopped him dead inside the area, and the defender managed to get up and clear the danger. A free kick to the hosts was half cleared to the edge of the Town box where Athletic substitute Finn Pardoe fired at goal but only found the waiting gloves of Stevens.

Straight up the other end Didcot substitute Tyrhys Luko refused to give up on a ball heading away from the Buckingham goal, he managed to get to the ball first despite some heavy pressure from the Athletic defence but he could only pull his shot well wide. Then with nine minutes left a tackled on the edge of the centre circle left Town midfielder Caelan Isaac floored, after consulting his assistant the referee brandished a second yellow of the evening to Chew and his evening was over.

With four minutes left the visitor’s had a golden chance to seal the game when Horton did really well to turn his marker some eight yards from goal, but he fired straight at Mills with the whole goal at his mercy. They were almost made to pay in the final minutes when a pull back from the byline found Tom Baldwin but as he lined up to shoot the ball bobbled on the surface, and he lifted high over the bar. F/T: 2-3

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After the match Sports Shots spoke to Athletic coach Sam Pateman: 

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