Mursley United – 4
Grendon Rangers – 2
Mursley United took the three points off local rivals Grendon Rangers on Saturday despite being reduced to ten men before half time when Jamie Green was booked twice for fouls on the same player, with the scores at the time level United took the game to their guests despite the imbalance & gained the lead ahead of the break, Tom Brazier then grabbed his second and his sides third late on, Rangers pulled a late goal back to give them hope however once their goalkeeper James Cox was dismissed for his second yellow of the afternoon for an alleged handball outside his area, a late clincher settled the game once and for all. For Grendon it brought an end to their recent fine run of form, this defeat their first in seven as their season came to an end, they now await both Mursley & MK Gallacticos to complete their final fixtures to learn their final Spartan South Midlands Football League Division Two position.
The hosts took the lead in the fourth minute when a clearance came just perfect to Luke Williamson for him to hit first time on the volley and his left footed drive dipped over the reach of Cox into the far corner, in the tenth minute a promising attack for the visitor’s saw Mohammed Adam fly down the touchline until a challenge from Green brought him down earning him a yellow card in the process, the free kick headed back out to Adam whose thumping effort was charged down before being cleared to safety. Nathan Skelton was next to try his luck after collecting a pass in midfield and driving at goal, a great tussle with his marker ended with the striker lifting over the crossbar, at the opposite end a corner curled in got the faintest of glances off the head of Adam to sail wide.
Brazier got his boot warmed up with a drive from the edge of the penalty arc which Cox had to use both hands to push away, Grendon went close when Dan Ciuica curled inches wide from the angle, and a diagonal pass into the box from Brazier saw Austin Dickson threaten until some great defending from skipper Jason Riddell saw a last gasp flick out for a corner. With ten minutes of the half remaining the visitor’s equalised when a free kick deep in their own half was sent downfield by Cox, little danger appeared as home shot stopper Dan Willett came out to collect however the ball escaped his grip allowing Tom Marshall to nip in and tuck into the empty net, then just six minutes later it all looked rosy for the away side when a second foul on Adam by Green saw him receive his second caution of the contest and sent for an early shower.
Despite the numerical advantage it was the home side who looked the more dangerous when Skelton again got in behind the amber backline until Rangers stalwart Stuart Leonard came sliding in to take the ball off his feet, Brazier had a run into the box from out wide until he ran straight into Leonard who simply stood strong to gain possession & clear, then against the odds the hosts regained their lead when a free kick lifted into the area was flicked away by Ricky Brown but only as far as Brazier, as Cox had committed himself to the cross the midfielder simply fired into the unguarded net. H/T: 2-1
Brazier almost started the second period as he ended the first as he drove at the heart of the Grendon defence before firing high over the top, Skelton explored some space down the right but could only shoot straight at Cox and his next effort saw him with back to goal & Leonard for company but he managed to shirk off the defenders attention ahead of turning & thumping wide. Mursley extended their lead even further on seventy-four minutes when a ball between the away backline had that defence calling for offside which wasn’t given and Brazier skipped through to evade the oncoming Cox to slot home, the protests to the referee earning Leonard a booking on his final game for his club before hanging up his boots.
The away side huffed & puffed looking for a way back into the game, Joe Walls floated in a free kick that Andrew Hind managed to beat everyone to but he could only head over the top, a cross from the left for the home side then saw substitute Jack Bradford blaze high over the bar, then with six minutes to go Grendon did pull another goal back when a free kick into the area was deflected to Marshall on the edge of the six-yard box, he turned to fire inside the far post and again many protests for offside were waved away by the officials to set up a possible grand stand finish.
That optimism was somewhat squashed less than two minutes later when a long lump downfield by the home side saw Cox advance and the ball flicked up, the assistant on that far side called the referee over and after a quick consultation the Grendon custodian was shown a second yellow and subsequent red, Leonard donned the gloves as his replacement. Nathan Hawkins took the free kick that spiralled off the wall for a corner, but in the final minute the game was put to bed finally when a cross found Ryan Lee who from fifteen yards fired past the reach of Leonard albeit with a slight deflection off a defender. F/T: 4-2
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