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Review of 2018 - part 2 of 4

By Andy Morris

As 2018 draws to a close it’s time to look back on a fantastic year for Thatcham Town Football Club, continuing with April to June…

APRIL

TUE 3 - Thatcham defeated Binfield in the quarter-final of the Bluefin Sports Challenge Cup. Tom Browne, who became a father the previous night, fired Town into an early lead from a free-kick. Following Harry Laflin’s equaliser, Gavin James scored a goal in each half to earn the Kingfishers a 3-1 win.

THU 5 - Thatcham scored three in eleven minutes early in the second half to overcome Brimscombe & Thrupp in the quarter-final of the Perpetua Press Floodlit Cup. Dan Rapley fired Town into the lead half-way through a competitive first-half, but quick-fire goals from Joe Blount, Tom Moran and Shane Cooper-Clark ensured Town ran out comfortable 4-0 winners.

SAT 7 - In the first half of a double header against Burnham, the Kingfishers cruised to a 6-0 victory at The Gore to move top of the table, with Liam Ferdinand rounding off the scoring in the 89th minute to complete his hat-trick. Gavin James, Ekow Elliott (with a cheeky penalty) and Ross Cook were the other scorers as Thatcham made it 33 games unbeaten.

TUE 10 - Thatcham completed the double over Burnham, though the bottom side were much improved from their weekend showing. Ross Cook, who replaced the injured Gavin James during the first half blasted the opener, before Liam Ferdinand added the second. Dan Rapley then swept home Ekow Elliott’s centre, and Ferdinand made it 4-0 following Jordan Brown’s surging run.

THU 12 - Thatcham returned to Larges Lane where the long unbeaten run began back in October, and defeated Bracknell Town 2-0 in the Perpetua Press Floodlit Cup semi-final. Shane Cooper-Clark, returning from suspension, scored from a fifth minute free-kick, and Jemel Johnson added a second later in the first half. Towards the end Kensley Maloney was red-carded for The Robins, and Binfield now await Thatcham in the final.

FRI 13 - Danny Robinson and members of the committee attended a meeting at Wembley Stadium to discuss arrangements ahead of the FA Vase Final.

SAT 14 - The Blue Army continued to march on, hammering Binfield 5-0 at Stubbs Lane, with Shane Cooper-Clark (3), Harry Grant and Ekow Elliott on target.

MON 16 - A 2-0 win at second-placed Highworth Town guarantees Thatcham a top-two finish and promotion to the Southern League!!! Following a tight first-half, the Kingfishers threw the proverbial kitchen sink at the Worthians when kicking downhill after the break. Town had a man advantage after Rory Sproule’s second yellow card, and Tom Melledew went close when his shot hit the bar. Just as it seemed that it wasn’t to be Thatcham’s night, Liam Ferdinand made the breakthrough, firing home a loose ball from inside the box in time added on. Moments later the same player added a second amid scenes of jubilation.

THU 19 - The Kingfishers will end the season with three cup finals after winning 4-2 at Abingdon United in the semi-final of the Bluefin Sports Challenge Cup. Town were fortunate to be on level terms at the break after the hosts hit the woodwork twice, but overpowered Abingdon in the second-half, particularly once United had Jason Smith red-carded. Tom Browne converted two penalties, both awarded for fouls on Jordan Brown, while Babz Jarra and Shane Cooper-Clark were also on target.

SAT 21 - Shane Cooper-Clark scored his sixth hat-trick of the season as Town defeated Tuffley Rovers 4-1 on a warm Spring afternoon. After heading home Ekow Elliott’s second minute cross, he tucked home the rebound after his spot-kick was saved to restore the Kingfishers’ lead. The third was from a penalty that led to Brett James’s dismissal, while substitute Ross Cook fired a late fourth.

THU 26 - Thatcham completed their league campaign by winning 2-0 at home to Brackley Town Saints in front of almost 300 supporters. Liam Ferdinand scored a goal in each half and both teams hit the woodwork as the lively Saints made life difficult at times for Town. The result extends the Kingfishers’ unbeaten run to an amazing 40 games.

SAT 28 - Thatcham Town were crowned Hellenic League Champions following Bracknell Town’s failure to overturn a goal difference deficit of 10, in their final fixture at home to Tuffley Rovers. However the Robins gave Thatcham an almighty scare by scoring five in the first-half, eventually falling just short with an 8-0 win. Bracknell have won every league fixture they’ve played during 2018 but Thatcham win the title on goal difference!

MON 30 - The club’s 40 match unbeaten record was ended by Binfield in the Perpetua Press Floodlit Cup Final. Thatcham had most of the possession in a competitive final but The Moles took their chances, with Sanchez Commock scoring a goal in each half. In a frantic second-half Shane Cooper-Clark, who earlier hit the crossbar, scored a late consolation from a penalty, but Binfield triumphed 2-1 at Windsor’s Stag Meadow ground.

MAY

MON 7 - On a baking hot Bank Holiday afternoon, the Kingfishers were defeated 3-1 by Bracknell Town in the Bluefin Sport Challenge Cup Final. Shane Cooper-Clark blasted home a 50th minute penalty to cancel out Carl Withers’ headed opener, but Thatcham were left to rue missed chances. Adam Cornell nodded The Robins back in front, and as Thatcham threw men forward and tired in the heat, Elliott Legg made it three.

FRI 11 - Thatcham drew 1-1 with Basingstoke Town in an end-of-season friendly at Waterside Park, with Shane Cooper-Clark equalising with the last kick from the penalty spot. Following the game the squad were presented with the Hellenic League Premier Division Shield.

SUN 20 - The biggest day in the club’s history! After training sessions at the Madejski Stadium and Selhurst Park, Thatcham Town arrived at Wembley Stadium to take on Stockton Town in the Buildbase FA Vase final.

The Anchors settled quickest, but Thatcham gradually took control and were awarded a penalty on 20 minutes following a foul on Jordan Brown. The diving keeper got a strong arm to Shane Cooper-Clark’s firm spot-kick but the ball hit the net, and this proved to be the game’s only goal.

Stockton put Thatcham under increasing pressure as the second half progressed, but Danny Robinson’s side came close to extending the lead as Gavin James hit the underside of the bar from close range, and Ross Cook rolled a long-range shot towards an unguarded net only for a defender to clear. Following the game which was broadcast live by BT Sports and attended by over 12,000 fans, Thatcham Town lifted the FA Vase!

A report from the BBC Website can be found here : https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/44189594

JUNE

FRI 15 - At the club’s end-of-season presentation evening, Shane Cooper-Clark picked up the Supporter’s Player of the Year award alongside the Golden Boot for his 62 goals. Babz Jarra won the Manager’s Player of the Year, and Harrison Bayley the Player’s Player of the Year awards.

From the Youth Team, Josh Davis won the Player’s Player of the Year and the Golden Boot. Harrison Luffrum was the Manager’s Player of the Year and Tom Unsworth the Most Improved Player.

Updated 09:42 - 28 Dec 2018 by Andy Morris

Where next?

Review of 2018 - part 3 of 4 As 2018 draws to a close it’s time to look back on a fantastic year for Thatcham Town Football Club, continuing with July to September…
Review of 2018 - part 1 of 4 As 2018 draws to a close it’s time to look back on a fantastic year for Thatcham Town Football Club, starting with January, February & March…

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Fixtures
Tue 23 Jul
a
First Team Alton FC (Friendly)
Friendly 19:45
Wed 24 Jul
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Friendly 19:30
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Under 18s Berks County
Friendly 19:30
Sat 27 Jul
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Friendly 14:30
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Friendly 15:00
Mon 29 Jul
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Friendly 19:00
Tue 30 Jul
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Friendly 19:45
Wed 31 Jul
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Friendly 19:45
Sat 3 Aug
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Friendly 14:30
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Friendly 15:00

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