Thatcham Town Development 3 Stokenchurch FC 1
By Benjamin Schiffer-Harte
Development Team win twice on the bounce to move up to 4th
Thatcham hosted Stokenchurch who brought their undefeated record to the rain drenched waterside Park.
The weather seemed to affect both sets of players early doors as the game started rather sluggishly but Thatcham mustered the first chance of the game as debutant Jamie Baker gambled on Andy Miller’s flick on but his shot was well blocked by a defender. Thatcham started to grow into the game albeit still in 1st gear and took the lead after some neat play down the left between Tom Browne and Andy Miler. Miler released Jordan Goater who flashed a dangerous ball flashed across the box which was parried out by the Stokenchurch keeper but the ball fell to Miller who unselfishly rolled it into the path of Baker to tap into the empty net for a debut goal.
Stokenchurch tried to respond immediately with a ball of the over but Liam Harris was quick off his line to claim the ball. The visitors were beginning to dominate the midfield and drew level after a switch of play released their right winger who beat Browne and stood up a ball into the Thatcham box, which was nodded in at the back post.
With the game still rather sluggish and not many notable chances for either team it was Thatcham who went ahead after some neat play between between Aaron Randall and Niall Aspell led with the latter being fouled on the edge of the box. Tom Browne stepped up and bent the free kick up over the wall and into the bottom corner. This 2nd goal that seemed to give Thatcham a lift with Browne and Goater dominating the left hand side. Goater began flashing a few crosses across the box and Thatcham had good chances to make it 3 after Miller set the ball back to Josh Montero who fed Barker racing clear but seemed caught in two minds whether to shoot or pass to Miller and ended up doing neither with the ball spilling through to the keeper when he should’ve gone alone.
A slight tactical tweak to the Thatcham midfield at half time worked as the Stokenchurch midfield were struggling to find the space they had in the first half. Thatcham started to shift up a gear or two and were constantly hurting the Stokenchurch defence down the flank. The first Thatcham change saw another debutant as Cameron Griffiths replaced Barker who instantly gave the full back a taste of things to come as he breezed past him with his pace. Goater was a constant threat on the other flank flashing balls across the box with two more chances falling Thatcham’s way with through Thierry Carrington and Liam Parry but neither could really test the Stokenchurch keeper.
Thatcham replaced Montero with the returning Journey Waters (following suspension) to tighten up the midfield and manage the game and almost made an instant impact by bending a left footed shot just over the bar. Miller then guided a header just wide of the back post from and Tom Browne cross before Randall tired his luck from the edge of the box which whistled last the post. With the game entering the final few minutes and the visitors not really threatening during the second half, Thatcham made their final change as Jay Johnson replaced Miller. Moments later Thatcham had finally got their third after Goater swung the ball into the box, the defender made a mess of the clearance which landed at Johnson’s feet and he took a touch then lashed the ball beyond the keeper. The full time whistle blew and Thatcham claimed their second win in two weeks to move up to 4th