Review of 2018 - part 1 of 4

Review of 2018 - part 1 of 4

By Andy Morris
27th December 2018
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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…


JANUARY

SAT 6 - Babs Jarra struck a 78th minute winner at home to Biggleswade FC in the fourth round of the Buildbase FA Vase. 216 spectators watched Harry Grant open the scoring only for Nathan George to level before half-time from a penalty. Thatcham rode their luck at times in the second half before Ross Cook volleyed a corner back across the six-yard box and Jarra bundled the ball home. The visitors received two red cards following a skirmish at the final whistle.

TUE 9 - Having also received the award for November, Thatcham Town FC were named ‘Hellenic League Premier Division team of the month’ for December.

SAT 13 - Thatcham ended a run of three successive home defeats to Royal Wootton Bassett Town by thrashing them 6-0. It wasn’t until the 41st minute that Liam Ferdinand opened the scoring, but the Kingfishers overwhelmed the visitors in the second half. Ferdinand added a further three goals (one from a penalty), while Shane Cooper-Clark and Harrison Bayley also found the net.

SAT 20 - Thatcham showed no mercy against struggling Lydney Town, hammering the Gloucestershire side 8-0 at Waterside Park. Shane Cooper-Clark scored four (two penalties) to take his season’s tally to 40. Liam Ferdinand struck twice, Ekow Elliott fired home a beauty from 25 yards, and Jordan Brown nodded home his first for the club. The beleaguered visitors finished with nine men.

WED 24 - Heavy rain caused the top-of-the-table clash at Highworth to be called off.

SAT 27 - Thatcham moved top of the Hellenic League after a 3-1 win at Fairford Town. Shane Cooper-Clark and Liam Ferdinand maintained their incredible scoring records with a goal each while Harrison Bayley was also on target. The hosts competed well and hit the post twice but received a red card near the end.

FEBRUARY

FRI 2 - Preparations were drawing to a close for the FA Vase visit of Bromsgrove Sporting and their large travelling fan base. The club made extra security and catering arrangements, and promoted the tie heavily within the town, on social media and on Kennet Radio.

SAT 3 - Thatcham Town defeated Bromsgrove Sporting 2-1 in the fifth round of the FA Vase, with all the goals coming in the first-half. The kick-off was delayed fifteen minutes to ensure the crowd of 701 safely gained entry. Ekow Elliott struck for Town on 18 and 27 minutes before Harry Grant fired against the crossbar from 20 yards. Richard Gregory replied from the spot for Sporting after Chris Rackley upended John Pykett.

SAT 10 - Thatcham won their twentieth successive game after defeating Brimscombe & Thrupp, who themselves had won their last seven. Despite the dismal conditions the Kingfishers played some great football and eventually won 3-0. The scores were level at the break after Liam Ferdinand had a penalty saved, but second-half strikes from Lewis Brownhill, Ferdinand and Shane Cooper-Clark ensured Thatcham ran out comfortable winners in the end.

MON 12 - Thatcham Town FC received the accolade of ‘Non League Team of the Week’ from Tony Incenzo on Ray Stubbs’s TalkSport2 radio show.

TUE 13 - The Berks & Bucks Cup tie at home to Woodley was again postponed due to rain.

SAT 17 - Thatcham’s 20-match winning run came to an end as fellow FA Vase quarter-finalists Windsor earned a 2-2 at Waterside Park. The visitors struck in each half through Riccardo Cannon and Kieran Knight to lead twice, but goals from Babz Jarra and Shane Cooper-Clark restored parity for Town.

MON 19 - Thatcham enjoyed a comfortable 2-0 win at home to Woodley United in the quarter-finals of the Berks & Bucks Senior Cup with Gareth Thomas and Ross Cook scoring the goals. However Thatcham were subsequently removed from the competition for fielding an ineligible player.

SAT 24 - Thatcham made history by winning their FA Vase quarter-final tie at Western League side Melksham Town. A crowd of 2,208 watched a game of few chances which was settled in the 90th minute. Ekow Elliott received Lewis Brownhill’s throw-in, advanced into the penalty area and fired a low shot across goal for the game’s only goal.

MON 26 - Thatcham will play 1874 Northwich in the semi-final of the FA Vase. The first leg will be played at Waterside Park and the return leg in Cheshire. The other semi-final tie features two Northern League sides, Marske United and Stockton Town.

WED 28 - Thatcham announced the signing of forward Gavin James on dual registration from Slough Town. Gavin, the brother of Kingfishers midfielder Ashleigh, has international experience with St Vincent and the Grenadines.

MARCH

SAT 3 - The whole Hellenic League programme, including Thatcham’s home game against Burnham, was wiped out due to snow.

SAT 10 - Goals in each half from Dan Rapley and Ross Cook earned Thatcham a 2-0 win in a tight game at Brackley Town Saints.

MON 12 - Thatcham cruised to a 3-1 win over Windsor in the Perpetua Press Floodlit Cup thanks to first-half goals from Shane Cooper-Clark (2) and Jemel Johnson. Barry Hayles fired past on-loan Basingstoke keeper Aaron Holt to pull a late goal back for the visitors.

SAT 17 - Thatcham defeated 1874 Northwich 1-0 in the first leg of the Buildbase FA Vase semi-final at Waterside Park. A crowd of 1,134 watched a tie played in blizzard conditions on a brutally cold afternoon. Ross Cook rolled home the only goal after four minutes from the penalty spot after Shane Cooper-Clark was tripped. The Kingfishers missed chances to add further goals, but had Chris Rackley to thank for making a couple of great blocks to preserve the clean sheet.

SAT 24 - Que sera sera. Whatever will be, will be!!! On a historic day for Thatcham Town FC, the Kingfishers defeated 1874 Northwich in the second leg of the FA Vase semi-final, to reach the final at Wembley!!!

In a tie played at Witton Albion’s Wincham Park, Thatcham added to their first leg lead when Gavin James swept home after just 3 minutes, and the same player bundled home a second shortly after. Scott McGowan pulled one back from a soft-looking penalty, but Shane Cooper-Clark fired home Town’s third early in the second-half. Matt Woolley’s thumping header pulled it back to 3-2, but Town defended stoutly to win 4-2 on aggregate.

MON 26 Danny Robinson made eleven changes for the trip to Didcot Town Reserves in the Bluefin Sports Challenge Cup, with Yashwa Romeo, Mark Hughes and Journey Waters making their first appearances of the season. The Kingfishers raced into an early four goal lead, and eventually triumphed by 8-5! Hughes was on the score-sheet, along with Liam Ferdinand (2), Jemel Johnson (2), Gareth Thomas, Harry Grant and Tom Browne (penalty).

SAT 31 After the midweek postponement at Highworth, the home game against Longlevens survived the rain - though the game was temporarily suspended due to ducks on the pitch! The Kingfishers blasted in another eight goals with Shane Cooper-Clark scoring four (including three penalties) to take his season’s tally to 50. Liam Ferdinand (2), Ekow Elliott and Curtis Angell also found the net. Chris Rackley saved a late penalty as Town won 8-1 and extended the unbeaten run to an incredible 30 games.

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