Monday, 8 October 2012

MATCH REPORT: Yate Town 2-1 North Leigh

Yate Town seem to have become something of a jinx for Oxfordshire football clubs. After shocking Oxford City in the last round of the FA Cup, they then dispensed with North Leigh by the same scoreline.

North Leigh were riding high after beating Conference South side Havant & Waterlooville to reach this stage, and were an impressive 16 places above their opponents in the league, but they found themselves 1-0 down within minutes of kicking off. Matt Groves' scuffed shot bobbled past everyone except Tom Knighton, who stuck out a leg to tip it past North Leigh goalkeeper Sam Warren.

North Leigh responded positively to the setback and John Else went close after being played in by James Green, but his shot fizzed wide. The yellows would get their chance for an equaliser soon after though when Ollie Barnes handled in the area to block a goalbound shot from James Organ. Unfortunately for North Leigh, captain Stuart Hole saw his penalty excellently saved by Yate 'keeper Josh Dempsey.

Dempsey was again on hand to keep out a fearsome 25-yard strike from John Mills, who went close again minutes later when he found himself in space in front of goal but was denied by some frantic last-ditch defending to preserve the hosts' 1-0 lead at the break.

North Leigh went searching for an equaliser when play resumed, but it was Yate who looked more like scoring in the opening exchamges. However, the visitors kept working and were rewarded for their endeavour when they were awarded a second penalty on the hour mark after Michael Hopkins was upended by a clumsy challenge from Ollie Price. Hole redeemed himself by blasting home from the spot to level the tie.

North Leigh were clearly in the ascendancy now and their bedraggled hosts were clinging on. Kieran Sanders embarked on mazy run, leaving defenders in his wake, but was enable to apply the finishing touch as his shot sailed over the bar.

Then disaster struck for North Leigh. Yate substitute Mike Bryant was given far too much space to shoot in the penalty area, Warren saved but the rebound fell straight back to the grateful feet of Bryant, who tapped home to give Yate the lead with just five minutes remaining.

A desperate North Leigh streamed forward in one final attempt to salvage a match that they had been more than competitive in, but were unable to find their way past the Yate defence and their cup run was halted for another year.

Defeat for North Leigh leaves Oxford United and Didcot Town as Oxfordshire's sole remaining representatives in the FA Cup. Let's just hope neither of them draw Yate...

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