22nd February 2020 

Brackley Town Saints (1) Tuffley Rovers (3)
Hellenic League Premier Division

Saints: Evans, Middleton D (Wood 78), Gabbidon, Watts, Brock, Hartley, Ball, Hammond, Knight, Edwards Kille (Middleton L 69), 

Subs not used: Crowther, March, Mickley, 

Attendance – 48 

A game that will be quickly forgotten, and one in which Saints after making a good start, stuttered, and ultimately lost their way. Tuffley defended stoutly and in Callum Ebanks had the standout player on the day with his strong running and two good finishes that ultimately sealed the points. 

The game started evenly with the teams exchanging corners, and for 10 minutes it was tight. Saints though took the lead on 14 minutes when a Harry Brock corner found is way to the back post where a completely unmarked Charlie Kill smashed the ball into the empty net for his third goal of the season. 

The next 20 minutes was turgid with both sides struggling to string passes together on a windy day on a bobbly pitch. However, Saints seemed to be in the ascendancy, but only just. 

That all changed in a 5-minute period that saw Saints concede twice and James Hammond sent to the sin bin. 

Tuffley’s equaliser was a carbon copy of the Saints goal. Max Evans had done well to turn a Joe Shutt cross shot round the post for a corner. However, from the corner the ball eluded all Saints players in the box and Jake Rhodes arriving like a steam train rose highest to head past Evans. 

60 seconds later Saints were behind. This was a good goal with Ebanks calmly controlling a ball into his chest on the edge of the box. He turned well and thrashed a shot past Evans into the bottom corner. 

Saints were to finish the half with 10 men after the referee sent James Hammond to the Sin Bin for protesting about the award of a free kick.  

Saints were more on the front foot at the start of the second half. Within the first 60 seconds there were loud shouts for a free kick right on the edge of the Tuffley box when a strong James Watts run was brought to an abrupt end, but the ref saw no foul. 

On 52 minutes a good move down Saints left wing ended with Ryan Knight finding space. His cross was accurate and found Charlie Kille whose shot was blocked. Saints best move of the game came minutes later when Hammond, Watts and Edwards combined well ending with George Ball squaring just behind Hammond who failed to connect with his trailing leg. 

There was then a chance for Knight when a long free kick was headed clear and fell to Knight who confidently hit a first-time volley but could not keep the ball down. 

On 70 minutes and against the run of play at the time Ebanks scored again and settled the match. A long pass out of defence saw the forward use all his pace and strength to latch onto the ball and run into the box before confidently blasting past Evans. 

That was it, and as much as Saints huffed and puffed Tuffley defended tightly and cleverly run the clock down. There was a bit of argy bargy at the end when Gabbidon and Ebanks fell out, and a number of players had a game of handbags on the hallway line. Everyone eventually kissed and made up , which was good as it had not been a nasty game in any sense. 

So back to the drawing board for Saints, and the prospect of another home match next weekend against a strong Shrivenham side.