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First team report
Sat 16th Jul 2016
TAFC First team 3-0 Ardley
WE KICK OFF THE NEW CAMPAIGN WITH A WIN
In weather more conducive to cricket or lying on the beach we kicked off our campaign for the new season with an encouraging win against Hellenic Premier Division side Ardley United with all the goals coming in the second half. It is far too early to draw too many conclusions from the result but never-the-less it was just the sort of start we would have wanted.
Our only other previous encounter against the Oxfordshire side was at their ground on 4 August 2007 in a friendly which they won 1-0. Vinnie Iannone, making a welcome if brief appearance, was our only survivor from that day. This was Ardley's 3rd friendly having endured mixed fortunes with a 7-1 win over Old Woodstock Town the previous Saturday but in midweek they suffered a heavy 5-1 loss to Hook Norton.
The most interesting aspect of pre-season friendlies is to see who has signed on, who has returned and who is new. Early indications are that the majority of the players from last season have re-signed but equally pleasing was the sight of Chris Vardy in the side after his sojourn with Dunstable Town and he capped his return with 2 goals. It was also great to see Vinnie Iannone back in the fold although his involvement was curtailed by an injury.
There were 2 new players on show who both made an impact, Shazad Hussain set up the second goal for Chris Vardy and Alex Bailey scored the third. There are bound to be more comings and goings before the season gets under way.
As for the game the visitors impressed with the quality of their play and they had some really skilful players. They enjoyed their fair share of possession and there was little to choose between the sides in the first half but two goals early in the second period changed the complexion of the game and a third goal late on added a bit more icing to our cake.
Both sides had half chances early on with Dave O'Connor heading a corner straight at the keeper whilst the Ardley centre back did likewise from a well flighted free kick. The nearest we came to a goal was just past the half hour mark when Chris Vardy flicked on a fine cross from Ben Seaton to Chris Stapleton who rounded the defender but dragged his shot just wide of the far post. So an entertaining fist half ended scoreless. HT Score 0-0.
The Ardley number 10 fired a good shot just over after a super move and Chris Vardy shot straight at the keeper after being released by a good pass from Vinnie Iannone. With 55 minutes on the clock Chris Vardy was fouled just outside the area and he took the kick himself, flighting a lovely shot over the wall and leaving the keeper completely flummoxed. Score 1-0.
Three minutes later Luke Dunstan produced a lovely pass down the left for Shazad Hussain who pulled the ball intelligently back to Chris Vardy who scored at the second attempt. Score 2-0.
Stung by this setback the visitors pressed forward and whilst they knocked the ball around delightfully they were making little headway against our defence. There were a couple of well struck free kicks, a couple of calls for a penalty and Jack Hopwood was called upon to make two good saves but we were able to keep them out . We looked dangerous on the break with Chris Stapleton having a shot deflected just wide then he had a header cleared off the line.
With 7 minutes to go we scored a third goal after some terrific play down the right involving Ben Seaton, Chris Stapleton and Jack Sunderland with newcomer Alex Bailey slotting the ball home after being picked out in the area. Score 3-0.
There was still more action to enjoy with Sam Joliffe trying his luck from range with a terrific shot that was not too far off target and young Ben Seaton fired an effort just wide after a neat interplay with Chris Stapleton. FT Score 3-0.
A good work out against a good footballing side, but we must not get too excited, as it is still early days but it was a good opener. Best of luck to Ardley United who on a better day may have grabbed a goal or two and we wish them all the best for the new season.
Jack Hopwood, Stuart Stedman, Dan Steadman, Chris Mason, Dave O'Connor, Luke Dunstan, Sam Joliffe, Chris Vardy, Paul Jeffrey, Jack Sunderland, Connor Richardson, Ben Seaton, Paddy Downs, Vinnie Iannone, Chris Stapleton, Shazad Hussain, Alex Bailey.
TA: Chris Vardy (55, 58), Alex Bailey (83)
AU Web: http://www.pitchero.com/clubs/ardleyunited
Mr Richards offering his glasses to the Assistant Referee