North Berks Football League Roundup - 2nd September 2017
Richard Underwood, NBFL Media Relations Officer

Berinsfield made to fight for opening day victory

Last year’s Division One champions Berinsfield kicked off the new season by claiming all three points with a narrow 2-1 victory over a determined East Hendred team at Layer Road after missing a host of golden opportunity’s. On a glorious summer’s afternoon Berinsfield started well and the game was only a few minutes old when they created the first chance of the game when a David Murphy quick throw found Max Palmer in space but he saw his effort from close range go just the wrong side of the Hendred post. Then only minutes later Berinsfield took the lead when Palmer chased down a long ball where he found Murphy on the edge of the box who then turned and struck a half volley from twenty yards past the diving Hendred keeper Aaron Timbrell and into the corner of the net. East Hendred then went up the other end and forced a couple of corners which never really troubled the Berinsfield defence and minutes later Berinsfield should of doubled their lead when a fine through ball by Brian Rawlings found Palmer running in on goal but his first time shot from just inside the box went just wide of the post. The same player should of made amends minutes later when on the twenty minute mark of the game a fine run and cross by Murphy found Palmer twelve yards out and he turned and had two attempts but saw each shot blocked by a resolute Hendred defence. Hendred then started to get a bit more of a foot in the game forcing a few more corners and having a bit more procession with Dan Timbrell and Tom Austin making some fine through balls and Jason McDowell making some fine runs up and down the pitch. Then on the half hour mark Hendred drew level when a long ball found Richard Claydon in space just inside the box and he turned and looped his shot over the advancing Berinsfield keeper Tom Lovett and into the back of the net. Berinsfield then should have then gone back in front moments later when Simon Kenny found himself all alone in the Hendred box but his chip over the advancing keeper went just over the bar. The game then went into a period that saw more missed chances firstly Hendred’s McDowell half volley went just wide from an acute angle following a long cross with minutes later Berinsfield Palmer latching on to a fine through ball rounded the advancing keeper but only could fire wide with the goal at his mercy. Palmer then only had to wait another minute to find himself one on one with Hendred keeper Aaron Timbrell but decided to take his shot early only for Timbrell to make a great save turning the ball away in mid air and away to safety. Half time loomed and it was Hendred that had the best of the chances firstly Dan Timbrell found Austin who ran into the Berinsfield box only to see Lovett’s save his shot with his feet with moments later Dan Timbrell latched onto a fine corner but his header flew just over the bar from close range when challenged. The second half started and Berinsfield had to change their keeper after Lovett’s was carrying an injury and substitute Mark Ingram took over under the sticks whilst neither side really created any chances to note in the opening exchanges with the best of these falling to Palmer who fired well over when in a good position after good work by Murphy. Then just after the hour mark Hendred had a great chance to take the lead when James Bowsher found McDowell down the left and his ball found Austin just inside the box and he turned his defender but saw his shot fire over the bar when in a great position. Berinsfield then went into a period of a lot of procession but the Hendred defence held firm and the home side struggled to create any clear cut chances and started to show their frustration when passes went astray. Then with about ten minutes remaining Berinsfield took the lead when a long throw from Murphy found its way to Luke Holdsworth on the edge of the six yard box and his turn and shot somehow beat the two or three defenders on the line and into the back of the net to the home fans jubilation. The home side now looked to play out the final minutes of the game but nearly got caught out when Hendred created a glorious chance to level the scores in the final minutes when substitute Toby Daley got on the end of a fine cross from McDowell but his close range header was turned over the bar by keeper Ingram from point blank range. In the minutes added whilst Hendred were pushing forward to level the scores Palmer should of put the game to bed but saw his shot canon off the inside of the post when put through on the right by Charlie Lee.
Division One
Stanford-In-the-Vale are the early leaders in Division One when they claimed all three points with a fine 5-1 victory over Harwell Village at Cottage Road with Ryan Mason and Tyrun Mayall both scoring twice with Josh Vaughan also finding the target with the Harwell reply coming through an own goal. Last year’s runners up Saxton Rovers got their campaign off to a winning start with a comfortable 4-0 victory over Lambourn Sports with Niall Hodgkins scoring twice with further goals coming from Dan Parry and Tom Stanley. Westminster kicked off their Division One campaign with a fine 2-0 victory away at Long Wittenham with both goals coming from Mike Hooton. Hanney United won the battle of the two promoted sides when they claimed a 3-0 victory over Steventon at the War Memorial Ground thanks to a double from Matthew Woodside with substitute Joe Richardson also finding the net.

Division Two
Ardington got the perfect start to the season with an opening day 7-1 victory over Wallingford Reserves which makes them early pace setters with goals coming from Ben Matthews and Matthew Pedder with both scoring twice with further goals coming from Luke Faircloth,Jason O’Hanlon and Jamie Gregory whilst Wallingford reply came from Simon Miles. Sutton Courtenay also made a winning start to the season when they beat new boys Crowmarsh 6-2 at the Sutton Recreation Ground with Rhys Griffiths and Jack Sewell both scoring twice with further goals coming from Sam Borland and Kieran Kerby whilst Crowmarsh replied through Scott Gesner and Craig Duncan. Compton made short work of Blewbury when they claimed a fine 5-1 victory with Michael Butler and Benjamin Brzoska both scoring twice with Harry Thornton also finding the target whilst Jason McCabe scored for the visitors. Saxton Rovers Reserves travelled to Tucker Park and came away with all three points with a 2-0 victory thanks to goals from Nathan Carter and Conner Spraggs.Last Years Division Three champions Watlington Town got off to a winning start with a 3-1 victory over Kintbury Reserves with goals coming from Jon Little, Adam Holloway and John Armstrong with Sam Peacock scoring for Kintbury. Watlington were also reduced to ten men as during the match as Kurt McCormick saw red for two bookable offences.

Division Three
Both games in Division Three ended up in score draws with Drayton and new boys Cholsey playing out a 3-3 draw with Drayton scoring through Gareth Small, Kyle DeFreitas and Josh Dennis whilst Cholsey replied through a double from Howard Hawkins with Pete McLaughlin also finding the target. Letcombe Reserves started their North Berks campaign with claiming a 1-1 draw away at Hagbourne United with Ethan Short scoring for Hagbourne whilst Owen Bishop replied for the visitors.