Fleet Town 1 Thatcham Town 2
Fleet Town see Red in Boxing Day derby, not just in the opponents kit, as they finished this showcase game in front of a bumper holiday crowd with only nine players on the pitch. Thatcham started dangerously and could have been ahead after ten minutes, when a long throw deep into the box found its target man, whose effort came back off the bar and follow up was saved by Harvey White. Fleet had their own chances, twice fast breaks down the right saw Joe Wilson and Meshach Williams combine before Joe Wilson got the ball back to cross into the box, which were easily cleared by the defense as they outnumbered any Fleet players that had got up to the box to receive. The next attack again saw Meshach Williams and Joe Wilson involved, this time more centrally and the ball was lifted over for Harryson Wickens to run onto and shoot, somehow the visitors keeper Chris Rackley got part of his body in the way to block and deflect for a corner. While Fleet were enjoying their best spel of the game, chances came and went, Billy Oram had a shot blocked, then one of the best team moves of the game saw Billy Oram pick up the ball at the back, forward to Meshach Williams and on and out to Kofi Halliday to round a defender and play over another wonderful cross, only to see a defender rise high to get the ball away to safety. Next it was Ronan Silva to get the ball in picking out Meshach Wiliams, but the header flew wide. Then after forty minutes the game changed, when Thatcham were given a free kick just outside the box, Fleet took seemingly long time fussing around to place a long wall covering about half of the goal, keeper Harvey White waiting behind the wall trying to see if the ball was going to be struck over, round or through the wall, Shane Cooper-Clark seemed to know exactly where the ball was going to go before he struck it past the edge of the wall and inside the far postand nestled in the net to put the visitors in front. Fleet came close to an instant response when Harryson Wickens crossed to Meshach Williams, his goalbound effort being turned round the post at the last moment by the visitors keepr for another corner to Fleet.
The second half started with pulsating end to end action, but no real chances of note, both defences easily dealing with any threats, until the sixty-third minute when Fleet struggled to clear the ball and after a few touches the ball fell to Adam Kelly to rifle the ball home and double the visitors advantage. This setback showed the difference between this season and last, then heads would drop and would have let in one or two more in quick sucession, this year, the players keep going and believe something will come their way, which it almost did when Meshach Williams got a great header on target only for a defender to get back and head the ball off the line, with the keeper nowhere close. Into the last twenty minutes, with some players starting to tire on the heavy pitch, little tugs and clips were leading to more free kicks and cards, as is the way with experienced players they seem to hone in on the one player that the referee has spoken to most to draw fouls from and this time it was Ronan Silva who was unfortunate to see a second yellow and leave the game early. Even with only ten players Fleet were still creating chances and winning corners, from one of these corners, there was a scramble as Thatcham struggled to clear and the ball ran to Meshach Williams to put the chance away and get a goal back, with ten minutes left. After all the hard work of getting back into the game, Thatcham suddenly found ways to find space and look dangerous again, a quick break down the left saw Fleet exposed and keeper Harvey White forced to deal with the danger running to the edge of his box, he touched player and ball and the referee pointed to the spot, as Harvey White dived to his right, the ball hit low and near the middle of his goal struck his legs and bounced high and away. Another Thatcham attack, this time down the right saw Sam Williams react quickly to the danger and slide it perfectly to knock the ball away, however in the officials view, the slide was dangerous and out came the Red card again. Fleet managed to survive the pressue of the last few minutes and a lot of added time without any further mishap.
For his sterling efforts up front, the Easi-leaflets man of the match was awarded to Meshach Williams.
Fleet Town : 1 Harvey White, 2 Joe Wilson, 3 Callum Abraham-Barlow, 4 Daniel Framp, 5 Stuart Derry, 6 Sam Williams, 7 Harryson Wickens, 8 Billy Oram, 9 Meshach Williams, 10 Ronan Silva, 11 Kofi Halliday.
Subs : 12 Abdul Rajab (on for Framp 55 mins), 14 Liam Callaghan (on for Halliday 75 mins), 17 Layton Avenell on for Wilson 75 mins)
not used 15 Enow Ojong, 16 Angus Youngson