Promotion clash ends in draw
By Jonny Reid
A tight affair saw Bicester and Newbury and Thatcham draw 1-1
Bicester 1 - 1 Newbury and Thatcham 2s
Bicester met league leaders Newbury and Thatcham at The Cooper School on Saturday and both teams will have been satisfied with a draw after a hard fought game with few clear-cut chances.
In a first half that Newbury and Thatcham dominated, Bicester did well not to concede with Stu Goodacre, CJ Birtles and man-of-the-match Daniel Round providing solid defence in front of the outstanding Nathan Elliott. Bicester went close on a few occasions but struggled to make the opposition goalkeeper work and they were happy to re-assess and change formation at half-time.
Bicester then came out strongly in the second half and soon were creating more chances and working the Newbury goalkeeper. Jonny Reid went close from an acute angle and Andy Brown was denied from a short corner routine as Bicester pressed for the goal. Newbury and Thatcham then shifted the momentum and won a number of short-corners in a few minutes. They had one disallowed and then managed to convert one with a good finish on the back post after they were quickest to the loose ball in the D.
Bicester now needed to score, aware that their promotion rivals would otherwise be getting an important 5 point lead in the league. They continued to press and eventually won another short corner which CJ Birtles converted from a slick move, through the goalkeepers legs and firmly into the backboard.
The game was to remain 1-1 despite a flurry of cards late on in the match with Newbury now in 2nd place and Bicester close behind in 3rd in a close chase for promotion.
Man of the Match: Daniel Round.
Dick of the Day: CJ Birtles. Green card, general tomfoolery.