Saturday 8th October 2011 ko 3pm
Hellenic League Premier Division
WITNEY TOWN 0 Stott sent off 64 (pro foul)
READING TOWN 4 (John 30 38 75 Spence 88)
Once upon a time Witney had a thriving football team. Based at Marriotts Close, in the centre of town, the social club made enough money to sustain Southern League football, even though attendances at the games were relatively low. But once the club relocated to their new stadium, in Downs Road, that link was broken. That’s because Downs road is closer to Minster Lovell than Witney itself, and who wants to go for a beer at a breeze block edifice by an industrial estate? The club folded, were restarted by the fans as Witney United, but that in turn folded at the end of the last season. Witney Town were quickly revived and controversially kept United’s league position and FA Cup place.
But it doesn’t solve the conundrum of football in Witney, namely that the facilities are excellent, but in precisely the wrong location. A wonderful friendly club, the free teamsheets, were most welcome, but the team was so obviously lacking.
There was a 10 minute delay due to problems with Reading Town’s kit. Last Monday they’d had a kit stolen leaving just two left. They’d picked one, in yellow only to discover upon arrival that Town still play in Witney United’s gold and black! They found red shorts and socks and borrowed Witney’s change shirts, a delightful shade of purple!
One look at the team sheet showed the depth of Witney’s on field problems. Reading Town featured former Torquay, Hartlepool and Cambridge United forward Marcus Richardson, and perhaps more intriguingly Ray Spence, formerly of Farnborough, Oxford City, and South Reading. That’s right, South Reading of the 2nd tier of the Reading League, Spence is to be polite, a controversial figure. No lack of talent, but with a quite appalling disciplinary record. I saw him play at Marlow United for South Reading and I would have booked him four times for dissent or unsporting conduct, and sent him off for throwing a punch. Somehow he stayed on the pitch…. On this occasion he was reasonably well-behaved, just a rake down a leg missed by the officials.
Perhaps he didn’t need to misbehave, as Reading won this game purely on the little details, if they got a chance, they converted it, mainly through Phillip John’s runs from the right which caught the home defence time after time. When Witney did get a chance, it was spurned, most notably by Bloomfield after 82 minutes. But when you’re struggling that’s what happens. That includes Jon Stott’s dismissal for hauling down a clean through Spence.
Maybe Reading will find themselves in the Southern league soon, but that’s level Witney should be at with these facilities, if only they can square the circle of such a poor location.