Tuesday 12th February 2014 ko 19.45
Oxfordshire Senior Cup Quarter-Final
THAME UNITED 0 Lynch sent off 24 (serious foul play)
OXFORD UNITED 2 (Hawtin 20 71)
My football season really isn’t complete without a trip to Thame United, they’re a decent bunch, and I wish we’d managed to pay the ASM Stadium a visit before the Hellenic hops finished, but league politics put paid to that idea. Still, I’ve managed to visit for local cup finals, and of course Thame United home games! I remember Chinnor borrowing the ground for last year’s quarter-final against Oxford United in this competition. It was cold then, and well, some things don’t change!
It was the usual format for Oxford United, the development squad represented the club, supplemented by first-teamer Scott Davies. That gave a debut for loan-goalkeeper Jonathan Henly, the Reading youth-teamer having extended his loan as cover for Ryan Clarke while Max Crocombe recovers from a shoulder injury. It was good to see Crocombe present, supporting his team-mates.
The dreadful weather had seen the tie twice postponed and in the local press Thame manager had seemed doubtful as to his team’s chances, commenting that he’d be happy if his side put up a good show. That they did and without the dismissal of Ollie Lynch I wonder whether they could have taken something from the game.
Oxford took the lead in the 20th minute, Josh Shama’s run from midfield drew the Thame defence as the former Reading man rode several challenges. He slipped the ball out the right where Aiden Hawtin finished beautifully across keeper Lee Farrow into the bottom left corner.
Thame’s chances took a body-blow with the dismissal of Lynch soon afterwards. A free kick was swung into the Oxford box, it looked a straightforward catch for Henly, but the ball squirted free. Lynch and Henly lunged for the ball and Lynch’s studs caught Henly in the chest. Referee Ben Jones immediately dismissed the former OUFC defender, which seemed harsh, there was no evidence of intent, and the ball was there to be won. Both player and manager were furious, and I had some sympathy for the Thame man.
With the extra man Oxford were able to control play, and the OUFC midfield pulled the strings often being, and particularly in Davies’ case, being faster-of-thought than their opponents. Oxford’s winner was a case in point, a Callum O’Dowda corner was played to the near post, the defender thought the ball was heading straight out and left it, but it hit the post bouncing out to a grateful Hawtin who tapped home.
It was one of those game where, in the final analysis, there was something in it for both teams. Oxford got a decent work out, and won the tie, and Thame got a decent pay-day and their team were far from disgraced.