Monday 7th May 2012 ko 11.00am
Oxon Senior League Presidents Cup Final
MARSTON SAINTS 1 (Payne 75p)
RIVERSIDE 2 (Green 25 87) Green missed penalty 87 Harris sent off 73 (spitting)
Att 83 (h/c)
Entry & (4 page) Programme £3
@Abingdon Town FC
The Culham Road home of Abingdon Town is one of the County’s best grounds, in fact with Oxford United back in the League, I’d have thought it was the best non-league ground in Oxfordshire. The only problem is that in football terms, you’re in Berkshire, pesky pre-1974 boundaries still apply! There’s so much to like with cover on 3 sides, and 2 areas of seating. The clubhouse doubles up as a nightclub, and the offices as a campervan business, judging by the sheer volume of them parked up.
The ground does have issues though, and its clear that the ground is beginning to reflect the clubs lowly status these days in the Hellenic League. Turnstiles have been removed and some of the roofs are leaking. Not good on an appalling wet morning, on a riverside pitch, notorious for its propensity to flood.
The game saw two Oxford based sides go head to head. Marston Saints play at Boults Lane, in Old Marston. That’s just a stone’s throw from Oxford City’s Court Place Farm ground, and the John Radcliffe Hospital. Riverside are new to the OSL this year and are yet another reincarnation of Headington Quarry, using the Margaret Road ground that the now defunct Quarry Nomads called home. Their kit even had a “Quarry” badge on it!
The game was extremely one sided. Riverside dominated throughout, and should have won this far more easily than they did. They spurned an early penalty, given for handball, but continued the press until Ben Green atoned for his poor spot kick by being at the right end of a goalmouth scramble to open the scoring. This pattern continued through the rest of the first half and well into the second, with Riverside asking all the questions and Saints keeper Dave Newbold keeping them out.
All that changed with around 15 minutes left. Riverside keeper Chris Harris, bizarrely sporting a woolly hat dashed out to collect a ball but had to challenge an onrushing Ben Green. Green caught him, but play continued briefly only to be stopped as the linesman was frantically flagging. There was a brief conflab, then referee David Stanley dismissed Harris for spitting. Harris later claimed he shouted, “And spit came out.” Unsavoury to put it mildly. Riverside captain Arron Armstrong went in goal, but was unable to stop Tom Payne’s penalty.
For a brief time it looked like Marston could steal an unlikely and undeserved victory. Armstrong saved well down to his right, but the crisis was soon dealt with and normal service resumed. Green collected his second, as Marston quickly ran out of ideas in the mud. There was a little tension as a lot of injury time was played, due to the dismissal, but as the trophy was presented, I felt most sorry for the two sides arriving for the afternoon final, the pitch was a mess.