Abingdon United Dev 1-1 Highworth Town Res
By Mike Markham
A good effort!
Highworth Reserves travelled to top of the table Abingdon United Development on the back of an unlucky defeat a week earlier.
This was always going to be a tough game and manager Chris Ayres and his assistant Ross Adams warned the lads that they had to perform at the top of their game if they wanted to get something from the match.
The game started well for the Worthians and they could have taken the lead early in the game when Dan Grieve headed the ball over the advancing keeper from a long free kick only to see the effort scrambled off the line.
With Highworth seemingly on top, things became very tough for them when after 19 minutes they were reduced to 10 men following the sending-off of Ed Evans for a late challenge. With this, changes were made with the unfortunate Jordan Wilkins taken off in order for Dan Axford to come on and slip in to the back four.
With this reshuffle, the emphasis was to try and get to half-time all square, playing a 4-4-1 formation with Dan Grieve having to lead the line on his own.
Having got to half time at 0-0 and limiting Abingdon to very few opportunities we took the chance to tinker and get a few things in place in order to stay in the game in the second half.
With captain Liam Haines leading by example, blocking and making tackles, the game continued much in the same vein with Highworth cancelling out any real Abingdon threat but looking dangerous on the break.
With 75 minutes gone a goal finally game and it was a much deserved lead for Highworth when a great cross from Jordan Clark led to Dan Grieve and the Abingdon keeper colliding and as the ball dropped loose, it was collected by Max Slinn who calmly slipped it into the empty net.
Only minutes later Abingdon themselves were reduced to 10 when a late challenge on keeper Simon Randlesome saw their centre forward given his marching orders. This seemed to inspire Abingdon and they got an equaliser with only 5 minutes remaining after a slight hesitation at back led to the ball breaking loose and it was fired in from close range.
This was the end of the scoring and 1-1 draw seemed a little harsh on a Highworth side who after going down to ten men were absolutely heroic to a man in the effort, desire and commitment to get something from the game, leaving Ayres and Adams very pleased with the result even if a little frustrated.
Next up is Wantage Development away which again will be a very tough game.