BCAFL Division One

Woodlands United 2-2 Thornbury Baptist Church FC

This was two points dropped for a Thornbury side that led 2-0 until the 75th minute with goals from Ben Paddy and Player-Manager Rich Ocone. It was a game of few chances and Thornbury looked in control until a 25-yard strike snuck inside Davis Newcombe’s near post and the hosts had the lift the carry to them on to an equaliser and very nearly a winner late in the game.

Both sides were looking to play decent football on a good surface but were struggling to make any impact up front. Thornbury had lost both of their centre-forwards from last week’s thumping victory in Bath to injuries and Will Ponting was given the thankless task of leading the line alone against a strong defensive unit.

Thornbury struck first on 19 minutes when veteran full-back Phil Loadwick broke up a Woodlands attack and flicked the ball inside to winger Ben Paddy. Paddy beat his marker and sauntered towards the edge of the box before firing a right-foot drive perfectly into be bottom left-corner of the net. It was very nearly two from similar range when Christian Irwin let fly with his left foot and the Woodies keeper needed a full-length dive to tip the ball past the far post. The visitors first half lead was richly deserved however, with Davis Newcombe dealing comfortably with the few attacks on the Thornbury goal.

Rich Ocone is a good old-fashioned, no nonsense centre-half, unforgiving in the tackle and monstrous in the air. He is always a threat at set pieces and on the first return from Covid-19 he netted twice last week with trademark headers. It was Ocone who made it 2-0 on 65 minutes and whilst the original source was a corner, the ball had strayed to Ben Paddy on the far side of the box and as his effort on goal was blocked, Ocone reacted fastest to poke the deflection home for considerably less trademark, but deft striker’s finish, that sees him staking an early claim for the golden boot come season’s end.

It looked like game over at that point, but when influential midfielder and Skipper John Cordle went down with a hamstring injury, it seemed to coincide with the late resurgence from the hosts. The right foot strike that got them back in it was good but Thornbury were slow to close down and then the winner was similarly frustrating as the striker was given too much space on the edge of the box to drill a low strike past Newcombe.

On reflection it’s a worthy point away from home but Thornbury had done the hard work to win this one and left disappointed. They face a trip to long-time close rivals Castle Green at Whitehall next week.