Ardley United 6

Thornbury Town 2

Hellenic League Floodlit Cup

THORNBURY made a fruitless 160-mile round trip to Oxfordshire on Tuesday evening when they made their first ever visit to Premier Division side Ardley United.

Playing down the slope in the first half the hosts made all the early running and Yusuf missed an easy chance after five minutes, but after this Thorns gradually adapted to the pace of the game and started to create some problems for the home defence with Tom Webb and Harry Brock a constant threat. Craig Lancastle and Matt Davis both had chances, but last-ditch tackles prevented clear efforts on goal.

Ardley took the lead midway through the half after Kurtis Parkin had saved well from Harris, but George Smith was on hand to rifle home the rebound. Town responded well and Matt Davis’ weaving run past four defenders was ended when Woodall intercepted his pass to Lancastle. Home keeper Lawrence then punched away a dangerous looking Webb cross and at this stage Thorns were looking to go in at the break just the one goal behind.

However, just a couple of minutes before the half-time whistle, the referee awarded Ardley a hotly disputed penalty when Connor Harris appeared to run into Nathan Sage as the defender went to head a cross clear. Harris himself made no mistake from the spot.

The second-half saw Thorns soon cut the deficit when good work from Craig Lancastle set up Davis to net at the far post.

However, within a couple of minutes another controversial free-kick decision for the hosts saw them regain their two-goal advantage. The quickly taken kick saw Town a little slow to react and Dylan Woodall netted.

With Thorns heads down Ardley took full advantage of the gaps that were appearing and some clinical finishing saw them net three more within 10 minutes with Smith completing his hat-trick and Tom Moore netting number six.

The last 15 minutes saw Thorns regain their composure and a jinking Harry Brock run into the area was ended when he was brought down and Marcus Wormwell’s firmly struck spot kick gave Lawrence no chance.

Five minutes from time, Luke Franklin's pass found Wormwell whose goalbound shot from 15 yards out was superbly saved by Lawrence. The keeper then pulled off another good save from Davis before Jim Brock curled a shot narrowly wide of the post.

A comprehensive win for the home side, although the final scoreline was not a true reflection of the difference between the two sides.

This Saturday Town have the rare event of a Saturday afternoon fixture, their first for six weeks when they entertain near-neighbours Almondsbury in a league game.

Thorns will be looking to put the midweek defeat behind them as they go in search of a win to maintain their challenge at the top of the table. Kick-off at the Mundy Fields is 3pm.

In the quarter-finals of the Bluefin Sports Supplementary Cup, Town have been drawn at home to Premier Division Fairford Town. This is Town’s last chance of cup glory this season and the game is scheduled for Saturday March 16th.