Hellenic Division 1 West

Thornbury Town 1

Kidlington Development 2

THORNBURY'S title ambitions were dealt a blow on Saturday when a much improved Kidlington side edged a narrow win, writes Malcolm Carr.

Having beaten Kidlington 4-0 away just two weeks ago, Town went into the game full of confidence, but it was the visitors who made the early running.

Right from the kick-off, Kidlington gave Thorns not time on the ball quickly closing them down all over the pitch. As a result Town couldn’t play their usual flowing football, but it was they who had the first chance when Matt Davies’ shot was saved by the visitors keeper Lacey, and Harry Block, following up, had his effort blocked.

The visitors came close on six minutes when Callum Rice, following a weaving run, had his shot saved by stand-in keeper Brandon Benjamin, but a minute later Kidlington took the lead when they broke down the left and the ball was played into Aaron Morton who slotted the ball past Benjamin. Thorns struggled to make any impression on the game although Craig Lancastle and Matt Davies both had efforts that went wide.

The game flowed from end-to-end and Denilson Silva had a shot saved by Benjamin, who also pulled off a good save from Deabill on the half hour mark. Minutes later Silva was put clear, but with just the keeper to beat shot straight at Benjamin, who saved comfortably. Five minutes before the break a Pete Fowler header from Jim Brock’s corner was cleared off the line but the visitors were good value for their lead at the half time whistle.

The second-half saw Thorns start brightly and Lancastle had a good chance to level after a couple of minutes from Jim Brock’s freek-kick, but couldn’t get enough power in his shot.

Mark Viner’s shot from the edge of the box went narrowly wide, whilst Dave Jones had two efforts blocked on the line. On 20 minutes Town almost levelled when Nathan Sage’s powerful header was superbly tipped over the bar by Lacey.

However, a couple of minutes later Thorns finally equalised after Matt Davis was brought down in the penalty area, Lancastle giving Lacey no chance from the resultant spot kick. The visitors had a great chance to take the lead again within a few minutes after Deabill went down under a challenge from Benjamin and the referee awarded another penalty. However Town’s keeper redeemed himself pulling off a superb save from Callum Rice’s kick.

Substitute Asher Budd worked his way into space but his shot, under pressure, went just wide of the post, whilst at the other end Walton steered his shot into the side netting. With just five minutes remaining the referee awarded the third penalty of the game when Joe Guest was judged to have fouled one of the visitors strikers and this time Jordan Parker was given the responsibility, making no mistake from the spot.

Thorns pressed forward in search of a late equaliser and thought they had a good shout for a penalty themselves when Harry Brock went down under a heavy challenge. However, they were leaving spaces at the back and Walton, with just an empty net in front of him contrived to miss the goal completely.

Thorns are still in with a chance of finishing at least runners up, but now probably need to win their remaining four league games, starting this Saturday when they visit Pewsey Vale, followed by an Monday evening trip to bottom club New College, Swindon.