Despite several promising signings, and some encouraging pre-season performances, Thame United lost their opening league game 1-3 to Highworth Town the ASM Stadium on Saturday.
The visitors finished last season six league places higher than Thame, but United drew twice with them. It was therefore always going to be a tough game but after the first 10 minutes, Thame were on the back foot as they struggled to create chances; the visiting goalkeeper was rarely tested and the result was a fair reflection of the game.
Thame started brightly and took the lead in the sixth minute with some slick football. New signing Jon Steedman played the ball to Dan West whose pass to Aaron Rogers was brilliantly returned, finding West in enough space to comfortably side-foot the ball home from eight yards.
The tide then turned and the visitors equalised on 26 minutes when, following a corner, Tony Joyce hit a 15- yard shot through a crowded goalmouth which seemed to take a deflection and beat Thame keeper Milan Barisic. Highworth took the lead shortly before half time when Danny Hilder found enough space to hit a spectacular, well-placed 25-yard shot pass a surprised Barisic.
The second half saw the visitors continue to win more of the ball and lackluster United unable to penetrate their well-organised defence.
Highworth increased their lead in the 75th minute when they broke quickly leaving the home side’s defence outnumbered and some smooth passing enabled Hilder to finish well from 10-yards.
The game was not the start that Thame wanted or expected, but it is early days, and they will have learned from the encounter.