United cling on for a point as Barr sees red

editorial image

Ten-man Thame United held out for a 2-2 draw against Ascot United to extend their unbeaten run in the league to seven games.

Thame twice led at the ASM Stadium on Tuesday night but were left clinging on for a point in the final 15 minutes after Stuart Barr was given his marching orders for a second bookable offence.

It was a busy opening spell at either end with both nets rattled in the first seven minutes.

The hosts drew first blood, with Luke Ricketts’ in-swinging corner bamboozling the Ascot defence before Dan West got a glancing header to divert the ball over the line after four minutes. It was a short-lived lead, however, as Ian Brooks headed home at the near post three minutes later from Ascot’s first corner of the night.

Both sides created chances but the game seemed to be heading for half-time deadlocked before Thame took the lead on 45 minutes. Once more from a corner, Nik Rhodes reacted quickest when the ball was not cleared to strike home from a narrow angle.

Thame would have been hoping to push on in the second half, but it was the visitors who came out fighting and on 62 minutes defender Joe Yeates met a free kick with a strong header which left Lee Farrow with no chance.

Despite this, the hosts would still have been hoping to take three points, but after Barr saw red they had to park the bus in front of goal to hold on.

The league draw came off the back of a disappointing 3-1 home defeat to Newbury Town in the Bluefin Insurance Hellenic League Cup on Saturday.

Thame had won their previous two encounters against Newbury, but with several key players out through injury and unavailability United were forced to field several unfamiliar faces.

The visitors made a strong start and Thame keeper Farrow needed to make several strong saves to keep things level, while Phil Pykett twice cleared the ball off the line.

Against the run of play Aaron Bonham put United ahead on 36 minutes, meeting a headed flick-on from Jordan Rogers before running at goal and hitting a well-placed shot into the back of the net from 15 yards.

Thame held on until the break but ten minutes after the restart Kalief Madden struck from close range after a goalmouth scramble following a corner.

With the wind in their sails Newbury banished thoughts of a third defeat to United, Madden bagging his second 20 minutes later and Danny Lahalz ending any thoughts of a comeback when he headed home the visitors’ third to dump Thame out of the competition.

Thame have a quick chance to gain revenge though, as they face Newbury yet again on Saturday.

United’s next game at the ASM Stadium is on November 17 when they face Lordsworth in the FA Vase Second Round Proper.