United edge five-goal FA Vase thriller

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Thame United narrowly progressed to the next round of the FA Vase at the ASM Stadium on Saturday when they defeated a spirited Clanfield side 3-2.

It was an entertaining game in which both sides could have scored more had their finishing been more solid, writes Bob Dixon.

The opening exchanges were even with Luke Ricketts going close for Thame. After seven minutes United conceded a free kick, central and just outside the penalty area. Visiting midfielder Steve Olphert hit a strong well-placed free kick, beating both the Thame wall and goalkeeper to nestle in low in the left hand corner. United countered, and on 16 minutes a Cameron Lagan shot was cleared ‘off the line’. Several Thame players appealed, claiming that the line had been crossed, but the referee ignored these claims. The equaliser came when Ben Connelly beat his man, ran at goal, and was about to ‘pull the trigger’ from 8-yards when he was unfairly tackled. The referee pointed to the penalty spot and Captain Mitchell Meredith scored from the spot kick.

The home side took the lead five minutes after the restart when Dan West met a Ricketts free kick from the right with a glorious header into the top left of the goal. The game ebbed and flowed with chances at both ends before, in the 62nd minute, the visitors equalised when striker Ben Williams headed a cross in at the far post. A replay looked a possibility but, in the 80th minute, United sealed their victory with a fluke goal. Thame were awarded a corner and West hit a ball into the 6-yard box which both the visiting goalkeeper and Meredith went for. The unfortunate keeper punched the ball onto the back of Meredith’s head and it flew in.

Shortly before the final whistle Thame’s goalkeeper, Lee Farrow, made an outstanding save to maintain their lead. United are at home to Buckingham Athletic in the next round.

Thame United: Farrow, Willett, Hall, Meredith, Hercules (Evans), Hayes, Connelly (Wakelin), West, Lagan (Rantle), Barr, Ricketts.

The first team are away on Saturday, but the reserves are at home to Easington Sports (3.00).