Ardley United gave high flying Thame United a fright in Tuesday’s UHLSport Hellenic League clash and, with a little more luck, would have got a point from a seven-goal thriller.
But the visitors edged the premier division derby 4-3 despite a late rally from Paul Davis’s side who were convinced they had a genuine goal ruled out.
Ardley took the lead midway through the first half when Matt Cruse exchanged passes with Carl Tappin before racing through to score.
Then came the moment of controversy. Cruse hit the bar, the ball bounced down and out but play was waved on despite the protests.
Thame won a throw-in and while the Ardley players and staff were still contesting the disallowed goal a simple move saw David Lynn cross to the unmarked Andrew Gledhill who headed home.
Ninety seconds after the restart Ardley regained the lead when Reece Bayliss crossed into the six-yard box, a defender missed the ball when trying to clear and left Cruse with time to compose himself and slot home.
But the lead was short-lived as Thame cleverly created some space down their left and Lynton Goss fired home from the edge of the box.
Thame took the lead for the first time in the game when substitute Ben Gray cut in from the left and curled the ball home from the corner of the box. As Ardley pushed to try and get back in the game, Thame were gifted a fourth goal late on when a back pass to Lee Farrow fell short and Gledhill pounced on the loose ball to tap it into the unguarded net.
Ardley never gave up and with two minutes left a corner was headed home on the line by skipper Luke Cray.
As Ardley pushed for the equaliser, a counter attack saw Thame win a penalty. But Farrow saved Dan West’s spot-kick and the final whistle sounded to bring the contest to an end.