FA Vase ties will be difficult to negotiate for top three

Josh Rose got Easington Sports back into the contest at Woodstock Town but the Addison Road club slipped to a second defeat of the season
Josh Rose got Easington Sports back into the contest at Woodstock Town but the Addison Road club slipped to a second defeat of the season

Three Banburyshire clubs take their first steps in this season’s Buildbase FA Vase this weekend.

And for one of the UHLSport Hellenic League trio – Easington Sports – it will be the club’s first taste of FA Vase action.

The Addison Road side take their place in the competition for the first time in the club’s history but face a daunting task at premier division highfliers Highworth Town. Fellow Division One West outfit Ardley United entertain premier division outfit Longlevens while Brackley Town Saints face a trip to South Midlands League premier division high-fliers Welwyn Garden City.

But Sports go into Saturday’s game on the back of their second defeat of the campaign.

Sports lost 2-1 at Woodstock Town where two early lapses in concentration meant they were firmly up against it.

Sports started the first half brightly but fell behind in the sixth minute when Kevin Pike exchanged passes and was allowed a free run into the six-yard box to finish.

After falling behind, Sports had more urgency, Callum Convey curled a shot just wide and Josh Rose headed over the bar.

But against the run of play, Woodstock doubled their advantage in the 19th minute when Callum Green smashed a shot low past deputising keeper Richard Meadows who could not divert the ball around the post.

The Woodstock keeper thwarted Dan Reeves twice in quick succession and Rose also smashed a shot against the bar as the pressure built on the home side.

After the restart, Joe Eyre was denied by the keeper after he ran on to a flick-on from James McMahon. Rose finally reduced the arrears in the 68th minute, picking up a half clearance from a corner and lobbing the ball into the far corner of the net.

Sports sensed a point was up for grabs and pushed hard for the equaliser. Convey had a shot cleared off the line and the keeper again made a save from Tom Smith.

But despite all the pressure, the equaliser never materialised, leaving Sports to rue a patchy first half performance.

Ardley maintained their 100 per cent start with a 3-1 victory at Cirencester Town Development on Tuesday.

The leaders have won all five matches and hold a four-point advantage over Pewsey Vale with Sports back in third place.