Howards and Ross earn Ardley three more points

Leam Howards gave Ardley United the lead

Leam Howards gave Ardley United the lead

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Ardley United ended 2016 with another UHLSport Hellenic League victory, seeing off Oxford City Nomads 2-0.

But for the second game inside a week Ardley toiled to eventually break down a side in the lower echelons of the premier division table.

Carl Tappin had a shot blocked in the first minute and the rebound was fired wide by Matt Cruse before Ardley were awarded a penalty in the fourth minute. But Leam Howards blasted the ensuing spot-kick straight down the middle and keeper Christian Lawrence blocked the ball.

Chris Jackson fired over the bar, Ryan Knight blasted a free-kick over the top before Joel Meade fired wide. At the other end Matt Woodley fired straight into the waiting arms of Ardley keeper Nick Bennion.

Howards caused problems all afternoon, using his pace to get behind the Oxford back line and fired straight at Lawrence before another run saw him tee-up his striker partner Cruse who fired wide from the edge of the box.

After the restart, Lawrence tipped over a Cruse thunderbolt after some excellent work from Bryan before Ardley finally got their breakthrough in the 52nd minute. Howards raced on to a through ball and rounded the keeper to slot home.

Lawrence denied Jack Ross with another good save before a goalmouth melee saw Bryan, Joel Meade and Bradley Cox all thwarted.

Cruse was denied again by Lawrence before setting up Ross in return to score the second goal just past the hour mark. Getting down the right wing, Cruse cut the ball back from the byline and Ross beat his marker to the ball to slide home.

Howards and Cruse were both denied by Lawrence and Howards exchanged passes with Heap who looped an effort over the bar from close range. In between, Woodley had a late long range effort off target for the visitors.