Ross and Cruse keep Ardley on cue for a top six finish

Jack Ross gave Ardley United the lead at Royal Wootton Bassett
Jack Ross gave Ardley United the lead at Royal Wootton Bassett
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Ardley United manager Paul Davis will be looking to maintain his side’s top six position against Tuffley Rovers.

Jack Ross and Matt Cruse got the goal as Ardley returned from Royal Wootton Bassett with three more UHLSport Hellenic League points.

It was even tougher once Joel Meade was sent off but the red card didn’t put us off our stride at all

Ardley manager Paul Davis

Despite being reduced to ten men in the premier division clash, Ardley won it 2-1 with goals from Jack Ross and Matt Cruse.

Ross was denied by Curtis Meare and Nathaniel Lewars was thwarted by a last ditch sliding tackle as they looked to net the rebound.

New signing Declan Benjamin knocked a delicate chip over the Bassett defence for Lewars to run on to but he shot wide.

Lewis Thompson fired wide for the home side before Cruse thumped wide following a Ross flick-on. A dipping shot from Matt Cheetham was acrobatically tip over the bar by Nick Bennion.

Ardley took the lead just past the half-hour mark when Benjamin curled a free-kick over the wall, the ball bounced off the foot of the post and quickest to react was Ross who fired home.

Sam Packer curled wide for Bassett before Ross met a low cross from Lewars but not connecting in front of goal.

After the restart, Will McEachran headed a Luke Cray cross wide and Sam Packer wasted a good opportunity for Bassett with better options available.

Ardley were reduced to ten men just past the hour mark when Joel Meade kicked out at Packer as he tried to shield the ball out of play.

Ardley regrouped and soon doubled their lead when Benjamin and Ross combined well to slip in Cruse who fired across the keeper into the far corner of the net.

Ashton Gleed fired straight at Bennion before Bassett won a penalty when Lewis Thompson was upended in the box by Bradley Cox and Steve Yeardley stuck home the ensuing spot-kick.

Packer fired wide after evading a couple of challenges and in the final minute Bennion had to palm away a free-kick, the ball rolled along the goal line before being cleared.

Benjamin almost sealed the win with a late third goal from 20 yards but Meare pushed the ball over the bar.

Davis said: “We dominated the first half and should have been three up at the break. We missed some glorious chances but we felt comfortable going in just one up.

“We knew the second half was always going to be tough, it was even tougher once Joel Meade was sent off but the red card didn’t put us off our stride at all, and to score a second goal showed our spirit.”