Thame show as Rangers knock Ardley out of the cup

Jack Heap gave Ardley United the lead for the second time at Thame Rangers

Jack Heap gave Ardley United the lead for the second time at Thame Rangers

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Ardley United manager Paul Davis will be looking for a positive response after his side suffered a cup upset.

Thame Rangers beat Ardley 5-2 in Saturday’s Oxon Senior Cup tie and Davis had no excuses afterwards.

Ardley, the 2014 winners, twice led in Saturday’s third round tie at Thame before the Spartan South Midlands League outfit hit back to win it.

Rangers added Ardley to their growing list of higher level scalps in cup competitions this season and they will be the team to avoid in the draw.

Jack Heap fired wide early on before Kieron Schmidt fired over. Thame keeper Sam Ashmead saved well from Leam Howards but from the ensuing corner Chris Jackson towered between two defenders to head home.

Debutant Nick Bennion turned away Shayne Almond’s curling effort before Rangers equalised. Almond set up Sean Coles who rounded Bennion to slot home.

Both sides had chances. Matt Cruse’s saw his shot deflected for a corner while Ben Moses shot tamely at Bennion. Schmidt screwed wide before Ardley regained the lead on the stroke of halftime when Howards raced clear, was forced wide by Ashmead but managed to cross from a tight angle for Heap to head home.

Bennion came to Ardley’s rescue after the restart when he smothered the ball at the second attempt from Coles. But Thame equalised when a corner was flicked on and Coles headed home at the far post.

The goal rocked Ardley and gave Thame the belief to go on and dominate the remainder of the tie. They took the lead on the hour mark when Paul Brown cut in and squared the ball across the six-yard box for Coles to complete his hat-trick.

Rangers soon increased their lead when Schmidt crossed for Almond to bend the ball around Bennion and inside the post. Thame continued to press and substitute Alex Kedzierski forced a good save from Bennion, the loose ball fell to Coles and his follow-up was diverted away for a corner.

Mitchell Collins had a shot turned away by Bennion and from the ensuing corner Coles saw his acrobatic bicycle kick bounce off the post.

But Rangers wrapped it up when an attempted header back to Bennion fell short and Schmidt lobbed the ball over the stranded keeper. On the stroke of full-time Almond saw his penalty hit the post.