Hungerford Town singing in the rain as Conor McDonagh hits hat trick

Conor McDonagh. Photo: Jeff Youd.
Conor McDonagh. Photo: Jeff Youd.

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Rain, goals, red cards and postponed fixtures the theme of the day for our West Berkshire sides, who give us a mixed range of results as the competitive season commenced.

Hungerford Town are in seventh heaven and could not have dreamed of a better start to life back at Step 3 as The Crusaders brushed aside a Plymouth Parkway side by seven goals to nil. New sigining Conor McDonagh introduced himself to the 325 supporters at Bullpit Lane with a debut hat trick to elevate the West Berkshire side to the summit of the Southern League South Division. Ex Farnborough man Michael Fernandes helped himself to a brace while singles from Luke Carnell & Elis Watts completed the 7-0 thrashing of Plymouth Parkway.

The only negative coming on the 74th minute when forward Sean Moore picked up a second yellow card after a challenge with the opposition goalkeeper, earning himself a one-match ban.

Is this free-scoring Hungerford Town a sign of things to come from Danny Robinson’s Crusaders?

There were six goals involving Thatcham Town in the FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round, which unfortunately went the way of their hosts as The Kingfishers went down to fellow Step 4 side Paulton Rovers by 5-1. A missed penalty from the Berkshire side at 2-0 down saw them go into the break trailing by two first-half goals. The second half was much of the same as the home side secured their third on the hour mark. A minute later Thatcham were down to ten men and 4-0 after Aaron White received a second yellow card for a foul in the box, resulting in a penalty.

The Kingfishers pulled one back through Bangura but it was too little too late as Thatcham crashed out of the FA Cup at the first hurdle.

A full list of all the FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round results is here. The draw for the FA Cup Preliminary Round affecting Berkshire clubs is here.

Life in the Wessex League Division One was always going to be tough for an AFC Aldermaston side who’s squad nucleaus are based around Reading and the increase in travel that comes with the geographical challenges. However, when the team sheets were announced there was an air of quiet confidence from those connected to Football in Berkshire, especially with the inclusion of forward Mitchell Parker.

Mitchell Parker. Photo: Neil Graham.
Mitchell Parker. Photo: Neil Graham.

Unfortunately for ‘Alders’ that air of confidence was soon to evaporate as they found themselves trailing by three goals to nil at half time. The second forty-five was to be much of the same for the Berkshire side as their hosts, Downton continued to pile on the pressure and added to their aleady substantial lead, scoring their sixth on the seventy third minute. Aldermaston pulled one back with eight minutes to go but will need to improve quickly if they are to prove themselves in their new divison.

Elsewhere, Tadley-Calleva saw their FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round fixture at home to Alton FC called off just an hour before kick-off due to a downpour in the middle of the referees pitch inspection. This game has been rearranged for Tuesday 8th August.

Newbury Town travelled to Thames Valley Premier League Finchampstead as they continue their pre-season schedule. Despite leading 1-0 at half time, Newbury conceded four second-half goals and went on to lose 4-1.

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