Thatcham Town fish out three points on Isthmian League opening day

Thatcham Town’s Sam Tanner. Photo: Dan Newberry Photography
Thatcham Town’s Sam Tanner. Photo: Dan Newberry Photography

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Thatcham Town bounced back from a devastating FA Cup defeat with a 0-1 win away at last seasons Isthmian League play-off semi finalists, Marlow.

The Isthmian South Central ‘Supporters prediction’ shared prior to kick off showed Marlow to finish third and gain make the play-offs while the article shows Thatcham Town at the opposite end of the table, just surviving relegation. A prediction that we at Football in Berkshire definitely did not agree with.

The Kingfishers travelled to Marlow with intentions to put their FA Cup exit behind them and start the 2023/24 season positively, against a strong Marlow team who, in the week, announced more new signings to bolster thier squad.

Both sides went into the break goalless but it was Marlow who could count themselves unluky after the first forty-five minutes. The hosts had the ball in the net after just twenty minutes, only to see the flag raised on the far side and the goal chalked off for offside following a free kick that came crashing back off the crossbar. No more than five minutes later the woodwork was struck once again by Marlow as Harper unleashed an effort that agonisingly came back off the post and away to safety.

Thatcham struck gold on fifty-four minutes when a Rohat-Brown cross found the head of Sam Tanner who rifled his header past the goalkeeper to give the West Berkshire side a slender lead, and one they worked hard to keep hold of.

The second half continued with the home side throwing everything at Thatcham, forcing the visitors to defend their lead for a prolonged period of time. Ultimately, The Kingfishers were organised at the back and held out the remainder of the half to secure an opening day victory, which no doubt surprised many in the region.

Hungerford Town lost George Smith during the week after he suffered an ACL injury that will now rule him out for the remainder of the season. The Crusaders were also without the suspended Sean Moore who picked up two yellow cards last time out.

Goalkeeper Ryan Clarke was up against it from the off after making two fantastic saves inside the opening ten minutes as Hungerford struggled to get into the game. Disaster struck on twenty-three minutes as the hosts opened the scoring, frustrating the West Berkshire side. Hungerford went into half time a goal down, no thanks to goalkeeper Clarke who ultimately kept them in the game going into the second forty-five.

The second half continued much the same as Chesham continued to pile pressure on their visitors. The hosts doubled their lead with twenty minutes to go to all but put the game out of sight. The Crusaders pulled one back just a minute later however as Connor McDonagh built on his hattrick last week to take his tally to four already.

Hungerfords day went from bad to worse as five minutes into the nine added, defender Berry-Hargreaves was shown a straight red card for a foul as last man. He will now miss the next three games, a real blow for his side.

Tadley-Calleva were full of confidence going into their league opener thanks to a convincing FA Cup win at Barlows Park during the week, however this confidence quickly turned to frustration as they found themselves on the end of a opening day defeat to relegation prospects, Sheerwater.

Despite Tadley’s 78% overall possession, with over twenty shots on target, they were unable to take their chances in-front of goal.

Tadders found themseves 2-0 down within the opening ten minutes thanks to a penalty awarded for handball and then moments later a failed clearance from the goalkeeper which allowed the home striker to roll the ball into the back of the net.

Tadley pulled one back with half an hour to go as dead ball specialist Alex Miller scored from a free-kick with his first touch of the game.

As they pushed for an equaliser, Tadley left themselves open at the back which allowed their hosts to break on a counter attack and put the game beyond reach with just minutes to go.

AFC Aldermaston fell to another heavy defeat despite goals from Mitchell Parker & Simeon Weekes in the first half. The two goals however were cancelled out by visitors, Romsey, scoring four in the first half. The Atoms visitors continued to pile misery on them in the second fourty-five, scoring two more and putting Aldermaston’s goals conceded to 13 in just 3 games.

Elsewhere, Kintbury Rangers opened their league season with a 1-4 win away at Melksham, propelling them up the Wiltshere Senior League table. Danny Langford’s side will be looking to build on this throughout the season to reach Step 6 football next term.

Newbury were without a fixture this weekend.

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