Ardley United continued their unbeaten start to the season with an emphatic 5-1 victory over Holyport on Tuesday evening.
Kevin Brock’s side have now won five of their opening seven games – drawing the other two – putting them fourth in the Hellenic Premier Division with two games in hand over early leaders Reading Town.
The game was barely two minutes old when Kelvin McIntosh’s cross from the right was met by an unmarked Ryan Brooks at the far post to put Ardley into an early lead.
Holyport swiftly struck back, though, and drew level within 10 minutes as a speculative shot from outside the penalty area took a telling deflection to take it beyond goalkeeper Jack Harding.
The response from Ardley was impressive, however, and they needed just four minutes to restore their lead when Ollie Stanbridge’s header from close range was parried into the net by the visiting goalkeeper.
Jon Gardner extended Ardley’s lead with a 20-yard strike, putting United 3-1 ahead at half time, before the hosts took complete control in the second half.
United displayed attractive passing football and retained the ball well after the interval as further strikes from Brooks and Steve Howkins stretched the home side to four goals, and that’s how it stayed until the final whistle.
There was disappointment for Ardley earlier in the week, however, as they crashed out of the FA Vase after a 2-1 defeat at Farnham Town on Saturday.
On a poor surface, Ardley started the stronger and were rewarded for their early dominance when a superb finish from Howkins gave the visitors the lead.
Despite wasting further chances, United looked set to hold out and progress into the next round but a red card to Howkins 17 minutes from time spurred the hosts on and two goals in the final five minutes, one from a controversial penalty, put the home side through to the next round despite having been outplayed by the visitors.
Ardley are back in league action tomorrow, Saturday, when they travel to Newbury.