Daffern bags winner boosts Ardley ahead of derby clash

Ardley United's Ade Talabi and Lydney Town keeper Richard Thomas go for the ball
Ardley United's Ade Talabi and Lydney Town keeper Richard Thomas go for the ball

Ardley United go into the UHLSport Hellenic League Boxing Day derby with Brackley Town Saints with back-to-back wins under their belts.

A second half fight-back saw Ardley gain another three points as they continue to pull away from the foot of the premier division table following a 2-1 victory over Lydney Town on Saturday.

The visitors had the first real chance of the game but keeper Kieran Beesley pulled off a smart save to deny Lewis Halford.

For the home side Jacob Daffern fired straight at Rich Thomas before Reece Bayliss saw his shot saved at full stretch by the visitors’ keeper.

A moment of indecision by Ardley keeper Kieran Beesley almost let Daniel Morgan in to open the scoring before Peter Macklin headed just over from a free-kick. But Lydney took the lead just before halftime when Declan Morley-Lyne fired a free-kick into the far corner of the net.

A minute later, Lydney almost doubled their advantage when Halford burst through on the right only to see his shot parried by Beesley before skewing his follow-up effort wide.

Having somewhat under-performed in the first half, Ardley emerged from the dressing room in a different mood as they began to press forward after the restart.

Five minutes into the second half Ardley duly drew level when a corner from the left was met by Elias Katsoloudi who hooked his shot into the roof of the net.

The home side could have taken the lead had they taken advantage of some of the many crosses that were put in to the box.

But they had to wait until the 68th minute to go in front when Katsoloudi picked up the ball on the edge of the area and crossed for Daffern, who rode a couple of challenges before slotting it inside Thomas’s near post.

Lydney’s best chance of the half came courtesy of more indecision in the box as Beesley eventually saved Morgan’s shot. But that was as near as the visitors came as Ardley saw further efforts either saved or narrowly off target.

The 2-1 score line probably did not reflect the home side’s dominance in the second half but the three points will be welcomed as Ardley look to climb the table.

As for Saints, they also go into the derby at Ardley on the back of a victory. They beat Binfield 2-0 on Saturday with goals from Matt Hammond and Logan Kelling.