Thomas fires hat-trick as impressive Ardley bounce back to win at Reading

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Reading Town 1 Ardley United 4

A rare hat-trick for centre back Ben Thomas and a penalty by in-form Ryan Brooks put tabletoppers Ardley back on the winning trail at Reading.

Reading took the game to the visitors in the early exchanges, and were unlucky not to have gone ahead after 10 minutes when Tom Williams latched onto a loose ball just inside his own half, cut inside from the left and fired a powerful shot which was well saved by keeper Joe White.

Minutes later the ball was played down the centre to Marcus Richardson who lobbed the advancing keeper to give the home side a deserved lead.

Ardley woke up and on 24 minutes a free kick was driven in by Stuart Bridges, with Thomas heading home to level the score.

Reading had a strong penalty appeal turned down when, following a corner, the ball appeared to strike a defender’s arm. Ardley took the lead when Bridges curled in a corner and Thomas was again on hand to head home. With 45 minutes on the clock a free kick was driven at the Reading keeper, which he failed to hold onto. The ball fell at the feet of Thomas giving him a tap in for his hat-trick and a sweet tasting cup of tea at half time. Ardley dominated the second half, happy to pass the ball around and frustrate Reading. On 13 minutes into the half a corner was laid back to Adam Garner, his shot hit a defender’s arm and Brooks stepped up to put the game out of reach of a now weary Reading.

Ardley, six points clear at the top of the table, visit Witney Town this Saturday.