Ardley United’s joy at winning the Oxfordshire Senior Cup last Thursday was short-lived as they suffered a 2-1 defeat to Ascot United in the Bluefin Insurance Challenge Cup final on Bank Holiday Monday.
Last week, United’s players consoled themselves from losing the Hellenic League title with a fine team performance to sink Kidlington 4-0 and lift the prestigious Senior Cup for the first time in their history at Oxford United’s Kassam Stadium.
Kidlington started the brighter and enjoyed the better early possession, and they were further encouraged when Ardley’s top scorer, Ryan Brooks, was taken off injured.
However, his replacement - Troy Bryan - was instrumental in the first goal on 20 minutes. Chasing the ball to the left byline, Bryan cut the ball back to Jon Gardner and his shot sailed past Kidlington ‘keeper Matt Hyslop and into the corner of the net.
The lead was doubled within seven minutes as Gardner and Ollie Stanbridge combined to set up Callum Convey, who fired into the far corner from 25 yards, before they suffered another injury setback when Tommy Kinch was carried off, but they maintained their lead until half-time.
Any thoughts of a second half Kidlington comeback were quickly extinguished by a determined Ardley side, who increased their lead through Bryan’s bundled effort on 53 minutes. Now in complete control, Ardley had chances to go further ahead before Man of the Match Gardner set up Steve Howkins, who tapped in to wrap up victory.
United were unable to complete the cup double, however, after they were narrowly beaten by Ascot in a closely-fought final on Monday.
Ascot drew first blood when Leon Yarnie evaded several challenges and picked out an unmarked Rob Saunders, who rifled past Jack Harding.
Their lead lasted barely a minute, though, as Stuart Bridges brought Ardley level at half-time following an entertaining opening period, but the decisive goal came midway through the second half when Daryl McLean converted after United failed to clear.