Bryan bags brace as Ardley overcome Holyport

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Two goals from Troy Bryan and a Ryan Brooks strike maintained Ardley United’s push for top spot in the Hellenic Premier Division with a 3-1 win at Holyport on Tuesday.

The result puts Kevin Brock’s side level on points with Wantage Town in second, a point off leaders Reading Town, who have played four games more.

Tuesday’s encounter was a midfield scrap from the outset as the visitors shaded possession in the opening exchanges and looked the more likely to open the scoring with an early Brooks effort directed straight at the home goalkeeper.

In an end-to-end first half, chances came at both ends before the breakthrough arrived on 32 minutes when Jamie West’s fizzed ball across the face of the Ardley goal was turned in by Chris Jackson.

Holyport’s leaded last just 10 minutes, though, as Harry Brock’s high cross was met by the head of Bryan, who powered the ball past the home goalkeeper to get his side on level terms at the break.

The second half continued in the same vein as the visitors marginally remained on top and they sealed victory with two goals in as many minutes.

First, Brooks finished well after good work from Dean Smith and Stuart Bridges, before Bryan was played through on the right side of the area and he shot across the goalkeeper into the far angle to seal three vital points.

Earlier in the week, on Saturday, Ardley were held to a 1-1 draw by Wootton Bassett Town. United took control from the first minute and came close through Brooks – who smashed the crossbar twice – and Steve Howkins – also hitting the bar – before Callum Covey finally found the breakthrough from the penalty spot late in the first half.

Wootton upped their game in the second period and, after they rattled the crossbar for the fourth time in the match, the visitors earned a point in stoppage time when an Ardley player handled the ball inside the box and Sam Collier dispatched the resulting penalty.

This weekend, Ardley face a potentially season-defining game away at main promotion rivals Wantage, who are level on points with Ardley but have played two games fewer.