Cruse bags late winner for Ardley

Matt Cruse bagged the stoppage-time winner for Ardley United
Matt Cruse bagged the stoppage-time winner for Ardley United

Matt Cruse bagged the stoppage-time winner as Ardley United completed the double over Thatcham Town in Saturday’s UHLSport Hellenic League clash.

With numerous chances wasted from both sides, it took a last ditch winner from Cruse to separate the two sides in Saturday’s premier division contest.

Cruse fired straight at Chris Rackley and Jemel Johnson fired over for the visitors. Cruse curled wide before a ball over the home defence saw Harry Goodger make a poor connection and the ball rolled wide.

Callum Willmoth blazed over before Nathaniel Lewars shrugged off a defender but the Ardley striker lifted the ball over the bar.

Cruse forced Rackley into a good save and from the ensuing corner Bradley Cox’s header was cleared off the line. James Tennant fired in a low drive which Nick Bennion did well to get down to and block at his front post. After the restart, Goodger forced Bennion into a smart early save and the loose ball was fired at the empty net by Tennant but Luke Cray was on hand to block.

Leam Howards beat the offside trap but allowed Rackley to get back in time while Lewars and Sergio Guerrero had shots blocked. Another through ball saw Howards go clear but again Rackley made the save.

With a minute remaining of normal time another Ardley attack was cleared, the ball fell to Chris Jackson on the halfway line who passed out wide to Cruse, he cut inside but again Rackley beat his shot away for a corner.

The winning goal finally arrived in added-time when Carl Tappin put Cruse away and this time he calmly tucked the ball past the advancing Rackley.

Ardley boss Paul Davis said: “They are always the best ones, when you score late to win, and the worst to lose. We’ve done both this season but have won more through late goals at home.”