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Vospers Oak Villa 3 Foxhole 2

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Vospers 3 Foxhole 2

Saturday 20th February 2010

Foxhole's late rally notwithstanding, this was an appreciably more emphatic victory than the scoreline may suggest as Villa appeared far sharper and more composed, even after Hoblin's harsh forty-second minute dismissal following an altercation with Kenny. The Foxes had been given the runaround before the break, and failed to dirty Barnes' pristine outfit until nineteen minutes from time, yet they would still have returned home with at least a point had kamikaze defending not allowed substitute Honeywill to make it 3-1 with nine minutes left, or Carpenter not slashed horribly at an injury-time effort with only the keeper to beat.

Giant striker Simmonds headed wide from Hoblin's fine cross and Dodd's attempt was saved by Holland as the home team quickly got into their stride, and they continued to dominate throughout the half, their ability to switch the point of attack with sweeping cross-field passes particularly impressive. Nicholls' twenty-yard drive after good work from Ansell offered some hope, but, soon after Simmonds had nodded Revell's deep centre against the bar, Mitchell floated a direct free-kick into the top corner seven minutes before the break. Within seconds, Scholes' misdirected cross had rebounded off the bar to present Simmonds with a simple tap-in but the gradient of the mountain faced by the Foxes suddenly seemed less severe when referee Reed brandished red.

Alas, short of counting, it was difficult to tell precisely which side was playing a man light as Vospers again created the better opportunities after the break. The crossbar was rattled from Dodd's free-kick, Holland did well to tip over Beeney's close-range header from Mitchell's cross, while Simmonds headed just too high from Beeney's resulting corner. Rowe had been cautioned in the first-half for a foul on Mitchell, and, for a poor challenge on Dodd, the Foxes' skipper was joined in the book on the hour by Hazeldine, who was immediately replaced by young Kempthorne, but the recent signing from Camelford was unable to make a significant impact. Nevertheless, Ansell twice tried his luck as the visitors finally exposed Vospers' shaky-looking rearguard, Barnes at last warming his hands when turning over Nicholls' dipping volley. Pinhammer's subsequent corner was met by the head of Rowe as, incredibly the crossbar was struck for a fourth time, Rowe himself reacting quickest to the rebound to crash home, yet again off the underside of the crossbar.

Griffin had been largely anonymous but looked likely to equalise when he burst clear only to delay his shot, allowing Bouch to tackle cleanly. During Foxhole's best spell, Bouch and Dodd were sufficiently rattled to receive yellow cards after, respectively, clattering into Ansell and pulling back Nicholls, but Honeywill took full advantage of a wayward pass to confidently score the killer third goal with his first touch. With time running out, Foxhole piled forward and their pressure was rewarded when their best player, Ansell, released Griffin to finish brilliantly with two minutes remaining. Regrettably, Ansell's clever skill in a crowded penalty-area at the death was not matched by Carpenter's shooting, but Vospers would have been kicking themselves if their earlier enterprising performance had not secured the points.

Foxhole (3-5-2): Ryan Holland; Adam Holland, Bobbylee Johns (sub. Nick Carpenter), Tony Mackellar; Ross Pinhammer (sub. Richard Faircloth), Sam Kenny, Lee Hazeldine (sub. Mike Kempthorne), Mark Rowe, Scott Ansell; Richard Griffin, Liam Nicholls.

Vospers (4-4-2): Andy Barnes; Ian Revill (sub. James Scott), Aiden Dodd, Darren Wills, Tony Bouch; Austin Beeney (sub. Dean Keating), Martin Mitchell, Lee Holman, John Scholes; James Simmons (sub. Jamie Honeywill), James Hoblin.

Referee: Mr Aaron Reed.

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