Ampthill's Woburn Road stadium is just off the A507 on the outskirts of the town. A short driveway through woodland leads up to a reasonably sized car park right next to the clubhouse and entrance to the ground.
There is a single, old-fashioned style, turnstile next to the entrance gate. The clubhouse, which incorprates the tea and snack bar, stands to the right of the entrance. There is a fairly large covered seating area along the right-hand side of the playing area which is slightly raised above the playing surface. The stadium is in a very rural setting and this side of the ground is on a natural bank giving a very good view over the pitch. This stand also houses the original dugouts which are actually built and set inot the fabric of the stand. However, as is the case at many non-league grounds these days, the dugouts that are in use are on the opposite side of the pitch, well away from the main supporters area.
Ampthill were coming into the game on the back of a fantastic 3-2 win over Hertford, a team who had put 7 past them earlier in the season. This evening's visitors, Oxhey, won the reverse fixture 5-0, so Ampthill were looking to turn the tables for the second game in 3 days.
For the first fifteen minutes Oxhey looked exactly what they are, a comfortable, safe, mid-table team. The home side were making all of the running and Oxhey barely made it into their opponents half at all. Sure enough, 14 minutes into the game, a perfectly weighted through ball split the Oxhey defence wide open and Dan Butler latched onto it, took it around the keeper and slipped it into an empty net. No more than Ampthill deserved.Their joy was relatively short-lived though when Oxhey equalised from their first meaningful attempt at goal. A diagonal ball over the leaft-backs head was perfectly flighted for Gladdy to run onto and unleash an unstoppable drive into the roof of the net from the corner of the box. It may have been their first attempt but it was a strike worthy of putting them back in the game. 'Tek a boo son' as Andy Gray woudl have said. The goal seemed to remind Oxhey that they were in a game and, from that point onwards, they probably shaded the rest of the first half. At half-time it was still 1-1 and it was all to play for in the second half.
The first fifteen minutes or so of the second half was a particularly scrappy affair with neither side taking control of the game. This was all to change on 60 minutes when a declined Jets penalty appeal sparked the game back into life. From the other end of the pitch, albeit with a good view of the incident, it looked like Oxhey had a fair case to appeal and that there was contact between the defender and the Oxhey striker.
The Jets sense of injustice lead to them contesting the ball more intensely and Ampthill upped the level to match them. This lead to a very entertaining last 30 minutes. Despite Oxhey's renewed enthusiasm, it was actually the home side who began to take control of the game. For the next quarter of an hour or so they created numerous chances to take the lead, forcing the Oxhey keeper into at least one superb save and being denied by some last ditch defending on more than one occasion. At least two chances looked easier to score from including one attempt where the ball rolled across the Jets goal line somehow eludingall atempts to prod it over the line.
It was beginning to look as if the home side might regret their misses but, with about ten minutes remaining, a right-wing free-kick was swung into the Jets box and captain Ben Butler gleefully smashed the ball past the helpless keeper. Cue joyous celebrations from the home side. There was still some time to play out but you had the feeling that Ampthill were in no mood to let the points slip at this point. Oxhey did get the ball back into the Ampthill half a few times but there weren't too many scares. In fact, it was Ampthill who almost had the last say when they broke through for a one on one only for the keeper to rush out and take the striker out. The incident was just outside the area, so no penalty appeal and the referee only produced a yellow card, despite it being a clear goal-scoring opportunity. Maybe the fact that it was pretty much the last minute swayed the referees decision, but I think the keeper was very lucky to not see red.
The referee soon blew for full time to the relief and joy of the Ampthill team and support. Overall, this was an entertaining game of football which, on the second half performance alone, the home side deservedly won. With Holmer Green picking up a point against Biggleswade, Ampthill are now five points ahead but have still played three more games. It looks like the relegation battle could go down to the wire.
Ampthill Town - @ampthillfc
Oxhey Jets - @1972jets