Bicester Town Colts currently play at the BSA grounds on Green Lane in Chesterton, just outside Bicester. The sports ground is sprawling and plays host to multiple sports including cricket and football. There's a good sized car park adjacent to the L-shaped pavilion which houses the changing areas as well as a small hall and the toilets. There is a covered porch area that runs around the 'L' which has benches under a shelter.
However, the pitch has no slope and looked to be in pretty good condition. It certainly seemed to have drained quite well given the amount of recent rain.
Thanks to referee David Evans for allowing me to photograph both team sheets before the game. Top man.
This game was an Oxfordshire Charity Cup game, a trophy that has been contested for well over 100 years and is currently held by Garsington. Colts have not won the trophy before. However, today's opponents, Enstone Sports, have lifted the trophy twice in their history, in 1998 and 2002. In order to get to this stage of the competition Bicester saw off Premier League opposition in Summertown Stars, winning 2-0. Enstone beat fellow Witney & District Premier league side Stonesfield by 4-1, despite having already lost 5-1 at home to the same side in the league. In fact, Enstone's league form ahs not been good at all. They currently prop up the division with three points from their six outings. Top scorer (according to Full-Time) is Reece Bayliss with four in three games. Oddly, Bayliss appears to be on the tram sheet as goalkeeper today.
Colts are sixth in the Oxfordshire Senior League Division 1 having picked up ten points in seven games. They have three players sharing the top scorer title at the moment, Nick Christodoulou, Ronnie Montague and Alfie Wright, all with five goals. Although Wright has scored his in just four games.
Thankfully the rain was still holding off when the game kicked off under leaden skies. Colts were the first to get a strike off in anger when Lennon Parkin's second-minute strike hit the side-netting. However, Enstone looked very lively and certainly didn't have the look of a side struggling at the bottom of their league. Nathan Bott's free-kick on six minutes was hammered into the wall and didn't threaten Stuart Dutton, but it was just one example of the visitors pushing Bicester backwards at the start of the game. Consequently the opening goal, scored by Colts on ten minutes, came against the general run of play. Captain Elliot Hale made the goal with his vision and passing ability, threading a delightful ball between defenders to set Jamie Lumsdale loose on the left-hand edge of the box. Lumsdale took the chance first time, looping a shot over Bayliss into the far corner. 1-0
Undeterred by going behind, Enstone tried to hit back almost immediately and only an excellent last ditch block from Jamie Lewis, throwing himself in front of Jordan Godfrey's goal-bound shot, prevented Sports from levelling it up within three minutes of conceding. Then, from the resulting corner, Nathan Bott rose highest but saw his header crash against the bar.
The game had now opened up and was swinging from one end to the other. Korben Morris hit a dipping volley from just outside the box that didn't really worry Bayliss too much before, on 26 minutes, Parkin's delightful ball into the six yard box was inches from being converted by Reuben Mitchell.
With ten minutes remaining in the half Mitchell came close again after being put through on the right before skewing his shot into the side-netting thanks to some good pressure from a covering defender. However, two minutes from the interval Mitchell became provider, sliding a lovely ball in behind the defence for Lennon Parkin's perfectly times run. As Bayliss came off his line the striker slid the ball under him to make it 2-0.
There was still time for the visitors to hit the woodwork again when Liam Harris, who had been a constant threat to the home defence, was sent through on goal down the left side. His drive beat Dutton but clipped the outside of the keeper's right-hand post and went wide. Maybe a little unlucky but it was the sort of chance that needed to be taken to get Enstone back into the game. On the balance of play, that would have been something they deserved.
HT Bicester Town Colts 2 Enstone Sports 0. A very decent half of football. Enstone looked the better side for the first twenty minutes but found themselves a goal down. After that the game was far more even. Both home goals were scored thanks to excellent through balls that split the Enstone defence.
Enstone went in search of the equaliser. On 76 minutes Fred Booker's run gave him a glimpse of goal but his effort was just wide of the mark. To minute's later James Little had the ball in the home net only for the assistant's flag to cancel it out, much to the ire of the visitors. Sports only had to wait a further minute before they were back on level terms. A free-kick delivered into a a dangerous area was met by the head of Dan Bott giving Dutton no chance. 2-2
With five minutes remaining the visitors could have pulled off a great turnaround when Rhys Warner-Carter volleyed goalward but Dutton was well positioned to make a comfortable save.
FT Bicester Town Colts 2 Enstone Sports 2. Over the course of the game a draw after 90 minutes was probably a fair result. The penalty and red card defeinitely became a turning point in the game but, even before then, Enstone had done enough to deserve something from the game. Great entertainment for a neutral despite the rain starting to pour late in the second half.
Ronnie Montague for Colts. Scores. 1-0
Nathan Bott scores for Enstone. 1-1
Joe Pridmore scores for Colts. 2-1
Dan Boot for Enstone. Saved by Dutton. Still 2-1 after two each.
Josh Patrick makes it 3-1 Colts
Reece Bayliss for Sports, scores. 3-2
Reuben Mitchell for Colts. 4-2
Dan Newman has to score. He does, just. Dutton almost kept it out. 4-3
Harry Baker to win it. Scores. 5-3
If you want to catch either of these sides in action. Colts are at bottom side Garsington Reserves on the 25th. The reverse fixture ended 3-2 to Bicester. Enstone travel to second placed Hook Norton who have already won 3-2 at Enstone back in mid-October.
Bicester Town Colts: 1.Dutton, 5.Baker, 2.Pridmore, 3.Lewis, 7.Montague, 6.Morris, 8.Hale(c), 4.Lumsdale, 14.Parkin, 10.Wiltshire, 15.Mitchell. Subs: 12.Bushay, 9.Patrick, 11.Freeman, 16.Breslin, 17.Chiverton
Enstone Sports: 1.Bayliss, 2.Ladbrook, 8.N.Bott(c), 4.Newman, 7.Little, 6.Watts, 14.D.Bott, 5.Kemp, 11.Harris, 10.Probbitts, 9.Godfey. Subs: 13.Cozier, 3.Booker, 12.Phillips, 15.Warner-Carter, 16.T.Bott
Ground Number: 388