Tucker Park is situated just to the South of Faringdon town centre. There's very little parking available at the ground, so little that the club website directs visitors to the Tesco car park on the opposite side of Park Road from the ground entrance. The ground is accessed by a narrow service road that leads from Park Road up alongside the pitch to the clubhouse and players changing blocks. The clubhouse, which is currently being refurbished, is a good size and has a large patio area that is raised above pitch level, giving a good elevated view of the match. There is no spectator cover around the pitch.
The playing surface slopes slightly from right to left, back towards Park Road. In the distance, behind the Park Road end goal, you can see the famous Faringdon Folly perched atop Folly Hill.
Faringdon are having their most successful period since re-joining the Hellenic League structure back in the 2016-17 season. At the start of play they sat third in the table, nine pints adrift of the leaders, Letcombe, but with a game in hand. Things had been even better earlier in the season, but a bad run of form just at the wrong time has effectively ended any title hopes. In early March, Faringdon were also third but were only six points adrift with two games in hand. Unfortunately a run of just two wins in six, including a damaging 3-0 defeat against the leaders, has seen them slip away. Having said that, a top three or four finish would be a significant achievement.
Marlborough's Dev team have not had it easy this season. They beat Wroughton Dev. 3-2 on the opening day but have only won one more game since that time and now sit bottom of the league. The fact that they have not picked up an away point yet, had scored only 12 in 18 before tonight and conceded 82 in the process, demonstrate the difficulties they have had. However, as it stands, they could still avoid the wooden spoon as they are just a point behind Wroughton with two games in hand and a better goal difference.
The omens for this evening's game were not good for the visitors though. The league's lowest scorers up against the second tightest defence. The reverse fixture saw a Faringdon inflict a heavy defeat too as they rattled in nine unanswered goals.
Marlborough, kicking down the slope in the first half, were first to fire a shot in anger when Nathan Good tried an audacious lob from 30 yards. Jack Gibson was far enough of his line to make it worthwhile but the effort cleared the bar by some way. It took Faringdon a further 5 minutes to respond in kind, top scorer Matt Pill also firing over the bar. In what was a lively start from both sides, Marlborough's Harry Womersley got the first effort on target after 7 minutes only for Gibson to punch the ball clear. Two minutes after this Faringdon striker Andy Goodchild won a race to the ball with Marlborough stopper Kieran Maidment, only to see his stabbed effort run just wide of the post. It was the closest anyone had come so far though.
Just past the quarter hour mark Faringdon came very close again. Adam Sly drove into the Marlborough penalty area but was forced wide of the goal, his cross-cum-shot from a narrow angle, beat Maidment but rolled inches past the far post with no Faringdon player far enough advanced to apply a finishing touch. Maidment was called into action again a few minutes later, saving well from Jack Tomes as Faringdon began to turn the screw. A deep cross from the right on 21 minutes found full-back Sam Leech arriving at the far post but his first time volley flew narrowly wide of Maidment's left-hand post. It seemed as if a goal was coming for the home team and sure enough, on 23 minutes, they finally made the breakthrough after winning a corner on the right. The ball was right across the box, eventually being fed back in dangerously from the left flank to find Andy Goodchild arriving perfectly to nudge the ball over the line. 1-0.
If Farngdon expected the first goal to open the floodgates, they were wrong. Liam Hares did see his goalbound header cleared off the line and Maidment did enough to force a Mitch Coombes shot over the bar, but the second goal did not transpire and the hosts could only take a single goal lead into the break.
HT Faringdon Town 1 Marlborough Town Development 0. Faringdon were on top overall but didn't make the most of their extra possession. Marlborough showed enough to demonstrate that they can also pose a threat.
Even at two goals down, Marlborough didn't let their heads drop. In fact, they continued to look the more dangerous of the teams. On 65 minutes substitute Charlie Frampton shot just wide and then, with just under twenty minutes remaining, they did get their reward for their second half efforts. Once again it was a mistake at the back that was punished and this time Nathan Good made no mistake with the finish. 2-1 and game on.
The goal shook Faringdon up enough for them to stem the Marlborough tide somewhat, although they were still spending more time in their own half than you would suppose they wanted to. In fact, it wasn't until the 87th minute that Faringdon finally made the game safe. It came from the penalty spot, Jamie Broadbent sending Maidment the wrong way to make it 3-1. Then with Marlborough still trying to press forward, the icing on the cake was applied when Matt Pill was sent clear of the defence before sliding the ball under the advancing Maidment to make it 4-1.
FT Faringdon Town 4 Marlborough Town Development 1. The scoreline suggests a relatively easy three points for Faringdon but it doesn't tell the whole story. Faringdon probably weren't at their best, but Marlborough can also take heart that they put up a good fight even though the odds were stacked well and truly against them. Both sides are back in action this Saturday. Marlborough are back at home as they welcome mid-table Highworth Town Reserves in their bid to avoid the bottom spot. The reverse fixture ended in a narrow 2-1 win for Highworth. Faringdon are on the road as they make the short trip to eighth placed Wantage Town to take in their Development team. Faringdon ran out 5-0 winners in the game at Tucker Park in March.
Faringdon Town: Gibson, Platt, Leech, Tomes, Broadfield, L.Hares, Forth,(c), Sly, Goodchild, Pill, Coombes. Subs: Fletcher, Lawrence, Yates, Munns
Marlborough Town Development: Maidment, Johnstone, Bathe, T.Womersley, Gale, Beel, Wooliams, Mooney(c), Good, Fraser, H.Womersley. Subs: Frampton, Burke, De Souza
Ground Number: 360