This would be my third trip to The ASM Stadium but, on each occasion, I have been watching a different home side. My first visit was for Thame United v Shrivenham, the second a Boxing Day derby between Aylesbury United and Aylesbury, and now for my first look at Thame Rangers as they took on Penn & Tylers Green in an Hellenic League One East match.
From kick-off, Penn immediately were on the front foot. As early as the second minute they won a free-kick some 25 yards out, slightly to the right-hand side of the Thame penalty area. Up stepped Casey Bocarro to curl a superb effort past Dan Bowker and into the net. 0-1.
Just past the 20 minute mark, Penn doubled their lead. I have to admit that I only saw the ball hit the net for this goal. I normally travel very light to games. Occasionally my small camera, but normally just mobile phone and a pen for marking the programme. This evening I had decided to venture out with my DLSR and a mono-pod. Not too sure why because my camera, whilst very good for still life, is not capable of shooting action very well and, even if it was, my photography skills are limited to say the least. Still, I fancied a adding a few more shots to my website. Big mistake. Whilst fiddling with camera settings, Penn go and score a goal.
So, it appeared that it was a quick break, a great pass from the left-hand side to find Tripp who finished calmly. Of course, the goal-scorer, knowing that I didn't catch it all, will probably claim that it was a 30-yard volley into the top corner. Either way, after 22 minutes it was 0-2.
Thame made some tactical changes at this point. Player-Manager, Craig Faulconbridge, swapped his centre-half role for a position up front and, to be fair, it did have some effect on the pattern of the game.
It was 37 minutes, however, before Thame really threatened to get a goal back and, when they did, they really should have scored. First of all an effort came back off the inside of the Penn post before the rebound was blazed over the bar from well inside the box. A real let-off for Penn.
HT Thame Rangers 0 Penn & Tylers Green 2. A well deserved lead for the away side, who dominated the game for the first 30 minutes and have not looked stretched at the back at all so far.
Thame had very little time in which to enjoy being back in the game. The Penn left-back, Josh Fox, burst up the line, showing a great turn of pace. He was clipped once in the box and could easily have gone down. To his credit he stayed on his feet and delivered an inch perfect cross for Fred Tripp to roll the ball into the net. 1-3 and now, it looked like game over.
Thame continued to try to get back into the game but, in fairness, rarely troubled the Penn keeper to any great extent.
Into injury time and there was one last piece of drama to unfold. With Thame pushing up, still looking for a consolation, they were caught out by a long ball which saw a striker go clean through. Bowker rushed off his line and took the striker down. Despite protestations from the home side, there really was little option for the referee, he had to produce a red card, even if it was the 91st minute. Nathan Lang, who had been introduced as a substitute, took the gloves ready to face the ensuing free-kick. Once more the taker got the ball past the defensive wall but this time Lang got down well to his right and made a very good save. That was the last action of the game.
FT Thame Rangers 1 Penn & Tylers Green 3. A fairly comfortable win for Thame Rangers who looked a very solid outfit, tight at the back and threatening when pushing forward. Thame's recent good run is temporarily over but they showed enough to indicate that they are quite capable of getting a few more results this season.
Thame Rangers: Bowker, Attwell, Lynn, Deste, Davis, Faulconbridge, Johnston, Budziszewski, Buston, Hatton (c), Farah
Penn & Tylers Green: Cannings, Gumbs, Holland, Lofthouse-Smith, Fox, Blatchford, Weller, Davies, Bocarro, West, Tripp. Subs: O’Meally-Newell , Harman, Jordan, Bradley, Pritchard
Ground Number: A return visit