This was also my first chance to see the 'famous' Windsor FC kit at close quarters. It is certainly unique with the shirt being, in effect, a red, white and green union flag, with the base colour of red. I guess it garners the same sort of effect as the well know yeast extract spread. You either love it or hate it. However, unlike Marmite, which I am big fan of, I am not over keen on the kit. Having said that, I have to applaud the club for being different and creating a brand - you can see the flag on posters all around the ground. Maybe it will grow on me?
The ground itself is a fine example of a non-league stadium. Upon entering the ground, through one of three turnstiles at the town end, you are presented with a view down the ground to the Park End. To the right, there is an open terrace and the main stand - quite a large covered seating area. Beyond that more terracing and set back the club house, players and officials facilities. Opposite the main stand there is a covered standing area that spans most of the length of the pitch. Welcome shelter on a wet and windy night like this Tuesday.
This evening's opponents were Oxford City Nomads, two points worse off then Windsor but having played two more games. Oddly, for so early in the season, the sides had already met at the Oxford City Stadium just over two weeks ago. Windsor came out on top by 5-2, notching up their first Hellenic three-pointer since transferring from the Combined Counties League in the Summer.
With ten minutes to go before kick-off, I was beginning to think that the home side were being very careful with costs because only one side of the pitch was lit by floodlights. As the clock ticked over to 19:45 it became apparent that it was more of an issue rather than financial prudence. However, after some emergency fixing, we had a full complement of lights and we were still under way before eight o'clock.
Storm Aileen decided to make an appearance before kick-off, with the wind picking up significantly and the rain turning from drizzle into more of a downpour.
In the reverse fixture, Windsor had taken a three goal lead within the first 11 minutes, so it was no surprise that Nomads looked like they were setting out to keep it tight for a while in this game. Whilst Windsor had plenty of possession, they didn't really make any in-roads until the 10th minute. Even then, Sanders was more than equal to the effort, pushing it away for a corner with his legs.
Around halfway through the first period, Nomads seemed to realise that they had passed the point at which the game at home had already been lost and started to knock the ball around with more purpose and confidence. Twice in fairly quick succession they manufactured very neat passing movements that split the home defence, although neither led to a significant threat on the Windsor goal.
In fact, it was Oxford who created what could have been the best chance of the half, hitting Windsor with a very quick break which left them two on one for a short time. However, the chance was squandered and we went into the break all-square.
HT Windsor 0 Oxford City Nomads 0
The goal was clearly a shaker for Nomads and a confidence boost for Windsor, who began to spray the ball around with more assurance than in the first half.
Just before the hour mark, the ball was played long to Barry Hayles who showed all of his league experience, getting his body around the ball, and protecting it from the defender long enough for Jack Denton to make a run from midfield. Hayles then laid off an inch perfect pass for the midfielder to burst clear of the Nomads defence and finish very confidently past the advancing keeper. A really good goal all round, great hold-up play and a very assured finish from Denton. 2-0.
Nomads certainly didn't give the game up at this point. The tireless running of Connor Mattimore was always a threat to the home defence, who needed to be on their guard at all times.
However, the final nail in the Nomads coffin came on with 19 minutes left to play. Keiran (or should I say Keeron) Knight played a through-ball down the right flank for Shafi to chase. The striker looked, from my angle, to be second favourite to reach the ball before the Nomads keeper. However, he did get there first and then lobbed a delightful finish over the keeper and into the net. 3-0.
Even at three goals down, it is fair to say that the Nomads heads did not drop completely. They knew that the game was lost but continued in their attempts to get what surely would have only be a consolation goal. It was all to no avail. Windsor comfortably held on to their three goal lead until the referee blew for full-time.
FT Windsor 3 Oxford City Nomads 0. a deserved win for the home side but the 3-0 scoreline was harsh on Nomads who never gave up the ghost.
Windsor: Sobte, A.Smith, Clack, Brooks-Smith, Ingram, Nembhard, Sutherland, Denton, Knight, Hayles, Shafi.
Oxford City Nomads: Sanders, Bestley, Simms, Brown, Gibbens, Mulvany, Gila, Tutton, Mattimore, Khawaja, Lee
Ground No. 135
Programme: Free with admission