Unsurprisingly, nothing has changed at the Syresham Sports & Social Club since my last visit in September. Oddly, one of the reasons I visited in September after originally planning a trip to Tuffley Rovers, was the shortage of diesel. That's something else that has also not changed. Once again we seem to have a big shortage with No Diesel signs up at all of the local stations.
The sides have met twice already this season, the 2-2 that I witnessed in September (Points Shared) and a 4-1 win for Garsington at Denton Lane in December, a game that saw Callum Lucas get all four goals for the hosts. There's still a little way to go in the league but, as it stands, Halse sit sixth, Garsington eighth, three points behind. It's been a good first venture into this level for Halse, featuring some very decent results. Goals have not been free flowing but, then again, they have not conceded too many either. Only Garsington, in that 4-1 win, and champions-elect, Bicester Hallions, have really put them to the sword. Garsington have had a bit of a mixed bag this season. Plenty of wins and goals at home but only three points and ten goals from nine games on their travels. In Callum Lucas they have the league's joint top scorer on 23 goals, sharing the lead with Bicester Hallions striker Ryan Brooks.
To be honest I knew very little about the Ben Turner Cup and, despite searching around, I still don't know much about it. The current holders are Freeland FC but there has not been a competition for the past two years due to the pandemic. As far as I can make out neither Halse United or Garsington have won the trophy in the past.
Halse have played two games to get to the Semi-Final, beating Bure Park 2-1 at Pingle Field and Adderbury Park Reserves 3-0 at home. GGarsington had a bye in the first round and followed it up with a 4-2 defeat of Oxford Irish Athletic.
Quite a cagey start from both sides with neither of the teams managing to establish any real rhythm or build up a head of steam. Dean Ingram did smash a dipping volley over Molloy's head in the sixth minute, but his effort came back off the bar. This was the only major opportunity for either side in the opening 20 minutes or so. Halse without doubt had the lion's share of the ball but Garsington were strong at the back, severely restricting any chances that may have come United's way. The home side manage to carve out the next major goal scoring effort when Luke Gilsenan found himself with a clear sight of goal from the edge of the box. Molloy was out quickly, standing strong and making himself big to block the Halse winger's effort well.
Aside from those two chances the ball was predominantly i the middle third of the pitch until the 31st minute when the visitors took the lead against the general run of play. Top scorer Callum Lucas found some space on the right hand side and was played in on goal. He drove towards the box before lifting the ball over the advancing Humphries to make it 0-1.
HT Halse United 0 Garsington 1. Neither side really got any rhythm going. If anything Halse had more of the ball and a couple of half decent chances but it was a cool, classy finish from Lucas that divided the sides at the break.
That stop looked increasingly important two minutes later when the home side got themselves back in the game. Luke Gilsenan turned sharply in the box and fired low to Molloy's left and, despite the keeper getting a strong hand to it, the ball squirmed into the net. 1-2. If Halse thought it was game n again now, their hopes only last three minutes. This time Lucas turned provider, playing Lewis Ryan in on goal. Humphries again got something on the effort but there was still enough on the ball to take it over the line despite the last ditch attempt from defender Aaron Oddy. 1-3.
Halse upped their efforts but it was always going to be too late for a two goal turnaround at that point. Their defeat was confirmed on 82 minutes when Brad Dolton got the ball just outside the Halse penalty area and decided to go solo, dancing into the box before drilling a shot past Humphries, much to the delight of the Garsington bench and support. 1-4.
FT Halse United 1 Garsington 4. The visitor's second half performance was worthy of the victory. They upped their pace, were first to every ball and won almost every 50-50 challenge.
The other semi-final saw Kirtlington beat Bicester Town Colts 3-1. The Final will be played at Kidlington's Yarnton Road ground, 13:30 ko on Saturday 7th May.
Halse United: Humphries, Lloyd, Purnell(c), Harris, Hamblin, Murphy, Gilsenan, Read, Simpson, Kingham, Ingram. Subs: Oddy, Keen, Childerley
Garsington: Molloy, Smith, Hayden, Stubbs, Sibanda, Chalmers, Dolton, C.Gaul, J.Ryan, L.Ryan, Lucas. Subs: Bartlett, Campbell, Ludlow, J.Gaul, Loveridge
Ground Number: Re-Visit