Thame have made a reasonable start to the season, winning four of their nine league games, drawing two and losing three. However, they had been humbled 4-0 by Ascot United on the last home league outing. Shrivenham's start has been less impressive with just two wins and seven defeats from their opening nine games. I was expecting a home win but, having read some comments from the visiting manager, I also expected Shrivenham to play some football and up a fight. I was not to be disappointed.
Thame were either slow out of the blocks or Shrivvy started quickly, because for the first 5 minutes there was only one team in it. Taking full advantage of the surface, Shrivenham were fizzing the ball around nicely, playing some incisive football. However, there was no end product and Thame, getting over their initial shellshock, started to play themselves into the game, having a header cleared off the line on the 5 minute mark. This seemed to be a turning point and the home side began to assert themselves more and more on the game. A lung-busting run from inside his own half by Thame midfielder Ricketts saw the away keeper parry his shot straight back to him. This time his shot hit the inside of the post and flew to safety. Shrivenham, however, continued to try to play football, something that came back to haunt them on 25 minutes. Playing the ball around at the back a stray pass went straight to a Thame player who slid it forward for Mealing to calmly slot it under the keeper for 1-0.
Undaunted, Shrivenham pressed forward and, two minutes later, got their reward when a slick passing move was drilled home by Edmondson. Two minutes later, following a sloppily defended corner, it was 2-1 to the away side when Robertson poked home at the far post.
Shrivenham looked to have done enough to hold on to their lead at half-time until a 45th minute short corner routine was finally played to the far post for San West to score his first of the night. So, at half-time it was 2-2. A thoroughly entertaining first 45 minutes.
The second half was less than five minutes old when a long punt by a Thame defender was mis-judged by a Shrivvy defender allowing West to skip through and calmly finish past the goalkeeper. 3-2 to Thame.
After 55 minutes, Thame took what proved to be an unassailable lead. Ricketts' pace down the left flank was too much for the away defence and his cut back was met by West to complete his hat-trick. At 4-2, Thame looked to have the game sewn up. Shrivenham, however, never gave up the fight and when the home keeper came for a cross and missed, Fowler had the relatively easy task of firing into the net. With just over twenty minutes still to play and the score at 4-3, it was game on again. The away side stepped it up a gear but, despite having the lion's share of possession, could not muster a further response and the home side held on to take the three points.
Overall, this was a very enjoyable game to watch with both sides playing some good football at times. The main difference between the teams was probably in the final third of the pitch. Thame had a slight edge when it came to the killer pass and finishing. Shrivenham, however, play an good brand of football and, on this showing, don't deserve to be where they are in the league.
Thame United - @thameunitedfc
Shrivenham - @shrivenhamfc