Rascals play well to draw against Oxford 8
Oxford 2 - 2 Reading Rascals
The Rascals put in an excellent team performance to come away with a hard earned draw against a strong Oxford side. Despite the horribly wet weather at Headington Girls School on a day when it never quite got light, the Rascals finished the game with smiles all round at having secured a well earned point.
Steadily improving performances and probably deserving to win this game, the Rascals had to fight back from being 1-0 and 2-1 down and escape a last minute scare when the Oxford forward put the ball just wide of an open goal the Rascals finally felt they had got a piece of luck go their way.
The team has fought hard in recent weeks, put in some exceptional performances and are improving immensely and so it was nice not to loose to another fluke goal.
Man of the match was Nathan Warwick, at just 13 was given the responsibility of being Centre Half and played the game brilliantly. His positioning and tackling were excellent and followed the instructions he had been given by coach John Sayer perfectly.
Lukas Helmschrott-Bowden looked a natural despite it being his first adult game and put in a strong performance similar to the ones he had been doing for the U16 boys in recent weeks.
The Rascals defence were solid, well marshalled and let very little past. Matthew Thorne played excellently putting in some vital tackles and covering a lot of ground. With Kelly Andrews, Richard Nall, Chair Mann Tim and a guest performance from a very able Phil Withers, goalie Steve Thurlbourne wasn't that busy but when called upon made some excellent saves.
The first Oxford goal was from a very well struck short corner. There was a muttering from the Reading supporters that the player had hit the ball too hard, but unfortunately there is no rule to prevent this. The second goal was the sort of fluky miss-hit shot that has plagued the Rascals on several occasions.
The Reading goals were much better, both coming from periods of good possession and controlled play. The first was scored by Harry Sayer who is putting in some great performances along side his brother Oli who has also been outstanding in recent matches. The second was scored by Russ Gates, guesting from the Rascals who flicked the ball past the advancing keeper and over the line before Paul Warwick could make absolutely sure. Paul along with Higgie, our other forward worked hard, holding the ball up, frustrating the defence and laying the ball off well.
In a way the mid-season break has come a couple of weeks early with the team starting to fire on all cylinders. It will be interesting to see how we fair in the second half, playing the return leg against the sides we have already played will be a good measure of our improvement over the last three months. The first game back will be to revenge the beating that the Rovers gave us on 1st October!
Best wishes to everyone connected with the club for Christmas and the New Year.