Fairford Town manager Jody Bevan hailed his side’s character as bounced back from behind to beat Ardley United in a nine-goal thriller, writes Luke Neale.
The win moves Fairford Town off the bottom of the Hellenic Premier Division and Bevan was delighted with the 5-4 win at Ardley, which saw his side come back from 3-0 after just 33 minutes courtesy of a stunning second-half performance.
“They (Ardley) looked like they could score every time they went forward,” admitted Bevan. “Connor Thompson pulled one back before the break and this changed my team talk and gave me chance to have a word with the lads.
“Connor was superb, scored with some great finishes and also tore them apart.”
Greg Hackett struck the opener with six minutes on the clock before Tobias London doubled the Ardley advantage with a powerful effort on 21 minutes. Hackett’s meandering run saw him find the back of the net for number three just after the half hour mark leaving Fairford shell-shocked.
Connor Thompson got a goal back for the visitors to make it 3-1 shortly before half-time, and he combined with his brother – Mason, who scored Fairford’s second six minutes into the second half.
The Supermarine loanee scored his second of the game on 62 minutes to bring Fairford back level and before completing his hat-trick two minutes later to make it 4-3 to Bevan’s men.
Jordan Moore struck back for the hosts 10 minutes from time to make it 4-4 before John Thomas smashed home Fairford’s fifth to ensure the three points came back to Cinder Lane.
Bevan hailed the comeback, saying: “We showed great character to come from behind to win and I think we are now starting to turn a corner.”
Fairford are now unbeaten in their last three outings and face a trip to Tytherton Rocks on Wednesday night in the Perpetua Press Floodlit Cup.
Bevan will use the cup clash as an opportunity to rotate his squad, adding: “I will be changing the team around to give others an opportunity.
“They will have the chance to show what they can do. We won’t do anything different, just play to win.”
Shrivenham boss Gareth Davies said his side must start taking their chances if they are to lift themselves out of the Premier Division relegation zone.
Davies’ men fell short on their travels to Holmer Green where they went down 3-2 despite having led 2-1 early in the second-half.
Pawel Kotwica gave Holmer the lead on 20 minutes after breaking the Shrivvy offside trap but debutant Sean McKeon hit back on 34 minutes to level for the visitors.
Josh Morse gave Shrivenham the lead just three minutes into the second half but just seven minutes later the hosts levelled.
Morse then had a string of chances to send Shrivenham back in front but after the chances went begging, it was Holmer Green who stole the points with just eight minutes remaining.
Davies was disappointed to concede the winner so late and has challenged his side to bounce back against Brackley Saints on Tuesday night.
“We pressed hard to get something from the game,” said Davies. “We need to stop conceding late goals and work harder in defence.
“We are down there (at the bottom of the table) for a reason and we simply haven’t been good enough at the moment.
“We are being punished for not taking our chances.”
Davies did however praise the performance of new signing McKeon and backed him to be a key player in the coming weeks.
“This was Sean’s first game in a few months; you know what you get with him, if we get the ball in the box, he will put it in the net.”
Elsewhere, Royal Wootton Bassett went down 3-2 at Wantage after squandering a 2-0 lead.
Kieran Diaz-Benetiz and TJ Bohane fired Bassett into a half-time lead although they had Adam Corcoran sent off.
Callum Wright pulled one back for Wantage just a minute after the re-start before the hosts levelled from a corner.
Former Bassett striker Steve Robertson then snatched victory for Wantage, picking out the top corner with a great strike.