United lose out to very good Thatcham side
Two goals late in the first half and a third after the break see Woodley defeated in the league for the first time in 2017
United's busy schedule continued with another midweek match on Tuesday evening when they made the short trip to Thatcham.
The first twenty minutes saw the home side in complete control. A deep left wing corner found a Town player whose cross was half cleared by Woodley centre back Idris Kamara; picking up the ball outside the box, Thatcham captain Tom Melledew blazed over.
More shots continued to rain down on Alex Reed in the United goal. Mark James headed wide a set piece before winger Josh Helmore missed to the right from the left side of the box.
Looking to ease the pressure, Woodley were trying to find their wide men at every opportunity. A great ball by Jake Nicholls found Nathanael Robinson whose excellent first touch would have seen him clear on the left if he hadn't been crudely fouled by the full back who injured himself in the process. Robinson took the resultant free kick which was gathered by Thatcham stopper Chris Rackley at the second attempt.
After weathering the early storm, United were growing into the game. Some fine trickery by Robinson on the left, turning his man inside out, ended with him picking out Carl Prestidge who saw his powerful low shot brilliantly saved by Rackley.
It was then Town's turn to look to open the scoring; striker Shane Cooper-Clarke clipped the top of the bar from a free kick whilst Helmore did really well to beat his man before sending over a left wing cross that was headed goalward with Reed showing good athleticism to tip over.
Two minutes before the break saw Thatcham go ahead when a quality cross from left back Tom Browne was headed in by Cooper-Clarke.
The lead was doubled in injury time when Helmore turned home from a tight angle on the right after good hold-up play.
HT Thatcham Town 2-0 Woodley United
Woodley made a change three minutes after the restart. Amin Khomsi replaced Abdul Kamara in the middle of the park.
Like the Flackwell and Tuffley games, United played better after the break, showing they can more than match teams at this level. Robinson fired a free kick into the wall after a nice passing move involving half the side ended with a foul.
Just past the hour, United made a second change when Greg Beckett came on for Prestidge. This saw Robinson swap wings and Beckett play out on the left.
The home side further increased their lead with twenty minutes to go when Copper-Clarke latched onto a Joe Blount through ball, rounded Reed and slotted home.
Woodley never gave in; a pinpoint pass from Nicholls found Charlie Oakley who was thwarted by a combination of defender and keeper.
More pressure from the visitors followed. Rackley did brilliantly to keep out a Beckett header whilst Khomsi missed after a Robinson corner was headed back across goal.
United made their final change with ten minutes to go when Danny Greenwood made way for Owen Davies.
In the final stages Thatcham substitutes Lamin Sankoh and Dylan Taylor had shots miss the target before Woodley came agonisingly close to a deserved consolation. Twenty five yards from goal, Nicholls had his shot blocked with the rebound breaking nicely to Robinson who had his shot half saved by Rackley; with the ball rolling towards goal it was hacked clear from two yards out just before Oakley could prod in!
FT Thatcham Town 3-0 Woodley United