FOOTBALL: Harding is spot-on as Ardley are held

Ardley United’s Harry Brock (right) was sent off during their goalless draw at Kidlington on Saturday

Ardley United’s Harry Brock (right) was sent off during their goalless draw at Kidlington on Saturday

First published in Sport

Ardley United keeper Jack Harding saved a Lewis Brownhill penalty as the Uhlsport Hellenic League Premier Division leaders drew 0-0 at Kidlington, with both sides reduced to ten men on Saturday.

Kidlington’s Jack Quainton went for a second booking, while Ardley’s Harry Brock was handed a straight red.

With second-placed Wan-tage Town, whom they host at Oxford Road on Saturday, winning 3-0 at Thame, it saw Ardley’s lead at the top cut to just four points.

To make matters worse, Wantage, whom they beat 1-0 at Alfredian Park earlier in the season, still have three games in hand on Kevin Brock’s side which sets up an intriguing encounter.

Both sides struggled to cope with a difficult surface at Yarnton Lane and chances were at a premium.

The only real action during the half centred on two dismissals, the first when Quainton saw red after his second booking, and then Harry Brock was sent off for for kicking an opponent.

Just before half time Ardley had a let-off when Dean Smith headed off the line.

Although Ardley dominated the early stages they didn’t look like scoring.

And it was the hosts who should have taken the lead when Tom Woodbridge was brought down in the area to earn them a penalty.

But Harding dived to his left to save Brownhill’s spot kick before making an equally brilliant save from the resulting corner low down to his right.

The introduction of substitute Jon Gardner nearly turned the game in Ardley’s favour.

From an acute angle, Troy Bryan fastened onto a Gardner pass, but his shot hit the post and rebounded away.

In time added-on, Chris Jack-son almost snatched a victory for Ardley, but his header was straight at keeper Matt Hyslop.

Ardley were due to play Oxford City Nomads in the Oxfordshire Senior Cup yesterday, but the game was postponed again because of a waterlogged pitch at Marsh Lane.

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