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FOOTBALL: Ardley cruise to first Oxfordshire Senior Cup success
Ardley United lifted the Oxfordshire Senior Cup for the first time with a comfortable 4-0 win against Kidlington at the Kassam Stadium.
Goals from Jon Gardner, Callum Convey, Troy Bryan and Steve Howkins sealed victory for Kevin Brock’s side.
The win was no more than Ardley deserved in the first all-Uhlsport Hellenic League final since 1985.
Both teams struggled on a pitch made difficult by torrential rain, though it was Kidlington who started the brighter.
Ardley suffered an early blow when top-scorer Ryan Brooks limped off with a recurrence of a groin injury.
But they started to get a grip on the game, with Brooks’ replacement Troy Bryan causing trouble with his pace.
And the former Banbury striker was involved when Ardley went ahead on 20 minutes.
He broke down the left before cutting the ball back for the on-rushing Jon Gardner to smash past Matt Hyslop in the Kidlington goal from just outside the area.
Five minutes later, Ardley doubled their lead when Callum Convey let fly from 20 yards into the top corner. They almost added a third goal minutes later, but Bryan failed to get a proper connection with his header from Gardner’s left-wing corner.
Kidlington tried to get back into the game, but Ardley’s defence held firm.
Kevin Brock’s side were making use of the wide pitch, with Gardner creating problems down the left.
After the break, Ardley kept up the pressure and went 3-0 up on 49 minutes, though there was an element of good fortune.
A great ball from Bridges found Gardner who broke into the area and although Kidlington’s Danny Mason got there first, he was unable to prevent Bryan poking in the loose ball from close range.
Ardley were in complete control and Bryan should have got his double when he broke down the right before cutting inside only to fire over when he should have found the target.
Substitute Harry Brock was inches away from connecting with another Gardner cutback on 65 minutes, before Stevie Howkins warmed Hyslop’s hands with a firm drive from outside the area.
On 73 minutes Ardley made it 4-0, with Gardner involved again.
He charged into the area before his cross was smashed home at the far post by Howkins.
At the other end, Ardley keeper Jack Harding made a point-blank save from Lewis Coyle on one of Kidlington’s rare forward forays.
Gardner should have made it 5-0 when he broke through on goal, but his chipped effort was easily held by Hyslop as Ardley lifted the cup for the first time.
Kidlington: Hyslop, C Weedon, Geary (Turner 77), Rice, Mason, Cassetarri (Bone HT), Duerden (Woodbridge 69), Brownhill, Boxer, Coyle, Castle. Subs not used: Mills, Sanders.
Ardley Utd: Harding, Smith (McIntosh 74), Kinch (Brock 29), Convey, Thomas, Jackson, Stanbridge, Bridges, Brooks (Bryan 4), Gardner, Howkins. Subs not used: D Beckett, A Beckett.
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