Cropredy Development fell to their third successive defeat in their opening home game as they were beaten by Sporting Headington Academicals. From the previous squad at Abingdon Abbotts last time out Shane Bailey was forced into several changes. Lewis Fowler was absent and was replaced by Ben Jackson who also took the armband whilst Tsering Sherpa Moore and Kelan McConnon started their university careers and were unavailable, Riley Pledge came back in goal for Craig Fraser and Harry Treml and Callum Moon came into the side after starting the season with the first team so far. Jamie Oxley returned after missing last week’s game and Felix Matthews earned his first start for the club and Ollie Beesley was the only main player on the substitute list as coaches Lawrence O’Sullivan and Fraser bulked up a sparse bench.
Cropredy started the game brightly and the first chance of the game came their way when Jackson hit a side-foot volley over the crossbar from a corner kick. However, Headington soon grew into the game and their high press had Cropredy flustered and rushing passes. The visitors presented a warning to Cropredy when a player struck the crossbar after being given too much space but the warning wasn’t adhered to and Headington eventually took the lead on 31 minutes.
Cropredy identified some problems and managed to get back level shortly before the half time break. A corner from the right side from Moon was headed home by Jackson. The Crop skipper showed great commitment making a return trip from Nottingham to play the game and the goal was just reward for his exemplary performance.
The teams went into this game level on three points and it was a pretty even game in the opening 20 minutes of the second half. That was until it sparked into life. Moon tried his luck from a free kick which struck the crossbar and Cropredy were inches from taking the lead. But just like that in the very next attack they were behind. Crop had commited too many players forward and we’re picked off and Gabrielle Crucioli wearing the peculiar number 99 on his back had an easy tap in at the back post.
In each of the past two games Cropredy have been guilty of conceding again quickly after another goal. They were warned about it pre-game but just five minutes after they were a width of a crossbar away from leading they were left chasing a two goal deficit after a Joe Nugent own goal from a corner kick.
The home side had looked shocked for confidence and the game was almost out of reach as Headington struck a post, but they had a lifeline with ten minutes remaining. Harry Treml who had been moved into an advanced midfield position through the middle ran onto a neat ball forward from Beesley. Treml’s first touch was excellent and allowed for a great finish lifted over the on-rushing goalkeeper.
It was hoped that this would spark a late onslaught from the home side but the best effort conjured up was a cross into Jamie Oxley at the back post but he struck wide, whilst Headington struck a post again at the other end.
An entertaining game but a frustrating afternoon for Cropredy. They have a tough game next week as they face newly (re)formed side KEA away next week.
Cropredy: Pledge, Oxley, Jackson (C), Nugent, Timms, Torego, Liverpool, Wezyk, Matthews (Beesley 60), Treml, Moon. Subs not used: O’Sullivan, Fraser
Headington: 31, 61,64