Winchester 3 Thame United 3
Winchester and Thame United went into this F A Trophy tie knowing that the winners would be at home to Frome Town who play in Winchester's division in the next round. However there was further frustration in the competition for Winchester who last season lost a replay to Slimbridge on penalties having led four times in the tie. This time they were leading Thame United 3-0 with seven minutes to play, but Thame United scored three late goals to earn a replay at Thame next week which replaces the originally scheduled league game at home to Highworth.
Thame play in the Southern League Central Division and arte currently in mid-table and beat Kidlington to reach this stage of the competition. Thame have played in the Hellenic League, South Midlands League, Ryman and Southern League and it is believed to be the first time the teams have met. However Thame left the Southern League West Division at the end of the 2005/06 season when Winchester were being promoted to the same division.
Winchester made only one change to the starting line-up from the Sholing match with Luke King replacing the injured Kieran Douglas. Dom Panesar-Dower who scored the winning goal in that game as substitute has now joined Bideford, but Winchester had four substitutes which included Max Smith who was returning from holiday and Oli Bailey,
The start of the game was very open with Ryan Pryce having to make three good saves in the opening five minutes one from an effort from Ryan Blake, and on one occasion he had to tip the ball round the post for a corner. However Winchester came back strongly even if Ryan Pryce was called on to make a further save, with Dan King putting in a cross that no-one could het a decisive touch to, IK Hill and Simba Mlambo having efforts saved and Mlambo also coming close with a header. Midway through the half Ollie Balmer did well to gain possession and went on a good run before putting the ball away. It was 2-0 when Balmer set up Jamie Barron to score.. Before half time player manager Craig Davis shot just wide, but it was 2-0 to Winchester at the interval.
In the second half Balmer had an effort well saved by Craig Hill in the Thame goal. However when Keith Emmerson set up I K Hill to score the third it seemed to be all over, even if Greg Hackett and Dan West had efforts that were narrowly off target and Ryan Pryce did well to tip an effort from Jack Tutton over the bar and make a further save from Ryan Blake following the third goal. However Thame received a lifeline when Luke King who had made some good defensive headers during the evening scored an unfortunate own goal. It was then game on when away captain Dan West scored a second soon afterwards when he rounds the goalkeeper.
At that stage Winchester were defending deeply, but they were just doing enough to keep the visitors out until, an excellent strike from Greg Hackett in the final minute earned Thame a replay. Several minutes were added on due to an injury to Thame substitute Andy Gledhill who had only been on the field five minutes,, but Winchester now have to prepare for Saturday's trip to Barnstaple prior to Tuesday's replay.
Rob Carr, Max Smith and Oli Bailey all came on as substitutes for Winchester in the latter stages of the second half replacing Ollie Balmer, Jamie Barron and Simba Mlambo respectively. Ben Sturgess replaced Gledhill with just under half an hour to play and makes an important contribution to his team's recovery.