Tuesday 16 May 2023

Yarnton - Littlemarsh Playing Fields

Yarnton FC
Littlemarsh Playing Fields
Green Lane

07729 465446 (secretary)

Ground Number: 1189
Tuesday 16th May 2023
Yarnton 11-1 Launton Sports
Oxfordshire Senior Premier


The club was established in 1947. They joined the Witney & District League in 1953 and stayed there on and off for many years. They won the Division 2 title in 1997 and later joined the Oxfordshire Senior League. Their big break came in 1991 when they joined the Hellenic League Divison 1. An 11th-place finish was a respectable start to life at the higher level. 1993 saw their best-ever league finish as they got up to 7th. From then on though, results tailed off. After finishing bottom of the Hellenic League in 1998, they dropped out. The next record of them came in 2003 when they joined the Oxfordshire Senior League but they finished bottom of the Premier Divison in their first season. Yarnton would remain in Division 1 until 2016. They remain in the Premier Division to this day. Their best recent finish was 7th in 2018.

Witney & District League cup wins include the Watts Junior Cup in 1957 & 1973 and the Fred Ford Memorial Cup in 1977. Local cup wins include the John Fathers Oxon Junior Shield in 1976, the Ben Turner Memorial Cup in 2016 and the Oxfordshire Charity Cup in 2022. The village of Yarnton is located a mile from the town of Kidlington and four miles from the city of Oxford. It has a population of just over 2,500.


This game was decided upon last week. Fancying a break from the Hertfordshire League and wanting a potential one I could take Anwar to, I looked at the Oxfordshire Senior League. I was looking for a railed pitch and thanks to fellow hopper Laurence's blog, I got a good idea of what the ground would be like. There were only a couple of fixtures and I'd been to Thame where one of them was being played. Therefore, the only option was Launton Sports v Yarnton. The game was actually being played at Yarnton, so for my records and blog, I'd be treating it as their home game and writing about them. All of Anwar, Colin & Martin were happy to tag along. The latter was even willing to drive which suited me down to the ground as it would give me a chance to relax and get this blog done on the way home.

Everything was confirmed on Sunday, though there was a bit of confusion. Launton Sports tweeted out that the game was at their ground. That would have been fine by me too, but I wanted confirmation. They responded within a few hours and confirmed that as per the FA Full Time site, it was at Yarnton. After a couple of easy Sundays at my work, it was back to the more unpleasant familiar day amongst the public. To make matters worse, it was my first week on a longer shift but I got through OK. Monday was calmer and it was nice to spend the evening looking forward to a day off. I did the research for the game on Monday evening. It is often tricky at this level but I found out a reasonable amount.

The day of the game came and I had an OK night's sleep before waking at around 7.30, my usual work time. Breakfast and a shower were had before I headed out for my usual walk to town and back at 9.30. It was the usual nine-mile walk down Wycombe and back. The main job was to get some stuff from the Lidl bakery to make up for going out early tonight. I was back just before 1, having some excellent Ostrich burgers for lunch. The afternoon was spent at home, catching up on things like listing stuff on eBay. I also watched a bit of TV. Martin and Colin were 20 minutes early and we made good time, getting to Anwar's at 4.55 and were soon on our way. It was an hour to the ground. The worst part of the journey was the last part through a mass of ugly abandoned traffic cones. I got some pictures before the game before settling on the far side.
 Yarnton were 9th in the league whilst Launton Sports were 7th. The hosts were in decent form and were unbeaten in six prior to a 2-0 defeat at Bicester Hallions last Wednesday. They'd won 4-1 at Bure Park, beaten Saxton Rovers 2-0, won 2-1 at Marston Saints and triumphed 5-0 at Halse United. They'd also drawn 1-1 against Ashton Folly and 2-2 against champions Adderbury Park. This was only one of three times the leaders had failed to win this season. The two sides had met before this season as Launton Sports recorded a 4-0 win. The visitors had been in disappointing form, having lost their last game 5-2 at Ashton Folly. They'd also lost 4-1 at Adderbury Park and 2-0 against Saxton Rovers, though this was following a four-game winning run. They had recorded a win last Wednesday, thumping basement side Charlton United 4-0.

Yarnton had the better of the game and they opened the scoring on 8 minutes. They cut in from the right and curled a shot which hit the left-hand post on the way in. The lead was doubled on 12 minutes, the keeper parried a shot and it was followed up. It was 3-0 on 23 minutes, a corner from the left and a header at the far post. A scrappy goal made it 4-0 on the half-hour. On 37 minutes it was 5-0, a quick goal on the break and a low shot. Launton Sports were falling apart at the seams and it was 6-0 on 40 minutes as a sleepy defence got caught out expecting offside. It was 7-0 on 43 minutes, a side rule pass set up another easy finish. There was still time for an eight before half-time. Launton Sports did improve second half but it was 9-0 after around an hour, a header from a cross. This after the visitors had a goal disallowed for offside. It just wasn't their night. They came close to getting a goal a couple of times later on in the second half. They eventually did get their reward around ten minutes from time, a close-range finish to make it 9-1. Yarnton had a goal of their own disallowed to deny them double figures. They were not to be denied for long as a header off the bar was indeed followed up to make it 10-1. There was still time for another as #14 cut in from the left before planting a shot in the bottom left-hand corner to make it 11-1.

LITTLEMARSH PLAYING FIELDS is a great setup for the level. The pitch is fully railed and has a club building attached. This serves as the changing rooms and also a couple of areas for meetings. There is a tea bar offering a range of snacks and hot and cold drinks, starting from 50p. Everyone at the club is nice and friendly. The car park is of a decent size and although the ground runs adjacent to a railway line, it appears quite isolated.

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