South Berkshire Terriers bounced back from a humbling 6-0 defeat at the hands of Wallingford with an assured display away to league strugglers Newbury & Thatcham. After what was a collectively one of the poorer displays the prior week, the Terriers rediscovered their poise and energy to take a strong win against another development side whose potential is not reflected by their league position this year.
The Terriers made a number of changes, as the loss of experienced campaigners Graham Aldous and Paul Harvey for this match was compensated for with the return to the centre of defence of the even more experienced Ian Wilson and Neil Badley. After fielding only two adults players the prior week (along with the injured Neil Badley as a makeshift forward), the team was also boosted by the return of Julian Chapman, Robbie Campion and David Murray.
The combination of wise heads and youthful energy quickly put the Newbury side on the backfoot. With Julian and David pulling the strings in midfield, the attacking flair from the youngsters in the side was quickly evident. Throughout the first half Monty Neave, Dominic Harvey and Jack Barker took it in turns to torment the Newbury defence, with confidence on the ball and a verve to take on their opposite numbers. Alongside an energetic performance from Robbie and his strike partner James Romain, Terriers took a well earned lead part way through the first half as a goal bounce strike from Gregor O'Keeffe was bizarrely driven past his own goalkeeper by a luckless Newbury defender.
Confident in attack, the Terriers did show some rustiness in defence with some miss-hits and miss-kicks creating some nervously briefly, before the team settled again and began moving the ball swiftly around the back to probe down the channels. A second goal seemed inevitable, and it was Gregor O'Keeffe again who took the chance to double the lead and his personal tally as he drove a strike confidently from the edge of the D.
2-0 at half time, and a strong first half performance which fully merited the lead. Five minutes into the second half, and the result was all but sealed as Robbie Campion sent a ball across the front of goal, and the Terrier's leading scorer James Romain was on hand to score his ninth goal of the season with a confident deflection into the goal.
With a comfortable lead, Terriers continued to control the majority of possession, limiting the Newbury side to only brief excursions into their D. With fifteen minutes remaining, Marcus Bown was called on for the first time in the half, and he reacted quickly to block a shot from point blank range. However, this was a day when the Terriers were determined a first clean sheet since late November, and bounce back after a disappointing run of two defeats and one draw.