SHRIVENHAM boss Gareth Davies paid tribute to his side’s never-say-die attitude as they emerged from an extraordinary Hellenic League Division One West encounter at Barrington Park against leaders Ardley United with a 6-6 draw.

The home side were 4-2 down at one stage as the goals rained in, yet fought back to claim a point to remain five points behind their rivals, who have three games in hand, in the standings.

Davies said: “It was good if you were watching it, not so good if you were a manager.

“In the first half we really weren’t at the races and then we just nicked a goal before half-time and kept ourselves in it. In the second half, the players have shown some character to get themselves back into the game.

“It’s always disappointing to concede six goals but the lads showed a different side to themselves, that they can compete when they need to and I was very proud of them.’’ Shrivvy keeper Connor Johns was beaten by a free-kick from Ardley’s Connor Harris to give the visitors the lead but the hosts were back on terms as Jamie Prictor and Josh Morse combined to tee up Lewis Petrie to level it up.

Johns denied Harris again but United were back in front as Harris netted from another free-kick.

Shrivenham were 3-1 adrift when Troy Bryan made the most of an error from Aaron Dainton before Bryan arrived at the far post to tap home the fourth after the ball had beaten Johns Just before half-time, the home side kept themselves in touch as Morse’s pass found Prictor, who fired home from the edge of the box.

Five minutes after the break the gap was back to one as Pritcor found Petrie to touch home his second of the game.

Dodgy home defending allowed substitute Alex Feaver to make it 5-3 but the sides were exchanging goals and Petrie chested the ball down for Prictor to net soon afterwards.

It was all-square when Danny Hale levelled with a volley, minutes after a Mani Roper effort had hit the post but Ardley regain the initiative as John’s clearance found only Feaver, who sent in Jordan Moore for the visitors’ sixth.

With five minutes to go, Hale was felled in the penalty area and got up to make it six apiece and there was still time for Petrie to win it for Davies’ men, only for his shot to go wide.

Davies added: “Their gaffer must be fuming, to score six goals away from home and only get a draw. They were mad times.

“The goals we conceded were sloppy, from a lot of mistakes. But in terms of the goals we did score, I don’t think we scored a bad one, really.

“We just said to the players that their workrate and commitment to the cause was outstanding and they didn’t give up. The aim was just not to lose that game and we didn’t.’’ In the Premier Division, long-time leaders Highworth Town were knocked off the top of the table as their clash with Flackwell Heath was postponed, allowing Thatcham Town to take over with a 3-1 win at Fairford Town.

Thatcham were two up at half-time through strikes from Shane Cooper-Clark and Harrison Bailey and, despite a Connor Lynch reply, Liam Ferdinand sealed the points for the visitors.