Season 6, 1985-86
The trials went very well and we considered a strong squad had been selected which included three talented Year 5 players. The first match after the trials was a home County League match against Reading, which ended in a 2-2 draw with Kevin Judge and David Hawthorne scoring. The following match was a friendly away to Mid Oxon which resulted in the Vale’s highest victory against another District Association; Daniel Hartley led the way with four goals, three from Kevin Judge, Gordon McBride scored two and a David Hawthorne goal completed a 10-0 victory. League wins against Newbury, 2-0 (Gordon McBride & Daniel Hartley), Woodley & Earley, 3-0 (Jonathan Garside, Gordon McBride & Kevin Judge), and League draws against Beaconsfield & Chiltern, 1-1 (Daniel Hartley) and Oxford City, 1-1 (a Kevin Judge penalty) and a 6-2 (Michael Thorp, Howard Forinton, Gordon McBride, Kevin Judge, Daniel Hartley and an own goal) Southern Counties Cup away win at South Avon followed, but a 1-4 (Howard Forinton scoring) away defeat in Witney Cup at Newbury ended the undefeated run. Newbury provided the opposition in Southern Counties Cup, and after a 3-3 draw (Gordon McBride, Kevin Judge and David Hawthorne) the Vale won the replay 3-1 with goals from Michael Thorp, David Hawthorne and an own goal.
With Easter early in the year, we set off to Deeside with two League matches and a Southern Counties Cup semi final still to play. Deeside had not toured in October following the untimely death of their manager, Ron Bishop, and it shows the strength of the connection between the Vale and Deeside, that the only match Deeside played that season was against the Vale. The match finished in a 4-4 draw with goals from Kevin Judge (2), Matthew Launchbury and an own goal.
Our first game back after the tour was home to Oxford City in the League and we won 4-2, goals from Howard Forinton, Jonathan Garside, Gordon McBride and Kevin Judge. There followed a home Southern Counties Cup semi final match played at Abingdon Town F.C. against Southampton. Unfortunately only the Vale wanted to play football and we lost 1-0 to a very physical side. Two friendly victories followed, including a 2-0 away win (goals from Matthew Dixon and Daniel Hartley) at Aylesford, Kent, the only time in the history of matches between the two Associations an away victory was recorded, before our final League match at home to High Wycombe, the visitors won 1-0 to clinch the League title, with Vale as runners-up, our best League performance to date. The very last fixture of the season was an Invitation match against Reading for the Director’s Cup played at Reading F.C.’s Elm Park ground with the Vale collecting the Cup following a 1-0 win, Howard Forinton scoring.
The members of the squad were, Ben Border (Y5), Ian Carter, Matthew Dixon, Howard Forinton (Y5), Jonathan Garside, Daniel Hartley, David Hawthorne, Kevin Judge, Matthew Launchbury, Jonathan Lawman, Gordon McBride, Lee Silver, Mark Smith and Michael Thorp (Y5).
Matthew Launchbury was the captain, Kevin Judge top scorer with 20 goals and the President’s Trophy was awarded to Gordon McBride.