CHRIS Ovenden scored a goal-of-the-season contender in a Marlow 4-0 victory against bottom of the league Shrivenham at Oak Tree Road.

Ovenden, Ian Davies and Ray Spence signed their name on the score sheet to gives the Blues their 19th win of their campaign, writes Sam Goold-Knibbs, and cement a lead of 13 points at the top of the Hellenic Premier League table. 

It was a one-sided affair with the Buckinghamshire side dominating possession and chances, however, manager and fans alike can be forgiven for feeling frustrated early on as the home side failed to capitalise on a number of chances.  

Whilst Marlow camped outside the visitor’s box, the home side failed to put the ball in the back of the net.  

Nevertheless, Marlow wore down their opponents and grabbed four, turning what appeared to be a frustrating afternoon into a convincing win - which left manager Mark Bartley relieved.

Bartley explained: “These are the sort of games where you look and think you’re creating everything and half-an-hour goes and you haven’t nicked a goal, but I’ve got the upmost belief in this side that we are going to score.

“We’ve done well; it’s another three points in the bag.  There’s another 12 games to go in the league and if you want to win it these are the sort of games you need to win.

“We’ve scored four but the keeper's probably stopped three or four good shots; a couple we’ve put wide - it could have been ten,  but that’s the quality of the side we’ve got”.

Ovenden’s second was a delight to watch as the right-back skipped past seven green shirts to snake his way into the box and dispatch a composed finish.  Bartley was left stunned but praised his defender.

“He’s got it in him. He’s got a great ability to judge the distance between him and opposing players; that gives him the edge to move out of the way. It was a great goal - got to be goal of the season.”

Right from Kick-off, Marlow were relentless in their pursuit of an early lead.  Davies was left frustrated as his early chance trickled wide, and his second headed over from under the bar.

A lively Ray Spence almost came close in the early minutes after  he  picked up a wayward goal-kick, but his shot kissed the post to roll out to relieved Shrivenham goalkeeper Andy Bowen.

A host of chances would fall to the league leaders with Marcus Mealing and Gary Smith also putting their chances agonizingly wide.

However, the blues got their break with five minutes to go before the end of the first-half.

The tension subsided as Spence went on a blistering run down the right-wing into the oppositions box to cut back for Ovenden, who dispatch his first of the afternoon with a side-footed effort that flew into the corner of the net.

From the start of the second-half Marlow continued their control of proceedings.  Mealing released Davies who lashed the ball goalward, but Bowen parried wide.

Marlow looked destined for a frustrating afternoon but the second came from a defensive slip-up that allowed Davies into the box. The striker, who sidestepped past the Bowen, was brought down by the keeper. 

Davies slotted his first of the game from the penalty spot to double the lead. As the visitors began to fall apart, Ovenden produced a third goal that was a moment to saver. The Right-back double-stepped and shuffled himself from the half-way line into the box to fire a low shot past a deflated keeper.

With five minutes to go, Spence got his reward for his hard work as he slipped into the penalty area and smashed the ball in the top corner to finish the scoring.