Northwood 0

Ashford Town (Middlesex) 1

FA Youth Cup, Second Round Qualifying
Northwood Park, Northwood
4th October 2012

Without a match in two and a half weeks, the trip to Northwood was always going to be a tough one. After such a great win in the last round vs. Hayes and Yeading, the boys knew that they needed another big performance if they were to progress into the third round of qualification and one match away from the First Round Proper.

Ashford entered the game as previously stated, after a great win away at Hayes and Yeading but without a match for over two weeks. The match started with the young tangerines showing signs of lacking some match sharpness that comes with regular competitive matches. However they soon found their stride and started imposing themselves on Northwood. For all the possession though there seemed no end product, which was starting to cause some concern. Leading goalscorer Eva Batousal was working hard to link up play but Ashford lacked composure in the final third. The breakthrough came though on the 40th minute when the ever impressive Tom Bovington latched onto a through ball and calmly stroked the ball pass the advancing keeper to make it 0-1 to Ashford. Like buses, after one chance another chance came within seconds of scoring. This time as Bovington was about to pull the trigger he was upended and left the referee with no alternative but to award a penalty. Captain Conor Molyneaux put his previous miss vs. Staines behind him and stepped up to see if he could make amends, but his resultant penalty flew high over the bar. Ashford went in at half time 1 up but knowing it could had been so much better.

Ashford started the second half as they finished the first, same formation and an emphasis on trying to have a better end product. However the young tangerines found themselves on the back foot as Northwood raised their own game. Times that Ashford found themselves on the ball it wasn’t used effectively as it could had, meaning that the pressure from Northwood mounted. The back four and keeper had to be at their very best to keep out the opposition and they dealt well with everything thrown at them. Substitutions tried to stem the flow and as the match drew to an end Ashford even had a few opportunities to wrap the game up but they went begging. The game ended with Ashford running out 1 nil winners but could take nothing from a low par performance.

After the highs of an amazing win in the last round this was a completely different feeling. The win was the most important thing and sometimes you have to grind out a result which was what this win felt like. What was pleasing was that was the second clean sheet in a row and the defensive unit should give themselves a massive pat on the back. At the end of the day, if you don’t concede you can’t lose! We just need to make sure that when we face Staines Town away in the next round that we are more clinical in front of goal. It is sure to be the derby of all derbies – a win for either team will see progression into the first round proper and that’s an amazing feeling for any player. I’m sure that players will be up for it, myself, Leon and Darren certainly are!

Squad: Tyler, Lynch, Woollard, Neville, Molyneaux (Sam), Bovington, Lavander, Molyneaux (Connor) (Capt), Wilson, Large, Batousal, Somule, Newbury, Eveleigh, Marklew, Umoh

Man of Match: Tom Bovington