Ashford 2 – 2 Walton Casuals
Saturday 8th August 2020 | Preseason Friendly
Tough opposition and tough conditions couldn’t stifle the Tangerines desire and energy in their third preseason game behind closed doors.
Taking things up a gear with Step 3 opponents was a great test to see where Luke Tuffs new look Tangerines are currently. And Tuffs was suitably impressed with how his team performed against a higher level team, considering the heat of the afternoon as well. Ashford were definitely more than a match throughout the game, showing great energy and organisation in wat was a very good preseason match.
Ashford performed well in the first half and it was only one moment where Walton were able to capitalise and snatch the lead. Forced in to a goalkeeping change as assistant Dean Greenwood had to replace Henry after a thigh injury, shortly after which Walton Casuals were awarded a free kick on the edge of the box which they converted with a low drive through the wall to the new keepers left. The Tangerines responded well and stuck to their game plan stepping it up for the rest of the first half.
Both sides made changes for the restart. As is always the case in preseason as teams look to shape their squads and get a good look at all the players. Ashford have also bee using every opportunity to try out new systems and tactics, further testing the players as well. The new system in the second half saw the Tangerines push on and press more in all areas, looking to put their opponents under pressure and attack. Unfortunately it was Walton who scored again first, just on the hour, after a defensive slip let them in down their left wing to cut in and score well at the near post. Much against the run of play at that time.
FINDING THEIR WAY BACK
Ashford continued with the new game plan and were more than equal to Walton. They were rewarded right on the stroke of the second half drinks break when Brad Sweeney slotted home in the 65th minute after some great link up play, 1-2.
Right from the restart from the drinks break Ashford continued to press and push forward, possibly shading the better of the play over Walton. Had it not been for 2 or 3 very good saves from the Walton second half keeper the Tangerines would very well have been ahead. As it was though they had to wait until around 3 minutes from time to gran the equaliser. Sam Bello-Balogun striking from close range after more god interchange play by Ashford to get in to the penalty area.
A draw was a great result, it possibly could have been more but for the keeper, but the real take away was the energy and desire from the team again. The new Tangerines are shaping up well, with a lot of positivity from the players and management.
Wokingham & Emmbrook (Away) – Preseason Friendly
**Behind Closed Doors**