Ryman Youth League West Division
Three matches in and the new looking youth team had won all three games conceding only one goal in the process. So hopes were very high going into the away fixture with Potters Bar Town. Things were starting to gel and the potential that the team had, was starting to live up to expectations. The next ninety minutes were to put a dent into those expectations and also make the team realise that only as a collective unit can they truly shine.
On a small slick pitch Ashford started like they meant business. Fast accurate passing meant that the young tangerines dominated the early exchanges and it wasn’t long before they took the lead. In the 7th minute a great move down the left channel found Joel Large in space and his whipped in cross was met at the near post by a fantastic run and sliding finish by Eva Batousal. A great start and the way in which the team started looked as if this was going to be a very productive night. However 5 minutes after taking the lead a poor ball out of defence was punished when a Potters Bar midfielder intercepted and smashed a low shot passed Armstrong from outside the box. This set the tone for the rest of the night – Ashford dominating possession and play but defensive lapses putting pay to all their hard work. On the 20th minute Potters Bar made it 2-1 after a quick break which found their dangerous left winger who showed a clean pair of heels to Joe Lynch and his cross met by an on rushing forward who finished the move. To be fair it was a great move and one that justified the applauds. However the tangerines never gave up and equalised just before half time when left winger Leke Somule beat his man and put Batousal through and one on one he was never going to miss and slotted the ball under the advancing goalkeeper to level the scores. 2-2 at half time and Ashford starting to come back into the game and wishing that the half was 10 minutes longer.
With Ashford on a high after scoring just before half time the second half started well and the rewards came in the 61st minute when a tactical move allowed Kyle Dyett a more central role and his crisp pass found Joel Large in space on the right hand side and his run and clinical finish made it 2-3 to Ashford. However the lead lasted 1 minute when another defensive lapse allowed Potters Bar to equalise in the 62th minute and they strengthened their grip on the game with two in quick succession in the 66th and 68th minute – again due to defensive mistakes. 5-3 down and Ashford decided to push and go for it and they got their rewards in the 73rd minute when an in swinging corner found centre back Luke Neville at the near post and his powerful header found the back of the net. 5-4 and it was all now to play for. However in pushing forward to get the equaliser, Potters Bar wrapped the game up in the 83rd minute. 6-4 it ended and the first taste of defeat for the new looking tangerines.
It’s hard to get any positives out of the match in which you concede six goals but what it did highlight is that a greater collective spirit was required if this team was to evolve. Maybe this defeat will force the team to become much closer. It was only the fourth game of a newly put together bunch of past and new players and it told tonight. However it could be considered a blip- you don’t go from playing in three games and conceding just one goal to being a poor team defensively! Mistakes do happen in games, it’s just a shame that we made five vital ones and were punished in one game! The next game is a difficult away trip to undefeated Camberley Town- mistakes must be cut out and the team must play as one if any kind of result is to be obtained.
Squad: Armstrong, Lynch, Newbury, Neville, Molyneaux (Sam), Somule, Lavander, Molyneaux (Connor) (Capt), Large, Dyett, Batousal, Penfold, Read, Bovington
Man of Match: Eva Batousal