Ryman Youth League West Division
After three weeks of training, two friendly matches, this was game one of what is hopefully going to turn out to be a productive season. With a new management team of Mark Hughes and Leon Turner and collection of players from the previous season and new additions it was important that the players gelled quickly. Two pre-season friendlies had seen the young Tangerines run out 1-0 and 2-1 winners. It wasn’t so much as the scoreline but the manner in which they gained victory. It was looking promising for the season ahead.
On a new stage under floodlights in the main stadium, Ashford looked nervous and as a result, the fluency and crisp passing seen previously in the friendlies was absent. It took 15 minutes for the team to settle and to create their first clear chances. The breakthrough came on the 19thminute when Eva Batousal chased down a poor defensive header to touch the ball over the advancing keeper to smash home from 5 yards out. With confidence improving, Ashford looked to put passages of passing together to try and take greater control of the game. It didn’t take too long for Ashford to take a real grip on the match. In the 35thminute, a few neat passes between defence and midfield created some space for the influential right back Joe Lynch to play an inch perfect ball through to Batousal who slotted the ball beyond the advancing keeper to make it 2-0 to the Tangerines. 2-0 half time and the boys looking more comfortable in their surroundings.
The second half started much like the first with Ashford struggling to put some passes together, but looking a little more assured than at the start of the match. With Joel Large making more of an impression on the game, Ashford started to create more opportunities. The game was put to bed in the 68th minute with centre back Josh Everleigh tapping in after some great thinking at a freekick on the edge of the box. Captain Connor Molyneaux standing over the freekick saw space in behind the Northwood left back and slid an inch perfect pass through to the advancing Kyle Dyett and the resultant pin point cross found Eveleigh unmarked at the back post to tap home from 6 yards. 3-0 to Ashford and the match settled. However over the last 20 minutes Large could had helped himself to two, hitting the crossbar after a great through ball by Ryan Marklew and failing to slot pass the keeper after a fine run into the box – a shame as would had capped a great performance by the attacking midfielder. The game ended 3-0 to Ashford and a good start to the season.
Squad: Tobin, Lynch, Everleigh, Neville, Molyneaux (Sam), Umoh, Lavander, Molyneaux (Connor) (Capt), Large, Dyett,Batousal, Penfold, Newbury, Usher, Read, Marklew
Man of Match: Lynch