After a narrow defeat last week, Shinfield were looking for some points from this game with Ascot and made a very positive start. Their first attacking play within two minutes resulted in Max running onto a through-ball, chased by two defenders. With the goalkeeper rushing out to close the angle, Max coolly toe-stabbed the ball low into the right hand corner. A fab start but Ascot look a lively team and won’t take this lying down.
Then Shinfield get another opportunity as a lobbed ball deep into the Ascot area is mishandled by the Ascot goalie, Ellis gathers the loose ball, tries to tap it in from close range but an Ascot defender is on the line to clear it.Ascot launch a number of counter attacks and look like they could be dangerous on the fast breaks with some very speedy attackers. Luis snuffs out a couple of dangerous drives but coming far off is line to close down the attackers.
At the other end, Max in the centre gets the ball to Ellis who drives through on the left then mishits a shot to go wide of the left post.
The game see-saws with pressure coming at both ends. Our defence is quick to close things down with Jack and Lewis playing safe at every opportunity. Vinay keeps the back line tight to catch the offsides and Ajay and Vinay working hard to chase down any danger. An Ascot attacker get past an oncoming Luis, way out of his area, taps the ball towards an open goal, but Vinay on hand with his trademark run back to cover the goal-line – he clears for a corner.
An Ascot shot goes wide of the left post, proving they pose a real threat. Shinfield respond as James pushing a ball through to Max on the right just on the edge of the 6-yard box, Max tries to pull it across the goal but shoots over the bar.
Casey then grabs the ball outside the area and launches a solid left foot rocket which the keeper does well to gather. Finally the Shinfield pressure pays off again. Casey puts in a lovely deep corner. Aidan is on and at the front of the area to guide the ball nicely to the back post with his head – lovely goal. 2-nil to Shinfield.
Casey in the thick of it yet again – in front of the goal area, he picks up a Dan-Max combo, takes a couple of touches to the left and steadies himself for another left-foot blockbuster – this one just sails over top-left of the goal. Another close shave.
Ascot are by no means out of this game. An attack down the left – Luis comes out, can’t reach the call in time and the attacker slams it home. 2-1. More end to end play. In the dying minutes of the first half, a long ball down the left flank is chased by both teams, but our defence is beaten on raw speed – Luis tries rushing out but to no avail, the fast attacker slams an excellent goal past a helpless Luis to level the score 2-2. So at halftime, the scores are level in a very open game with lots of opportunity both ends.
The second half starts with Shinfield on the back foot as they fail to clear the ball and Ascot shoot over the bar. A lucky escape, but a sign of the danger posed by Ascot. Jack B chases down attackers to stifle yet more dangerous through balls. Ajay picks up a knock causing a nose bleed and sits out for a while.
Casey picks up the ball 25 yards from goal, makes some space for himself, then thunders a long range shot onto the crossbar. Luckily, Max was following in, picks up the loose ball, steadies himself and sidefoots the ball firmly to the keepers right – nicely taken goal. Shinfield gain the lead yet again. 3-2.
But in a game where the counter attack from Ascot poses a danger every time, Shinfield can’t sit back and relax. Ascot pick up a free kick a long way from the area. This time, the firmly hit ball rebounds off the post. Another lucky Shinfield escape. The pressure is now piling on as Ascot are desperate to equalise again. Luis plays a blinder – first saving a firmly hit long range Ascot shot, then having to deal with a low-range shot which forces Luis to dive low and fast to his right to smother another shot.
Aidan playing a blinder – continuously racing back from the front to help Lewis contain the fast right wingers. The Shinfield parents wriggle like a bag of excited worms as Ascot lob a curling corner onto the far back post then watch the rebound ricochet around just feet in front of the Shinfield goal as players frantically play pinball with the ball. Luckily for Shinfield the ball finally gets cleared. Ascot put another shot over the bar and their pressure and persistence finally pays off as an attacker gets the ball outside the area and lobs a high shot over Luis.
At 3-3 the pressure is now on Shinfield to regroup, tighten at the back and find a way to get in front with only about 10 minutes left to play.
Max makes a deep drive down the right, pulls the ball across the goalmouth and Aidan just couldn’t quite connect. Then a nice Casey-Dan-Ellis moved was seen to be offside as Ellis had a clear run to goal. Shinfield are still in this game.
Tom and James continue to play careful passes to our front men and wingers. Shinfield kick up a free kick half way up the field. Dan steps up and lobs it way over the defence where the goalkeeper attempts to catch it but fumbles it to the ground. Ellis is on hand, picks up the loose ball and taps it purposefully into the right hand side of the goal. With Shinfield now 4-3 in the lead, it is imperative they stay tight at the back. Another chance for Shinfield as a Casey long ball finds Ellis. One on one with the keeper, Ellis can’t find a way past him.
In the dying minutes, Max breaks through the defence but smacks the shot at the goalkeeper. Finally, and to the relief of the Shinfield players and parents, the whistle blows for full time.
A fabulous spirited display by the whole Shinfield team who would not sit back when the pressure was on. Nice one, boys.
Final Score: Shinfield 4 – Ascot 3
Scorers: Max (2), Aidan, Ellis
Trophies: Ajay, Max, JackB
Reported by Chris Starke