This was the first away game of the season and the first that this team has ever played. An early kick-off (9.00am) and there was a real concern that the boys were still half asleep and recovering from a night out drinking beer and chasing girls (OK, maybe not, but I think all the parents know what I mean !). It felt very Autumnal, with a slight chill in the air and formations of geese flying South for the winter…was this a bad omen……or am I just feeling very poetic this morning ?
Looks like the geese were on our side – within 30 seconds of the whistle being blown for the kick-off, Will found some space on the right-hand side of the pitch and took a speculative shot from around 25 yards that beat the keeper; 1-0.
A few minutes later, after sustained pressure from the Rangers midfield, Liam managed to get a great cross into the box, for Harry to calmly put away; 2-0.
The Rangers kept the pressure up and were putting some good passes together, with every player on the team tackling and trying their hardest, with some neat work from Ask and Josh particularly, playing together for only the second time and totally bossing the defence under Ash’s leadership. After a neat passing move, with the crucial ball played through the midfield by Ethan (who played well today – some good tackling and effective passing), Will took on a couple of defenders and scored with his left foot; 3-0.
Soon afterwards on exactly 19 minutes and 30 seconds (Mr. Manning and his magic stopwatch), following some brave play from Liam, who won the ball (and a free kick when up against the opposition player who was around 3 times his size), Will managed to score another goal; 4-0.
Liam was then fouled again, winning another free kick – very brave play – that was defended well by Ashridge. The final move of the first half and a superbly placed corner by Liam with Will running onto the ball and his header just being turned away by the Ashridge ‘keeper. So, 4-0 at half-time.
The second half was a very different story, but it was great to see two new team members run onto the pitch for their debuts, Ben and Joe.
The Rangers, who had all seemingly decided to relax and think about girls, made 4 foul throws within minutes of each-other and as a consequence of the ball being handed back to Ashridge from one of these, they went on to score their first goal; 4-1.
This error was compounded by pretty much everyone on the Rangers team standing around just watching, rather than getting involved. All the energy seemed to have drained out of them, giving away the ball, not passing and Ashridge totally dominating possession for the first 15 minutes of the second half.
Luckily, J’ziah was on top of things and retained his concentration, clearing up the ball and making some sensible decisions; another good performance from our ‘keeper who seems to grow with every game.
Against the run of play, after some superb work by Josh down the right wing and a great cross picked up and then passed through the forwards, Luke went on to bury the ball in the back of the net; 5-1. Well-worked goal and superbly taken with a rapier-like left-foot.
A few minutes later and after a great bit of work down the left by debutante Ben, Luke unleashed another unstoppable shot; 6-1. This boy has a cultured left foot and played well today, taking players on and beating them.
Maybe it was scoring a couple more goals that made the boys wake up, as for the last 5 minutes or so of the game they started playing like a team again, with Joe coming forward from defence and shooting for the top corner, the ball being turned away by a magnificent save from the Ashridge ‘keeper.
The Rangers continued to come forward and thought they had scored again, but this was over-ruled by the assistant referee, who felt that the whole ball hadn’t crossed the line. Still, it didn’t matter, as within seconds Will got the ball to his feet and hammered in his fourth goal; 7-1.
A good result but worrying that for 15 minutes of this game, the Rangers went on holiday.
Submitted by Dan Gleballs.