After an evenly matched first 5 mins, Ascot broke the ice first with a diagonal low hard shot inside the Shinfield area. Isher slid towards the goal-line to try and stop it but the pace of the ball was such that he could only helplessly direct it into the goal. After the shock start, Shinfield battled hard, but Ascot looked dangerous on the breaks. Luke hit a low hard shot from the edge of the area only for it to ricochet agonisingly off the left post. Aidan picked up the loose ball and was brought down by a defender for a penalty.
Casey stepped up and uncharacteristically lofted the ball over the bar, his first penalty miss for quite a while. The rest of the half was very even with minor chances each end, Aidan coming closest with some nifty footwork on the left followed by a shot from across the goal which was deflected well be the keeper for a corner.
Half-time and Shinfield now have the uphill disadvantage to contend with. Shinfield have a lot of work to do against a competent Ascot team.
The second half starts badly for Shinfield as soon after the start, the ball is not effectively cleared from the Shinfield goal area and Ascot punish the away team by slamming the ball home for a 2-nil lead.
The next 15 minutes are painful to watch. Shinfield battle hard, but are failing to keep possession. Ascot respond by bombarding our goal.
Brave keeping by Luis diving at the feet of attackers as they keep breaking through stop the Ascot goal tally rising. Another Ascot shot runs agonisingly close but thankfully just wide.
Then against the play, a nice Casey/Tom exchange on the right as Casey slides the ball across to an unmarked James on the edge of the Ascot area. James doesn’t even think about controlling it, he just slams the ball long and high first time for a fabulous goal that the Ascot keeper just can’t reach. This was a game-changer for Shinfield – they seem to step up two gears and suddenly believe in themselves.
Their renewed energy just seems to spur Ascot to up their game though and in an amazing spell Ascot literally bombard the Shinfield goal.
One long shot produces a jaw-dropping reaction save from Luis who deflects the ball onto the bar. More shots rain in and only the goal-line antics of Manraj and Dan keep us in the game with some excellent defending. Isher also having to work hard on the right to contain a number of drives down the wing. Amazingly, Ascot fail to score during this onslaught. At the other end Aidan is brought down on the left edge of the box. Casey chips a nice free kick towards the far top corner, but just not high enough to clear the keeper.
Luis still in the thick of it, coming off his line fast to again dive at an attackers feet. Brave stuff. Shinfield retaliate with a long chip over the defence. Casey, chased by a defender, races centrally towards the keeper who runs out to close the angle. Casey shoots to his right and misses the wrong side of the post by inches.
The game is hotting up. Luis deflects a shot onto the post. Ellis through but it comes to nothing. A lovely lofted corner by Casey, falls to Aidan at the far post, he doesn’t take a second to slam it in to draw us level. The Ascot heads drop, Shinfield now have the energy and the action swings in Shinfields favour as they hunt for the victory. Aidan now causing problems down the left. One cross reaches Ellis, his shot deflected wide. A much better spell for Shinfield. But the excitement increases as an Ascot shot beats Luis but is headed off the line by Shinfield.
Aidan makes a lovely drive down the left, crosses neatly to Max who pushes it tidily forward to Ellis. He hits it low and hard to put Shinfield in the lead 3-2. The normally passive and understated Shinfield parents are hollering and screaming excitedly as the last five minutes approach. A very nervous 5 minutes. Ascot are not lying down easily. They attack hard. A corner comes to nothing. Shinfield desperately holding on as the clock ticks down. With no more than 2 minutes left, Ascot hit a long range shot which leaves Luis stranded.
Agony for Shinfield as they surrender the lead. The Ascot supporters are now making the noise as they battle to regain the lead. But Shinfield hold on and to the relief of the parents (who now need a stiff drink), the game ends 3-3.
A very exciting second half, fabulous to watch, and great to see the boys keep battling against a very competent opposition. A mention must go to Luis as his bravery and quick reactions kept us in this game on a number of occasions. A fair result in the end.
Goals: James, Aidan, Ellis
Trophies: James, Luis