It was clear from the outset that this was going to be a tight game. The first 15 minutes was a to-and-fro affair with very little action in the goal areas. The first real danger came from Ashridge as a nice though ball was pick up by an attacker who cleared our defence. But Jack reacted quickly to get back and make a good clearance.
Ashridge looked dangerous with the through-balls though and this paid off when an attacker ran onto another through ball on the right and launched a solid shot which Luis couldn’t reach. 1-nil to Ashridge. This gave Ashridge a burst of energy which saw two more through balls result in shots over the bar.
Shinfield held tight for the rest of the half in a tight game which saw Shinfield putting very little pressure on the Ashridge goal. Every player pulled their weight though with Charlie hunting the ball at every opportunity like an excitable Jack Russell chasing a tennis ball and James calmly playing the ball around nicely with the careful forethought of an International chess-player.
Despite the pressure from Ashridge, our defence played safe balls when the chase was on – no heroics – just good safe defending.
With only one substitute, injuries were going to play a significant part in this game. Max had already taken a rest with a bad ankle. Now Luis was suffering a bad knee and couldn’t continue in goal – this left Tom to step in and put on the keepers shirt again. Soon into the game, Shinfield got a free kick a good 30 yards out. Casey stepped up and launched a blistering shot into the top left corner. A certain goal thwarted by an excellent save by the Ashridge goalkeeper. The ball fell to Aiden who shot first time but again the keeper got a hand to it – but only to Charlie who slammed it home with his left foot to draw the game level 1-1.
The game continued to be end-to-end with danger boths ends. Shinfield now lively, but Ashridge trying to respond. Passions run high as the game becomes more physical and niggly. Jack puts a nice ball through for Casey to run on to but it was slightly too long.
Then Casey pulls a nice pass across from the left to Charlie in an open position in front of goal, but the keeper is wise to it and dives to stop it reaching Charlie. Action both ends with Vinay, Dan, Jack Brown and Aidan working hard to repel the Ashridge danger.
Over on the left Aidan is just inside the box when an attacker clips his heels and pulls Aidan down for a penalty. Casey steps up and launches a low hard rocket to the left of the keeper to put Shinfield in the lead. 2-1
The tension now mounts as Ashridge battle hard. Casey fights through an ankle injury to continue to attack – hobbling when off the ball – with no substitutes available he has no choice. Max fighting hard, putting in alot of effort up front, chasing every ball. Ellis in the thick of it too. Our boys clearly want this win. But then their hopes dented as a through ball from Ashridge saw the attacker slip the ball to the right of Luis where it rolled agonisingly off the right post into the goal.
The last 10 minutes was both exciting and frantic. Max drops back to help our defence. Up front, a through ball has Ellis running against the keeper. But a clash between the keeper and a defender as Ellis attempts to jump over them leave two Ashridge defenders injured for a couple of minutes.
After the restart, James launches a trademark blockbuster from way outside the area, but the keeper deflects for a corner.
Play continued to be tight and exciting right til the final whistle. Game ends 2-2.
A good spirited display by Shinfield. Nice one boys.
Scorers: Charlie, Casey (Pen)
Trophies: Jack, Charlie, James
Reported by Chris Starke