Caversham AFC Stallions 3 Ashridge Park 6
10 mins 1-0
33 mins 1-1 (Jamie Cole)
41 mins 1-2 (Ice Goswell)
42 mins 1-3 (Ice Goswell)
46 mins 1-4 (Sachin Vara)
58 mins 1-5 (Antonio Baciu)
66 mins 2-5
77 mins 2-6 (Adam Williams)
87 mins 3-6
Star Player: Ice Goswell
Wonderful to finally return to action after a gap of almost 6 months with a trip to Caversham to play the Stallions in this Division 4 league match. With an enlarged squad of 19 we had a few players missing for a variety of reasons: Alex, Felix, Jack C, Bertie and Will; but that still left us with 14 on the day, including five debutants: Josh at the heart of the defence; Ethan at left wing back, Sachin in the centre of midfield, Ice on the right flank and Adam up top. An adventurous 3-4-3 formation to try capitalise on the new fire power.
After some early sparring, Caversham got their noses in front on ten minutes as a ball over the top saw the striker outpace the Ashridge defence and slot home. The Ashridge response was to pile the pressure back on to the home defence. Within three minutes, Jamie broke free and looked certain to level matters only to be hauled down on the edge of the box; Ice took the resulting free kick and rattled the underside of the bar, with the grateful Caversham keeper able to gather in the rebound. Jamie then went close moments later - and in fact chances continued to come and go until on 33 minutes Dan put a ball over the top of the home defence for Jamie to level things up at 1-1. This was the signal for Ashridge to seize control of the game. First Adam and Sachin linked up to set up Ice for his first Ashridge goal; a minute later he was on hand again to finish with a header after Sachin's effort came back off the crossbar. 3-1 at the break after a good display with plenty of skills and some good passing movements; only lack of incisive finishing preventing a more convincing scoreline.
Any real doubt about the result disappeared within seconds of the restart. Dan and Antonio linked up straight from the kick off, and the latter tee-ed up Sachin for his debut goal. Ashridge continued to push forward in the hunt for goals, but suffered a setback some ten minutes into the half when the influential Sachin had to withdraw with an injury. Nonetheless, the lead was stretched further just prior to the hour mark with some great play from Ice, driving into the box and crossing to leave Antonio with the simplest of finishes for 5-1. By this time Ashridge were sensing blood, and all the players were looking to get on the scoresheet, meaning that defensive duties were being neglected and the back three left a little exposed; Caversham capitalised with another ball in behind; again they outpaced the Ashridge defence and although Joe got good hands on the shot, he was unable to keep it out (5-2). Ashridge restored the four goal margin with Adam becoming the third of the debutants to score after good work from Antonio, but Caversham were now beginning to gain the upper hand in the centre of midfield as tiredness set in. Marcus was cautioned for a mistimed challenge as the striker looked to get in behind again, and Caversham could have made Ashridge pay in the latter stages. Antonio came close to a seventh for Ashridge with a trademark overhead which went narrowly over the bar, before Caversham again narrowed the gap with a long range effort high into the net three minutes from time.
Ice was named star player for his two goals and an assist, on top of some great wing play throughout the game.
Comments from Nick Baker:
Thanks to everyone today. Great support from the sidelines and a great spirit from every player. I was very impressed with the fitness levels for our first 90 minute match. Lots of skills on show too, which made for a very watchable game of football.