Dec 19, 2015
Ashridge Park Royals (U17) 1 Laurel Park Whirlwinds (U17) 1
Today we welcomed a strong Laurel Park side to St Crispins. Traditionally Laurel Park had been something of a bogey team of ours, and with the visitors already progressing to the quarter final of the Cup after vanquishing two Division 1 teams as well as a Division 2 team, it was clear that we would be in for a difficult encounter.
With a team composed of U18 and U17 players, the visitors started strongly, with an organised defence supporting some quick and strong players able to carry the ball into dangerous positions. Urged on by a vociferous group of travelling supporters, it was no surprise to see them take the lead on 18 minutes, after Ashridge failed to clear their lines after a Laurel Park corner. The ball ping ponged around the area, before being forced over the line.
The game was highly competitive with numerous stern challenges. The visitors looked very solid at the back, and were good value for their lead. The home team had a few shots on target from Callum, Ben and Peter in particular, but even when the defensive wall was breached, the keeper was always excellently positioned and equal to the task in hand. Half time, 1-0 to the visitors.
The 2nd half was slightly less frenetic, with Ashridge starting to move the ball around well and carving out some excellent chances. Alex came close one a couple of occasions, as the game was played predominantly in the Laurel Park half. Eventually, on 70 minutes, the pressure told as Alex sent Dan galloping down the left for his inch perfect cross to be headed home by Owen. A well deserved goal for Owen after good build up play.
The visitors briefly threatened but Ashridge still had chances to seal victory. In the dying embers of the game, Luke picked up the ball midway inside the Laurel Park half, teed himself up for a volley which cannoned off the crossbar, for what would have surely been goal of the season.
Overall, we can be pleased with the performance against a very strong opponent. Once again, one of our matches has remained wide open until the final minute. It will be interesting to see whether this will be considered to be a point gained or a point lost come the end of the season.
We shall return to League action at 9am on 9 January when we entertain Twyford Comets