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Oct 24, 2015

Ashridge Park Royals 1 Reading Rangers 3

So on to the big one.  A top of the table clash saw early season pace-setters Reading Rangers coming to Ashridge to defend their 100% record.

In the first half it was difficult to separate the teams in what was a very evenly-matched encounter.  Peter came close on 5 minutes with a speculative 20 yard shot, Alex headed wide on 15 minutes, and again came close with a header on the stroke of half-time.  Overall neither keeper was unduly troubled.

The view at half time was that this was likely to be a game of few goals, and we would need to be creative with set pieces and perhaps challenge the Rangers defence with earlier balls into the danger area.

Unfortunately it was the visitors who came out of the starting blocks with a renewed sense of urgency, being unlucky to see a shot hit the post on 50 minutes.  Ashridge did not heed the warning, and a mere 3 minutes later lost the ball in the Reading Rangers half, who broke away and opened their account for the day, the first goal conceded by Ashridge for an astonishing 418 minutes.    

Within 2 minutes they came close to doubling their advantage once again when again Ashridge were rescued, this time by the other post.

On 62 minutes the visitors doubled their lead, and then 16 minutes later with Ashridge coming back into the game, they scored a third goal to seemingly put the game beyond reach.
The 3rd goal seemed to liberate Ashridge who then started to show some attacking menace, with Callum converting a Dan cross on 80 minutes. Hope flickered briefly as Ashridge stormed forward and the keeper was alert to make 2 impressive saves.  

Alas, it was not to be, and in spite of some Ashridge huffing and puffing towards the end, the visitors held out to win the game, an outcome merited by their dominance of the first 20 minutes or so of the second half