Teams

Under 15s Park

Manager: Graham Ayton / Emma Cole

Contact: graham.ayton22@gmail.com / thecoles1234@btinternet.com

Under 15s Park

Contact 07747 031231

We have a fantastic group of enthusiastic youngsters who clearly enjoy each others' company, and are supported by an equally enthusiastic and friendly parent group. Our primary aim is to enjoy ourselves both in training and in matches, and we also take pride in playing with sportsmanship and respect. We are always looking to develop all of our players' technical skills and tactical awareness, but we do so in a relaxed environment where love of the game always comes first.

 
Our manager is Graham Ayton and our administrator is Emma Cole. You can use this website to contact us, but do give us a few days to respond.

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Oct 06, 2018

Ashridge Out In Shoot-Out Drama

Ashridge Park 1 Curley Park Rangers Spitfires 1  (pens 2-4)

Ashridge Scorer: Reg Ryan (60')
Star Player: Reg Ryan
Sponsor Performance Rating*: Chilli Massala - performance built gradually from a slow start to an intense finish
(*in recognition of our shirt sponsors, the Sultan Balti Palace)

A break from the league programme to take in a cup-tie coincided with a change in the weather; just as we arrived at St Crispins, the rain began to fall, and continued to do so with varying intensity throughout the game. Our opponents were an unknown quantity having transferred from the North Hants League this season - so although they'd been put in the division below us, there was no guarantee that they would be at a lower standard. We welcomed Jack C back to the side after injury and illness, with Tayseer being the one to miss the game this week.

We set up in our usual 3-4-3 formation with Reg, Jack C and Antonio leading the attack initially. The early exchanges were well-balanced, with both sides having opportunities to attack, and the Curley Park forwards showing some nice touches on the ball, and some good pace which kept and Alex and Tim busy on the Ashridge left, and James Riley on his toes to clear up behind them. Ashridge were first to go close, with Marcus feeding Reg on the left, but with angle rapidly narrowing his shot came back off the outside of the left-hand post and out for a goal-kick. Ashridge had plenty of possession in this period, but struggled to create clear-cut chances, with players delaying passes and running into traffic, or when they did release the pass they could not finesse them to find their target with sufficient accuracy. The threat remained at the other end, and became real on 15 minutes after Alex deflected a dangerous cross behind for a corner; a high delivery from the right to the back post found a queue of Curley Park players competing to turn the ball home.

The game remained well-contested for the remainder of the first half. For Ashridge, Reg fired over the bar on the turn after a corner was knocked down by the visitors' defence; whilst Jack G worked his way past a couple of defenders but didn't fully connect with his left-foot shot, which the keeper was able to gather comfortably. Curley Park responded with another sharp break resulting in a further corner on the left, and another good delivery was met with a smart clearing header from Jack G. Ashridge began to crank up the quality with Antonio taking over the right flank from Jamie and beginning to get some better passes into Reg and inside to Jack and Will, who also began to find Bertie in space on the left. An equaliser seemed inevitable when Bertie fed Reg in on the left of the box, Reg drove to the by-line and stood up a brilliant cross taking the goalkeeper and much of the defence out of play, but Mason got underneath his header and missed the target with the goal gaping. A defensive error then nearly let Curley Park in again, but the forward dragged his shot well wide with only Joe to beat; and then another through ball saw the visitors ask for a penalty when a player went to ground as he closed in on Alex's covering work, but the referee rightly ruled that the player had slipped and there was no foul. Ashridge responded again, and once again came close when a cross from the right resulted in a melay in the penalty box, but Ashridge just couldn't force the ball over the line before the keeper gratefully gathered. 1-0 to the visitors in a good contest at half-time.

Ashridge switched formation to 4-4-2 for the second period in order to have another look at the Marcus / Jack C partnership in central defence that had performed so well a few weeks back against Westwood. This allowed us to release James Riley into central midfield in the hope that we could begin to win the battle in that part of the pitch and put some serious pressure on the visitors' defence. So it was to prove, though initially James struggled to adapt to the new role and the restricted space available, and it was actually Dan alongside him who started to push us on to the attack with some good forward surges, whilst Antonio also looked lively getting forward on the right side of midfield. Marcus and Jack impressed again at the back, with Jack's physicality seeing off some of the threat the opposition had posed in the first half, with Marcus's reading of the game complementing this extremely well. James Roberts and Tim looked more comfortable in the wider full-back roles, and Ashridge were able to shut down the supply to the Curley Park forwards at an early stage. With James Riley beginning to impose himself and launch the ball forwards, Reg's pace was becoming a real threat to the visitors, and whilst they saw off a few moves well at the expense of throws and corners, an equaliser was beginning to look like it was just a matter of time. It duly arrived on the hour, as Marcus cut out a forward ball and played a pass over the top of the Curley Park back line; Reg raced onto it and beat the keeper to the ball, slotting it past him inside the left-hand post.

Ashridge really turned up the heat for the remainder of the game. Jamie returned on the left side of the midfield and the passes really began to find their mark; whilst Dan moved up front alongside Reg to give the Curley Park defence another threat to deal with. With Jack G now alongside James in central midfield, Ashridge dominated possession and chances flowed. A nice move developed down the right with James Riley, Antonio, Dan and Reg all involved; the ball finally being cut back to Antonio in space near the penalty spot, but unfortunately he leant back on the shot and blazed it over the bar. Reg tried his luck from the left angle of the penalty area but didn't quite get the height on it and the keeper was able to gather; before James Riley's free-kick from the right eluded everyone before being clawed away by the keeper with a last desperate lunge, with the return ball across the box also eluding everyone and squeaking narrowly wide of the right post. Jamie came closest of all as a slide-rule pass from Reg put him in on the left of the box, he cut back past one defensive challenge before seeing his shot cleared off the line - Jamie still claims it was in, but with no goal-line technology we will never know! Corners and throws came and went, and to their credit Curley Park defended very well under siege, making it to the final whistle at 1-1.

With no extra time, the game moved directly to the penalty shoot-out. Curley Park went first, scoring to Joe's right, before Reg levelled. Joe saved the next to his left, before Antonio placed his penalty high to the right of the keeper's dive giving Ashridge the initial advantage. The turning point was Curley Park's third penalty which thundered down off the crossbar but just had the forward momentum to bounce back up into the top of the net. Jack G couldn't convert Ashridge's third, and Jack C went too high with the fourth, so with Curley Park netting both of theirs the game was done.

A much-improved performance today, in what was a thoroughly entertaining game against spirited opponents, who had a good-humoured following too (always makes the game more enjoyable!). By the end we were utterly dominant, and I think had their been extra-time we most likely would have gone on to win. Clearly we are not quite scoring enough goals and remain very reliant on Reg to get those that we do score, so more work needed on support play and finishing in training soon! Call-outs for all those who took penalties today - not everyone was brave enough to step forward and those that did deserve the plaudits whatever the outcome. For the game itself, Marcus and Jack C impressed again with the central defensive partnership in the second half, and I'm sure we will try that combination again with James Riley beginning to get the feel for the midfield role by the end - just a bit more adjustment needed on the range of passing required there! Antonio showed some good qualities on the ball in the wide areas, but was pipped to the Star Player award by Reg - full of energy, he harassed the Curley Park midfield when not in possession, gave them plenty to worry about when he had the ball, and demonstrated some incisive passing (of the type we were working on in training last night) as well as getting his goal. So, to use a well-worn phrase, we can now concentrate on the league (!), starting next week at Spencers Wood.

 

Jan 12, 2019

Blues Knock Greens Off the Top

Westwood Wanderers Greens 2 Ashridge Park 3

Ashridge Scorers: Reg Ryan (22'), Dan Baker (42', 57')
Star Player: Reg Ryan

Our second visit of the season to Denefield School in Tilehurst, this time to play the Division 5 leaders, Westwood Wanderers Greens. Conditions were kinder than for our match against the Hoops, with no vicious wind howling down the large playing area, and the gentle slope seeming much less of an issue as a result. Our opponents had put on an impressive display of possession football on their visit to St Crispins in September, when two late penalties sealed a 4-1 victory; and they had gone on to rack up nine wins and a draw from their eleven matches to date, and were still boasting a 100% home record. Ashridge went into the game without two of the preferred back four, James Roberts and Jack Clayton, so Will and Marcus again dropped in to defence to deputise.

The home side began in similar fashion to the first meeting, looking to pass the ball across the midfield and utilise the wide areas. Ashridge kept their shape well, and Westwood were unable to penetrate as a result. After a five minutes of sparring, it was Ashridge who made the first decisive move with a ball in behind the defence allowing Reg to burst through and bring a full-length save from the home keeper. As the visitors' confidence rose and they pushed further forward, the game then opened up and we had a spell of end-to-end play with opportunities coming at regular intervals: first Westwood countered swiftly down the right with a shot drifting across goal and missing to the left; then Ashridge came within a whisker of opening their account when Reg beat the keeper to another ball in behind, lobbing it over him, only for it to hit the post and be cleared to safety by a retreating defender. Westwood then had a header narrowly wide, before both sides took breath and got back into a more disciplined shape, and the battle in midfield became really absorbing.

Just past the halfway mark the first moment of controversy arrived: Dan won possession in the middle, fed Jack G on halfway, and Jack threaded a superb pass between two defenders, with both Antonio and Reg lurking. Antonio was slightly ahead of the last defender as the ball was played and the linesman started to put his flag up, but then withdrew it as Reg surged onto it before it reached Antonio; Reg raced in one-on-one with the keeper, only to be pulled back because the referee had already blown his whistle. After checking with the linesman the error was noted and play resumed with a drop-ball, but the chance was gone. Within moments, Ashridge struck the first blow; another incisive move was brought to a halt with a clumsy challenge 25 yards out; James Riley's delivery from left of centre crashed against the left post and the rebound fell to Reg in the centre of the penalty area, and Reg found the net with ease. The remainder of the half was an absorbing contest, with Westwood's attacks coming up against some determined covering from the back four and the whole of the midfield; whilst Reg and Antonio also worked tirelessly to put pressure on a rattled-looking defence by chasing numerous seemingly lost causes. The main incident before half time was another controversial one, as a ball over the top of the Ashridge defence saw James retreat to deal with it, only to slice his attempted clearance straight towards his own goal, requiring Joe to handle it to keep it out, a move which the referee chose to interpret as a back-pass. Fortunately for Ashridge the effort from the resulting free-kick was skied over the bar and justice was served; Ashridge reaching the interval with a deserved 1-0 advantage.

Now playing down the slope, Ashridge piled forward from the kick-off and extended the lead within two minutes. Some more good work from Jack and Dan in the central areas saw the ball moved quickly up to Reg with his back to goal on the edge of the box; Reg cleverly dummied his marker and turned past him on the left, getting a shot away which was blocked, but the rebound fell to Dan who took a moment to control and pick his spot past the retreating defenders. Ashridge continued to press well in forward and midfield areas, but the Greens did start to enjoy a bit more success in the wide areas, firstly tricking their way through on the left before whistling a cross across the face of the goal, and then finding space on the right, only for a poor shot to miss the goal by some distance. Ten minutes into the half, the home team got themselves back into contention, winning a corner on the right; Ashridge were caught napping as it was taken short before the visitors were settled, a delivery to the back post cleared everyone, but a shot from the edge of the box, although not entirely cleanly hit, crept in at the left post to reduce the arrears to 2-1. Ashridge quickly overcame the surge of belief flowing through the home team by returning to the attack, and got well on top of their opponents for the next quarter of an hour; Jack and Dan getting the upper hand in midfield with good assistance from Tayseer dropping in from the forward line and Dillon, Bertie, and later Jamie and Alex in the wide areas.

Ashridge's reward came just prior to the hour as Dan was taken out as he advanced on the penalty box just right of centre; another delivery from James into the box beat the first defender and bounced dangerously close to the penalty spot, and Dan was quickly on to it, beating the keeper to it and heading the ball past him into the back of the net to make it 3-1. Ashridge continued to look the more likely, with even Alex trying his luck with a left footed drive from 30 yards drawing an admittedly fairly comfortable save from the keeper! Then more controversy as Reg raced on to another forward ball, reaching it ahead of the keeper some five yards inside the box, heading it over him before being laid out by the keeper's missed punch; not deemed a foul by the home ref. As the match went into the last quarter more and more calls seemed to be going the home side's way (including a "back pass" similar to the earlier one against Ashridge, but not awarded, and a sliding tackle that went straight through Reg's standing foot to get the ball loudly deemed a "good challenge"), and they began to build up a head of steam. Five minutes from time the gap was closed again as an aerial ball to the edge of the box saw Alex and Reg both converge on it to try to clear, with Alex momentarily distracted, his header looped up into the air and was met with a well-controlled volley from the home no 10 to find the top right of the net. Still time for another corner to be knocked over the bar, but on the whole Ashridge saw the game out well, knocking the ball deep into the corners of the Westwood half and chasing down everything to prevent the home side fashioning any further chances.

A fantastic team effort and a thoroughly merited result, which could have been by a wider margin but for the intervention of the woodwork and some odd calls by the official, and whilst the home team may have had greater possession overall, Ashridge always looked the more penetrative of the two sides. Reg's goal means he has now scored in ten successive games; and it was also good to see Dan back on the scoresheet; he now has six for the season, a good return considering how often we use him in central midfield. All fourteen on show today deserve a lot of credit, and the advances they have made in terms of fitness, confidence, determination and teamwork are all too evident seeing the difference today from that match in September when we could barely lay a glove on these opponents from an attacking perspective. As well as the general work-rate of the midfield and defence, a particular feature of today was the pressure applied by the forward line when not in possession - both Tayseer and Antonio were willing to chase lost causes, and showed a great turn of pace in doing so that consistently rattled an opposition defence that had previously only conceded 12 goals in 11 games. Today's star player recognition goes to the leader of that line, Reg, who showed the way in putting that pressure on the back line, and who showed some nice skills and intelligent lay-offs in possession and was also willing to work back and support the back line when needed, particularly late on in the game.  

 

Oct 13, 2018

Comeback Kings

Spencers Wood Hurricanes 3 Ashridge Park 9

Ashridge Scorers: Dan Baker (19', 29'), Reg Ryan (23', 60', 63', 69'), Jamie Cole (34'), James Riley (50'), Antonio Baciu (74')
Star Player; Dan Baker
Sponsor Performance Rating*: Madras - energetic display with plenty of fire in front of goal

(*in recognition of our current shirt sponsors, the Sultan Balti Palace)

A short trip over to Spencers Wood this morning to play the Hurricanes, a team against whom we completed the double last season, but who had got off to good start this season, with three wins and a draw from their opening four league games, and no goals conceded in their two home games. The pitch was small, especially in width, with only a couple of yards from the edge of the penalty area to the touchline on each side. Conditions were blustery, with a major downpour greeting us as we arrived at the ground, though this did subside as the game got under way. For the second week running we had a full match day squad of 16 available, with only Mason away this week, whilst our opponents had to manage with no substitutes,

We stuck with the 4-4-2 formation that had been more successful in the second half of last week's cup tie, with Jack C and James Riley starting at centre back, and Jack G and Will in the centre of midfield. Up front we were looking to attack with pace, with Dan lining up alongside Reg. Ashridge opened strongly, getting some early control in midfield, and moving the ball well to the flanks, where Antonio on the right in particular had some early success against his opposite number. A couple of early shots missed their mark, whilst the through-balls looking to get the strikers in were a little too strong, and with little space to play with on the short pitch, were comfortably mopped up by the Spencers Wood keeper. Five minutes into the game and a couple of warning shots were sounded as a speculative long shot from the left nearly caught Joe out, and he had to scramble across to push it round for a corner, which in turn was met with a good header that brought a second save from Joe; then another shot from the edge of the box narrowly cleared the bar. This was to prove the prelude to a disastrous ten-minute spell for Ashridge. First a long ball down the middle was volleyed out by James, but Jack C had also gone for the same ball, and James's clearance simply rebounded off him into the path of the Spencers Wood striker who calmly slotted past Joe for the opener. Almost immediately the lead was extended with a well-worked goal; another ball forward to the front man was neatly turned round the corner to find a well-timed run and another calm finish past Joe into the corner. Then on fifteen minutes, another poor clearance from a ball into the box went directly to a Spencers Wood player on the right edge of the box, who fired a fine shot over Joe into the opposite side of the goal. Ashridge 3-0 down and looking like they could be in for a hiding.

Fortunately the response was not long in coming, and it was the two Ashridge strikers who led the way with some determined chasing down of the ball creating some prolonged pressure on the home goal. A well-constructed move down the right released Antonio into the box, he cut neatly inside his player before being brought down, only for the referee to wave away the appeals. Undaunted, Ashridge piled forward again and got themselves on the board when Reg squared to Dan on the edge of the penalty area, Dan shifted the ball to his right before placing a well-struck shot to the right of the keeper. Crucially, the visitors struck again within four minutes when Reg chased back and dispossessed the Spencers Wood midfielder some 30 yards out, before cutting inside a second player and unleashing a fabulous strike from the angle of the box over the keeper and high into the net. The home team were rattled and Ashridge pressed on in search of an equaliser, which came just prior to the half hour mark; when Dan latched on to a loose ball just inside the Spencers Wood half and right of centre, advanced to just outside the box before drilling a low shot across the keeper into the left corner of the net. Ashridge were not done yet, and continued to press forward. Reg tried his luck once more from the edge of the box, bringing a fine finger-tip save from the keeper who tuned it onto the top of the bar - the referee slightly denting the credit he should have had by giving a goal kick! Dan also tried his luck once more but skied his effort well over the bar; but Ashridge did finally get their noses in front when Jack G made great progress down the left flank fending off two or three challenges, before turning it back to Tayseer, who in turn found a good ball across to Jamie in the penalty area; Jamie got the shot away towards the left-hand post only for the keeper to be left stranded as a defender's foot deflected it past him into the centre of the goal. There was still time for Ashridge to be denied another penalty when a clumsy tackle from behind brought Tayseer crashing down on the right of the box when poised to shoot, but the referee once again signalled play to continue. An extraordinary half of football came to an end with the visitors 4-3 to the good.

With the game still in the balance, Spencers Wood tried to re-group for the second half and came forward with more purpose again in the opening stages. Ashridge now had James Riley in midfield alongside Dan as Dillon had a run out up front alongside Reg, with Jack C and Marcus now at the heart of the back four. It was a combination that looked very solid, and with James Roberts also impressing against the most dangerous of the home forwards, Ashridge soon snuffed out the rally, and began to dominate both possession and territory. Another goal was needed to put the stamp on this authority, and this arrived after ten minutes of the half when Reg dropped slightly deeper to link play on the edge of the centre circle, and released a well-weighted pass into James Riley's path as he broke through the centre, held off the challenge of the last defender and prodded the ball past the keeper into the bottom right-hand corner. The home side were only getting occasional glimpses now, but came close to pulling one back when a dangerous inswinging corner from the left evaded everyone but just went beyond the far post. Ashridge wrapped things up on the hour when a corner of their own from the right broke from a challenge in the six-yard box, and Reg reacted with lightening speed to force the ball over the line for 6-3.

The fight had now gone from the home side, and it was now becoming a matter of how many Ashridge would score; indeed Marcus and Jack C were both so under-employed that one Ashridge move found Jack bringing the ball out past half-way with Marcus offering an overlap on the left wing! Ashridge were able to move the ball with freedom, and soon released Reg into the box to complete his hat-trick, taking the ball around to the left of the keeper before slotting home. The eighth soon followed as a move down the left culminated with Reg taking the ball to the by-line before almost walking it past the remaining challenges and slotting into the opposite corner. Satisfied with his haul, Reg dropped deeper into an almost quarterback-like role, launching various passes into wide-open spaces on the right where James Riley, Antonio, Jack G and Will were all to be found marauding in search of more goals. Opportunities came and went, with Antonio dragging the clearest of them wide of the left post, before Spencers Wood almost got another consolation out of nowhere; James Riley dropping deep into his own box to thwart a rare raid down the Ashridge right, but trying an over-confident backheel, which went straight to the home side's danger man, but his decent strike struck the top of the crossbar and away to safety. Ashridge completed the scoring with just over five minutes to go, when great work from Jack G saw him ghost past two defenders on the right of the box before cutting the ball back to Antonio who controlled with his back to goal before pivoting and hitting a left-foot shot which snuck in just inside the far post despite the keeper's parry.

A very welcome second win of the season which could scarcely have been imagined after the first quarter of an hour. Really good to see the side getting stronger as the game went on (for the second week in a row in fact) as this has so often been the point in the game when this side have come unstuck. Today's victory speaks volume for team spirit and refusing to be down-hearted in adversity, and whilst the whole side deserves credit, there was real on-field leadership from two individuals in the key moments at 3-0 down. Reg stepped up his energy and effort and put real pressure on the Spencer's Wood midfield in a classic display of defending from the front - his first and Ashridge's second goal being the prime example of what can happen when you do this, and that goal was a dagger through the heart of the home side coming so quickly after the first, sowing the first seeds of doubt in their minds. Our usual turn-to player in difficult circumstances is Dan, and today was no different; he was the first to find a different gear when we needed it today, and capped a good all-round display with two fine strikes, and for this reason he takes the star player award.