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.

 

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.

 

Sep 15, 2018

Greens Grind Ashridge Down

Ashridge Park 1 Westwood Wanderers Greens 4

Sponsor Performance Rating*: Bhuna - solid and dependable with much to like
Ashridge Scorer: Antonio Baciu (15', pen)
Star Player: Jack Clayton


(* in recognition of our new shirt sponsor, the Sultan Balti Palace)

New opponents for us this week, with Westwood Wanderers Greens having transferred over from the rapidly-diminishing Berkshire Youth Development League. Whilst we were well-beaten last week, the Greens came into this morning's game on the back of a comfortable 5-1 win over Berks County Pumas, so we suspected that we would have another tough morning ahead. To make matters worse, last week's star player, Jack G, was away, and defensive lynch-pin James Riley was also missing due to a mix-up on the referee scheduling. To compensate, we reverted to a more defensive 4-4-2 formation with Jack C and Marcus dropping into the centre of defence. Dan also arrived in some discomfort, and we elected not to start with him, using Jamie and Will as the central midfield pairing. On the plus side Reg Ryan returned to lead the line.

The opening minutes confirmed our suspicions that we were up against a decent outfit. Westwood's midfield were very comfortable in possession, and played the ball around with some panache, looking for openings. Ashridge had taken on-board some of the lessons from last week, and stayed tight and compact, leaving few spaces for the visitors to exploit. Marcus and Jack were outstanding from the off, with Marcus's sharpness and poise on the ball, complementing Jack's strength and competitiveness extremely well. Communication across the back four and the midfield was good, and Ashridge successfully limited the visitors to some long-range efforts, which Joe dealt with comfortably. The biggest danger looked to be coming from corners, with two dangerous deliveries in the box; but from the first Jack harried well and forced a mis-directed header from the biggest opponent which went wide of the post; whilst from the second we escaped lightly when another tall opponent was being marked by our smallest player, Bertie, but put his header over the bar.

Opportunities for Ashridge to threaten the opposition goal were limited, but Reg, Antonio and Tayseer all worked exceptionally hard, and kept the opposition defence on their toes when they could. On 15 minutes a rare Ashridge raid saw Tayseer play the ball into Reg on the left edge of the box, only for Reg to be flattened by a rash challenge from behind. Spot kick awarded, and dispatched centrally by Antonio though the keeper did get a boot to it, deflecting it high into the back of the net. Ashridge were buoyed by the surprise lead, and started to play with more confidence and authority, and for a while the visitors lost some of their fluency. That said, play remained mostly in the Ashridge half, espcially as Reg had to go off feeling ill for the remainder of the half, meaning that we had less of a presence up-front. As the half drew to a conclusion, the visitors picked up the pace again, first striking the top of the bar with a shot from distance, before finally drawing level when a skilful run from midfield finally found a way through the central defensive shield, with a smart finish following into the bottom right corner. 1-1 at the end of an intriguing half.

The pattern didnt really change in the second half with the visitors dominating possession and Ashridge continuing to defend solidly. Reg was fit to return to the forward line, and on their occasional counters, Ashridge did successfully get a few more players forward into good spaces, with Jamie, Tayseer and Antonio all breaking forward at times, and Tayseer coming close to an Ashridge second after beating two players on the left but firing his shot into the side-netting from a narrow angle. Ashridge held out until just before the mid-point of the half, when a Westwood corner dropped from the first challenge centrally, just outside the six yard box; two Ashridge players both did their best to clear, but facing their own goal, and surrounded by opponents were unable to get much on the ball, which then ricocheted to a Westwood player who stabbed it goalwards; Joe was just unable to claw it away as it found its way just inside the left-hand post.

Ashridge were tiring now, and the midfield line began to fragment a little, meaning that Westwood were finding more opportunities to break with pace, and Ashridge were being forced into more last-gasp clearances. That said, it was Ashridge who came within a whisker of striking next; Reg surging forward down the left flank before cutting back inside, spotting the keeper slightly off his line, and firing an arrow of a shot from the angle of the penalty area across to the opposite top corner, but unfortunately striking the top of the crossbar, denying him a potential goal-of the-season contender. Jack C was beginning to struggle with a long-standing knee problem, and Westwood exploited the gap on the break, the forward breaking past Marcus who just caught the player in the box - whilst the fall was somewhat delayed and dramatic, there was certainly contact, and the penalty a fair decision. This was calmly dispatched to Joe's left, putting the result beyond doubt at 3-1. Jack had to come off, and an already patched up defence became even more so, with Alex filling in at left back whilst Tim moved inside. A fourth seemed likely, and duly arrived in the last few minutes, with another penalty; this time Marcus being adjudged to have levered the striker unfairly off the ball in what had looked like a shoulder-to-shoulder challenge. Dispatched once more to the same corner, for a final score of 4-1.

A little disappointing that the late concessions gave the scoreline a more convincing appearance; whilst there's no argument that Westwood were comfortably the better team, the boys worked so hard and defended so well for long periods that they deserved to see a smaller margin of a defeat. Regardless, they can be proud of themselves today, and will have learnt a lot about defending when under pressure; compared to last week's performance, this was several degrees better. Everyone played their part in ensuring we were compact and made the oppostion work hard for their win. Particular callouts for Will, who anchored the central midfield well with solid positioning, and looked much more like his usual self today; for Antonio who showed real desire on his first appearance of the season, and to James Roberts, Marcus and Tim who all got in plenty of great blocks and tackles. A clear winner of the star player recognition was Jack C, he took command of the back line, organising everyone to keep the defensive shape right, he was strong and determined in the challenge, and judged perfectly when to play out with a simple pass and when to use the "Row Z" option. We hope the knee problem is not too serious, as we will need this kind of performance regularly this season in what looks like a strong division!