Teams

Under 17s Park

Manager: Graham Ayton / Emma Cole

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

Under 17s 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.

Training at 6pm Friday @ Emmbrook.

Fixtures - Sep-Dec

 

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Oct 10, 2020

Ashridge Out-Gun Bullets

Binfield Bullets 0 Ashridge Park 3

Goals:
40 mins: 0-1 (Adam Williams)
64 mins: 0-2 (Adam Williams)
90 mins: 0-3 (Toni Baciu)

Star Player:  Adam Williams


It was very thoughtful of the home team to move the game from its normal pitch, so that we could combine football with a walk-in flu jab clinic, although it did take slightly longer to track and trace the venue.  But once there, it was a nice pitch behind a spanking new school.

At the time of writing, I think we are in tier 1.  I have looked at the rules and that means I am not allowed to do any household chores, cannot share the TV remote and am required to eat Doritos Roulette with my glass of wine at 6.00 pm.
 
Graham had a squad of 15 on a bright chilly morning, and against a team with one or two hefty looking players.
 
We picked up where we left off after last week’s fantastic performance and had the better of the opening exchanges, passing the ball nicely, although without creating any clearcut chances. Always a danger when that happens, because Binfield upped their game and started to press.  A ball crossed into the area from the left sliced off our defence into the path of one of their strikers.  The shot didn’t have much power, but a combination of a deflection and the post kept it out.  No idea how.  Then a break down our right flank fell into the path of their left winger.  He really got hold of it from a tightish angle and Joe needed strong wrists and a dive to turn it round for a corner.
 
Ebb and flow, and we clawed our way back on top.  Jack G (Gillingham, not Grealish) nearly scored a spectacular attempt, just over from 20 yards.  That was followed by two good efforts from Ice and Sachin. 
 
Then the breakthrough – one of the best goals I have ever seen at this level. One of the hallmarks of a top side is how hard they work when they don’t have the ball.  So if anyone says that players are so good they can afford simply to stroll around the pitch, my response is that may occasionally happen.  But rarely.  For example, Iniesta, Xavi, etc were fantastically skilful players, and part of one of the best sides I have ever seen, when Spain were dominant around the mid 2010s.  But their work-rate was phenomenal, and I doubt they would have been picked on their skill alone.  The same goes for Klopp’s and Pep’s teams. So it’s great to see Ashridge fighting for the ball when out of possession, exemplified by a tremendous tackle by Tony to win the ball in the opposition half – probably 30-70 against him.
 
Exemplified also by Sachin who lost the ball mid-way inside the Binfield half. Did he shrug his shoulders and give up?  No he didn’t.  He hunted the player down and won the ball back.  Then he chipped a delightful ball forward into the box in the right-hand channel.  The ball was controlled by Adam on his chest, and as it dropped, he spun and hit it first time into the corner of the net.  An absolute peach of a finish, but not possible without Sachin’s graft.  0-1 40 mins.
 
Just before the break, one of their players was pole-axed by Marcus, who was given a lecture by the ref.  That possibly set the tone for the second half, but 0-1 at HT.
 
The incident clearly fired Binfield up, and they started the second half strongly.  We somehow managed to keep them out with good cover in front of Joe.  Then there was a nasty late challenge on James who had to limp off. 
 
It was slightly confusing to see one of their subs come on wearing a hi-viz bib.  I can only imagine he had left his shirt at home, and the COVID rules don’t allow kit to be borrowed. At one stage it looked like a spectator had run onto the pitch and joined the game. [GA: he was Binfield's other keeper and had only brought his goalie shirt, the Binfield manager informed me and the ref at the start and we agreed it was ok. Might have helped if I'd remembered to tell the players though!]. 
 
Then we won a corner on the right that was pinged into the box by Tony, and Adam headed in from 6 yards.  0-2 on 64 mins.
 
This was followed by an unnecessary “tackle” from behind that brought Felix down – he leapt to his feet and squared up.  I thought he was going to chin the guy in the melee that followed, but fortunately he didn’t.  However it was all getting rather tasty, as they say. Indeed a few moments later Alex did extremely well to leap out of the way of another two-footed lunge that would have seen him join James on the sidelines had it connected.
 
It was end to end stuff in the final quarter, with Binfield hitting the outside of the post with a decent curling effort, and Tony slicing wide, some terrific first time crosses from the right from Ice (really tricky to defend), who then smashed one from an angle which produced a very good save from their keeper. 
 
Pretty much the final action was a tidy finish by Tony after Adam's effort from Ice's cross had been saved.  0-3 at full time.
 
Overall a tremendous team effort.  Once again, everyone put in a shift for Graham and for one another.  And as Graham mentioned in the post-match de-brief, credit also to the boys for their restraint in the face of some aggressive challenges and verbals.  In the professional game, there is no way there would have been 22 players on the pitch at the final whistle.

Max Galla


Managers Comments:
This was a very decent performance once we got ourselves going. Whilst Binfield might count themselves unlucky with two shots hitting the woodwork, we actually presented them with their best opportunities with some strange defensive mix-ups, whilst on clear-cut chances created we were miles ahead and could easily have doubled our tally with some more incisive finishing. Indeed we got so far on top of the game that the opposition's frustrations boiled over, and one of their players apparently even went home in the middle of the second half! So I was pleased that we kept our heads and made our point with our football.

Good contributions today from Sachin in the centre of midfield and Ice wide on the right - several balls of the very highest quality played into the danger area. But a most deserving man-of-the-match award goes to Adam who demonstrated all the attributes of a good centre forward: strong hold up play, bringing the midfield into play, powerful in the air and finishing of the highest order. 
 

 

Dec 05, 2020

Crispinophobia

Ashridge Park 3 Shinfield Rangers 4

Goals (click for highlights):
21 mins: 0-1
38 mins: 0-2
57 mins: 1-2 (Jamie Cole)

68 mins: 2-2 (Bertie Wilson)
83 mins: 2-3
90(+3) mins: 2-4
90(+4) mins: 3-4 (Ice Goswell)

Star Player: Joe Savory


A grey but relatively mild winter's day greeted our return to action following the suspension of the League in November. At least the pitch had had some chance to recover and was in noticeably better shape than for our last game against Berks County. Adam had aggravated his old knock in training and so missed out, along with Dillon who was unwell; Josh also taking his turn to sit out due to the matchday limit of 16. Our opponents, Shinfield Rangers, had gone through a rocky three match spell prior to lockdown with some unexpected and heavy defeats, but would normally be expected to be reasonably competitive in this division. 

The early exchanges suggested that Ashridge had remembered about passing the ball during the enforced break from action, knocking some short and simple passes around quite happily, but had forgotten the physical endeavour required. A stark reminder came in the first minute when Alex was bundled unceremoniously into touch by a challenge that had little to do with the ball, but nonetheless went unpunished - probably because the ball had already crossed the line before the contact arrived. It did little to shake the boys up though, and the home side regularly coughed up possession when it came to the decisive final ball by dint of some sloppy delivery and being slower to react than the opposition. Shinfield were altogether more vocal too, but were also unable to create any real threat on goal in the opening stages; with the home side managing the only effort of note on 11 minutes when Jack G woke everyone up by seizing on a loose ball out of defence and firing a 25 yard effort over the bar. More typical of the home side's display was when a hard-won corner not only went straight out of play along the ground, but the delivery actually missed the side-netting altogether. Another corner two minutes later was better-aimed and produced Ashridge's only shot on target of the half when Jack G's header into the danger area was nodded on by Bertie towards the top corner, but the effort lacked power and was safely gathered by the Shinfield keeper. And on 20 minutes a further opportunity presented itself when the keeper handled outside his area; Ice's free kick from just right of centre went a foot or so over the top.

Thus far Ashridge had been on top, albeit lacking menace. The game changed just prior to the mid-point of the half when Dan was adjudged to have clipped the heels of a Shinfield player on the edge of the centre circle. The resulting free-kick was launched into the box but cleared everyone and found the net with Joe unable to claw it out. Any disappointment our keeper may have had with the concession was soon to be put behind him; Shinfield's confidence rocketed and they pushed on for the first time in the game, and within a minute Joe had to parry a fierce effort from just outside the box. Ashridge wasted a chance to level when Toni's excellent cross from the left was flicked on by Bertie leaving Ice with a sight of goal on the right of the box, but he blazed over from 12 yards. Shinfield were getting the clearer chances now though: first Ashridge failed to deal with a long throw into the box, and Joe saved from point blank range, dong well to gather the rebound back in before the forward pounced on it; then he pushed another goal-bound effort around the left-hand post after a long punt from the keeper had got away from the Ashridge centre backs. A free header from the resulting corner went wide, with more or less an action replay following two minutes later, this time from a corner from the right. The warning signs were there, and on 38 minutes the inevitable happened; for the umpteenth time Ashridge lost possession on half-way, and with Ethan pushing up in support, Shinfield had four on three; even this could have been recovered, but James Riley and Marcus converged on the same ball and didn't win it, leaving the Shinfield striker to peel off to the right and rifle the ball inside the near post from close range. Ashridge improved marginally for the last five minutes of the half and Dan, Jack C and Jack G all had shots, though none seriously threatened the Shinfield goal. 2-0 probably the least the visitors deserved after a dismal half from the home side, and lots to fix in the half-time team talk.

The tone was quickly set for the second half, as Ashridge began with a pace and urgency that had been missing in the first 45 minutes. Sachin and Jack G began to bustle about the central areas, and in the second minute of the half linked up to allow Sachin to drive past several challenges before having a shot blocked on the edge of the penalty area; Ashridge recycled the ball and Jamie had an effort saved by the keeper at the near post. A couple of minutes later, some dogged closing down by Jack C led to a hurried clearance which fell straight to Jack G 25 yards out, and he let fly, the ball sailing narrowly over with the keeper scurrying across his goal line in some alarm. And soon Ashridge had their reward; a poor tackle on Jamie out on the right touchline gave Ashridge a free-kick, which Sachin swung in nicely to the near post; the defence could only knock it back into Jamie's path and he drove the ball home from close range to reduce the deficit. Ashridge pushed on, and after Jamie was cynically taken down as he broke forward, another Sachin free-kick caused some panic in the Shinfield rearguard before being cleared. Shinfield were reduced to the odd break, but they were leaving numbers upfield, and Joe was forced into a save from a drive from the edge of the box after they created an overload on the Ashridge right. Just as energy levels were beginning to drop again, at the mid-point of the half, Ashridge found their equaliser. Dan, who had just come back on, found Jack C on the right edge of the box; Jack played a nice pass in behind for Jamie, whose cross was moved on by Felix for Bertie to slot home from the left angle of the six yard box. 2-2 and Ashridge now seemingly in the mood to go on to take the points.

The next few minutes saw plenty of endeavour but little threat on goal at either end. As the clock ticked down towards the final ten, Shinfield called Joe into action with a shot from fully 30 yards, which though well-struck was in truth straight down the middle and dealt with easily. Ashridge responded with a smart move; Dan retrieving possession on half way on the right and curling a testing ball in behind the Shinfield defence; Toni latched on to it with a first time shot on target, but the angle was narrow and the keeper was able to save and retrieve the rebound before Ice could close in on it. This led to another spell of Ashridge pressure, and after good work from Toni and Ethan on the left, the ball was fed via Jamie to Dan on the edge of the box, but Dan's shot drifted wide of the far post. Moments later it was Dan again in space in the left channel, this time his 25 yard effort was better struck and heading for the bottom corner before a sprawling save from the keeper turned it around the post for a corner. From the corner, the ball found its way to the back post where Ethan had space, but he couldn't quite get his foot around it and the shot went wide. Just as Ashridge were turning the screw, Shinfield broke rapidly and re-took the lead with seven minutes left. Ice was dispossessed on the right touchline close to the Shinfield box, and with both Ashridge full backs in advanced positions, a quick one-two and two missed tackles left the striker one-on-one with Marcus, he got a lucky break in the tackle as the ball rebounded into his path, but the finish across Joe into the left hand corner was clinical. 3-2 to the visitors.

Ashridge went straight down the other end in search of an equaliser and a golden chance went begging straight away as Ice's corner from the left found Felix drifting in at the back post, but a moment's hesitation saw the ball go right through him and out for a throw. Then Toni release Ice on the right and a dangerous cross was almost put into his own net by the covering defender. The resulting corner was met with a solid, goal-bound header from Toni, but was headed off the line with the keeper beaten. The pressure continued as Felix's shot was deflected behind for another corner; another great delivery from Ice was met by Marcus at the back post but went agonisingly wide of the target. Antonio then fired wide from the edge of the box before a scramble in the box saw two Ashridge efforts blocked as Shinfield threw bodies in the way of everything to preserve their lead. And as before, this spell of pressure from the home side ended with a Shinfield goal. A break down-field saw them win a throw by the left corner flag, the dangerous long delivery to the six-yard box could only be headed on by James Roberts and a Shinfield player arriving in the centre diverted it into the top corner for the decisive goal in the third minute of added-on time. And just how crucial that was became clear seconds later as Marcus's ball from halfway evaded the Shinfield defence to leave Dan in on goal; his effort was saved by the keeper, Toni following in had his shot blocked on the line - possibly by a defender's arm, but that became academic as Dan fed the ball back to Ice who fired home to reduce the arrears. No time for any further action though, the visitors running out 4-3 winners.

A strange game for the home side, with a very under-par showing in the first half ultimately costing the game, but being so much on top in the second and getting back on terms it's really hard to understand how the game was lost once more. Definite lessons to be learned here. Communication on the pitch is vital, and more specifically encouraging each other leads to greater energy and control in the game - at times it was more like a library than a football pitch in the first half. Keeping (or re-gaining) shape when out of possession is also vital; the defence were right to complain at the interval that they were being left outnumbered too often as the midfield over-committed to attack; but the defence also were caught badly out of shape at times, particularly for the second and third goals. For all that it was a good response in the second half from everyone, but Jamie and Dan in particular were notable for the effort put in. But today's star player recognition goes to Joe, who made some vital saves to even give us a chance of coming back from the débâcle of the first half.

 

Dec 12, 2020

Happy Travels for Park

Curley Park Rangers Tornadoes 2 Ashridge Park 4

Goals (click for highlights):
15 mins:     0-1 (Toni Baciu)
45+2 mins: 1-1
58 mins:     1-2 (Sachin Vara)
64 mins:     2-2
77 mins:     2-3 (Jamie Cole)
81 mins:     2-4 (Toni Baciu)

Star Player: James Riley


A bright December morning saw the team travel to Camberley to take on Curley Park Rangers Tornadoes, a team that we had never previously faced. We again had a full matchday squad of 16, with Adam and Josh returning to the lineup; Marcus, James Roberts and Dillon missed out this week.

After the lacklustre start in last weeks game, Ashridge were clearly much more fired up and vocal from the outset here. From the kick off they strung together a dozen passes, and in fact it was well into the second minute before Curley Park got a meaningful foot on the ball. When the opposition did have possession, the side quickly dropped into a solid formation and the ball was quickly retrieved. While there was some promising build-up play, with Dan, Sachin and Jamie spreading play well in the central areas and Adam and Toni providing excellent link-up to the attack, it took a while for clear-cut chances to appear. In fact the first effort on goal from either side came in the 14th minute, and came within a whisker of seeing Ashridge take the lead; Sachin's free-kick from the right angle of the box was poked goal-wards by Felix, with the keeper just getting down in time to turn it away at full-stretch; Ashridge quickly recovered the ball and another pin-point cross from Sachin found Adam with the goal at his mercy, but his header somehow went wide of the target from six yards out. The visitors were not denied for long though; the resulting goal-kick was retrieved by Felix on the edge of the centre-circle, he laid it forward to Toni who flicked the ball up and volleyed first time over the keeper from the edge of the box into the right hand corner of the net - a really lovely piece of skill. 1-0 on the quarter hour and thoroughly merited on the balance of play.

As the half wore on some of the cohesion began to drop out of the visitors' game with passes going astray and energy levels dropping a little. Curley Park were making little impression as the rearguard - and James Riley in particular - stood strong and mopped up anything that came their way. Just prior to the midpoint of the half, the home side did come close when a free-kick was awarded for handball against Felix just outside the box; a decent effort from the dead ball smacked against the outside of the right post and away to safety. On 25 minutes Ashridge came close to extending the lead; a flowing move starting with James Riley in his own half and involving some crisp first time passing from Jamie, Toni, Jack G and Bertie put Toni in for a shot on goal which the keeper did well to parry low down to his right, the ball was cleared straight to Jack whose thunderous effort from the edge of the box was turned round the left hand post - another good save. Ice then nearly capitalised on some hesitation in the home defence from a punt downfield by Joe, getting a foot on it but being denied by the sprawling keeper at his feet, the rebound fell to Toni, whose effort beat the keeper but was blocked by a defender on the edge of the six-yard box. Ashridge were now over-elaborating on the ball and movement off the ball was dropping away as they tired somewhat and mistakes led to a couple of half-chances for Curley Park, which they failed to make use of. As half-time approached Ashridge had a great chance to give themselves a cushion as Dan slotted a ball through for Ice to race on to, but the ball was bobbling on the surface and never quite sat down, and Ice's shot from just inside the box went over the bar. Sure enough as the clock ticked into injury time at the end of the half Ashridge were made to pay for the wasted chances. A free-kick was conceded for an innocuous challenge by Ethan some 35 yards from goal, Ashridge didn't deal with the ball into the box and it was bundled home from close range. 1-1 at the break in a half in which Ashridge had nearly 60% possession and 12 shots to Curley Park's 4.

Ashridge started the second half with purpose, and the very first move saw Ice deliver a cross from the right to find Felix, whose shot drew a save from the home keeper. A couple of minutes later and another dangerous ball in from Ice saw Adam with a free header off-target, before Dan's effort from just outside the box broke back to Adam, whose effort went just past the angle of post and crossbar to the right of the Curley Park goal. The home side were now more or less penned in their own half with only the odd counter-attack, though Ashridge hearts were momentarily in mouths as Alex was called on to intercept a dangerous cross from the left with the ball flying only a yard or so high and wide of the near post. Just prior to the hour mark, Ashridge finally got the breakthrough they were threatening with a high-class individual goal from Sachin, picking the ball up on the edge of the centre circle and dribbling around two opponents before firing a shot from outside the box across the keeper and into the left hand corner for 2-1. Adam then drew another save from the Curley Park keeper low down to his right after Felix had held up Sachin's cross from the right. But suddenly, out of the blue, Curley Park were level again, and this was a goal of the highest calibre: a midfielder picking up possession in his own half, cleverly slipping past his marker, carrying the ball into Ashridge territory before beating Will and slipping a ball inside Dan who was covering at right back to find the forward on the left angle of the box; the forward took a touch before curling a shot into the top right hand corner - not only did Joe stand no chance, but I doubt any keeper in the world could have got to it. 2-2 just past the hour mark and still all still to play for.

The home side's confidence was briefly boosted by the goal, and the same player tried to repeat the trick a couple of minutes later, but missed the target to the right of goal with Joe comfortably in control this time. But gradually Ashridge recovered their composure and began to threaten again; Toni's long cross-field ball from the left touchline found Jack C centrally just outside the box, and he fed the ball to the right for Ice, whose fierce shot drew another good block from the home keeper. Dan and Toni had further efforts off target, before on 75 minutes a golden chance went begging; Dan's cross from the right flank went right across goal to find Toni ghosting in on the back post, but the ball reared up and went off his shins and over the bar from point blank range. The home side's reprieve was brief, though, as Ashridge won a throw level with the box on the left, Toni took it quickly to find Jamie, who held off a couple of challenges before firing home down the centre of the goal to give Ashridge the lead for the third time. And this time they kept Curley Park penned in and made the game safe four minutes later; Alex won a corner on the right, Ice's delivery was blocked but Alex fed the ball back out and this time Ice's ball in was inch-perfect for Toni to volley home from the edge of the six yard box. 4-2 and the points surely now in the bag. Ashridge remained in control of the ball and came closest to adding to the tally when another great delivery from Ice found Adam in the box, and after mis-timing his first header straight up in the air, launched a second effort just over the crossbar. Some late huffing and puffing from the home side was easily dealt with by the Ashridge back line, and the game ended with Sachin breaking from his own half and evading four challenges before having his shot blocked.

A good way to finish the term after some disappointing recent results. A game dominated by Ashridge with the final shot tally of 25 to 7 a far better indicator of the game than the goal count. Great to see the lessons from last week taken on board; the team's shape was good throughout, and the communication and encouragement was a significant factor in the improved performance. Nice to have Adam back in the forward line, and although his finishing was a little lacking in sharpness, his link-up play was an important part in our dominance of possession. Alongside him up-front Toni was a real handful throughout the game and his two goals good reward for his effort. Sachin, Dan and Jack G dominated the midfield and used the ball intelligently, and Ice worked back well whilst continuing to provide high-quality balls into the box from the flank. At the back Josh was a real calming influence that we sorely missed in the previous game, but today's star player recognition goes to James Riley. His performance today showed that dominance of a game can start at the back, regularly winning back possession as we expect from James, but today his use of the ball was on-point, clearing when necessary, but mainly picking out the right pass or on occasion carrying it into the danger area when the space opened up for him; a really emphatic and intelligent display all-round.