Aston squeal a point...
...as pig goes pop
On a cold February afternoon the unbeaten Hollybush made the short trip to Aston for a top of the table clash. With the snowfall overnight the orange balls were at the ready but thankfully they were not required. Gloves and under Armour certainly were though thanks to the crazy decision to purchase a short sleeved kit.
With eight players unavailable Aston still managed to field a strong team and also two subs in the shape of speedster Reece Wain and lovable rogue Benji Sundblad. The third sub spot should have gone to Mike “Mr sniffles” Hedges but he didn’t make it.
Aston started with the now familiar 4-2-3-1 with a new look back four of Harriss, Henri “the Hulk”, Rowe and thankfully the returning Clarke. Beer and the calorific Austin in midfield with James Fleming back in the side in a surprising right wing position, Smith on the left and Evans just behind Kennedy. Kennedy looking every inch the man tired out from the start of a new relationship.
Hollybush nicknamed the Witney and District Spice boys due to their love of skinny jeans, baggy tops and floppy hair. The ultimate hipsters. The overly trendy Hollybush had every right to have a swagger coming into the game with a perfect league record until a bore draw the previous week and the game began with Aston showing them far too much respect. There was unexpectedly little bite in the tackle from Aston and Hollybush opened the scoring after around fifteen minutes after the Lions failed to clear a corner. It fell to Bishop on the edge of the box who drilled through the crowd into the far corner. 1-0 Hollybush.
Hollybush soon doubled their lead after a rather incredible decision from the referee in giving a penalty, from his view there was no way he could see that the left winger Rogers had struck the ball against right back for the day Harriss’s hand. There was no way it was deliberate either bit it was given all the same. Bishop or “Bish” stepped up and pulled out the trump card of the Panenka, Edwards was close to keeping it out after reading it quite early but the ball crossed the line all the same. 2-0 Hollybush.
The gaffer Edwards was turning the air blue as he tried to get a response from his players. He soon achieved a response by setting the example with a stupendously good save from a Jamie Stalker free kick which looked a goal all the way but for the strongest of left wrists from Edwards who palmed the ball onto the post.
Aston seemed to realise the potential importance of this save and improved greatly in the remainder of the half, the move of Fleming into the middle also seemed to help Astons performance. There was however still time for Austin to oink at the referee and receive a booking.
Aston started the second half well and their chances of recovering the game were helped when the quick decision crazed referee gave a straight red to Danny Brearley for an ill timed tackle on Vince Evans. “He’s off” they shouted as far away as the Beehive.
Edwards made a sub in bringing on the lightning pace of Wain for the tired looking Kennedy who has clearly been “Burning the candle at both ends”.
The impact was near on instant as left back Rowe got his head up, his hair out of his face and sprayed the most superb left to right pace deliberately into Wain who beat the on rushing goalkeeper to the ball with a cheeky nod of the head and then watched the ball tease itself over the line. The game was well on truly on as the Hollybush looked slightly rattled and not in the best positon defensively with no one from the midfield being disciplined and holding their position.
Smith was having one of his much quieter games on the wing but managed to go round the right back on the outside and come inside the penalty area and set up Beer beautifully. Beer the goal machine didn’t disappoint with the finish as he nonchalantly curled it into the top right bin. However he did disappoint with a rather strange celebration that can only be described as a sort of attempt at Peter Crouch doing the robot but looked more like a chicken flapping his wings in a blender. 2-2.
Aston just needed to keep their composure and surely the win would come with the man advantage. Composure is not Warren “the Vampire” Austin’s specialist subject though and lunged in the midfield giving the referee no option but to show him a second booking and level the game up to 10 men aside, rather strange considering it was not a dirty game in the slightest.
Gaffer Edwards threw on Sundblad who in the short sleeved kit looked more like mowgli than someone who was going to grab the winner. A chance did present itself to Sundblad in what could have been a fairytale comeback for the lifelong student but he hit the ball into the ground and was easily saved by the goalkeeper and thus preventing a comeback to go down in the annals of Aston FC. The crowd were up celebrating but it wasnt to be as Aston gained a valuable point against the Witney Pub Team in their search of promotion.
A superb battling display from Aston with everyone playing well, Clarke man of the match for the usual assured performance at the back and a special mention to Vince Evans for his defensive work this week,
Next week another massive game against second placed Carterton Rangers.