I've Got 5 On It!!
Aston off to the perfect start, as Edwards saves Cross's debut blushes!
Preseason counts for nothing unless you can get off to a good start, especially at home. This is what Aston have been building towards, so to be ready for the opening fixture vs Eynsham, the question was could they make it count when it matters? The setting was ideal. The sun was out, pitch in decent condition, and the squad available (even with a few absentees) was still very strong. Football was back and the players must have wet their beds, as everyone arrived @ 1 o clock. This is unheard of in Witney & District football, and I am even sure there is a law against it. "Half hour arrivals before kick off are a must" - J.Symth (110AD) - Law No.3!! Warren, not in the squad this week due to an injured trotter, put out an early case for clubman of the year. Dressed up in what is only ever described as a full kit wanker he came to show his support to the team. Although it did seem to have a slightly snug fit, so it either belonged to another WA or is something to shrink into!
Edwards, under the wing of Pep in preseason, continued to set his team out with a 3-5-2 formation. There was a slight reshuffle in the team with Fleming Jr dropping in as the third centre back, alongside Clarke and Molony. Daz "hollow legs" Harriss playing the holding role, with Fleming Sr and Evans is scared of horses just in front. The architect and Angus trusted with the thankless task of wingback, with the love doctor and Fish up top.
Before the game kicked off both teams completed a minutes silence for Bob Watts who passed away recently. The home side did not start the game how they would have wanted with the first 5 minutes being were very uncharacteristic. Loose passes in their own half offered the away side plenty of encouragement, and a late dropkick that even the Rock would have been proud off, from the retreating Fleming Jr, typified their ragged start. This clicked Aston into action and suddenly the ball was being moved quicker through the thirds, and with the pace of Angus and Cade out wide there was space to get in behind. Cade at one point didn't know when to stop running, chasing balls at full throttle that were out of play and in the hedge, only to charge back and throw the ball into play. Cue newly crowned dad Molony, obviously getting tired just watching him, put an arm around him (maybe just to touch 'The Body') and tell him just to slow down. I'd call that speed envy Dan! Chances were coming thick and fast and Achilles was standing proud as usual for the Lions. There were so many shots in the 1st half Warren lost count on his trotters and had to resort to counting shots on target, which was zero. On 30 minutes the pressure finally told. A through ball was poorly cleared by the Eynsham defence, which fell to Fleming Snr 20 yards out. He pushed the ball past the defender and struck a 'sweet' shot across the keeper. The ball somehow squirmed underneath and trickled into the corner. 1-0 Aston. The next notable chance fell to Harriss. Moses was obviously in attendance as he parted the Eynsham midfield as well as he did the red sea for Daz to run straight at the back line. 25 yards out his little legs couldn't go much further, so he decided to smash the ball, for it only to fly into the next field where Woz and friends were playing in muddy puddles! With half time drawing near the reds still wanted that extra cushion of a 2 goal lead. Patient play saw Harriss find Fleming Snr inbetween the lines. Good split movement from Drifter and Fish allowed space for Evans to run into, and Fleming played the ball through. If Evans had got a bit more lift on his shot it would have been 2 nil but the keeper spread himself well. The half was drawing to a close, but there was still enough time for Eynshams number 8 to try his hand at some magic, only for his levitation trick to fail. The angry mob gathered over the crumbled body, wanting their money back from this fraud. Half time 1-0 Aston.
There wasn't much the gaffer needed to say. All he could ask for was more of the same, but as with his pre match talk, get the game sown up and stop keeping teams interested. No changes were made and the team set out the same for the second half.
Edwards wanted a fast start and he got it. As soon the the whistle blew Fleming Snr won the ball back off the Eynsham midfielder, and with one touch out his feet struck the ball towards goal. It looked as though it was about to nestle in the top corner only to fade left at the last minute. In an instant, and like a well organised choir the whole team shouted 'hit the target'. Well deserved banter as Flemings main grumble from the 1st half was lack of shots on target. Fish was also aggrieved as he would have been played in down the river for a 1 on 1. The home side looked fired up, and even when the Eynsham had possession the constant pressing from the team, especially the impressive Angus, the ball was won back. The lions finally got their 2nd goal on 55 minutes, and it was a great team move that earned the goal it deserved. Angus won the ball back on half way and played the ball back to Fleming Jr. The ball was played around the back 3 waiting for an opening. Harriss again found himself unmarked and Clarkey picked him out. Dribbling towards the box, Daz passed the ball into Fish on the penalty spot. With all his instincts telling him to shoot, he shocked himself and rolled the ball back to the on rushing Fleming Snr, who side footed the ball into the top corner. 2-0 Aston. On 68 minutes it was time for another new debutant to make his mark, and what a mark it was. Cross came on for the injured Fleming, which meant a reshuffle. Cross slotted in at the back with Fleming Jr moving into his more familiar role of central midfield. Two was soon 3 when Ross was fouled on edge of the area by a clumsy tackle. He and Daz stood over it, with the latter bending a lovely strike round the wall and into the bottom corner. 3-0 Aston. Cross soon in his own words had the worse first 5 minutes ever. The first mark he made was to bring down one of the only crosses Eynsham made all day down in his own area. Not the best idea with one of W&D's most prolific striker on your toes, with Ayres smashing in from close range. 3-1. Edwards lost his shit in no uncertain terms and let everyone know in Oxfordshire how unhappy he was at conceding. Jordan's next major contribution in this 5 minute spell was to then think he and ash had changed positions, almost catching the ball after another attempted Eynsham cross. Penalty Enysham. Things were starting to look like another Nomads in the making. Edwards, still in goal now positions had been cleared up, had the opportunity to erase his foul mouth tirade and that he did (or did it hit the post). The penalty was stuck practically down the middle, which was pushed out, cleared and the score stayed 3-1.
Aston needed to get the game wrapped up after this scare. Cade had to come off due to a severe sting from a nettle and was replaced by Beer. Beer was soon involved in the action, pulling a ball back inside to Colleton who got a full fin on it and beat the keeper at his near post. 4-1 Aston. There was still time for Aston to get there 5th and final goal that they undoubtedly deserved. Harriss again picked the ball up in midfield and threaded a ball into an unmarked Fish, who dinked the ball over the onrushing keeper. 5-1 Aston. As the minutes counted down the lions had a few more chances and probably could have had a couple more but decision making let them down. One of which was when Evans thought the world was against him. He took on 1, 2, 3, Fish, Drifter, 6, himself and ended up getting crowded out and tackled.
The game finished at 5-1 and an impressive footballing performance from the home side. Was a tough call for MOM with Fleming and Colleton impressive and Angus again showing why he has been selected in the first team, but in the end Harriss took the award with a faultless display. With a tough fixture next week let's get another 3 points and have a bloody good night out!