Stones throw away!
First team remain undefeated
After last weeks solid victory over Chadlington the first team took the trip to the free scoring / conceding Stonesfield. Still undefeated in the league the reds were looking to continue their positive start to the season with another 3 points. Now with Austin back in the squad for this game the usual barrage of banter at his expense returned. Getting changed before the game he did himself no favours. With his trousers half way down his legs and leant forward on his seat texting, Hewer could not help himself......."you taking a shit Woz". A chorus of laughter rang around the room, and Austin must have been thinking why me.
Aston again could not field the same team as the week before, but with good depth were still able to field a strong starting 11. With the gaffer missing Hewer went in the sticks, with Fleming Jr replacing him at CB and Rowe coming in for the absent Clarke. Evans stepped into midfield with Harris and Beer, flanked by Cade and Angus. Fleming Snr and Lewis remained unchanged up top.
The game started at a rather fast pace. Aston playing their usual short passing game, with Stonesfield pressing high trying to force the issue. It was a bit cat and mouse in the opening stages as both teams were weighing each other up, and this meant that no major chances came of note. The home side were blessed with a lot of height in their team, which Aston don’t have in abundance, so set pieces were always going to be a problem for the away side. This is where Stonesfield got the opening goal. A freekick from wide left was whipped in, only for the helpless Fleming Jr to have a Gerrard Chelsea moment and slip at the wrong time. Unable to get back up, his marker ran free and headed home from close range. 1-0 Stonesfield. Aston did not let this affect them as the home sides lead lasted just 10 minutes, and what a move to get the equaliser. Starting from the back the ball was played out wide to Angus on the left. He drew the defender in before playing a quick 1-2 with Fleming Sr on the half way line. Angus had all the space in the world to run his way to the byline where he crossed and was met with a powerful Lewis header into the net. 1-1. Both teams had decent chances to go ahead, with Hewer making a smart save from a close range shot, and the Stonesfield keeper parrying a well hit shot by Fleming Sr from the edge of the area, after a good lay off from Beer. The lions best chance to take the lead came when Lewis pinched it off the centre back who had dwelt on the ball too long. After a bit of sumo wrestling Lewis removed his marker from the ring and was bearing down on goal. One on one with GK you would put your money on him scoring but he dragged his shot wide and the scores stayed level. Half Time 1-1.
Molony didn’t need to say much to his team. They had played some decent stuff, and were looking dangerous when breaking quickly, but like last week the opposition look most dangerous when the ball was given away cheaply. Keep it tight and we have enough quality to win it was the message.
The second half Aston went out positive they could get the win which would keep them top of the league. Having had Angus be his devastating best in the first half it was Cades turn to get in on the act in the 2nd. The left back for Stonesfield had already thrown his toys out of the pram when the architect left him for dust in the first half and he was in for more of the same. It wasn’t long before Cade was running past him with ease again only to be halted by another persistent foul. It was in a great area and the anticipation of a Lewis thunderbolt tearing off the net was in everyone’s mind. It was a let-down, as it hit the wall and the home side could clear. The next great chance that came the lions way was after tricky play by Evans. He managed to turn his marker on the right wing and floated a cross to the back post. Fleming Sr had peeled away and headed it towards goal for it to deflect of the back of the un-expecting defender and clear. A lucky escape. Angus was then injured and had to be substituted. A reshuffle for Aston with Beer going to wing back, Austin in the middle, with Evans and Fleming swapping places.
The changes caused Aston to get out of their rhythm and become very disjoined. Unable to keep the ball it gave the home side impetus. Playing very direct, Stonesfield were picking up every second ball and making Aston defend again and again. They stood firm and Fleming Jr and Rowe in particular continued to keep them at bay. This continued for much of the remainder of the game, with Hewers cross bar being hit, a clearance off the line, and some last ditch defending. Although Aston lost their way a little they could still have won it late in the day on 2 occasions. First when a nice through ball from Austin found Evans who just needed to hit the target and it would have been a goal, only to drag his shot wide. Second was from a corner pinged by Fleming Sr to the back stick. Rowe rose highest only to thunder his header onto the post. Final score 1-1.
A game of 2 halves for the lions, but everyone dug in and came away with a good point in the end. The gaffer had a tough choice for MOM with the defence excelling, but Fleming Jr just edged it from Rowe. Still undefeated, but if the team are serious about promotion then continuity to the team will need to come soon, in order build some momentum.