The sword in the stone!
Hard fought victory puts Aston in poll position
Aston returned to league action after the extended winter break looking to kick off the New Year as the last one ended. The visitors were Stonesfield, who themselves are in a decent position to get promoted. This was a tough returning fixture for the lions and the team needed to be right mentally to come away with 3 points.
The gaffer started himself in goal (standard), with a back 4 of Wain, Rowe, Harris and Edney. Across the midfield was Fleming Snr, Beer, Evans and Colleton, with the 2 up top in Lewis and Mr Love, Kennedy. Angus, Fleming Jr and Hewer made up the 3 substitutes.
The pitch looked better than it was to play on and Stonesfield started the game the better of the 2 sides. Aston were struggling to get a hold of the game in the early stages, and were unable to express themselves as they would have liked. The conditions didn’t help with this, but the away sides energy was proving a problem. The lions needed to up it or it could have be a long day. The attackers for the Stonesfield were finding pockets of space and between the midfield and defence it needed to be sorted. It wasn’t the most eventful of halves with neither keeper really tested, but on the whole Stonesfield were arguably the better team.
The main thing for the gaffer was his team were still in the game and it was 0-0. The lions could only improve and he made the team aware that a win here would go a long way at pushing the team towards their goal of winning the league. A change in formation to 3-5-2 was made with Fleming Sr joing Beer and Evans CM, and Angus replacing Kennedy. Colleton moved up front, with Angus going to right wing back and Wain left wing back.
The second half started exactly as the gaffer would have wanted and within a couple of minutes Aston found themselves a goal to the good. The ball was worked out to Wain far left and he used his pace to burst past 3 Stonesfield players. Reaching the byline he fizzed in a cross. Colleton, scared to get clattered by the keeper, morphed into a turtle and withdrew his head into his body. The ball flew past him to the onrushing Angus, who volleyed in with aplomb. 1-0 Aston.
It then got even better for the home side as they got their second soon after. The team were starting to keep the ball better, and good build up play allowed Evans to deftly drop a header back to Lewis, who in turn boozakaed a right foot strike straight into the corner of the net. Fantastic strike and Aston now 2 nil to the good.
Aston had a further chance to extend their lead midway through the half. Aston were trying to break quick and catch Stonesfield out. Fleming passed the ball into Lewis on half way who turned and run on the back for. Colleton made a good run out wide which opened space up centrally. Fleming continued his run, and Lewis reversed the pass which found Fleming 1 on 1 with the last defender. Cutting on to his left he went for power and the ball went over the cross bar. Wain had also made a great run which maybe would have been the better option.
The away side then got a lifeline with 15 minutes to play. A ball was played through into the Aston area, and with Rowe tracking the strikers run, eased him out and to the shock of Aston gave a penalty. Very very soft and it would never have been given anywhere else on the pitch. The CB for Stonesfield and slotted passed Edwards, who went the right way just couldn’t get down. Aston then nearly hit self-destruct immediately from kick off. After taking centre the ball was passed back to Beer, who hesitated on the ball. The striker blocked it and it fell to another Stonesfield player through on goal. A miscontrol let the lions retreat and clear the danger, but could have been much much worse.
The game ended 2-1. A great victory in the conditions and also over a promotion contender. A good start to the 2nd half of the campaign and it really is in the teams hands to keep pushing on. Thank you to all the lads from Stonesfield who came back to our new home in Witney.
Next up the team face Eynsham away in the league #UPTHEASTON.