Opening Day Defeat
Reserves lose 3-0 with tough first fixture!
Starting the game with only 1 sub is not ideal when you have a tough fixture to begin the campaign. Having the challenge of implementing new signings into the team, adjusting players positions with the squad available, along with players only just arriving back from holiday was always going to mean Aston were starting the game with a big challenge ahead .
A big pitch, warm conditions, and a strong and physical opposition meant that the away side needed a big shift from everyone, and one that would be not only physically but mentally. To lose S.Caton after 20 mins, who pulled up in the opposition penalty box was not ideal, but the team had to accept it and fight for each other.
The first half started with Middle Barton dominating, but although they were domination the lions defended very well. Their main threat was coming from crosses, corners and freekicks, with the lions facing a bombardment from the air. Josh Barber in the Aston goal was going his job perfectly. Collecting most of the things sent in his direction (even the Middle Barton striker, who had managed to get in on the wrong side of the defence, and concede a penalty) . The ball was lost from Aston's own throw in on the right hand side and played quickly into the channel. Rob Dudley was originally caught out by the run, but managed to get back goal side and recover. There was then a scramble between Dudley, Wood and Barber, with the latter taking the striker down for the penalty. Could have gone either way and was an unlikely source for their opening goal.
Before that though the away side had some of their own chances, with Matt Smith putting a strike just over from the edge of the box. The front three of Wain, Smith and Edney pressed the ball well and it was put through on goal for Smith to have that opportunity. There was also chances from set pieces. Wooder curled a free kick just over from 30 yards and was also delivering some inviting balls into the box. As the away team had been defending resolutely , the home side responded in kind, with their greater height advantage keeping the yellows at bay.
With Caton going off so early meant another reshuffle in order to keep the wing back formation that was tried and tested so well last season. At half time it was decided that Aston would change to a back 4, whilst keeping the wingers available which is where they were finding most space. A. Allinsion and A.Murrell had very few opportunities to get on the ball in the 1st half, so the idea was to get them much more involved. It worked and in the 2nd half the team played as a much better side. There were able to create more chances and had more possession of the ball in their half. Smith was again unlucky not to get on the score sheet, and there was also 2 or 3 chances that in a few weeks time will definitely be converted. The home side got there 2nd goal of the game with a great volley into the bottom corner, from 25 yards out. Aston hit with a counter attack sucker punch, with the midfield runner from Middle Barton scoring with aplomb. With a bit more match fitness this runner may not have got that opportunity but a lesson learned and something to improve upon. The 3rd goal was arguably offside. A corner was headed back across goal, where the unmarked stood on the away sides line headed it past Barber.
The 3rd goal killed the game and Aston began to lose their shape. Another reshuffle, and chasing the game the Aston midfield stopped screening the defence, something that was key for them last season. Final score 3-0 Middle Barton.
All in all an eye opener, with a new season and new standard of opposition. Whilst not quite going Astons way, they can take heart that they can definitely compete at this level and they will win games. MOM was Josh Barber.