Burnt Ash 5-1 Blackheath
Whilst in reality the 1st XI have little more than pride to play for in terms of the league, the EH Vase progression has meant that there is every reason to continue to treat every game with intensity. This was reflected in the fantastic manner in which we begun the game. All over the pitch the opposition were hassled and harried, with error after error being forced by the ‘jumping back’ of the entire side as a unit.
Before long Ash had forced their first short corner. Liam Farmer’s drag flick was saved by the Blackheath goalkeeper, but the ball fell loose and Michael Venn nipped in to grab the early lead. Ash relaxed and began to dominate the game all over the pitch. A fantastic team move down the left eventually saw Liam Farmer exchange passes with Stephen Course and play Michael Venn through on goal where he was taken out by a poor tackle. Penalty to Ash, but unfortunately Liam saw his flick go wide.
Ash continued to work hard, with man of the match PK Paran stepping high onto Blackheath’s central midfield player and not letting the opposition have any time on the ball. Dom Flannery and Patrick Venn were combining very well down the right whilst Jon Gray was getting forward down the left at every opportunity. The movement throughout the side was an improvement on previous weeks, giving Sam Foulger and Rishi Rampersad much better options to move the ball out of the back. Short corners were coming regularly and Andy Atkin doubled the lead with a trademark fierce straight strike into the corner before long. Ash did not stop there though and were soon 3 up after a fine reverse stick strike from Liam Farmer.
At half time the message was clear, that we must not let our opposition find a way back into the game, and that this would be achieved by keeping the ball and working hard for one another. Credit to Blackheath, they did not give up and were looking to get forward at every opportunity, but in the warm weather they were visibly tiring having gone down to 10 men after a substitute was yellow carded, meaning they had to drop a player from the pitch.
The forwards were working hard for their team and continuing to win the ball in dangerous areas. Some heroic defending from Blackheath on the goal line prevented Michael Venn from adding a further goal to his tally, whilst Alan Peel and Andy Atkin both forced saves from the goalkeeper, who Patrick Venn had appeared to upset. Eventually the pressure told and Dom Flannery made it 4, before Michael Venn deflected Andy Atkin’s cross from the left wing into the far corner to make it 5.
At the other end it had been a relatively quiet day for Richard Stevenson in the Ash goal and his defence, but unfortunately the clean sheet was not to be. Following a goal mouth scramble Neil Hawkins was adjudged to have fouled a Blackheath forward and a penalty was awarded which was tucked away into the corner.
5-1 and a professional job well done by Ash. Great work chaps.