U18 Bostick 6 - 2 Ashford United
Open Account with impressive display of commitment, desire and fine finishing
All the pre season preparations and organisation was geared toward our first competative league test at this level . We didn't know much about our visitors other than they were good, organised and has some new players in their squad and that they had traveled 91.4 miles to get to Middle Road one of the longest we will have to reciprocate in February. My point is that the pre match warm up is going to be key after such long journeys.
Shoreham picked a team around last seasons successful U18 county side electing to put Jack Heath up top. This meant we had Jake De Moor, Sam Arscott, Luke Usherwood, Leo Weeden and Ryan Stevens on the bench. Alec Scott was paired up with old partner from ASC Strickers , Jamie Franklin as holding midfielders and Matt Firmin , Nick Collyer and Alfie Bunker made up the wide and front players . Last season our defense was the most economical in the entire county league was the same with Charlie Watts, Joe Bartlett and Alfie P-G at left back and welcomed new lad making his debut Joe Fitzpatrick in as right back.
Shoreham got off to a great start as Ashford didn't clear their lines and Jack Heath fired from the edge of the box past a very capable and experience Ashford keeper. Ashford got straigh back into the game and used the flanks well being more effective on the left keeping Joe busy but he was well equipped and supported as Shoreham got the better of the importat tackles, Joe looked good settling straight in.
The second followed some good industry down the left as Alfie Bunker jousted hard with the determined Ashford #2 but when he did get behind him he finished close up to make it 2 after 21 mins. The pace of the game was quite intense but always clean but combative with the referee making good decisions and always allowing the game to flow. Just as it seemed to be calming down one of Alec long sweeping passes over to the right allow Nick Collyer to demonstrate pace, poise and skill which saw him get round three Ashford players to pull the ball back for Matt Firmin to collect and fire past the Ashford keeper. Half time 3-0 , no changes. What a great display of commitment and courage from the U18 Bostik side.
We knew a the game was far from over and that an fourth would only allow us breathing space. Shoreham started sluggish and Ashford knew that an early goal would put them back in it. So it was game on but on 55 minutes just as Ashford started another attack Alfie Bunker ran all of 20 yards to "steal" the ball and go route 1 to the goal fending off Ashfords defence to slot the ball past the keeper to make it 4-0. It was a superb individual goal and Alfie and was delivering the form we have seen in pre-season admitting that last season he might not have taken these chances.
Jack Heath came off for Ryanhaving put a shift in up top but Ashford got one back. It wasn't long before Ryan won a straight sprint to make it 5 on 64 minutes but Ashford replied with a second. However our sixth goal on 68 minutes was a sheer quality assist as Nick Collyer turned ballet danced his way around players on the back line to pass to Ryan who himself found a narrow gap to make it 6 for the Musselemen.
Players on both sides were getting cramps and minor injuries which meant more added time. Luke Usherwood had come on an worked hard and fast down the right to create some good chances only to marginally scrap either side of the goal. Debutante Sam Arscott came on for Alfie Bunker . Sam is a little gem and has highly impressed and made himself busy in midfield as they were grateful for the fresh legs. Leo and Jake didn;t get on as rolling subs are not allowed. They will get their chance and they will need to take it because this side is going to
It finished full time 6-2. Luke in goal didnt really have a lot to stop as the defense were once again excellent with Joe Fitz the stand out player. MOTM was given to Bunks as he'd scored a couple but his work rate and fitness stood out in a team that all worked for each other passing and moving and taking responsibility.
Preparations for our first away visit to Welling United next week start Friday. Well done lads you provided an entertaining game of football.