ASCOT UNITED ACES V FINCHAMPSTEAD ROVERS
23rd March 2019
Good conditions greeted the teams for the first encounter between these teams this season. The Rovers team had been depleted by illness and injury, no substitutes available to the coaches so tactics and digging deep were going to be vital.
The Ascot team were an unknown quantity but there was an air of optimism among the supporters even though they’d been dealt the blow of lack of comestibles. Yes, you’ve guessed it, two of the casualties were George and his faithful friend Gemma’s sausage rolls. There had been rumours circulating, that was why numbers were low, that they’d heard early that the SR’s wouldn’t be making an appearance. Hog wash of course!
Pre-match warm up completed on the battering ram swing in the park, had certainly lifted the boy’s mood. Apparently, this is the same warm up used by the Liverpool team. Simon and Lee then giving them all their instructions and I must say the boys did appear to be listening but the proof of the pudding is in the eating. Oh, I did miss those sausage rolls.
The teams are ready and off they go, a good brisk start.
It appears from the early play that it could be like previous games with the Rovers playing football while the opposition seem to be using the long ball more.
Great play from Finch, quick passing one, two, three, four passes take them smoothly up the pitch. Away Nathaniel goes, using his strength and pace to ease past the defender but the ball just gets away from him. Ascot come back taking the ball wide and playing along ball down the wing but Lucas S is too good for the winger and disposes him to start another Rovers attack though Jake M into Sam F. The passing is really paying off.
Time and again Finch create nice football with Lucas C switching the ball wide to either Jake Mc or Leo, quick dinks through to Nathaniel, who’s got the pace and desire to beat the Ascot defence time after time. They’re just not getting the shots on goal yet.
Even though Ascot are pressing on the counter, they’re stopped every time by the now very strong defence of James, Sam T, Oliver and Lucas S. Luke in goal has got to keep his wits about him though in case there is a break through.
The formation with Jake M in behind Sam F and Lucas C is working a treat. Every time the Rovers defence wins the ball, it’s played out to Jake M who spins or steps round the opposition player and sets another Finch attack on its way.
Good play on the right for Finch and the balls into the box, Jake M’s there and the ball skips up and over, in rushes Jake Mc and it’s in, goal. Real desire there from the forwards creates the chance and Jake Mc puts Rovers in the lead.
More passing from Finch is just too good for Ascot and again the ball is through the Nathaniel who skips to his right and finishes with real class. Two nil to Finch.
Ascot press towards half time but the work rate of the whole Rovers team is excellent and the referee blows for half time. A well-deserved lead.
The second half begins better for Ascot, they’ve obviously been rejuvenated by their coach and Finch can’t seem to get their passes strung together yet. Away comes the Ascot forward and unleashes a powerful shot towards Luke’s far post. A full stretch save down to his right see’s the ball just tipped wide, super goal keeping.
The Rovers are starting to gather themselves better now with instructions from Simon and Lee to keep their formation squeezing the Ascot attacks. Again, though Luke is called into action and he doesn’t disappoint with another vital save.
Frustration is starting to show in the Ascot play and it’s not long before things snap and after a tackle from Jake M, the Ascot midfielder decides express his dislike of the challenge in Semaphore. Unfortunately, on the letter C one of his arms passes rather too close to Jake M’s face and the referee deems this to be far too flamboyant for a football match and sends him off. Amazingly the player continues his signalling as he wanders off. What a kerfuffle!
Fuss over, the match continues and as usual the team with ten men seem to be given a new lease of life and Finch are pressed more and more. Does this cause Rovers to abandon their total football style? No, in fact they really turn it on, with a scooped chip from Lucas C to Jake M, then James has the audacity when under pressure on the right to back heal the ball into Sam T. they just keep going and again James takes the ball down the right wing, skipping past three players and playing the ball into the box. Leo wide on the left is chasing and hounding the Ascot defence and on numerous occasions keeps the Finch attacks alive.
Ascot manage to win the ball in midfield and ping a good pass out to the right, Rovers can’t deal with the pressure and the ball eventually finds its way into the penalty area and the attacker finds the back of the net. Two-one Rovers.
Rovers restart and immediately Nathaniel’s away, streaking away from the Ascot defence, this could be three but the shot is hit wide.
More end to end play but Rovers keep things tight and really work for each other. Instructions between the players can be clearly heard and this just goes to show how the team is improving game on game.
The whistle goes, full time. Superb game, it had it all.
This was by far the best performance of the season. Each player deserves the man of the match award. That’s the true definition of team, all working with and working for each other.
As Rocky Balboa once said “Every champion was once a contender who failed to give up” and that’s what this Finch team is starting to believe. Never, ever give up.
ASCOT UNITED ACES 1-2 FINCHAMPSTEAD ROVERS