U14 Boys secure deserved draw vs Ashford
By Duncan Sturdy
End to end match, a last minute equaliser and an excellent stand in keeper display gives Maidenhead team well deserved share of the points
A great display from a battling Maidenhead u14 boys team resulted in a well deserved draw at Ashford on Sunday afternoon.
Drawing on the u12 squad to replace a number of players Maidenhead travelled to Ashford with a younger team than usual, as well stand in keeper Zac volunteering to step into the pads. Early play was end to end with defence of Cleve, Declan and Flynn clearing well to the sides.
Centre midfielders Ollie and Jai hassling the opposition well, with Ewan and Max supporting on the wings closing off a number of breaks as well using long balls to the forward team of Sam, Harry and Jay.
First third the Maidenhead team settled into playing off each other with Ollie and Jay particularly strong in the middle with a number of chances for the forwards to chase onto. Zac cleared strongly giving confidence to the team to press the attack, however with too many players caught up the pitch in the last couple of minutes Ashford were able to score from a quick breakaway. 1-0 down.
Second third Maidenhead brought more control to their play, making it easier for 16 hit outs by disrupting the opposition ring, and using both wings in Sam and Jay as channels of attack. A number of opportunities opened up with Harry and Jay unlucky to not score when one on one to the keeper.
Final third and Maidenhead adjusted their tactics, much more use of short passes and one twos brought Ewan and Max into the game allowing Ollie and Jay to run through and win a number of short corners. From one of these Maidenhead secured an equaliser with Ollies push out to Flynn quickly returned to Ollie and slotted home as the Ashford defence looked on.
Following the goal all of the attacking was from Maidenhead with Cleve, Flynn and Declan pushing further up. Jai was particularly unlucky with a reverse stick shot saved by a strong Ashford keeper. However a break down in attack once too often allowed another Ashford breakaway goal with Zac stopping the first 2 shots but the last sneaking over the line.
With only 2 minutes left the team kept their head up knowing they were playing the better hockey.
Having mixed up the passing with short play across the midfield this now created space for an immediate response with a long ball from Ollie to brother Harry behind the defence, the keeper saved a great shot only for Jay to pick up the deflection slotting home for the equaliser.
Final whistle blown seconds later securing the well deserved draw.