Lewis goal leads 3s back to winning ways
Baber bags his first goal as 3s ride their luck as chances go begging
Lunny's men returned to winning ways at the weekend with 1-0 home win over Tring.
In stark contrast to last week's lack of numbers captain Lunn found himself inundated with players come match day this week. In fact, prior to the start of the game, the 3s team numbered 13 with the late addition of Max Perman. Unfortunately, during the warm up Max did his best impression of Glenn McGarth: rolling his ankle and ruling himself out of action. However, Andrew Ritchie's return in goal allowed John Hunt to stretch his seasoned legs out on field at left back. Just back from Shanghai that morning, and thankfully not detained by Customs at Heathrow, Elliott Symes helped to bolster the Ashford midfield. Chris Davies also made his debut for the season, starting on the bench.
Ashford started the game positively, moving the ball efficiently from left to right as the team looked to open up the Tring defence. Through a well-coordinated press by the front three of Chris Lunn, Lewis Baber and Shane Smith, the Short Laners maintained pressure in the final third of the pitch for long periods in the first half. In the midfield David Merchant Jnr and Elliott Symes (showing no signs of jet-lag) repeatedly won and retained possession and used this to good effect with probing balls up to the forwards. Although through patient build up Ashford made several chances, the final goal-ward touch evaded them.
For most of the first half Tring could respond only with attacks on the break, which were nullified by centre backs Chris Mather and Steven Law. Meanwhile Tring's right attacking channel met a road block in the form of rock solid, flat-stick tackles by the committed John Hunt at left back.
Despite their industry in attack Ashford had to wait until 30 minutes in before young Lewis Baber showed composure beyond his years to finish calmly past the keeper at the back post, following another probing attack down the right involving Elliott Symes, Shane Smith and Chris Lunn (1-0). Only a brief scare towards the end of the half, dealt with by the marauding Andrew Ritchie, suggested Tring might spoil the Short Laners' day.
The second half saw the introduction of Chris Davies up front as a rolling sub. The contest continued in much the same vein as the first half: Ashford creating but not taking chances. Having wasted three pen-corner opportunities in the first half, the homeside squandered at least a further three in the second half - highlighting that Lunn's troop need to work on this particular discipline.
As Ashford searched for what was to be an elusive second score the play became more open and stretched, inviting Tring back into the game. With the last attack of the match Tring had the chance to claim a share of the points but, thankfully for Ashford, the final touch this time eluded the visitor's striker with an open goal at his mercy.
Lunn and his men may reflect on a fortunate let-off this week. On the positive side they manufactured numerous chances throughout the game. However, finishing and pen-corner routines may be top of training programme for the next few weeks.
While enjoying the post-match nourishment provided by David Hank, the team elected John Hunt MoM for his assured defensive performance, David Merchant Jnr and Andrew Ritchie receiving notable mentions too. Thanks to 1st teamer Whiting for umpiring on the day.
Next week the 3s travel to West Hampstead, pushback 12pm so meet at 10.15. If you are available to play please contact Chris Lunn