Men’s 4s Unbeaten Home Run comes To an End
By Paul Harvey
Second half fight back ends in narrow defeat as 4's suffer first home reverse of the season
Ashford Men’s 4s finally surrendered this season’s unbeaten home record at Short Lane, but not without going down fighting as they lost out 2-3 to a very strong Maidenhead Merlins team. Injuries continued to stretch the squad, and the first 10 minutes of the match proved ominous, as a relatively youthful Maidenhead side took a firm grip of the game, dominating in midfield and attacking with real pace.
Ashford settled into the game, with Bubbles and Jess in the heart of defence doing well to shackle a pacy forward line, but fell one behind midway through the first half. Maidenhead continued to have more of the ball, but Ashford started to pose more of an attacking threat, with Jon bringing stability at the top of the diamond, and put pressure on the Maidenhead goal as the end finished.
Ashford settled in the 2nd half, moving the ball more effectively down the channels, but fell further behind to a second goal as Maidenhead hit them fast on the counter. But heads didn’t fall, and Ashford’s pressure finally told after a succession of penalty corners. A goalmouth scramble saw the ball fall to PJ a few yards out, and whilst his flick was parried by the keeper, the ball became wedged under his outstretched pads as he lay on the line, and a penalty flick was awarded and promptly dispatched hard and low by Captain Gordo.
The game continued to ebb and flow, but Ashford heads were up, and with 15mins left they were back level with another excellent finish from Bram in the D, steering a ball into the goal after lurking menacingly near the penalty spot. 2-2 and up against probably the strongest side faced all season, it felt like a “David vs Goliath” result could possibly be on the cards. Alas, on this occasion it wasn’t to be. Another penalty corner opportunity was wasted, before a tiring Ashford conceded one themselves with barely 5mins left. In such an excellent match, it was perhaps fitting that Maidenhead were able to snatch victory with the goal of the game, as a drag flick soared into net, and Ashford hearts were broken.
With that, the unbeaten home run was ended for the season, but Ashford can take heart from coming so close to snatching a draw against such strong opponents. Next up, another home game as we welcome Epsom to Shorts Lane, and look to avenge a 4-5 defeat from an epic goal scoring encountered last year.