Cougars make it two from two.
Ashington u12’s continued their fine form with a second away league victory in a row.
The players looked to follow up their sensational victory over Steyning last week away at Partridge Green.
Today, saw a formation change with the emphasis on playing with two strikers, putting the onus on the Defenders to press higher up the pitch and support the attack more. The aim being that more players would become involved in the attacking areas of the pitch.
To their credit, the group adapted and executed the plan well.
Finlay Goodchild, captain of the Steyning u11 tournament victory in May, was making his first start of the season at Centre Back. Fin produced a Solid display. Defensively sound, as ever, I was impressed by his passing. He consistently choose the simple option of playing the ball wide to the right winger in front of him.
Austen Blackburn, Jamie Mace and Angus Alcott were also making their first league appearances of the season.
For the tactical plan to work, Ewan Booth, was asked to play a disciplined role in central midfield. He excelled in this new role, he broke up play intuitively, then used the ball efficiently to instigate attacks in wide area’s for the Cougars. Booth was immense throughout putting in a Man of the Match display.
Angus Alcott stepped into this role as an able substitute for Ewan. Alcott’s great instinct, to look for the pass as his first option rather than dribble, led to the third goal after he intercepted the ball twice to break up play and then played a well weighted through ball for Gorman to score.
Ashton Gorman, given a chance to impress up front, claimed his first Hat-trick of the season. His first was a ripping right footed drive from the edge of the box high into the the left hand top corner.
Special mention to Tom Easdale. He played on the left of a three man midfield. Tom used his technical excellence and athleticism to to torment the oppositions right sided defenders. Driving into the final third and into the penalty box, he created numerous chance on goal.
The Half ended 3-0 to Ashington.
Changes were made at Half time. A new defensive unit took to the field. Blackburn, Mace and Paisley strode out onto the pitch looking to ensure that the sides excellent first half hard work would be maintained.
This allowed Theo Bicknell to move forward into to midfield. He slotted into the role seamlessly. Driving down the left hand side he crossed well for team mates and was unlucky not to score with a hammer of a shot that just went over the bar.
Ollie Lowdell moved forward to the right side of Midfield and, as ever, showed great energy tearing up and down the right side delivering dangerous crosses and making well time covering tackles.
Isaac Paisley added more experience in defensive roles by moving to left Centre back in the second half. A difficult task when asked to play on your weaker side. Paisley built on last weeks great effort at Steyning, by showing the confidence to defend his side of the pitch as far up the oppositions penalty Box. Paisley got his reward by scoring his opening goal of the league campaign. He intelligently moved to the far side of the box at a corner. When the corner from Lowdell sailed over everyone, Paisley arrived to side foot a well timed volley into the net.
Not to be outdone, Brendan Hanley, continued his fine start to the season scoring four goals and setting up another three. Hanley has taken his tally to eleven goals in two league games. A sensational start to the league campaign.
Hanley's achievements do not end there. He helped himself to a Perfect Hat Trick - a rare feat in football.
He scored a header at the far post, in the first half, from a delightful clipped cross by Gorman.
He rounded the keeper, from an Easdale through ball, to score with a low right footed strike.
Hanley had to contend with being marked throughout by a huge physical centre back. He bravely came short for the ball even with the pressure of such a large player looming behind him. His excellent first touch when receiving the ball allowed him to move away from his marker, drive into the box and it was great to see Hanley place a low drive with his weaker left foot to complete his Hat- Trick.
Hanley’s fourth goal came after a ‘Cruyff’ turn by Brockhurst on the edge of the box. Brockhurst then beat another player and unselfishly squared the ball for Hanley to score into the centre of the goal. Great effort Matt for pulling off such a difficult skill move.
Clean sheets are few and far between in youth football. Congratulations to all the defenders involved today: Fin Goodchild, Ollie Lowdell, Theo Bicknell, Austen Blackburn, Jamie Mace and Isaac Paisley. The opposition were rarely allowed to threaten the Ashington goal due to their committed efforts. It may be an unglamorous role but, it is crucial to any success the team achieves. Mace and Blackburn proving to be a robust combination that the opposition were unable to crack.
Another mention for the continued improvement in retaining and recycling possession via the Goalkeeper, Sam Wheatley. Although a quite day for shot stopping, his positioning and distributed were superb.
Congratulations to the side, Well done.
Final Score Partridge Green 0 - 9 Ashington Cougars
Captain: Tom Easdale
Brendan Hanley x 4
Ashton Gorman x 3
Ewan Booth x 1
Isaac Paisley x 1