AZTECS COUGARS U10 1, HEANOR TOWN U10 3
ASHBOURNE Aztecs Cougars Under-10s mini-resurgance ended on Sunday as, having secured vital points from their two matches before the enforced three-week weather break, they lost at home to a high-flying Heanor Town side.
The Cougars are a much more disciplined outfit now than they were at the start of the season and arranged their team to try and defy the Heanor onslaught which they knew would be coming their way right from the kick off.
Keeper Samuel Robinson was soon in action, parrying several shots away as the Heanor forwards started to pepper his goal in unmerciful fashion, and the solid yellow and black Aztec defensive wall remained sound with every Heanor attack was effectivly dealt with.
Heanor re-shuffled their forwards and Ashbourne re-grouped their defences, held together by the defiant Joe Mee and the courageous Nathan Yardley and Jack Beresford.
And 10 minutes in, the stalemate was broken - but suprisingly it was to be in Ashbourne’s favour.
Mee hacked the ball away from his goal for the umpteenth time to find Joe Miller out on the left flank, and he travelled down the touch line to cross to lone forward Bradley Pegg, who pushed the ball into the path of Beresford, overjoyed to rifle it into the back of the Heanor net.
Heanor were soon level though as Robinson was a fraction too slow to come off his line, and their number nine was quick to take advantage of the error to put his side back into the game.
Refusing to hang their heads, Ashbourne again effectively turned defence into attack and very nearly went ahead once more when Jacob Wibberley-Howe won a free-kick on the edge of the box which Mee took and saw his effort whistle fractionally the wrong side of the top right hand corner.
Pegg relinquished his striking role to take over from Robinson in goal for the second half and pulled off some great saves to earn himself the man of the match award, but finally the sheer physical strength and organisation of the Heanor side was rewarded with two further goals which were to put the points beyond the reach of the battling Cougars.
Beresford was unlucky not to pull one back in the closing stages but despite the scoreline, this game was another giant step forward.
HEANOR RANGERS U10 1, ASHBOURNE AZTECS U10 3
ASHBOURNE Aztecs Under-10s overcame tough opposition in Heanor Rangers to secure victory.
On studying the formbook for the home team, the Aztecs’ manager realised that goals would not be easily scored against this very strong side.
And so it proved, with Heanor’s goalie exceptional, and it was a battle of wills from the kick-off to the final whistle to gain the three points.
Tyler Burton was the first to score for Aztecs, placing a nice ball out of the goalkeeper’s reach.
Josh Lee then had a shot go over the crossbar before a good run by Charlie Land down the wing seemed sure to result in another goal, but it was not to be.
Toby Ainsworth cleared a well placed corner from Heanor with a good header, but soon after, Aztecs failed to clear their lines and Heanor equalised.
Luke Zona then shot wide and followed up with a nice dribble around the defenders but was denied by Heanor’s in-form keeper.
In the second half, attempts at goal came thick and fast from both sides, with Ben Johnson in Aztecs’ goal having to stay alert, while Nathan Munro was blocking hard in defence.
James Donlan retook the lead for Aztecs after a scramble in the goalmouth between Zona and Heanor’s defenders, and when the ball broke free, Donlan nicely put it away.
Within a minute of this goal, Land then added another to put the game to bed.
Next week, Aztecs face Chesapeake in the last 16 of the cup, kick-off 12.30pm at the Racecourse.