ASHBOURNE Aztecs Under-18s turned out a strong squad to reflect the importance of this quarter-final encounter between the current top two teams in Division One, and booked a place in the last four with a comfortable victory.
The game could not have started better for Aztecs when Conor Richins swept in the first after a neat interchange between James Ingram and Kristian Brightmore.
Aztecs continued to press forward – with Ingram tormenting the defence with a series of shots and probing runs.
Josh Dales and Steve Ebbrell began to thread some incisive passes to Jake Smith and Richins, who found Repton’s keeper in resilient form.
However, the Aztecs went further ahead from the penalty spot, when Richins despatched with ease.
Repton were beginning to get back in the game at this point and eventually nipped in behind the defenders to make it 2-1.
Tom MacDonald–Lowe and Jordan Walton-Gibson supported the forwards from both flanks and when the ball found Smith he neatly slotted it past the advancing keeper to make it 3-1 at half-time.
The second half saw Repton strike the bar in the first three minutes and Aztecs dug deep to hold onto their lead, with Charlie Mansfield, Aztecs keeper producing some fine saves and Louis Anthony and Harrison Avery making a number of critical interceptions in the centre of defence.
In fact, Avery showed a turn of speed when he went on a number of mazy runs from the back, which were unfortunate not to end positively.
As Aztecs tired, Charlie Wibberley and Sam Forrest came on in full-back positions and Henry Ainsworth and Hayden Millward made their mark in midfield.
Nathan Lee cracked in a number of testing corners and Brightmore flicked on to Dales, who headed home number four from close range.
ASHBOURNE Aztecs Under-13s’ match at Allestreee was the only game from the division that survived the recent wet weather, and the visitors were glad that it did as they twice came from behind to claim victory in the first game they have had since the new year.
Allestree kicked off and put Aztecs under pressure immediately by driving forward, and this soon paid off as Allestree scored twice in the first 10 minutes.
This only spurred Aztecs on and they began to win the midfield battle and started putting Allestree under the cosh.
This soon led to a goal, scored by Costadino Joannou, who beat two tackles and placed the ball into the net.
The Aztecs defence were now winning everything and from this solid platform the midfielders put some good balls through to the forwards.
This finally released top scorer Keane Bond, who turned the defender and drilled a great shot into the far corner of the net.
The half-time whistle came to soon for Aztecs as they were now on top and looking for more goals.
After the restart, Allestree took the lead again and this had exactly the same effect as in the first half, and Aztecs took control of the game again.
They started going forward with the intent of scoring more goals and they soon drew level through Bond.
The whole team were now contributing to a good performance and helped Joannou to a hat-trick and Bond to four goals to keep him in touch with league’s leading scorers and earn them what was in the end a comfortable victory.
AFTER a six-week absence due to holidays and waterlogged pitches, Ashbourne Aztecs Under-10s made a welcome return to league action with a narrow win against third-placed Field Lane that put the five points clear at the top of the table.
Their opponents had inflicted the only defeat on the Ashbourne team in the first game of the season back in September and, eager to avenge that defeat, Aztecs were also looking to cement their place at the top of the league and not let complacency creep into the second half of the campaign.
On a tacky pitch, the Aztecs were straight into the game, with some great challenges from George Rushton, Sam Keeling and especially Dylan Hinde showing what a warrior he is in the center of the park.
The first 10 minutes saw some lovely football from the Ashbourne side and after a couple of chances went begging, a fine move involving Alfie Allcock and Kian Walwyn saw Max Williams find the top corner from 18 yards out with a beautiful shot to give them the lead.
Another fine move down the left-hand side saw Hinde find Allcock, who again slotted a fine ball into the box to see Kian Walwyn find the net from six yards and give the Aztecs a two-goal cushion.
All credit to Field Lane though, who battled very strongly – especially in midfield – but another breakaway saw Williams earn a corner, which he delivered to the back post, where Walwyn jumped the highest to see the net bulge once more with a great header that put the Ashbourne go 3-0 up after 10 minutes.
A disputed free-kick just before the break and an excellent delivery saw the ball evade the Juniors defence and take goalkeeper Luke Griffiths by surprise as the ball spun over the line.
Half-time came with a fully-deserved 3-1 lead for the Ashbourne team but the lads knew the second half would be a different story.
Charlie Gill and Corbey Williams came on in midfield to give some tired legs a rest and battled very hard for the team against a physical outfit.
However, five minutes into the second half a corner was conceded and a great finish from the Field Lane number seven saw them right back in it at 3-2.
The last 15 minutes seemed a very long time indeed but the back three of Griffiths, Keeling and Rushton stood firm with Field Lane pushing more players up front to try and get the equaliser.
Max Williams ran the midfield contest and Walwyn held the ball up well and battled terrifically in a frantic finale, with chances for Allcock and Hinde both seeing shots saved on the counter-attack.
The final whistle came to the delight of the Aztecs team, management and supporters after a victory which sees them go five points clear with two games in hand after second placed team Sinfin could only manage a draw.
Player of the Match was Max Williams who worked tirelessly in midfield and played superbly on a sapping pitch.