AFTER weeks of gradual improvement and games where the rub of the green often deserted them, Ashbourne Aztecs Diamonds Under-11s put together an outstanding display to land their second win of the season against a spirited Mickleover side.
Considering the Diamonds have drawn all three of their previous three contests against this team, this was some improvement but those who have followed the progress this season would not have been surprised.
From the first whistle, Diamonds were straight out of the traps and straight into their opponents.
They opened the scoring with a goal from Toby Ainsworth – a powerful strike which the keeper and defender could only deflect into the net.
An interchange between midfielder Conor Phillips and wide man Harry Vinall put Theo Rodgers in for an assured finish, and then a flowing move involving Jacob Wibberley-Howe and Rodgers found Eric Prince ghosting in at the far post to bury , leaving Mickleover shell shocked and three down in 15 minutes.
To their credit, the visitors did not give up and there was a sustained period of pressure where central defenders Joe Miller and Thomas Barke shut out their opponents.
Late on in the half, another good piece of work involving Phillips, Wibberley-Howe and Ainsworth found Vinall on the edge of the box, and he superbly chipped the keeper into the top corner for the goal of the season so far.
The second half saw more end-to-end stuff, with Maxwell Bishop going close and shots on target from Prince, Phillips and Ainsowrth all keeping the Mickleover keeper busy.
Then followed the pivotal moments of the match, as Mickleover fashioned a smart move which saw their forward running on to a through ball which led to a penalty being conceded.
Jack Banks moved slightly off his line as the ball was struck, this narrowed the angle just enough for the roof of the net-bound spot kick to be magnificently tipped over the bar.
From the corner, captain Regan Ford intercepted and then sprinted virtually the length of the left wing, looked up when at the edge of the box and cleverly played in Rodgers to bang home for 5-0.
The remainder of the game saw chances being created for both sides, with Ashbourne’s midfield quartet all now dominant.
The creative play inevitably led to more goals.
Vinall added two very neatly taken chances to get yet another hat-trick and Rodgers just could not be stopped when on a run into the box today and added to his tally in the closing minutes by smashing in two more to give him an impressive four goals.