ASHBOURNE Aztecs Tigers under-9s ended their season by completing the double over Sinfin Sharks Orange with a 4-2 win.
The Tigers started brightly from the kick off, with Alex Blake taking the ball forward, but Sinfin cleared and played a long ball downfield which evaded the defence to reach a Sharks striker, and the hosts found themselves 1-0 down.
This seemed to urge them on, and some good passing between Blake and Ethan Walsh resulted in the latter hitting a low shot that was well saved by the keeper.
However, the loose ball came back to Walsh, who hit a low cross into the box that was hit with power first time by Will Griffiths and flew into the net.
The Tigers were now eager for the ball and Walsh and Blake combined well to feed Mathew Jones, whose shot was gathered by the keeper.
Even though Tigers were looking dangerous with good passing and moving forward they still had to be vigilant at the back, with Billy Bailey and Matthew Staniforth putting in some hard tackles and playing the ball well out of defence.
In the ninth minute, the Sharks keeper gathered the ball and hit a long high goal kick downfield that bounced over the Aztecs defence and was met by the winger, who tapped the ball into the corner of the net to put his side 2-1 up.
For the next 10 minutes the game flowed from end to end with some noticeable good work from Jones, who had a high shot saved by the keeper, some shepherding defence work from Staniforth and excellent passing throughout the team.
The first half finished with Griffiths sending a shot just wide after good build-up play from Blake.
The second half started in the same vein as the first, with the Aztecs midfield passing well and moving forward as a unit.
Some good play out of defence came to Blake just inside the Sharks half, he turned the defender well and ran down the wing with great pace and flicked a cross into the box that was met by an on rushing Walsh, and his outstretched leg guided the ball into the bottom corner .
Even though the Tigers had control of the game, they still needed to be alert, something which became apparent when a Sharks midfielder hit a thunderous shot against the crossbar.
The next 10 minutes were dominated by Tigers, who tested the keeper twice with Griffiths and Blake linking well on both occasions.
In the 14th minute, a corner from Sharks was cleared quickly from defence and the Tigers pushed forward to the edge of the Sharks box.
The defence got a foot in and the ball bobbled to Lake, who struck a long pass to Griffiths who calmly turned and thumped the ball past an on-rushing keeper to make it 3-2.
Tom Breen hit a high goal-kick to Jones, who had troubled the Sharks defence for all the second half, and he hit a shot that was well gathered.
The keeper’s kick out only found the Tigers midfield again and they pushed forward, playing the ball to Jones, and he again tested the keeper, who this time could not hold onto the ball, and Walsh followed in to knock the ball home.
Ashbourne Aztecs U9 1, Heanor Town U9 1
ASHBOURNE Aztecs under-9s were unable to avenge their defeat to Heanor Town earlier in the season, but did manage to claim a draw to continue their newly-found form.
The game started very evenly with both teams tackling hard and demonstrating passion and a will to win the ball.
The Heanor striker attempted some early long shots at the Aztec goal, but Alfie Alcock, the stand-in Town keeper, showed a cool pair of hands and demonstrated his adaptability.
After 10 minutes, the fresh legs of Corbey Williams and Charlie Gill were brought into action and the former battled hard, while the passion of Gill and the composure of Max Williams making passing look simple.
The second half started in a similar vein to the first, but Kian Walwyn was starting to show some fine form, with clever runs following a recent injury lay-off.
In the final two minutes of the second half, Heanor pushed hard, but the defence of Sam Keeling and Williams showed why the ‘goals against’ has continued to dry up in recent weeks.
George Rushton was a danger threat with his left foot crossing and accurate corners, while Dylan Hinde was rather unlucky not to score following a couple of good long-range shots.
With two minutes to go, a quick break by Heanor’s classy central midfielder set up his striker to dink a shot over the helpless Alcock and to send the home team into the lead.
The balance of play was now all Heanor and their plan was to push hard for a second goal and to seal the win, but with five seconds to go, the ball broke free and birthday boy Lukas Sowter was quickest off the mark, darting into the box to score the equaliser with the final kick of the game!