Gold Sox secure three points against hard-working Ashbourne Aztecs Wasps
By Ed Turner
Under 12 Gold Sox deserve the win, but against a much-improved and defensively focused Aztecs side.
We ended up kicking off about 45 mins late today after the two previous cup matches went to extra time, so respect to the players of both teams (and spectators!) who had to stand around waiting for so long. The players were probably ready for lunch by the time the match kicked off, which may explain why they were slow to get going!
Gold Sox had the lion's share of possession from the start. Most of the match was played in the opposition half and Luis Barber in goal had minimal slice of the action. Although Belper had multiple shots on goal, particularly in the first half, and most of them by Captain Giacomino Pilia. Unfortunately each strike frustratingly went over, or wide and would have taken the net out of the back of the goal if they had been on target.
We probably should have been 5-0 up had it not been for bad luck, strong wind, and some fate!! But we also shouldn't underestimate the hard work Ashbourne put in to stop us from playing freely. Unlike our previous encounter, Ashbourne did a sterling job of preventing us from playing football. Good pressing, strong defence, eager to win the ball every time. They made us look poor as we failed to make decent passes, were unable to keep hold of the ball, and as above, were denied our opportunities at the goal.
We finally cracked it in the second half as Leo Turner made a neat, long pass pass into Kieran Bingley's feet on the left of the box. Kieran had worked hard in a less familiar left wing position and was rewarded with a very good goal. And it was all that was needed to win the match.
The key lesson today was to focus on composure, and that huge amounts of energy aren't always the winning formula without the anticipation and good decision making required to make it all count. Full credit to Ashbourne who demonstrated some good football albeit with very few chances on goal.