BLUES PROGRESS INTO QUARTER FINAL
Tue 10th Dec
SSML League Challenge Trophy
A wet and windy night saw Arlesey entertain Aston Clinton in the League Trophy.
Arlesey introduced 3 new players making full debuts all up front but had to play against the gale in the 1st half. Aston started well with the wind at their backs and got a central FK that lifted over the wall and flicked off the bar. Arlesey’s game plan was firmly thrown out of the window after just 4 mins as a ball wasn’t cleared on the edge of their area and the forward was allowed to turn and shoot, Robbie Ponting made a good save but unfortunately he was just outside of his area and he was shown a red card. This forced a change as Aedan Gaffney had to be sacrificed and new manager Chico Ramos who must have had a premonition when he named himself on the bench came on to replace Ponting in goal. The FK when it came was straight down Ramos throat and the slippery ball popped out of his grasp to be pushed past him but the flag went up for O/S ruling it out.
Arlesey tried to reorganise, difficult in the circumstances but a good ball from James Hatch fed Luis Fernandes into the box he won a corner that was cleared. With the wind driving Aston Clinton forward Arlesey had to defend for long periods and that got worse as the rain got heavier but a good move saw the new front 3 of Bukele Mukudi find Fernandes who fed in Oussame Bennani and his shot was deflected for a corner that was cleared.Just before HT Charlie Black looked to have been brought down in the box but this was waived away. In added time Aston won a corner and the away player hit a shot from the edge of the area that went through the crowd and into the net giving the visitors a 0-1 HT lead.
As the teams turned around amazingly the wind had dropped out and the rain had stopped again not helping Arlesey and the visitors got off a couple of good efforts one of which Ramos made a good touch to push wide. From an Arlesey corner Mukudi had a good shot that pulled a good save from the keeper, but Aston Clinton looked a well drilled team and they were using the extra man well passing the ball around and keeping it away from Arlesey. Arlesey made some changes in midfield as on this pitch and weather and being a man down for so long they were beginning to flag. A good attack down the left saw a good save from Ramos but time was starting to run out for Arlesey.
A foul on Ryan Lamond saw a good ball delivered in by Black went through everyone just missing the far post and the man on the post. Arlesey were finishing stronger and a good attack from Demi Debola and Charlie Black saw the ball pulled back to Lamond and he hit an absolute perfect shot that rifled straight into the top corner of the net for possibly his best ever goal to make it 1-1 and the equaliser.
Arlesey pushed on for the win but were caught out and Aston Clinton broke with 3 players on side and breaking through with Arlesey looking vainly for an O/S flag but they fluffed their lines slowing up and as Ramos came out and the defence raced back they shot wide.FT 1-1 and another penalty shoot out. Aston Clinton went 1st and scored, Josh Brown scored, AC scored as did Charlie Black then the visitors put the ball wide, Jardell Stirling scored, AC scored, Demi Debola blasted home a really good pen then the last Aston Clinton player put it well over the bar giving Arlesey the win.
A very entertaining game in the end in front of another small crowd. Arlesey had just about the worst start possible but showed good resilience to overcome this and it was worth coming for to see Ryan Lamond’s goal alone. Maybe they wouldn’t have survived a better team but Aston Clinton were well organised and played well so they shouldn’t be down credited. Next we are away at Wembley on Saturday.
Report By Chris Sterry