Asfordby FC boss Lee Mann hails great escape at Desford

John Love, pictured here in Melton colours, levelled for Asfordby in his first start for almost a year EMN-201202-092951002
John Love, pictured here in Melton colours, levelled for Asfordby in his first start for almost a year EMN-201202-092951002
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A sensational late turnaround at Desford on Saturday saw Asfordby maintain their impressive Senior League form.

Lee Mann’s side trailed 2-1 going into the final moments, but Dean Copson equaliser and Liam Ambrose stoppage-time winner saw the visitors extend their good record to just one defeat in the last 11.

“On the balance of play we were certainly value for the three points, but we sure made hard work of it,” said Mann.

“The conditions were not good for football, but they stuck to their task, tried to play the right way and got us the result in the end.

“Previously, this would have been a game that maybe we wouldn’t have got anything from, but the character across the whole squad, especially when their backs are against the wall, shows how far we’ve come and the direction we are moving.”

Asfordby travelled without key players Jack Baker, Dean Randall and both Hendey brothers, and faced tough conditions, with strong winds and a tricky pitch.

Going against the wind and the slope in the first half, Asfordby made a fast start, but failed to capitalise with any a clear-cut chances.

Desford used the elements, quickly moving the ball from back to front to supply their strikers.

Todd Warner, on his Asfordby debut in midfield popped up everywhere, but couldn’t find the killer ball through to the front three of Copson, Ambrose and John Love, making his first start in almost a year.

As the half wore on, the visitors started to look a little lost and Desford went ahead when a hopeful ball from deep evaded the defence, giving their striker time to control the ball and lash in the opener.

Asfordby looked shell-shocked, but went into the break just one goal down.

A half-time wake-up call from Mann seemed to galvanise Asfordby, and from the restart had the bit between their teeth.

With the wind and slope in their favour they peppered Desford’s defence, and midway through the half, Asfordby got their rewards when Warner’s sumptuous cross was converted by Love.

Mann wanted his team to turn the screw, but switched off straight from the restart, allowing a Desford striker to beat three defenders too easily and restore the lead.

More chances were created and wasted as Copson hit a post, while Ambrose drew a fine save.

With time ticking away, Mann brought on Morgan for his debut and Gilbertson, back from a serious shoulder injury, to shuffle the pack.

And with two minutes left, Gilbertson slid a ball across the box for Love who was fouled and a penalty awarded.

After a long delay and a sinbin, Copson’s penalty was kept out by a fine save, but the ball bounced back to Copson who took a touch and finished to level.

With Desford losing their discipline, deep into stoppage-time, skipper Ambrose raced forward to close down their keeper as he came out to clear.

The ball ricocheted off Ambrose into the bottom corner which proved the final action of the match.

Mann added: “It was a little frustrating at times as the boys didn’t seem to hold the passion and commitment I expected from the off, but we addressed that at half-time and applied ourselves better in the second half.

“It was great to see all 13 of them go right to the end.”

Asfordby host Blaby and Whetstone on Saturday for a 3pm kick-off.

Asfordby: Mortimer, Felstead, Rowland, Lapworth, Clayton, Hollis, Warner, Johnson, Love, Ambrose (c), Copson. Subs: Gilbertson, Morgan.