Asfordby FC turn on the style at Senior League champions

Captain Liam Ambrose put Asfordby 3-1 up at Rugby EMN-200114-113450002
Captain Liam Ambrose put Asfordby 3-1 up at Rugby EMN-200114-113450002
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Asfordby FC continued to head in the right direction as they claimed a point at defending Senior League champions Rugby Borough on Saturday.

The 3-3 draw extended their unbeaten run to five matches and left them eighth, and with games in hand on all of the teams above them.

Head coach Mike Hendey opted for an unchanged line-up, but welcome back John Love and Paul Griffiths to the bench, while there was also a cameo for Steve Hendey in the dugout, reunited with his old assistant Pete Humphries.

The visitors started slowly and fell behind when the dangerous Barber swept a ball out to the left which the winger thumped into the far corner, giving Mortimer no chance.

The goal seemed to revive Asfordby as Johnson took control of midfield and pushed his side higher up the pitch.

Matt Hendey’s clever footwork asked questions of the home side, but for all their intelligent play, it was Mortimer’s long ball which led to the equaliser.

His clearance was flicked on by Matt Hendey for Dean Copson, and with the ball still bouncing he lifted a perfect lob over the onrushing keeper.

Hollis, Lapworth and Randall impressed at the back, winning the ball back and springing attacks, allowing Felstead and Rowland to push higher.

The pressure told when hard work from the Hendey brothers in midfield saw the ball fall to Johnson whose first-time pass set Copson free to crash the ball into the far corner and put Asfordby ahead at half-time.

The visitors re-emerged playing some of their best football of the season, with good efforts from Rowland, Matt Hendey and Copson thwarted by the home keeper.

Their persistence was rewarded on the hour when Mike Hendey rose highest to flick a header down to Copson in the centre circle.

He held off his man and set off on a winding run past four before laying off the ball to Ambrose on the edge of the area who sent a fine left-foot finish into the bottom corner.

Asfordby looked resolute, but had Mortimer to thank for a string of strong stops as the strong wind made it almost impossible to convincingly clear their lines.

As Rugby upped the pressure it was 3-2 with 10 minutes left when a ball was turned in at the back post.

And moments later, Asfordby struggled to deal with another set piece and the hosts equalised.

But this didn’t spoil anything for Hendey.

“I couldn’t prouder of them,” he said.

“You won’t see another team come here and outplay Rugby the way we did.

“They rolled their sleeves up and for the middle hour of the game, dominated the best footballing team I’ve seen in this league.

“It would have been lovely to get the three points and, on balance, I think we probably deserved it.”

Asfordby are due to host Blaby on Tuesday (ko 7.30pm) and Ellistown on Saturday (ko 3pm), but the returning rain may intervene.

Asfordby: Mortimer, Randall, Lapworth, Hollis, Felstead, Rowland, Mike Hendey, Johnson, Matt Hendey, Ambrose (c), Copson. Subs: Love, Griffiths.