Late winner gives Asfordby FC first Senior League points

Asfordby drive forward at Blaby EMN-191209-102447002
Asfordby drive forward at Blaby EMN-191209-102447002
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Asfordby FC won their first Senior League points of the season on Tuesday after a tough performance was rewarded with a late winner at Blaby and Whetstone.

The tone was set in the first minute when Mark Cowling chased a loose ball and put in a crunching tackle to let Blaby know they were in a game.

Manager Lee Mann said: “We asked the boys after the game on Saturday to find a way to take the positives from the game and put it right, and boy, did they do this.

“From the moment they all arrived, you could sense they were bang up for the game and put on the performance they all know they are capable of.”

Blaby set up with the intent of getting the ball to their two pacey wingers and let them run at the defence, but full-backs Simon Snow and Jamie Felstead nullified the threat, denying them the time and space to cause problems.

Both full-backs were also causing problems at the other end with marauding runs down the line, and Asfordby’s first glimpse of goal came when Felstead took the ball 50 yards and nutmegged a defender, before snapping a shot just wide.

Mike Hendey and Ben Lapworth in the middle controlled possession, moving the ball quickly for the forwards to get on the ball.

Harry Forfar and Dean Randall were immense at the back, and keeper Tom Mortimer distributed the ball to give Asfordby a platform to build from, while also making some commanding challenges and saves.

Off the ball Asfordby hunted in packs, led by skipper Liam Ambrose.

Matt Hendey and Joe Ledger were a constant threat,, while Cowling won everything coming in his direction, but there was no luck on goal as Blaby defended solidly.

Blaby changed things up at half-time, swapping over their wingers, and came at Asfordby who adapted well.

As the game wore on, Blaby started to push more men forward looking for the goal, but this exposed gaps for Asfordby to exploit.

Asfordby sent on Marcus Rowland to use his electric pace when the game was getting stretched.

Blaby threw everything at Asfordby for the last 20 minutes, but the visitors worked tirelessly and brought on Alex Johnson for some fresh legs and experience of holding up the ball.

Approaching the final five minutes, Asfordby looked to be holding out for a well-earned point, with Jamie Gilbertson on as defensive cover for skipper Ambrose who had given everything.

Going into added time, a great defensive block by Forfar saw the ball break to Lapworth who moved it quickly into Mike Hendey.

He in turn found Matt Hendey in space who cut inside and produced a superb through ball for Rowland just inside the 18-yard box and his left-foot half volley nestled in the bottom corner to spark jubilant scenes.

The full-time whistle blew straight after the restart as Asfordby celebrated a welcome victory.

Mann added: “We talked before the game about the importance of being hard to beat as the first port of call, before earning the right to play our expansive passing game.

“We could hear Blaby’s motivational speech of ‘these are bottom of the league so no trouble tonight’ which bought a wry smile from a few of the lads.

“I was incredibly pleased, and proud of the lads that they all stuck to the task superbly, worked tirelessly and stuck together through the whole game.”

Head coach Mike Hendey said: “The first two games of the campaign were obviously going to be tough.

“Barlestone are an experienced side who have played together for a long while, and Allexton sit top of the table for a reason.

“At Barlestone, I think we perhaps got the balance wrong and that’s for management to look at, and then against Allexton, we had a man sent off and there’s not much you can do after that.

“Saturday will be another test and at the moment we can’t afford to give anything less than we did last night.

“I’m really chuffed to be off the mark and proud of the lot of them, but it counts for nothing unless you keep that level of performance.”

Asfordby: Mortimer, Snow, Felstead, Forfar, Randall, Lapworth, Mike Hendey, Ledger (Rowland), Cowling (Johnson), Ambrose (c) (Gilbertson), Matt Hendey.