Ambergate travelled to Spalding to face the Priory school and impressed with a mature, determined and tactical performance against well-organised and talented opposition.
The match was 11-a-side and played on a wet and muddy surface. The luxurious Ambergate astro-turf a far cry for the team who had to adapt quickly to their new environment. Spalding dominated the opening 10 minutes of the game but the Ambergate defence were disciplined and stood firm against a wave of attacks. Sam Pell, making his Ambergate debut, controlled the back four and made a string of impressive, well-timed tackles. As Ambergate adapted to the conditions they took control. William Moore, Tyler Wakefield and Ryan Caven, experienced players for Ambergate, were integral in driving the team forward. A series of chances followed with Matthew Wright and Caven forcing superb saves from the home keeper. Wakefield, Moore and Kyland Fenton then all missed good opportunities. Ambergate were punished for not capitalising on their possession when Priory, on the counter-attack, opened the scoring against the run of play (1-0). Ambergate, very admirably, rallied together and captain Wakefield urged his team to be calm. On the stroke of half-time Matthew Wright skipped past his marker and drilled the equaliser past the keeper (1-1). Ambergate had their eye on half-time and a brief lack of concentration allowed the lively Priory forward to get in front of his marker to flick home a second (2-1).
The second-half began and Ambergate regained control of the match with high levels of possession. Excellent link-up play between Jonathon Mitchell, Nathan Weston and Kian Gibbs forced a good save from the keeper. Ambergate pushed on and Caven and Moore orchestrated wave after wave of attack. Tyler Wakefield, making his return following a leg-break injury, was lively up-front and forced the keeper into a string of unbelievable saves! The equaliser did come though and it is was the talented Wright who volleyed Ambergate level from a Mitchell cross. Ambergate were dominant and any hint of a Priory attack was superbly cut out by Pell. Ambergate took the lead when Moore forced the keeper into a save which fell to Jon Cronin who calmly side-footed the rebound in to the net (2-3). Ambergate were in the lead for the first time and Priory threw caution to the wind with five minutes to play. Ambergate keeper Lucas Wilson made three very good saves to keep the lead. Time was up and the Priory captain volleyed an effort from outside the box which Wilson tipped around the post. Corner to Priory. The referee signalled this would be the last phase of play. Pell cleared the corner out of the box and the captain popped up with a 25 yard screamer into the bottom corner (3-3). This was followed by the final whistle.
Comments from Mr Caress:
A fantastic, exciting game from start to finish with the Ambergate boys adapting well to a very different type of playing surface. Congratulations to the players making their first appearance for the school – Lucas Wilson, Jon Cronin, Nathan Weston, Kian Gibbs, Sam Pell, Luke, Michael Chinn. On another day the team would have converted a few more of their chances and won, however I am impressed that we secured a point on a day where 7 players made their debut. The team will only get stronger and more experienced.
Team – Lucas Wilson, Nathan Weston, Sam Pell, Luke, Kian Gibbs, Matthew Wright, William Moore, Ryan Caven, Jonathon Mitchell, Kyland Fenton, Tyler Wakefield, Jon Cronin, Michael Chinn
Man-of-the-match – Sam Pell. Sam made his debut and was superb in defence. A very organised and mature display. A future captain in the making for sure.