Classic Football Match

A classic encounter from the past

“The build up to the frenzied exam period affected the turnout. People began to realise that studying was more important than football. How wrong they were! This was an event not to be missed. On one side of the pitch you witnessed the passing of time. The aged faces of former students who have walked the corridors of Ashbourne, and on the other the sprightly fresh-faced competitors of the current crop.

In the early stages of this heated battle it seemed that experience would easily triumph over youth. The Old Boys found themselves ahead by two goals, courtesy of calm finishes from Gino Moodley and Omar Davison (two veterans of these Seymour Leisure Centre contests). This early lead spurned on the wily veterans, and soon their play took on Brazilian flair, combining quick passing and tricks to score another goal; a fierce drive by Gino into the bottom right hand corner after a wonderful cross-field back-heel by Omar. This encouraged the leaders to press forward. Even the centre back Amer Nazri sacrificing his defensive duties to adopt a striking role as defending became somewhat mundane to this team full of flamboyant individuals.

However, the youngsters were not to be upstaged and dug in deep to find their first goal, which came courtesy of a skilful finish from Mohammed Al Nashmi, after being played in by Ali Al “Fabregas” Yaha. This roused the youngsters and their fitness began to tell. More goals would arrive shortly. Great composure displayed by James Chelliah allowed him to find Ali in space and he caressed a beautiful chip over the defence for Mohammed, who finished calmly with his head. Soon after, a period of ball possession; thanks greatly to the movement of James, Lindsay Stanfield and Thomas Santa Cruz, they found themselves level. This time it was Ali’s turn to get his name on the score sheet. He snaked his way through the defence and calmly placed his shot into the corner.

The dominance continued. The Old Boys needed to change tactics, and so they did, reverting to their natural system; employing Changwe Mutakasha in a Michael Essien role to hopefully break up these attacks. Too late! Two quick strikes by Ali and Thomas put the old guard behind for the first time. However at this desperate time, somehow the experienced side found a new lease of energy, mostly from Lucozade, to create attacking chances of their own. Unfortunately a combination of excellent reaction stops by Ahmed Al Hassan, and the reliable post, prevented them from closing the gap.

Just as the old guard started to lose faith, two quick goals from Elliot Ainsworth (not an Old Boy yet, the officials frantically raced to the rule books. The locals grew restless!), drew them level. The power had shifted, and their earlier dominance of possession returned. Shortly thereafter, Omar found Gino with a well placed through pass. Instant control. Step over. Boom. 6-5!!! Va va voom!

The game became frantic, with shots flying in from all over this coveted arena. Unfortunately for the youngsters, the clock was ticking. The Old Boys, tiring but with the finish in sight, started to play Changwe in more attacking role, using his height as a focal point for numerous long balls. One particular long ball was flicked into space for his strike partner Gino. He showed great ball control and tricked the defence by playing a sweet pass in front of Changwe, who charged towards goal. Crack. 7-5! The game as a contest was over, but the frantic pace and tricks worthy of a Nike freestyle competition (in some cases more successfully than others) continued. In the end, sadly for the youngsters, experience made the difference.”