A trip to Ampthill, familiar territory as we seem to have visited Abbey lane of numerous occasions, sadly probably still the worst pitch in the league, this time with extra long grass.
A new look Ampthill, almost a complete new team from previous seasons, started the game firmly on the front foot, Whirlwinds reluctant to engage all over the pitch. Ampthill grabbed an early lead, a throw in from the left, was left to bounce in the box, and the Amphill striker accepted the gift 1-0. A second soon followed, Billy barged over on the edge of the box when about to clear, the Referee seemed to be the only person that didn’t see it as an obvious foul, Whirwinds stood off and Ampthill scored a second 2-0. It was a bad start for the away side, but Ajiri had a great chance to bring them back in the game but shot wide, then Ibu got through, but as he went to connect he got caught out by the infamous Abbey Lane ditch and the ball went out for goal kick.
With opportunities up the other end spurned, Ampthill continued to bully the away team, quite a lot of it not legal, however the Referee seemed not to want to give the away side any protection, particularly from the Ampthill striker who kept mistaking his elbow for a shoulder, each time held elbowed a Whirlwinds player in the back or ribs, claiming it was a shoulder barge. Unfortunately the away team succumbed to the physical intimadation and Ampthill added a third, fourth, fifth and sixth, before a bruised and battered away side could trudge off a half time.
It was a first half collapse, that unfortunately comes along from time to time for the Whirlwinds. We had seen it coming, with team being ticked off several times recently in training, and warned that their poor attitude would eventually cross over to the pitch. The first 35 minutes were a direct result of this. It was a tough half time team talk to deliver, we had to contest and compete and not be scared off by the oppositions antics. They were sent out with the message to restore some pride, and win the second half.
Second half got underway, the Whirlwinds defence had pushed up the pitch squeezing the space in midfield, so the Whirlwinds midfield could compete. They got an immediate reward, Ajiri feeding Ibu, who hassled a home defender then another and came away with the ball, to race towards goal and apply a calm finish 6-1. It gave a much needed boost of confidence, players were now getting tighter, 50/50’s contested and won, defensive clearances being made. Chances were all being created by the away side, Ibu and Oliver both missing reasonably good chances, before Ajiri crossed in from the left, it was laid off by Oliver for Ibu to score his and the teams 2nd 6-2. Ampthill were completely on the back foot. Ibu had two opportunities to complete his hatrick, Oliver another good chance, Jack M sent a curling shot, which the ‘keeper dived and saved well. The away team had created enough good chances to be level, at the other end Ampthill were restricted to a couple of shots from outside the box, which Nathan gathered easily. As the game drifted to last moments, the away side’s intensity dropped a little, Ampthill had a shot from inside the box which just cleared the bar. With the last action of the game, Nathan misjudged a lobbed ball and jumped underneath it, the ball bounced in the six yard box, it was stabbed home 7-2. Despite the late goal it had been a much improved display in the second half, however the damage had been done with the limp first half performance.
Scorers: Ibu (2)