Savages and Ashley draw in a tough game

2014-06-19 00:00

DEFENDING league champions Savages gave Ashley Plantimex a stern test last week in the PFA Over-35 league, with the teams sharing the points after a 2-2 draw.

Playing at home, Ashley knew they were in for a tough battle as Savages had a point to prove as current league champions.

Ashley struggled early on, battling to control the midfield as Savages’ Shane Morrison took charge, distributing the ball well and sliding through quality ball to the men up front.

On attack though, Ashley looked dangerous and were first on the board with 15 minutes gone, when Hayden Vincent tested the keeper who saved well, only to see the rebounding ball picked up by George Campbell, who laid it back for Alexi Vassilatos to strike.

Having taken the initiative, Ashley took their foot off the pedal, deciding to stay deep and defend their lead. Something had to give and Savages showed their quality when they equalised just before the break, after building up from the left.

It was still anyone’s game as the second half kicked off, with Savages starting strongly and enjoying most of the possession as Morrison dropped his markers in midfield.

The hosts could have gone ahead on numerous occasions, with Ashley Isaacs seeing his effort from outside the area coming off the post and Campbell having a header saved.

At the other end, Ashley keeper Jason Edwards was kept busy as Savages tried to wrap up the match, but as the game went on, he wasn’t called on too often as the visitors tired.

It looked as though a goal apiece would be enough for the night but Savages showed why they are champions with a well-taken corner, which saw their tallest man on the field head home.

Suddenly, Ashley were behind and staring their first defeat of the season in the face. As time ticked by, they had to tap into all their reserves of stamina and character, and it was skipper Colin Summerfield who produced the decisive moment of magic.

With a minute of play remaining, he ran half the length of the field, beating two defenders and squaring the ball for Campbell to find the net, levelling the score and ensuring Ashley shared the points.

Ashley have stretched their unbeaten record to seven matches and have shown they are the team to beat, not giving up until the final whistle.

Manager Sebastian Olejniczak summed it up, saying: “This was by far our hardest match of the season to date, and the team displayed great character by not giving up and fighting right to the end. Our only negative was losing two players to knee injuries, but such is the nature of the game.”

Despite solid performances from Campbell, Maurice Zastawa and Elvis Govender, the man of the match was Cliffy Govender who was crucial in keeping Ashley in the game.

This week, Ashley travel to Pietermaritzburg to take on the improving Blues outfit.

In other matches, Brettonwood Old Boys (Bob) beat New Germany Old Boys 2-0 and F.C. Burrough beat Hillary 3-0. The Highway United against Blues clash was postponed and Ashley Dimalinx had a bye.

Ashley Plantimex still top the league with 17 points from seven matches, enjoying a slender one-point advantage over Bob, who are two points clear of Savages (14). Blues on 13 points and F.C. Burrough on eight points round off the top five.

Hillary have lost all their points to date for not being registered. Highway United have three points and Ashley Dimalinx six points.

Ashley Plantimex’s leading goal scorer is Hayden Vincent with six, while Blaine Meyer and Alex Vassilatos have netted three times.

PFA Over 35 League results

Bob 2 New Germany Old Boys 0.

F.C. Burrough 3 Hillary 0.

Ashley Plantimex 2 Savages 2.

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