With three games to go, Ripley Rangers under 12s are still chasing the promotion dream, needing maximum points and a big favour from Matlock Town.
Rangers travelled to a rainswept Ashover looking to maintain their unbeaten run in 2014 against a side one place below them.
Ashover kicked off but Rangers showed their intent with Jack Hounslow exchanging passes with Jake Maskell, forcing Ashover’s keeper to save at full stretch and concede a corner.
Again, the keeper held onto Jack Woods’s blistering shot with Hounslow ready to pounce on any spillage.
The Rangers team bossed the early stages with Maskell and Dylan Goodall forcing further saves from the keeper.
Ashover did make some forays into the Rangers half but Tyler Spencer Roper and Jaden Thomas were always snapping at Ashover’s heels.
Jo Bower then made a timely interception and his quick thinking found Wood, who caused chaos winning a corner. He was injured and replaced by Regan McDonagh.
Goodall’s corner was met by Hounslow. The keeper saved but McDonagh gleefully smashed in the loose ball with his first touch.
Ashover pressed again but Bower and Luke Goold with a great save kept them at bay.
A great move by Rangers was started off by Roper who passed to McDonagh. He slipped a perfect ball to James Phillips and a cool finish made it 2-0.
The second half turned into a ferocious battle with some strong tackles from both sides. Thomas, Maskell and Killian Higgins were in the thick of things for Rangers.
Wesley Hardstaff fed Goodall and the keeper denied him again, but two minutes later Higgins fed Wood and an inch perfect pass sent Goodall through. This time there was no mistake and it was 3-0 to Ripley.
Ashover swept forward and Higgins was tidying up nicely, with Phillips help protecting Goold well.
McDonagh and Goodall both had goals disallowed and the latter just failed to finish a teasing Hounslow cross. Roper had a shot cleared off the line as Rangers tried to kill off the game with some great interplay.
Ashover did grab a goal with a flowing move that was well finished from close range to end the scoring at 3-1.
This was another good result with great energy passing and teamwork for Ripley Rangers U12s.
Man of the match was Killian Higgins for his tenacious defending.