Central Ajax go top after sixth successive win

Craig Robins, left, scored Central Ajax's second at Castle Vale.
Craig Robins, left, scored Central Ajax's second at Castle Vale.

Central Ajax moved to the top of Midland League Division Three with a 4-1 success at Castle Vale Town.

Both teams had early spells of pressure as they looked to gain an early advantage on the Vale Stadium’s 4G pitch.

It was the away side who took the lead courtesy of an Alex Andrews penalty in the 25th minute, awarded after left-winger Will Pendred was upended by the Vale full-back as he shaped to shoot.

Andrews confidently tucked away the spot-kick, firing past the right-hand of Bradley Carter.

In a well-contested opening half-hour, Ajax had three players cautioned and Vale one as the referee stamped his authority on the game.

Ajax doubled their lead in the 39th minute when Craig Robins pounced on a loose ball after Adam Miles had seen his shot blocked.

As has so often happened this season, Ajax immediately allowed Vale back into the game after scoring, failing to deal with a right-wing cross and allowing David Davis to find space between the centre halves and head past the despairing Richard Layton.

Ajax restored their two-goal cushion five minutes into the second half when a cross from Fathers was met by the oncoming Pendred, who beat Carter at the second attempt.

Vale’s hopes were dealt a further blow when Joe Haines received a second yellow card for a dive despite it looking like he had been impeded as he looked to get past two Ajax defenders.

The returning Matt Layton scored Ajax’s fourth, bundling home a cross to register his 13th goal of the season and wrap up his side’s sixth win on the bounce.