Miles double sends Central Ajax into Vase final

Adam Miles scored twice as Central Ajax reached the Challenge Vase final.
Adam Miles scored twice as Central Ajax reached the Challenge Vase final.

Central Ajax progressed to the Challenge Vase final after a 3-1 win at home to Shipston Excelsior.

On a wet, sodden surface Ajax were never at their best against a spirited and, at times, robust away team.

The hosts opened the scoring in the tenth minute when an inswinging Lewis Fathers corner was met by a leaping Adam Miles who headed in from the edge of the six-yard box.

Ajax were given a boost in the 18th minute when Excelsior midfielder Alex Seyes, who had already been harshly booked for a misjudged tackle, committed another foul on Will Pendred and was promptly shown a second yellow and the accompanying red card.

Losing Seyes galvanised Excelsior and they levelled the tie three minutes later when striker Conor Grant scored from close range after his initial header was saved by home keeper Rich Layton.

As the game became scrappy on an ever-deteriorating Ajax Park, the home side regained the lead on the stroke of half-time in similar fashion to their first as Miles rose above everyone to power home his seventh headed goal of the season from another Fathers set-piece.

Ajax controlled much of the second half as they looked to make the extra man count but failed to add to their lead, with chances at a premium.

Shipston were reduced to nine men when Chris Mills was given his marching orders for an off-the-ball incident involving Jack Banks.

Substitute Jake Montgomery confirmed Ajax’s place in May’s final in the closing stages when he picked up a loose ball and nutmegged the onrushing keeper for his first goal of the season.