Central Ajax hold leaders to pick up useful point on their travels

Sam Smith put Central Ajax into a 2-1 lead at AFC Solihull.
Sam Smith put Central Ajax into a 2-1 lead at AFC Solihull.

Central Ajax drew 2-2 at Midland League Division Three leaders AFC Solihull in a tense and hard-fought affair that could have gone either way.

Ajax started on the front foot and took an early lead when Matt Trinder worked a good opening for himself in the right channel before crossing to Gordon Lewis. The initial header was saved by home keeper Dan Wright but Lewis followed in to prod the ball over the line.

On Solihull’s compact pitch and with a number of robust and often late challenges made by both teams, the game never settled into a footballing spectacle and the home side equalised on the half-hour with their first shot on target.

The prolific John Hamer picked up possession in Ajax territory and advanced towards the box before firing a left-footed shot from 20 yards past Richard Layton.

Ajax took the lead for the second time in the 43rd minute courtesy of a superb free-kick from midfielder Sam Smith. With Alex Andrews and Smith lining up a free-kick 25 yards out and with the angle favouring the left foot of Andrews, Smith stepped up and curled his shot into the top corner past Wright.

The away side could have added a third on the stroke of half-time but Andrews’ lunging attempt at goal from close range ended with the ball going over the bar.

The home side made Ajax pay for that spurned chance as substitute Joel Hughes restored parity two minutes into the second half.

It was Hamer again who was the chief tormentor as his overhead kick was tipped on to the post, with Hughes reacting quickest to score from close range.

The second half was another well contested and tight period with both sides having good opportunities to score.

Lewis came closest for Ajax, shooting wide after good work from Adam Miles before Solihull forward Andy Matthews appeared to have a perfectly good goal disallowed for an apparent foul.

However, despite plenty of endeavour and commitment, both sides walked away with a point apiece.