Layton stays on the treble trail for Central Ajax
Central Ajax beat Shipston Excelsior 4-3 to pick up their third Midland League Division Three away win of the season.
Shipston opened the scoring in the second minute when Nick Shumur found himself in space on the left and finished well from just inside the box.
The home team could have doubled their lead in their very next attack when the goalscorer’s cross found Shaye Eden in the six-yard box. However, Craig Lawrence somehow tipped his goalbound header over the bar.
Ajax were soon level when Lewis Fathers’ inswinging corner was guided into the net from six yards by Adam Trinder.
Matt Layton gave Ajax the lead in the 12th minute when he found space 25 yards out and curled a left-footed effort into the top corner.
In tricky conditions, Ajax began to settle into the game and added a third goal in the 27th minute when Jordan Lewis won the ball off a Shipston full-back and put Layton through on goal. The Ajax number nine then did the rest, finishing well with his left foot.
The away side should have added a fourth when Alex Andrews found himself clean through but after rounding the goalkeeper he was denied by recovering centre-half Matt Partridge who put the ball out for a corner.
Shipston pulled a goal back on the stroke of half-time with a counter attack involving Mills and Eden which led to Ajax right-back Adam Hughes slicing the ball into his own net.
Ajax were forced to make a goalkeeping change at half-time as Lawrence was struggling with a calf injury. With no back-up keeper on the bench, midfielder Sam Smith donned the gloves and the makeshift stopper made two good saves in the opening five minutes of the second period, blocking a Mills shot with his feet and then holding a long-range effort from Neil Wilson.
Layton scored his second consecutive league hat-trick when he slotted home after Andrews put him through in the 53rd minute.
As the game became scrappy in driving rain and wind, Shipston made life uncomfortable for the away side, pulling it back to 4-3 with three minutes remaining when Mills’ 20-yard shot beat Smith but Ajax saw the game out.