Our second local derby of the season away at Broxbourne Boro’ on Saturday saw The Blues unbeaten league run of 11 games come to a end but it could have been very, very different…

The reserve ‘keeper for the hosts had the game of his life, pulling off a series of world-class fingertip saves but was still beaten on seven occasions with two shots hitting the back of the net via Lawton and new boy Effiong, plus a further five opportunities crashing off the woodwork.

One can only wonder how good the 1st-choice Broxbourne ‘keeper must be given this display!

All in all, a fantastic advert for the SSML and a great event for any neutral observers with five great goals, sensible officiating and plenty of noise from the 104 that attended the Goffs Lane stadium this weekend. The Blues line-up was mostly unchanged from our last game as we were still without the injured Charlie Smith (Knee, 3 months), the suspended vice-captain Louis Rose serving the 2nd of his 3-game suspension and Ant Anstead, who was still feeling the worse for wear after hosting two mammoth live shows for the BBC this week and followed that by attending a debauched wedding on Friday night. Giant striker Inih Effiong, signed in the week, was named on the bench.

The Blues started brightly and opened the scoring with an early goal in just the 4th minute following some serious pressure with Leigh Rose twisting the spines of the Broxbourne defence, before placing an inch-perfect cross for Adam Lawton to nudge past the advancing ‘keeper to take the lead. Most of the visiting army of noisy Blues fans missed the goal as they were still en route to the ground but made up for it with a song for the goalscorer upon their arrival.

The hosts replied 6 minutes later with a stunning free-kick from the ever popular, ex-Blue Ryan Wade and then doubled their tally on 21mins with a well placed and completely unchallenged header from a corner with the Blues defence suddenly looking extremely nervy. Another cheap goal followed to give the home side a 3-1 lead going into the break but Tyler Hatherly deserves a special mention for his own personal battle with the Broxbourne woodwork, after hitting the post on 19mins and then seeing his free-kick heading for the top bins incredibly tipped onto the bar by the impressive custodian between the sticks, Adam Seymour in the 25th minute.

Changes were made at the interval with Elliot King and Joe Pearce replaced by new signing, Inih Effiong and Darren Williams respectively. The 2nd half was mostly one-way traffic aside from the occasional BBFC breakaway with Effiong, Rose and Hatherly all going close to beating the bulletproof Seymour until Ross Clemo gave away a clumsy penalty in the 74th minute, which initially looked like a kick in the teeth for the visitors.

The ever reliable Harry Ricketts faced down the spot-kick and dived low to his left to gather the tame shot, immediately distributing the ball to setup yet another swiftly executed counter-attack. Effiong hit the bar from a thunderous free-kick shortly afterwards and Hatherly was thwarted yet again by yet another fingertip save before Effiong opened his HTFC account, smashing home and finally beating the ‘keeper, setting up a frantic finale on 83mins. Broxbourne were by now firmly camped in their own box with goalmouth scrambles aplenty but The Blues just couldn’t get the ball over the line and it just wasn’t our day. So it finished 3-2 to The Boro’, The Ultras sang their little hearts out, Bradley Fraser was imperious at the back and Tyler Hatherly would surely have taken the MOTM award had it not been for the efforts of the home ‘keeper and his sturdy goalframe.

We spoke to the frustrated and emotional Gaffa post match and he had this to say:

“I was very disappointed in the manner we gave away the three 1st-half goals but couldn’t have asked anymore from the player’s reaction and performance during the 2nd half. On another day the chances we created would have gone in but it just didn’t happen for us today. Fair play to Broxbourne. We now move on to Tuesday night, Tring Athletic in the cup and get back to winning ways!”

Thanks from all the players and all of the staff to all the fans who made the trip on Saturday and provided yet another quality matchday atmosphere. Truly our 12th man, week in, week out!

See the match page for stats and “The match in tweets”.

Photos from the Hertfordshire Mercury’s roving photographer, Vikki Lince, can be found here.

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