After more than a month out of action, Hertford Town returned to competitive football with a great late comeback against Holmer Green in the driving rain.
Paul Halsey’s men came alive just when the weather brought its worst to grab all the three points in dramatic circumstances.
It was the Blues’ first match in 46 days – their first league game in 56 – as Hertingfordbury Park had been flooded thanks to the recent biblical-style downpours.
However, the dedicated band of Blues volunteers had done a wonderful job in rescuing the pitch from its submerged state.
The home side boasted a new striker up front in Leigh Rose, formerly of local rivals Ware and St Margaretsbury, and ex-Ware attacker Elliot King.
Holmer had played four matches during Hertford’s down time, but the encounter’s early stages gave the impression that Hertford were the sharper of the two sides.
The Blues put plenty of pressure on the Green backline, but the final touch just wasn’t there from a Blues boot with plenty of balls swung into the box.
However, it was Holmer who should have taken the lead on 21 minutes when a cross found the unmarked Shaun Owens, but he sliced his strike over the bar, despite plenty of time and space to compose himself.
Soon after Tom Fifield volleyed an effort straight at Hertford keeper Harry Ricketts as Green started to get a foothold in the game.
Ricketts was again called into action on 32 minutes, brilliantly turning around an Owens shot from point blank range.
At the other end, Hertford carved out a couple of chances. First, King latched on to a long ball, but, pushed wide by the last defender, could only shoot past the right post.
Moments later, a Charlie Smith cross was headed just wide by Louis Rose.
Leigh Rose cracked an early second half effort well off target before his brother couldn’t sort his feet out to connect with a King cross from the right, when he was completely unmarked.
Holmer scored on 52 minutes, as Tom Paddle-James latched on to a Dean Allen flick-on and brushed off three weak Hertford challenges before side-footing into the bottom right corner.
Ricketts had to pull off a smart save to keep him out again two minutes later, parrying a fierce shot as his defence were again all at sea.
They began to settle and should have equalised on 65 minutes when Kieron Smith curled wide from a great position in the box.
The heavens opened soon after and the match became farcical for a time, with torrential sideways rain and heavy winds with the centre of the pitch barely playable.
Substitute Adam Lawton had the ball in the Holmer net, only for it to be ruled out for offside, before at the other end a miscued clearance hit the Blues crossbar.
After Kardan Campbell smashed a shot off target, the Blues found their equaliser on 85 minutes.
Louis Rose made a great run at the back post to connect with a Lawton cross from the right and head home.
Things got even better for Hertford two minutes later when King broke clear and cleverly dinked an effort over the advancing keeper to spark wild celebrations with the soaked Blues faithful.
The rain continued to come down, but Hertford held on for a fantastic victory.
Match report courtesy of The Hertfordshire Mercury
Click here for The Hertfordshire Mercury’s interview with The Blues Boss.
Photos © 2014 Wendy Mason