This game went ahead despite conditions more akin to the Indian sub-continent rather than leafy Hertfordshire. The rain had been lashing down for the best part of 24hrs prior to this match taking place although Hadley’s pitch at Potters Bar’s Pakex Stadium looked to have coped well and there was no standing water on the surface. Hertford’s travelling support outnumbered the home fans as is so often the case and they were joined in the stands by several of our injured playing contingent. Missing out were Stock (ankle), Campbell (dead leg), Christian (hip), Donovan (on leave), Charles & Tomkins. Ray Tomkins attended the game but announced shortly afterwards that he would be leaving the club. We wish Ray all the best in the future. With the squad down to the bare bones, Marvin Samuel had taken the decision to add to his ranks with the addition of forward, Jordan Fletcher, the returning Tom Querry and the acquisition of ex-Berkhampstead midfielder, Harry Sedgeley. Harry’s dad and ex-Spurs pro, Steve was in the stand to watch Harry’s debut in blue.
The hosts started the game the brighter side despite the difficult conditions that were to deteriorate during the course of the first half. Hadley were winning the midfield battle and passing the ball around well whereas the Blues were losing the ball, misplacing their passes and adopting a policy of launching long balls up the pitch trying to hit Anstead, Summers & Esso-Snowdon early. Hadley inevitably scored first after just 11mins after a mis-hit shot from close range caught out the returning Ricketts and wrong-footed our defence. The rains grew heavier and some flashes of lightning streaked overhead as the skies darkened, the floodlights were switched on. They failed to brighten up a scrappy game as the ref blew his whistle for the interval.
Half-time: Hadley 1-0 Hertford Town.
Débutant Fletcher replaced Mark Summers during the break and Hertford started the second half with more energy and conviction but no new ideas. Several promising moves for the visitors fizzled out in the teeming monsoon before Hadley doubled their lead on 60mins with their first positive move. Hertford’s policy of long balls and short corners failed time and again before Anstead carved himself out a chance but his blasted effort was tipped over the bar. A scything challenge from a Hadley centre-back earned the offender a booking and the Blues a free kick on 84mins. Sam Ruff stepped up and sent a curling free-kick towards the far post which the ‘keeper could only parry onto the bar and into Anstead’s frame before crossing the line. This only proved to be a consolation for the noisy but soggy away fans. The biggest cheer of the day was for our dear Chairman who tried to chest a wayward ball before toppling backwards and going down in instalments onto the sodden turf behind the goal!
Man of the match goes to Sam Ruff who did his best to get the ball down and play in midfield.
Full-time: Hadley 2-1 Hertford Town.
Match Report by Col Mason
Photos © 2013 Matt Crook