Last-gasp Toner penalty earns Blues first home league win.
Bostik League North
Saturday 23rd September 2017
Hertford Town 1(0) Grays Athletic 0(0)
(Toner (pen) 90+3’)
With the Blues having been forced to play the final forty minutes of this game with 10 men, they grabbed a dramatic added-time winner when Ben Andreos was fouled in the box and Michael Toner clinically dispatched to resulting penalty.
It was no less than their spirited display deserved, though, because up until the point – only six minutes into the second half – when central defender Jason Beck was shown a straight red card for a reckless tackle, the Blues had been enjoying slightly the better of the play.
The first half had finished scoreless but it had not been short of action. The Blues got off to a very good start, forcing two corners inside the first four minutes, with Charlie Edwards firing over the bar following the second. The game then evened up and, from the point when Charlie Edwards was forced out of the action with a hamstring injury in the 13th minute, the visitors raised their game and gradually got on top.
They put the Blues under pressure but, apart from a long shot that flew over the bar in the 25th minute, they failed to create any clear openings. On the other hand, the Blues were looking dangerous on the break and both Daniel Bond and Brett O’Connor might have opened the scoring from two good opportunities.
The momentum was now with the Blues and the last seven minutes of the half saw the visitors under severe pressure from three of Jay Lovell’s long throws and a corner resulting from a good save to deny Michael Toner, after good build-up play between Daniel Bond and Tommy Wade. With the half-time whistle about to be blown Michael Toner again went close when the visiting custodian saved his fierce 25-yarder following another good move, this time involving Brett O’Connor and Tommy Wade.
The second half therefore held a lot of promise for the Blues but, once Jason Beck – who had been having a fine game – was sent off, the Blues were faced with an uphill struggle to salvage anything from the game. They were forced onto the back foot and made to defend with discipline. It was to their great credit that they succeeded so well and with time running out they were looking increasingly likely to secure a point from what would have been a well-deserved draw.
Then, with almost three minutes of added time having been played, a long ball forward to Ben Andreos earned a throw-in near the edge of the Grays area. Jay Lovell took the throw and launched it into the heart of the penalty area where, in the resulting melee, Ben Andreos was knocked to the ground and a penalty awarded.
With regular penalty-taker, Tommy Wade, having by this stage having been substituted, Michael Toner took the responsibility and calmly sent the keeper the wrong way and drove the ball unerringly into the bottom corner of the net.
An unlikely victory had been secured and with it the Blues’ first home league win of the season, lifting them up into a more comfortable mid-table position.
Team:, Charlie Mann, Ollie Sharman, Luke Foster, Michael Toner, Jay Lovell, Jason Beck, Ricky Light, Charlie Edwards(Joe O’Brien 15’), Daniel Bond(Davy Edmee 67’), Tommy Wade(Ben Andreos 85’) and Brett O’Connor.
Subs not used: Dan Palmer & Alex Ward.
Video © 2017 Nathan Hobley