Blues are well worth their second chance
Emirates FA Cup Preliminary Round
Saturday 19th August 2017
Hertford Town 4(2) Hadleigh United 1(0)
(Bond 2’, 68’, Beck 45+1’, Ruff 74’)
The Blues put in a magnificent display to pull off a well-deserved extra-time victory against their more illustrious opponents, Grays Athletic, at the new state-of-the-art Aveley FC stadium, that Grays share. They will now play hosts to another Bostik North League outfit, AFC Hornchurch, in the 2nd Qualifying Round
Having justly earned a ‘second bite of the cherry’ with a 1-1 draw at Hertingfordbury Park on the previous Saturday, the Blues travelled to Aveley with the belief that they had the necessary calibre to make progress to the next round of the Cup. And that belief was probably what carried them through a gruelling match that bore all the hallmarks of a classic FA Cup tie.
Falling behind in only the fourth minute, the Blues drew level less than eight minutes later when Tommy Wade bagged his fourth goal in the past four games when he headed home another excellent Matt Thomson free-kick.
The game ebbed and flowed for the next twenty minutes with Ricky Light having a shot deflected onto the roof of the net after good work from Michael Toner and, at the other end, Charlie Mann pulling off two excellent saves in as many minutes to keep the scores level. He was powerless, however, to deny an superb header in the 28th minute that restored the hosts’ lead.
The score remained at 2-1 until well into the second half but then a ‘goal of the season’ contender came from Charlie Edwards when he struck a peach of a shot into the top corner of the goal from fully 25 yards. The game was once again in the balance and when the final whistle was blown the outcome was still undecided at two goals apiece.
The game therefore entered extra-time and, with a lot at stake, the contest became increasingly more intense. The Blues were more and more likely winners, though, and it came as no real surprise when they scored what was to prove to be the winning goal, seven minutes into the first period. Dan Ferrigno skipped past his marker way out on the left flank, near the half-way line, and tore into the home defence, played a one-two with Brett O’Connor and fired a shot worthy of any cup-tie, past the outstretched dive of the Grays custodian.
By this stage the game had opened up and play was genuinely end-to-end with the Blues understandably coming under pressure as the hosts became more and more desperate in their efforts to take the tie to a penalty shoot-out. The Blues held out, though, and can now look forward to hosting AFC Hornchurch on the 16th of September.
Team:, Charlie Mann, Ollie Sharman, Tyler Hatherly, Matt Thomson, Michael Toner, Jay Lovell, Brett O’Connor(Davy Edmee 117’), Charlie Edwards, Charlie Ruff, Tommy Wade (Daniel Bond 90’) and Ricky Light(Dan Ferrigno 81’).
Subs not used: Jonah Evans, Joey O’Brien, Glenn Draper & Ben Andreos.
Match Report by Ray Greenall