WOW! What a comeback!
Herts Senior Cup 1st Round
Tuesday 31st October 2017
Hertford Town 2(0) Cheshunt 2(1)
Hertford won 4-2 on penalties
(Sharman 90+2’, Cole 90+3’)
On balance, the Blues probably deserved to win this Herts Senior Cup encounter with local rivals Cheshunt – but the manner with which they did so was truly extraordinary. With ninety minutes having been played and no more than three or four minutes of added time remaining, the Blues were trailing 2-0 and seemingly exiting the Cup at the first hurdle.
Somehow, however, they managed to find two goals in two minutes to level the tie, and then went on to emerge victorious by four goals to two in the resulting penalty shoot-out.
Both managers took the opportunity to rest players for the game with Blues manager giving only six of the team that started the previous game a place in his starting line-up. Cheshunt started eight of their team on Saturday.
With so many changes to the Blues’ line-up it would have been understandable if they had got off to a poor start but they did quite the opposite. Within nine minutes of the kick-off they had forced three corners and were putting their visitors under a lot of pressure. Nothing came from this pressure, though, and, instead, the Ambers broke down their right flank in the 12th minute and took the lead with a decent finish from Dan Cheema.
The visitors then enjoyed a good spell and forced a good save from Charlie Mann in the 23rd minute. The Blues then had their turn and Charlie Cole – in his first start for the club – brought saves out of the Ambers’ custodian, Richard Hayward. The first was a very good save with his feet but the second was a much easier save from a header when Charlie had been well-placed but unaware that he had time to bring the ball down.mCharlie Cole might then have earned a penalty in the 36th minute when he was pulled back in the box as he was about to shoot.
The Blues were now firmly on top and in the time remaining before the break, Jason Beck twice went close with headers and Mark Summers had a firm drive blocked as it headed towards goal. Despite their domination, though, the Blues still trailed at half-time.
The second half started much the same as the first had left off. The Blues continued to press forward but chances were much harder to find. Charlie Cole forced another good save out of Richard Hayward on the hour mark but then some slack defending from the Blues allowed the Ambers to double their lead with barely twenty minutes remaining.
The game was then broken up by a succession of substitutions and, with ninety minutes on the clock, it looked as if the Blues were on their way out of the competition. Then in the space of little more than a minute the Blues were level! Ollie Sharman headed home from Ben Andreos’ neat cross in the 92nd minute to score what many thought would be a consolation goal and then Charlie Cole picked up a pass from Michael Toner, skipped past a defender and calmly slotted the ball home, a minute later.
In the time that remained the Blues were forced back on the defensive by the stunned Ambers but they held out and took the game to a penalty shoot-out which they won by a margin of four goals to two. Michael Toner, Charlie Cole, Charlie Edwards and Ricky Light were all successful with their kicks and the victory was set up by a stunning save from Charlie Mann who finger-tipped the ball onto a post from the Ambers’ second effort.
The Blues will now host St Albans City in the Quarter-finals of the competition on Tuesday 5th December.
Team: Charlie Mann, Ollie Sharman, Jay Lovell, Michael Toner, Jason Beck (Ricky Light 70’), Dan Palmer, Dan Ferrigno (Daniel Bond 78’), Charlie Edwards, Mark Summers (Ben Andreos 67’), Charlie Cole, and Luke Foster.
Subs not used: Charlie Ruff and Davy Edmee.
Match Report by Ray Greenall
Video © 2017 Nathan Hobley