Blues show their true character!
FA Vase – 1st Qualifying Round
Saturday 10th September 2016
Hertford Town 0(0) Clapton 0(0) (aet)
Losing their goalkeeper, Jayden Purdue, to a debatable straight red card in only the twelfth minute of this hotly contested cup tie, the Blues were forced to play the remaining 108 minutes with only ten men!
It speaks volumes for the fighting qualities of the Blues’ squad that they succeeded in coming through the game having created most of the opportunities, restricting their highly-rated Essex Senior League opponents to only a handful of half-chances. More remarkably, a leading contender for the man-of-the-match tag was the Clapton custodian who, as well as making three outstanding saves to deny Ricky Light (twice) and Tyler Hatherly, also threw himself full length to keep out Tyler’s 21st minute penalty.
As has been the case in recent games, the Blues were ‘out of their blocks’ quickly and came close to scoring twice in the first four minutes. Ricky Light’s in-swinging corner from the right was headed off the line in the second minute and two minutes later, Tommy Wade shot past the post after Ben Andreos had jumped high to head the ball into his path.
The play was very open in the early stages, though, and the visitors were also looking dangerous on the break. And it was a long ball over the top in the 12th minute that brought Jayden Purdue out of his area and into contact with a Clapton forward. Even though he made contact with the ball and Glenn Draper was in a covering position, the referee, after consulting his assistant, decided that a red card for Jayden was the appropriate course of action.
Fortunately, the Blues had Reece Buck on the bench and he was understandably brought into the action immediately with striker Ben Andreos suffering the disappointment of being the outfield player to be necessarily sacrificed.
Down to ten men against a side that they had lost to in a pre-season friendly, the Blues could easily have dropped their heads – but they didn’t. Instead they continued to take the game to their visitors and, in the 21st minute, they were given the chance to take the lead. Tyler Hatherly exchanged passes with Ricky Light just inside the Clapton penalty area before the latter was brought to the deck with a foul challenge. Quick to make his decision, the referee blew his whistle for a penalty kick just as Tyler was slotting the ball past the keeper into the back of the net.
The visitors had been given a lifeline. No card was shown to the offender and the Clapton keeper further added to the Blues’ misery when he pulled off a fine save to beat out Tyler Hatherly’s spot kick.
The Blues unfazed by their misfortunes lifted their game and proceeded to dominate their opponents for the remainder of the half and had it not been for the visiting custodian they would have gone into the break at least a goal to the good. Ricky Light’s point blank-range volley was parried by the keeper and from Tyler Hatherly’s resulting corner Ricky’s near-post header brought out yet another stunning save.
The second half saw the Blues continue to have the edge over the visitors and soon came close to scoring again when, less than six minutes in, Glenn Draper – up for a corner – picked up a loose ball 15 yards out, spun past a defender and struck the outside of the post with his effort on goal.
Further efforts from Phil Lowen and Sam Ruff failed to find the net but with six minutes of normal time remaining, Tyler Hatherly looked odds-on to score when he raced clear of the Clapton defence only to find his low drive once again denied by a fine save from the visiting custodian.
Extra time was looming when the visitors almost grabbed a late winner. A fine save from Reece Buck, however, acrobatically kept out what would have been a devastating own goal from the head of Phil Lowen.
The demands of normal time were clearly evident in extra time but, although the Blues had the upper hand throughout, they were unable to conjure up a goal. The game therefore finished goal-less and the sides are now scheduled to meet again in a replay on Tuesday 13th September.
POSTSCRIPT – The replay has now been postponed because (ironically) the Clapton keeper had not been registered in time to play in the original tie and this is under investigation!
Team:, Jayden Purdue, Ollie Sharman, Jay Lovell, Sam Ruff, Glenn Draper, Jack Bartlett, Ricky Light (Lee Roberts 102’), Phil Lowen, Ben Andreos (Reece Buck 12’), Tommy Wade (Mark Summers 75’) and Tyler Hatherly.
Subs not used: Ed Taylor &. Adam Murad.
Match Report by Ray Greenall
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Photos © 2016 Ian Bush