Blues make their best start to a season in more than 50 years!
Spartan South Midlands League Premier Division
Saturday 3rd September 2016
Hertford Town 3(1) Berkhamsted 2(2)
(Andreos 4’, 58’, Ruff 62’
With this win against high-flying Berkhamsted the Blues made their best start to a league campaign since 1962. Four wins from their opening four games saw the Blues leap-frog their opponents into the league’s second place, three points behind London Colney with a game in hand.
It’s far too early in the season to talk about fixtures being ‘six-pointers’ but with the visitors sitting in second place with nine points from four games and the Blues trailing them on goal-difference with a game in hand, this game could easily be seen in those terms. This victory might therefore be of some significance in the final reckoning?
Straight from the kick-off it was apparent that the Blues were looking to make an early impact on the game and twice in the first two minutes they came close to taking the lead. Tyler Hatherley’s run and cross almost found Ben Andreos at the back post in their first attack and then, moments later, Ben grazed the bar with a shot from just outside the box.
With the Blues off to such a bright start it therefore came as a complete surprise when the visitors took a third-minute lead with their first venture into the Blues’ half of the field. A deep cross from the right found its way right across the penalty area where it was met by an unmarked Thomas Carter and struck first time past Reece Buck into the bottom corner of the goal.
This goal, against the run of play, might easily have had a damaging effect on the Blues momentum but an equaliser less than minute or so later ensured that the setback was short-lived. Ben Andreos started and finished a slick phase of attacking play that saw the ball moved across the pitch until it reached Tyler Hatherly out on the left flank. Tyler gained a yard on his marker and hit a superb cross to the back of the six-yard box where Ben rose and headed firmly past Tasker in the Berkhamsted goal.
Back on level terms, the Blues then proceeded to put pressure on the visitors’ goal but although they created good opportunities they were unable to find a finishing touch. Adam Murad was enjoying a very lively spell up the right flank and twice he had shots on target but neither effort had the power necessary to find the net.
It was Ricky Light, though, that came closest to giving the Blues the lead when, midway through the half, he found space in the box to move onto a clever Tyler Hatherly pass and strike low at goal. He was, however, denied by a good save from Tasker that seemed to not only frustrate the Blues but also lift the spirits of his own team. They gradually took control of midfield and began to apply pressure on the home goal.
In the 24th minute Adam Mead struck a post with a long-range effort and then, four minutes later, the same player found himself free on the edge of the box to receive a square pass and shoot low into the bottom corner of the goal giving Reece Buck no chance to save.
This time, going behind for a second time seemed to take the ‘wind out of the Blues’ sails’ and for the remainder of the half they were on the back foot. The half-time break therefore gave the opportunity to regroup and the team that emerged for the second half appeared to have a far more positive attitude.
Within three minutes of the restart Ben Andreos had gone close to pulling a goal back but it was the inspirational introduction of Matt Thomson into the action in the 52nd minute that radically turned the game around. Within five minutes of him joining the fray the Blues had created four good chances, the last of which saw Ben Andreos convert with some style after he had been put through on goal by an accurate through-ball from Ollie Sharman.
The Blues were now in total control and only four minutes later they scored what proved to be the winning goal. A fine move down the right flank involving Adam Murad, Matt Thomson and Phil Lowen saw the ball played inside to Sam Ruff and his well-struck shot from the edge of the box gave the Berkhamsted custodian no chance.
Further chances fell to Adam Murad and Ollie Sharman but it was Mark Summers who came closest to adding a fourth when his shot was blocked by a covering defender after Tyler Hatherly had won the ball inside his own half and accelerated towards goal before drawing the keeper off his line and squaring the ball to the supporting Summers.
A further goal was not forthcoming but the visitors were unable to find a way back into the game and the Blues emerged deserved winners with three more valuable points.
Team: Reece Buck, Ollie Sharman, Ed Taylor, Sam Ruff, Glenn Draper, Jay Lovell, Adam Murad (Lee Roberts 80’), Phil Lowen, Ben Andreos (Mark Summers 69’), Ricky Light (Matt Thomson 52’) and Tyler Hatherly.
Subs not used: Jack Bartlett & Tommy Wade.
Match Report by Ray Greenall
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Photos © 2016 Paul Clark