Blues slip up at home again
Spartan South Midlands League Premier Division
Saturday 11th February 2017
Hertford Town 0(0) Biggleswade United 0(0)
If the Blues have cause to look back unfavourably on any aspect of this season so far, they will probably focus on the three home league defeats that they have suffered. They have all followed a very similar pattern; failure to turn possession into goals, and uncharacteristic defensive errors has been a feature of all three.
Going into this game on the back of a ten-game unbeaten run and fresh from an emphatic victory at Tring Athletic, the Blues had reason to be optimistic. They would have been fully aware, though, of the threat that their visitors posed; a good footballing side that are disciplined and well-organised.
A good start has been a feature of many of the Blues successes this season and once again they started brightly. Early pressure forced two corners in the first five minutes and Tommy Wade had an opportunity to opening the scoring from the second of these when the ball fell to him on the edge of the box. His volley, though, flew over the bar.
A second chance followed almost immediately. This time Mark Summers was put through on goal but his shot was blocked by the keeper and the chance went begging.
The Blues were totally in charge of the game at this stage but, after Ricky Light had struck a twenty-yarder straight at the keeper and Jay Lovell’s square ball had passed un-touched across the face of the goal, the game was still score-less with a quarter of an hour gone.
It was soon after this that the visitors showed the first signs of a threat. Blues custodian Jayden Purdue could only palm away a shot from distance and when the loose ball was returned into the heart of the area a goal could easily have resulted from the ensuing melee.
Having survived this scare the Blues went straight back on the offensive and another good move in the 26th minute almost brought the opener. Brett O’Connor cut in from the right and laid the ball to Mark Summers whose shot from a narrow angle grazed the far post, just evading the efforts of Tyler Hatherly to get a finishing touch.
Then, nine minutes before the break, the Blues were made to pay for their missed chances. An attempted cross from the left-hand side of midfield was completely mis-kicked such that it floated over the fingertips of Jayden Purdue onto the underside of the bar and down into the goal.
A goal out of the blue and much against the run of play set the Blues back on their heels but, no sooner than five minutes later, they had a wonderful opportunity to level the score. Brett O’Connor found Mark Summers free in the box with a perfectly-weighted pass but, not realising he had time, Mark hurried his shot and it was easily saved.
A further good chance to equaliser came early in the second half when Matt Thomson found himself free in the box but his first-time volley went narrowly wide.
Even at this early stage it was becoming increasingly apparent that this was not going to be the Blues’ day. And with 65 minutes gone, the lid was put on what was to become a day to forget. Running back towards his own goal, under pressure from a chasing forward, Jay Lovell got a little too much weight on his back-pass and inadvertently lifted it over a stranded Jayden Purdue.
The remaining minutes were spent with the Blues pressing forward looking for a way back into the game but, despite their best efforts, they were unable to conjure up a goal.
With leaders London Colney picking up a largely expected win at Stotfold, the Blues, once again, find themselves five points behind them in second place with thirteen games remaining. Next up, though, is a break from league action with a Dudley Latham Memorial Trophy quarter-final tie at neighnours, Hoddesdon Town.
Team:, Jayden Purdue, Ollie Sharman, Ed Taylor, Matt Thomson, Glenn Draper, Jay Lovell(Phil Lowen 75’), Brett O’Connor, Ricky Light, Mark Summers(Ben Andreos 70’), Tommy Wade and Tyler Hatherly(Ramone Cassidy-Sinclair 68’).
Sub not used: Jack Bartlett & Joe Othen-Price
Match Report by Ray Greenall
Photos © 2017 Dan Sinclair
Video © 2017 Nathan Hobley