A point gained!
Spartan South Midlands League Premier Division
Saturday 29th October 2016
Biggleswade United 2(2) Hertford Town 2(2)
(Summers 9’, 85’)
Two-one down at half-time and reduced to ten men with the dismissal of central defender Jay Lovell, the Blues were clearly ‘staring down the barrel’. Their second-half comeback was therefore all the more creditable. A penalty save by Jayden Purdue and a late Mark Summers strike earned an unlikely point that might prove invaluable come the end of the season.
Biggleswade United are always a tough proposition at their Second Meadow ground and the events that unfolded in this game only proved to emphasise the point. The disappointment will be with the sense that the second-half comeback and their performance in the first fifteen minutes would suggest that the Blues should really have come away with all three points.
The opening quarter of an hour saw the Blues at somewhere near their best and when they took a ninth minute lead they looked to be in complete control. Mark Summers was the scorer when he slammed home Ollie Sharman’s cross after Ollie had overlapped down the right to arrive on the end of Dan Ferrigno’s chip.
The hosts were in no mood to throw the towel in, though, and their determination to disrupt the Blues’ rhythm gradually had a positive effect, causing the Blues to become frustrated to the extent that they lost their composure. The result was a complete turnaround in fortunes and for the final twenty minutes of the half it was the hosts who had the upper hand.
Jay Lovell was booked for a foul in the 36th minute and was sent off when he picked up a second yellow card only four minutes later. In between these two bookings, the Blues conceded an equaliser when Lee Bilcock to advantage of a deflected free kick to head home at the far post.
Injury time was being played when the Blues’ plight was made worse. Biggleswade broke away swiftly from a Blues free kick to earn a penalty which they converted on the rebound after Jayden Purdue had saved their initial effort.
It would have been understandable if the Blues had dropped their heads in the second half, especially when they conceded a second penalty only ten minutes in. Jayden Purdue’s save, however, proved to be a turning point and from this point onwards it was the ten-man visitors who gained the upper hand.
The Blues pressed forward but chances were at a premium until the closing minutes. Ten minutes remained when Ben Andreos turned brilliantly in the box before unleashing a fierce shot that the home custodian thwarted with a magnificent save. From the resulting corner Glenn Draper had a header saved low down but the pressure was on and the equaliser was not long in coming. Mark Summers picked the ball up on the edge of the box, cut inside his man and fired low into the net off the inside of a post.
The momentum was now with the Blues but any hopes they had of snatching a late winner were effectively extinguished when they were reduced to nine men when Dan Ferrigno was shown a second yellow card. They were forced to settle for a draw but one which in hindsight might ultimately prove to be a very good one?
Team: Jayden Purdue, Ollie Sharman, Ed Taylor, Matt Thomson (Phil Lowen 54’), Glenn Draper, Jay Lovell, Brett O’Connor, Dan Ferrigno, Mark Summers, Tommy Wade (Ben Andreos 65’) & Tyler Hatherly (Ricky Light 60’).
Sub not used: Adam Murad.
Match Report by Ray Greenall
Photos © 2016 Wendy Mason
Video © 2016 Nathan Hobley