Patience pays for Blues
Spartan South Midlans League Premier Division
Saturday 8th October 2016
Hertford Town 2(0) Crawley Green 0(0)
(Taylor (pen) 61’, Wade 72’)
Patience was eventually rewarded for the Blues with two goals in the final half-hour and a further three points in their pursuit of league leaders, London Colney.
The blues created enough chances and opportunities to have won this game comfortably but the visitors, Crawley Green are nothing if not resilient and posed enough of a threat to cause the occasional concern. Given their first-half dominance it would have been very easy for the Blues have been unsettled by their failure to score and become reckless. That they didn’t is evidence of their growing confidence and their ability to stay focussed on the business of gathering points.
The recent bad habit of conceding an early goal appeared to be in no danger of being repeated here when the Blues spent almost the entire first twenty minutes in their opponents’ half. On another day the quality of their play might easily have earned them a two or three goal lead. The game was less than a minute old when Ricky Light’s shot from the edge of the box was spilled into the path of Mark Summers but follow-up effort was blocked by a covering defender.
Moments later, a brilliant run from Dan Ferrigno saw him set up Adam Murad but a heavy first touch let him down when he looked favourite to score. Tommy Wade’s flick-on from Jay Lovell’s long throw was saved at the expense of a corner in the eighth minute and Mark Summers was denied by a good save after he had beaten the offside trap, five minutes later. Tommy Wade then went close to opening the scoring when he headed beyond the far post from Ollie Sharman’s right-wing cross.
The Blues had done more than enough to deserve the lead but a goal was not forthcoming and two minutes after Mark Summers had shot wide under pressure in the 19th minute their custodian, Reece Buck, was called into the action when he had to tip a Crawley Green 30-yard free kick over his bar. It was a reminder that nothing could be taken for granted that wasn’t immediately heeded when some casual play led to a left-wing cross passing dangerously across the six-yard area before being scrambled away.
The lesson was learned, though, and for the remainder of the half they continued to take the game to their visitors. Further chances fell to Mark Summers in the 27th and 33rd minutes but following his hat-trick of seven days earlier, his luck had clearly deserted him in this game. Such is the life of a striker!
Both Ricky Light had free-kick opportunities from the edge of box but neither effort could break the deadlock and the teams were still level at the break.
The second half was much like the first in that Crawley Green had the one moment early on when they might have scored but other than that all the goal-threats belonged to the Blues. They maintained their shape and discipline with Jay Lovell giving a good display alongside Glenn Draper at the heart of the Blues defence, and Matt Thomson playing similarly well in the middle of the park. Up front Tommy Wade played the role of a target man with strength and guile and was a constant ‘thorn in the visitors’ flesh’.
In the 57th minute Mark Summers hit the bar from a Wade flick-on and Adam Murad blazed over from the rebound when he seemed destined to register his long overdue first goal for the club.
The breakthrough was not long in coming, however. Jay Lovell picked out Mark Summers’ run into the box but, as he shaped to shoot, he was felled by a late challenge and a penalty was duly awarded. Ed Taylor continued his flawless run from the spot when he drove the ball past the valiant Green keeper despite him having chosen correctly which way to dive.
With the deadlock broken the Blues clearly relaxed and the visitors lost some of their resolve. A second goal followed eleven minutes later when Adam Murad was picked out in space on the left wing by Reece Buck’s kick from his hands for him to turn and lay the ball into the path of Mark Summers and he ran into the left-hand side of the area. Drawing the keeper from his goal, Mark turned and chipped the ball to the far post where Tommy Wade bravely headed home under pressure.
The excellent Adam Murad continued to cause all manner of problems for the Crawley defence and further goals seemed inevitable with the Blues now totally in control. Both Dan Ferrigno and Ben Andreos came close to adding a third but in the end the Blues had to settle for a 2-0 score-line and three more valuable points.
Team:, Reece Buck, Ollie Sharman, Ed Taylor, Dan Ferrigno, Glenn Draper, Jay Lovell, Adam Murad, Matt Thomson, Mark Summers (Phil Lowen 74’), Tommy Wade (Ben Andreos 78’) and Ricky Light (Brett O’Connor 69’).
Subs not used: Jack Bartlett & Tyler Hatherly.
Match Report by Ray Greenall