Blues back to winning ways
Spartan South Midlands League Premier Division
Saturday 5th November 2016
Hadley 1(1) Hertford Town 2(1)
(Hatherly (pen) 34’, Light 65’)
The Blues made their first visit to Hadley’s new home seeking to gain revenge for their home FA Cup defeat at their hands, earlier in the season. And, just like the previous Saturday’s trip to Biggleswade, they knew that they would have to put in a decent display if they were to come away with all three points.
As it turned out, the game lived up to expectations and the Blues can look back with satisfaction on having come back from a goal down to secure a victory and maintain their title challenge.
They began the game well and dominated for the first twenty minutes or so during which time they came close to scoring on at least four occasions. Ollie Sharman was enjoying a lot of freedom down the right flank and his linking up with Brett O’Connor frequently promised to bring an opening goal. Tommy Wade’s blocked shot and Glenn Draper’s saved header from a Tyler Hatherly corner, however, were the closest the Blues came to scoring and, instead, it was the hosts that took a surprise lead in the 24th minute.
A good passing move opened up the Blues’ and Hadley’s Ibrahim Lukulayi was left with the simple task of placing the ball beyond Jayden Purdue from no more than ten yards out.
The Blues were in a determined mood, though, and came back strongly. Tommy Wade was again thwarted by a good block after he had arrived onto the end of a Tyler Hatherly cross but no sooner had that danger passed than Dan Ferrigno burst into the box and pulled the ball across the face of the goal for Tyler Hatherly to slot home at the far post. He was prevented from doing so, though, because he was charged to the ground from behind by his marker, leaving the referee with no option but to award a penalty kick and show the offender a straight red card.
It was Tyler himself who took responsibility for the kick and duly levelled the scores with a clinical finish to the bottom corner of the goal.
The home side was clearly up against it now but their ability to retain possession under pressure and the excellence of their goalkeeper, Charlie Mann, meant that the Blues were still going to have to produce something special to take all three points.
Tyler Hatherly’s surging run and shot, in the first minute of the second half, should have fitted the bill but the inside of the far post came to Hadley’s rescue. The momentum was understandably with the Blues but a clever turn and snap shot from outside the box by Hadley’s Machado might have made the Blues’ task far more difficult had Jayden Purdue’s outstretched fingertips not turned the bar onto the bar and away to safety.
That was the last time in the game that the hosts threatened the Blues’ goal but the business of grabbing a winning goal was being made no easier by the heroics of Charlie Mann in the Hadley goal. Three times he produced outstanding saves to deny Brett O’Connor, Ollie Sharman and Phil Lowen, but he was powerless to prevent Ricky Light putting the finishing touch to Ollie Sharman’s pull back from the dead-ball line.
The deadlock was broken and, by rights, the Blues should have gone on the record a win by a handsome margin but Mann produced six more good saves to keep the result in the balance right up until the final whistle. Efforts from Mark Summers, Stevie Tutalamo, Phil Lowen (twice), Jay Lovell and Dan Ferrigno were kept out but it wasn’t to matter; the Blues had achieved their objective of three more valuable points.
Team: Jayden Purdue, Ollie Sharman, Ed Taylor, Dan Ferrigno, Glenn Draper, Jay Lovell, Brett O’Connor (Matt Thomson 87’), Phil Lowen, Tommy Wade (Steve Tutalamo 71’), Ricky Light (Mark Summers 65’) & Tyler Hatherly.
Sub not used: Jack Bartlett & Adam Murad.
Match Report by Ray Greenall
Photos © 2016 Wendy Mason
Photos © 2016 Alfred Field
Video © 2016 Nathan Hobley