Tommy guns down Lilywhites!
Spartan South Midlans League Premier Division
Saturday 13th August 2016
Hertford Town 2(2) Hoddesdon Town 0(0)
(Wade 33’, 38’)
Two Tommy Wade goals in the space of five minutes late in the first half, were enough to earn the Blues an important three points in their opening league game. That they helped overcome local rivals Hoddesdon Town – a club that will feel it can be in contention for league honours this season – made them even more satisfying.
Coming so early in the season this contest between two clubs who have effectively swapped managers had all the promise of a fierce encounter. It was therefore unsurprising that a bumper crowd of 339 turned out to witness it. What they saw, however, was a relatively comfortable win for the Blues in which their visitors were denied a shot on target. In fact, the closest they came to scoring was in the very first minute when Blues custodian Jayden Purdue was forced to scramble back and clear off his line following a misplaced back-pass from Ed Taylor.
Having survived that early scare the Blues then grew into the game and gradually gained the upper hand. There was goal-mouth action at both ends and although neither side was able to create any real chances inside the opening half-hour, it was the Blues who were looking the more likely to score.
Pressure on the visitors’ goal was building and it was Mark Summers who almost broke the deadlock in the 32nd minute. Jay Lovell picked the ball up near the halfway line and chipped the ball forward to Tommy Wade who, with his back to goal, chested the ball into the path of Summers and set him up for a 20-yard strike that cannoned against the inside of the far post and rebounded across the face of the goal before being cleared to safety.
The momentum was now firmly with the Blues, though, and only a minute later they took the lead. Phil Lowen and Adam Murad combined well on the right-hand flank to exchange passes and set up the overlapping Ollie Sharman for a cross to the far post where Tommy Wade took a precise first-touch before driving the ball into the back of the net.
The Lilywhites were clearly set back on their heels by the goal and it came as no real surprise when the Blues doubled their tally less than five minutes later. This time it was a ball across the box from Mark Summers that did the damage. Adam Murad arrived on the end of it and looked certain to score but when his shot was blocked it was Tommy Wade who picked up the loose ball and fired it home from just outside the six-yard box.
Tommy almost collected a seven-minute hat-trick when his ran on to a half-clearance from Luke Peirce, the Lilywhites goalkeeper, and narrowly failed to find the empty net from fully 35 yards.
The half-time break arrived with the Blues totally in control of the game but if they thought they were going to run away with the game in the second period, they were mistaken. The visitors came out for the second half with fresh determination and earned themselves what effectively turned out to be a stalemate in which neither keeper was put under any serious pressure. The Lilywhites enjoyed the better of the possession and territorial advantage but they were unable to create any goal-scoring opportunities against a defence ably-marshalled by the evergreen Glenn Draper, and the Blues ultimately ran out comfortable winners.
Three valuable points from their first league outing – in testing circumstances – was the Blues’ very satisfying reward.
Team: Jayden Purdue, Ollie Sharman, Ed Taylor, Matt Thomson, Glenn Draper, Jay Lovell, Adam Murad, Phil Lowen, Mark Summers (Dan Ferrigno 78’), Tommy Wade (Ben Andreos 55’) and Tyler Hatherly (Ricky Light 64’).
Subs not used: Sam Ruff and Reece Buck.
Match Report by Ray Greenall
Photos © 2016 Ian Bush