Off-colour Blues lose ground on leaders
Spartan South Midlands League Premier Division
Saturday 4th March 2017
Hertford Town 1(1) Leverstock Green 1(1)
A distinctly under-par performance from a Blues side that struggled to find it’s normal fluency saw the team drop two valuable points and fall further behind the league leaders, London Colney. It didn’t help that within 23 minutes of the start the Blues had been forced into two unplanned substitutions with the loss through illness and injury of central-midfielder Sam Ruff and defender Jay Lovell. This limited the attacking options off the bench making it very difficult for manager Gavin Kelsey to add life to a mysteriously lacklustre line-up.
After a scrappy opening few minutes, the Blues picked up their game and put pressure on the visitors’ defence. And in the eighth minute they might well have earned themselves a penalty when Ben Andreos was hauled down in the box as he was preparing to shoot after running onto a long clearance from Jayden Purdue. Their appeals went un-headed but the pressure was maintained and in the space of the five minutes the Blues came close to scoring on no fewer than three occasions.
Brett O’Connor was very unfortunate to see his goalbound effort deflected narrowly wide of the post and twice Ben Andreos went close; first with a scissor-kick volley following two corners and then with a header from a Tyler Hatherly free-kick.
As the half wore on further chances fell to Phil Lowen, Jack Bartlett and Ben Andreos but none produced the goal that would have settled the team disrupted by the early substitutions. And then, in the 41st minute, the Blues were made to pay for their profligacy when a quick break saw the visitors’ Donaldson give his side a surprise lead.
The Blues needed a quick response and they got it in first-half stoppage time. Ollie Sharman and Brett O’Connor linked up well on the right flank before the latter delivered into the box where Ben Andreos headed the ball down for Phil Lowen to volley home for his fifth goal in the past three games.
Under normal circumstances the Blues would have used this timely equaliser to take the game to their opponents and secure a much-needed victory. It wasn’t to be , however, as the Blues were unable to find the necessary guile to break down a stubborn Green defence and, in truth, there was little of note to excite the bumper “Fans’ Day” crowd of more than 450. Dan Ferrigno and Ramone Cassidy-Sinclair both had shots saved but, although the Blues enjoyed much the majority of possession, they had little else to show for it.
The Blues will now have a break from their league action when they entertain Berkhamsted in the last sixteen of the League Challenge Trophy on Tuesday 7th March.
Team:, Jayden Purdue, Ollie Sharman, Ed Taylor, Matt Thomson, Glenn Draper, Jay Lovell(Jack Bartlett 23’), Brett O’Connor, Phil Lowen, Sam Ruff(Dan Ferrigno 10’), Ben Andreos(Ramone Cassidy-Sinclair 77’), and Tyler Hatherly.
Sub not used: Connor Scully & Ricky Light.
Match Report by Ray Greenall
Photos © 2017 Natalina Verta
Video © 2017 Nathan Hobley