Blues show bouncebackability
Spartan South Midlans League Premier Division
Tuesday 10th December 2016
Hertford Town 3(1) London Colney 0(0)
Having suffered a disappointing defeat at the hands of third-placed Cockfosters only three days earlier, this top of the table clash with the runaway league leaders, London Colney, could almost be described as the fixture that would define the Blues’ season. A defeat would have given the visitors an eleven-point lead that might in the course of time prove to be unassailable. It was therefore clear that the Blues would need to bounce back positively if they were to maintain their title challenge. That they did so – and with some style – spoke volumes for their character and quality.
A large crowd, approaching 300, turned out to witness this encounter and the probability was that the majority did not return home disappointed with the display they saw.
Few, though, would have expected the Blues to have dominated to the extent that they did. From the very first whistle they took the game to the visitors and, ultimately, their three-goal victory did not flatter them. Had it not been for some outstanding saves from the Colney custodian Tom Gowans the score might have been five or six.
He was first called into the action in the sixth minute when he tipped Glenn Draper’s back-header over the bar for the first of a number of early corners. A minute later Tommy Wade’s goal-bound effort was deflected for a corner and not long after Ollie Sharman drove over from a good position after Phil Lowen’s free kick from the edge of the box hit the wall.
With the game approaching the half-hour mark the Blues were still on top but with further chances for Dan Ferrigno and Brett O’Connor not having produced a goal, the game was still firmly in the balance.
But then came the turning point! The visitors attacked down their left and delivered a cross into the box that didn’t appear to be dangerous but it bobbled as it arrived at the feet of Jay Lovell and a goalmouth melee ensued that saw close-range shots blocked before the ball was eventually scrambled away.
Had a goal for Colney resulted the Blues would have found themselves in a similar situation to where they were in the Cockfosters game; chasing an equaliser. Instead, this time they survived and, more than that took a decisive lead less than a minute later. A superb piece of skill from Ricky Light took him into the box near the right-hand dead-ball line where he laid the ball back to Brett O’Connor who unerringly found the far top corner of the goal with a superb strike from fifteen yards out.
From this point onwards the Blues didn’t look back. Four minutes later Ricky Light shot narrowly wide following good Tommy Wade and Phil Lowen and soon after that Tommy Wade’s back post header from a Ricky Light free kick was well saved when he seemed certain to score. A second goal before half-time proved elusive, though, and the Blues were forced to take their slender lead into the break.
The second half began as you would expect with the visitors raising their game in search of an equaliser. Any hopes they had, however, were soon severely dented when Tommy Wade bagged a his fourteenth goal of the season with ten minutes gone. A brilliant build-up down the left between Jay Lovell and Phil Lowen culminated in the latter founding the run of Ricky Light into the box. His low cross was met by Tommy Wade on the edge of the six-yard box and slammed into the back of the net.
The Blues now took full control of the game and had it not been for three outstanding saves by the Colney custodian, to deny Tommy Wade, Jay Lovell and Phil Lowen, the Blues might have scored a hatful. As it was they had to settle for only a third, scored by Ricky Light in the 86th minute of normal time. Receiving the ball with his back to goal, Ricky deftly chipped the ball over the head of a defender and drove it low into the bottom corner of the goal.
This was a fine performance from the Blues and was the perfect response to the defeat three days earlier. The Blues will now travel to Stotfold on Saturday looking to avenge their shock defeat at their hands, earlier in the season.
Team:, Jayden Purdue, Ollie Sharman, Jay Lovell, Phil Lowen, Glenn Draper, Dan Palmer, Adam Murad (Tyler Hatherly 62’), Dan Ferrigno, Ricky Light, Tommy Wade(Ben Andreos 73’) and Brett O’Connor(Jonah Evans 87’).
Sub not used: Matt Thomson & Mark Summers
Match Report by Ray Greenall
Video © 2016 Nathan Hobley