Blues suffer a setback!
Spartan South Midlands League Premier Division
Saturday 17th September 2016
Hertford Town 1(0) Stotfold 4 (2)
Saturday was one of those days when no matter what they did or how hard they tried, nothing would go right for the Blues. Going into the game with a 100% league record the Blues would probably have been expecting to extend that record, coming up as they were against a young Stotfold side that had not enjoyed a very good start to the season.
An early goal, however, very often has a significant impact on a game and the visitors’ eighth minute strike effectively sealed the Blues’ fate on the day because they didn’t really recover from it. They had enough chances, though to win half a dozen games but, in the final analysis, good goalkeeping and wayward shooting consigned the Blues to their first league defeat.
For the visitors it was Daniel Bond who their match-winner with a well-taken hat-trick as a reward for his hard-running leading their line. It was his strike partner, however, who ghosted into space behind the Blues’ defence and, after taking the ball down with his chest, lifted it over the stranded Purdue, to give his side the lead.
Understandably, the Blues’ response was positive and, within a few minutes, they had twice gone close to equalising. Two minutes after the goal Ricky Light volleyed over the bar after good work by Ollie Sharman up the right flank and, moments later, Phil Lowen saw his 25-yard drive well-saved by the Stotfold custodian.
An equaliser seemed inevitable but, with the Blues now well on top, sloppy defending down their right flank in the 17th minute allowed Bond to drift into the box and plant the ball in the far top corner of the goal to double the visitors’ tally.
Once again the Blues came back strongly and, by the time the whistle had been blown for half-time, they had enough good opportunities to have scored four goals in reply. Ben Andreos (twice), Mark Summers and Phil Lowen all demanded good saves from the Stotfold keeper but the break came with the Blues still two goals behind.
The opening minute of the second half picked up where the first left off with a fine down the right culminated in Ollie Sharman crossing low to the far post where Ricky Light fired over the bar from inside ten yards.
The Blues were dominating proceedings and still looking favourably towards getting something out of the game and, with an hour gone, they were denied what looked like a certain goal when Mark Summers point-blank effort from Ben Andreos’ cross was miraculously blocked by the Stotfold keeper.
Having come so close to getting back into the match, the Blues were then immediately hit with a sucker punch when Bond capitalised on a lapse in the Blues’ concentration to grab a three-goal lead.
The Blues continued to press forward and after Ben Andreos had had a header well saved, they finally pulled a goal back when Mark Summers volleyed home after Ben Andreos had headed the ball down to him from a free kick.
A second goal would have set up a grandstand finish and it almost came with ten minutes remaining when Glenn Draper’s header from Lee Roberts’ corner was blocked on the line with the Blues appealing for a penalty for a possible handball.
Typical of the way their day had gone, though, this near thing was followed by a further goal for the visitors. Once again it was Bond who got in behind the Blues defence and completed his hat-trick with a shot that entered the net off the underside of the diving Purdue’s body.
Another Ben Andreos effort was saved for a corner with time running out but by that stage the game was effectively over and the Blues now look forward to their re-staged FA Vase tie with Clapton on Tuesday as an opportunity to get their campaign back on track.
Team:, Jayden Purdue, Ollie Sharman, Ed Taylor, Sam Ruff, Glenn Draper, Jack Bartlett (Dan Ferrigno 65’), Adam Murad, (Lee Roberts 67’), Phil Lowen (Matt Thomson 58’), Mark Summers, Ben Andreos and Ricky Light.
Subs not used: Dan Palmer & Reece Buck.
Match Report by Ray Greenall