Patience pays for the Blues
Spartan South Midlands League Premier Division
Saturday 17th December 2016
Stotfold 0(0) Hertford Town 1(0)
There are times when teams have to grind out results if they are to succeed and this was one such occasion. On a difficult pitch, against one of only two teams to have beaten the Blues this season and who clearly believed they could do it again, the Blues had to settle for a hard-fought single-goal victory.
The victory would have been a more comfortable one, though, had the home custodian not made some outstanding saves to keep his team in the game until only twenty minutes from the end. As the game wore on it became increasingly evident that one goal might decide it and it came when a cross-shot by Ricky Light was turned in at the far post by Tyler Hatherly.
A second goal to put the result beyond doubt calm the nerves should probably have been awarded to Ben Andreos when his downward header from Matt Thomson’s corner appeared to have crossed the line before being cleared.
It was clear in the first twenty minutes that the Blues were in for an afternoon that would be a true test of their mettle. A high tempo, a bobbly pitch and some tolerant refereeing made for a scrappy opening spell with very little fluency. Once the game settled down, however, it was the Blues who started creating the chances. Tommy Wade shot wide in the 26th minute, when well-placed, following a delightful chip from Ricky Light and, soon after, Nathan Godfrey in the Stotfold goal, pulled off the first of a series of fine saves to deny Tyler Hatherly’s back-post header after Tommy Wade had flicked on Matt Thomson’s corner.
The game remained goal-less at half-time, though, and the stalemate continued well into the second period. Godfrey made further stops to prevent Ricky Light in the 58th minute and Brett O’Connor in the 64th but the Blues finally broke the deadlock with Tyler Hatherly’s goal with twenty minutes remaining.
After the goal the Ben Andreos and Jay Lovell both went close with headers but the final nail in the hosts coffin came with the dismissal of their striker Daniel Bond for a second yellow card. Bizarrely, he appeared to have escaped the ultimate punishment when the referee restarted the game after his award of the second yellow card. The referee’s blushes were partially spared when his assistant brought his oversight to his attention!
The Blues will now travel to fourth-placed Welwyn Garden City on the afternoon of the 27th December.
Team:, Jayden Purdue, Ollie Sharman, Jay Lovell, Matt Thomson, Glenn Draper, Dan Palmer, Brett O’Connor, Dan Ferrigno, Ricky Light(Phil Lowen 77’), Tommy Wade(Ben Andreos 67’) and Tyler Hatherly (Mark Summers 83’).
Sub not used: Ed Taylor & Adam Murad
Match Report by Ray Greenall
Video © 2016 Nathan Hobley