Late goal keeps Blues’ title chase alive
Spartan South Midlands League Premier Division
Tuesday 11th April 2017
Hertford Town 3(2) Tring Athletic 2(0)
(Summers, 15’, 20’, Wade 90+6’)
Tommy Wade’s late headed winner helped secure three more points for the Blues and ensured that their title challenge is still alive.
At two goals apiece and the game deep into time-added-on it was looking as if this game might follow the pattern other drawn games this season which have invariably seen the Blues spending the final stages camped in their opponents’ half searching for a winning goal that hasn’t materialised. But, this time, it happened!
In the final reckoning the victory was well-deserved but, in truth, the win should have been achieved more comfortably. After the visitors had got off to a bright start, the Blues gradually eased their way into the game and, slightly against the run of play, took a 15th minute lead. A long ball over the top from Ollie Sharman caught the Tring defence square and Mark Summers raced beyond them and chipped the ball over the advancing keeper.
The momentum was now firmly with the Blues and after Ricky Light had gone close with a snap shot from distance, Mark Summers doubled his and the Blues’ tally with a cool finish from ten yards out following a pass from Jay Lovell.
The Blues were now enjoying the better of the possession but the visitors always looked threatening on the break. Ollie Sharman almost made it three when he had a ‘goal’ ruled out for offside in the 25th minute but moments later Jay Lovell pulled off a good block to deny the visitors a goal at the other end.
For the rest of the half it was end-to-end stuff with both Tommy Wade and Ollie Sharman going close with good efforts and Reece Buck pulling off a good save shortly before the break.
The second half started well for the Blues and, less than three minutes in, Mark Summers had a great opportunity to complete his hat-trick after good build-up play between Ed Taylor and Tyler Hatherly but he pulled his shot wide of the target when well placed.
The Blues appeared comfortably in charge of the game but two defensive errors in the space of seven minutes turned the game on its head and, with half an hour remaining, the scores were suddenly level and the result was back in the balance.
The Blues were clearly stunned by the setback but, to their credit, they responded with some of their best attacking play of the season. Chance after chance was created but a combination of good goalkeeping, brave defending and poor finishing kept the game tied until the 96th minute when crosses from first, Matt Thomson, and secondly, Ollie Sharman, resulted in Tommy Wade heading home from close range.
The win had been achieved and now the Blues can look forward to their final home game of the season on Saturday 15th April against near-neighbours, Welwyn Garden City.
An added bonus for the Blues was the performance of debutant Luke Foster, who had an outstanding game at the heart of the Blues defence.
Team:, Reece Buck, Ollie Sharman, Ed Taylor, Matt Thomson, Jay Lovell, Luke Foster, Ricky Light, Phil Lowen, Mark Summers, Tommy Wade and Tyler Hatherly.
Subs not used: Jonah Evans, Luke Pallett, Harry Crook, Joe Othen-Price and Davy Edmee.
Match Report by Ray Greenall
Video © 2017 Nathan Hobley