A cruel end to title chase
Spartan South Midlands League Premier Division
Saturday 15th April 2017
Hertford Town 0(0) Welwyn Garden City 1(0)
Long-time league leaders, London Colney, emerged as champions when an injury-time winner from visitors Welwyn Garden City, finally brought the curtain down on the Blues’ valiant chase with two games remaining.
With the Blues pressing forward in search of a goal to keep their hopes alive, the ball was given away and they were caught on the break, ending up losing a game where a goal-less draw had seemed the least that they would come away with.
As has often been the case this season, the Blues failed to follow up their good showing of four days earlier, with a performance of similar quality. In front of yet another good crowd – 353!- the Blues failed to sparkle and were unable to break down a resilient Citizens side that played with a determination that belied their mid-table league position.
The opening minutes of the game were played at a high tempo with neither side managing to string together much of note. The visitors were evidently of a mind to make the day difficult for the Blues and the play was therefore largely concentrated on a midfield battle. What few chances there were fell to the Blues, though, the best of which fell to first, Mark Summers and then, Tommy Wade, following a good move up the left and low cross from Tyler Hatherly in the 22nd minute. Mark Summers attacked the near post but failed to make proper contact with his effort and the ball broke to Tommy Wade whose fierce drive from 10 yards out was well saved by the City keeper.
Shortly after this, Jamie Jackson pulled out a good save to tip a curling shot from Charlie Rome round the post but there was little else to note of goal attempts other than these in the first half.
The second half followed in much the same pattern and only a Matt Thomson shot that grazed the crossbar came close to opening the scoring up until the final quarter of an hour.
At this point the Blues upped the tempo a bit and started to look more dangerous. Ed Taylor fired wide from a good position following an exchange of passes with Ricky Light and then Tommy Wade had a good effort cleared off the line.
Three minutes of added time had been played when a very promising Blues attack broke down on the edge of the area and, to their obvious dismay, the visitors broke away and Josh Bronti fired an unstoppable shot into the top corner from the edge of the box.
In what time remained, the Blues and came close to finding an unlikely equaliser when Ricky Light’s header was headed off the line and over the bar for a corner that unfortunately came to nothing.
The game was lost and now the Blues must travel to already relegated Broxbourne Borough on Tuesday 18th April looking to secure the runners-up berth that is the least they- and their many loyal fans – deserve after a very good season.
Team:, Jamie Jackson, Ollie Sharman, Ed Taylor, Matt Thomson, Jay Lovell, Glenn Draper, Ricky Light, Phil Lowen(Dan Ferrigno 76’}, Mark Summers(Brett O’Connor 64’), Tommy Wade and Tyler Hatherly(Connor Scully 70’).
Subs not used: Jonah Evans and Dan Palmer.
Match Report by Ray Greenall
Video © 2017 Nathan Hobley