Blues continue their good start to the season.
Spartan South Midlans League Premier Division
Tuesday 16th August 2016
Leighton Town 0(0) Hoddesdon Town 3(1)
(Light 11’, Andreos 63’, Hatherly(pen) 90’)
With a view to keeping his squad fresh and match-fit, for this visit to Leighton Town, Blues manager, Gavin Kelsey, made four changes to the side that beat Hoddesdon Town three days earlier. He brought in Sam Ruff, Dan Ferrigno, Ricky Light and Ben Andreos for their first starts of the season and will be pleased that they all fitted into the team seamlessly and played their part in a deserved victory.
Returning to the league after many seasons in the Southern League, the hosts worked hard throughout the match and gave a good test to the Blues back four with their direct style of play. Jayden Purdue, in the Blues goal, was not really tested, though, with the result that the Blues ran out comfortable winners.
The Blues clicked into gear straight from the kick-off with Tyler Hatherly immediately making his presence felt up the left flank. Two corners and a free kick in a dangerous position, were all earned inside the first couple of minutes and Ben Andreos had headed narrowly wide from a Hatherly cross before five had elapsed.
A goal seemed inevitable and it came as no surprise, therefore, when Ricky Light opened the scoring with a delightful goal in the 11th minute. Jayden Purdue collected a cross and threw the ball out to an unmarked Sam Ruff in midfield who quickly played it into the channel for Ben Andreos to run onto. Ben outpaced the defence and attacked the right-hand byline before pulling the ball back to Ricky Light who had found enough space in the box to take a neat first touch before planting the ball beyond the keeper into the back of the net.
Once the lead had been taken the Blues settled and mounted a series of attacks that threatened to add a second but, despite a number of worthy efforts, the home team’s determined defending regularly denied them. Ricky Light tested the keeper with a 40-yard chip that he did well to catch under his bar and both Ben Andreos and Dan Ferrigno had shots well-saved by the keeper.
Attack was relentless but the Blues’ efforts to effectively put the game to bed before half-time were repeatedly frustrated. The closest the Blues came to doubling their lead came in the 25th minute when another good move up the left saw Tyler Hatherly pick out Ben Andreos at the far post. Ben’s first time volley looked to be heading into the net but instead it was tipped onto the post by a fingertip save from the keeper.
And so, the Blues went into the half-time break in control but with only a slender lead to show for their domination.
The second half followed a similar pattern to the first with the Blues going straight onto the offensive and winning two corners inside the first five minutes. Once again it was the Blues who looked by far the team most likely to score but it was not until the 63rd minute that they added a second. This time it was a long throw-in from Jay Lovell that created the opportunity for Ben Andreos to rise above the home defence to head past the keeper from the edge of the six-yard box. A despairing attempt by a covering defender to clear the ball off the line only succeeded in finding the roof of the net.
With all three points effectively in the bag, the Blues seemed to satisfy themselves with controlling possession and would probably have been content to play the game out. The introduction of substitutes Tommy Wade, Matt Thomson and Jonah Evans added a bit of spice for the final twenty minutes or so and it was the persistence of Wade that brought about a third goal in the last minute of normal time.
Tommy Wade had already gone close with two shots that narrowly missed the target before his surging run into the box from deep, was halted by a foul tackle that gave Tyler Hatherly the opportunity to convert his second penalty of the season.
Three goals, three points and a good all-round performance were exactly what the Blues were looking for as they head into Saturday’s home FA Cup clash with league rivals Hadley.
Team: Jayden Purdue, Ollie Sharman, Ed Taylor, Sam Ruff, Glenn Draper, Jay Lovell, Adam Murad (Jonah Evans 73’), Dan Ferrigno, Ben Andreos (Tommy Wade 63’), Ricky Light (Matt Thomson 80’) and Tyler Hatherly.
Subs not used: and Jack Bartlett and Phil Lowen
Match Report by Ray Greenall
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Photos © 2016 Wendy Mason