Blues suffer FA Cup off-day
FA Challenge Cup – Preliminary Round
Saturday 20th August 2016
Hertford Town 0(0) Hadley 1(0)
For much of this FA Cup tie the Blues looked assured of a place in the 1st Qualifying Round but a failure to turn possession into goals and a momentary defensive lapse saw them lose a tie that they really should have won.
In truth, many of the Blues players were below their best although the back four of Sharman, Draper, Lovell and Taylor gave their usual solid performances with Ed Taylor having a particularly fine game.
The outcome of the day might have been completely different, though, had Tommy Wade converted the Blues best opportunity of the game in only the first minute. Ricky Light set up the chance with a defence-splitting pass that picked out Tommy Wade’s run into box but Charlie Mann in the Hadley goal pulled off an excellent save to block his fierce shot from ten yards out.
Ricky Light then twice went close when, in the fifth minute, he headed over the bar from Tyler Hatherly’s cross and then, five minutes later, he drew a good save out of the keeper with a shot from the edge of the box following a free kick.
The first twenty-five had belonged almost entirely to the Blues but, with the game beginning to level out it was Phil Lowen’s drive from all of thirty yards that so nearly brought an opening goal, striking the post, as it did, with the keeper completely beaten.
Six minutes of the half remained when Tyler Hatherly’s shot was deflected into the path of Ben Andreos who buried his shot into the bottom corner of the goal only to see the ‘goal’ ruled out by the assistant referee for offside.
So the game was still goal-less at half-time although the Blues had every reason to believe that the second half would see them go on to take the tie. It didn’t turn out that way, however, with the rhythm of the game becoming disrupted by some niggly fouls and a rash of yellow cards being shown to players on both teams.
The Blues still had the upper hand, though, but with fifteen minutes remaining and shortly after Ricky Light and Tommy Wade had threatened the Hadley goal, the ball was given away in midfield and the visitors broke away to score what turned out to be the decisive goal.
The Blues responded positively but, try as they might, they were unable to conjure up an equaliser. They were therefore left to reflect on their exit from a competition that had given them reasonably favourable draws but, while a run in the Cup can be worthwhile it can also be a distraction from the primary objective of league success. Who knows, this defeat may prove to be a blessing in disguise?
Team: Jayden Purdue, Ollie Sharman, Ed Taylor, Matt Thomson, Glenn Draper, Jay Lovell, Ricky Light, Phil Lowen (Sam Ruff 46’), Ben Andreos (Adam Murad 64’), Tommy Wade and Tyler Hatherly (Mark Summers 75’).
Subs not used: Jonah Evans, Jack Bartlett, Dan Ferrigno and Reece Buck.
Match Report by Ray Greenall
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Photos © 2016 Natalina Verta