Ricky’s last-gasp winner keeps Blues on Wembley trail.
FA Vase – 2nd Qualifying Round
Saturday 24th September 2016
Hertford Town 3(2) Brantham Athletic 2(2)
(Summers 25’, Taylor (pen) 30’, Light 90+5’)
Only four days after their dramatic comeback win against Clapton the Blues were back in FA Vase action with this home tie against Thurlow Nunn Eastern Counties League side, Brantham Athletic. And it was courtesy of a last-minute Ricky Light goal that they can now look forward to Monday’s 1st Round draw.
A feature of the Blues’ two previous matches in that they have conceded an early goal – and the same happened again here! They were a goal down in only 65 seconds! Having forced a goal kick from their own kick-off, the Blues were then guilty of some sloppy defending which allowed the visitors to take a very early lead.
The Blues hit back immediately with Ricky Light causing Brantham some real problems down their right flank and it was from one of his crosses that Ben Andreos headed narrowly wide less than four minutes later.
Despite their being on top, the visitors were pouring men forward and the Blues’ defence was finding it difficult to contain their forwards. And had it not been for two good saves from Reece Buck, Brantham might have stolen an advantage that would have been very difficult to turn around.
Ricky Light and his fellow wide-midfielder, Adam Murad, were still posing problems down the flanks, though, and it therefore came as no surprise when the Blues equalised mid-way through the half. A good move from a throw-in down the right culminated in Adam setting up Ollie Sharman for a low-driven cross into the heart of the penalty area. Mark Summers seized upon the ball near the penalty spot, spun and fired it left-footed past a helpless keeper.
With the scores level the Blues took control of the game and on the half-hour mark they were awarded a penalty when Adam Murad was scythed down as he burst into the box on the end of Matt Thomson’s measured pass. Ed Taylor coolly converted his second spot-kick of the week, sending the keeper the wrong way, and put his side into the lead.
It was a lead, however, that was short-lived. Only two minutes later a bad bounce caused a long ball to slip out of Reece Buck’s grasp and it fell to an attendant striker who was left with the simple task of passing the ball into an empty net.
The Blues now had it all to do again but, despite having the better of the possession and creating the only real opportunities, they were unable to find a goal. Adam Murad provided the major threat to the visitors with three attempts on goal – two saved and one narrowly wide – but Ollie Sharman and Mark Summers also came close to scoring.
The tie stayed at two-apiece, though, and extra time was looming when the visitors almost stole victory with two attempts on goal in the space of two minutes, three minutes from the end of normal time. One was a simple save for Reece Buck but the other required a flying stop to keep out a firm downward header from no more than 15 yards out.
The Blues took strength from this narrow escape and spent the remaining nine minutes (six added-on!) laying siege to the Brantham goal. Ben Andreos might have done better when picking up a ball over the top in front of goal and then came close with a back-post header that found the keeper well-positioned to deal with it.
The deadlock was broken by the excellent Ricky Light, however, when he struck home from 20 yards, a well-weighted pass from Adam Murad following a partially cleared corner.
So, without playing anywhere near their potential, the Blues came through the tie and can now look forward to the next round of a national competition in which all the competing teams are playing their league games at a similar level.
Team: Reece Buck, Ollie Sharman, Ed Taylor, Sam Ruff (Dan Ferrigno 83’), Glenn Draper (Jay Lovell 56’), Jack Bartlett, Adam Murad, Matt Thomson, Mark Summers (Tyler Hatherly 80’), Ben Andreos and Ricky Light.
Subs not used: Phil Lowen & Lee Roberts.
Match Report by Ray Greenall
Video © 2016 Nathan Hobley