Tue 9th Jan 2018
Spartan South Midland Premier Division
Sponsored by Nobby King
TAFC First team 4-0 Cockfosters FC
TAFC goals: Luke Dunstan (2), Jack Read (2)
NO "AFTER THE LORD MAYORS SHOW" BLUES FOR US
After the excitement and emotion of Saturday's tremendous FA Vase win we might have expected a bit of a hangover but instead we produced a clinical performance that meant the game was virtually over as a contest within 2 minutes of the start of the second half, as by then we had built up an unassailable 4 goal cushion.
Scoring goals has been a big problem for us this season but we seem to have found our shooting boots lately with 12 finding the back of the net in the last 3 games. Jack Read and Luke Dunstan grabbed a brace each and they were quality finishes.
The addition of these 4 goals means we no longer have a minus goal difference (its now 0) and we are now the only team in the bottom half of the table not to have a negative difference. The win pushed us up 3 places to 17th, still too near the bottom but we have games in hand on all the teams immediately above us and if we won those games we could go as high as 8th. That would be a big ask but it does give us a big incentive that will help to take our mind off the next round of the Vase on the 3rd February.
Talking to Ian Richardson afterwards he said he wanted to make full use of his squad and he certainly did that, making 5 changes from Saturday's starting line up, as well as making a few positional changes and using a different formation!! He will be delighted at the reaction he got from the players and the fact that he has got a choice for all the positions in the team. The only key player missing was Elliott Goward who strained his hamstring on Saturday but he has a few weeks to get fit for the Vase game.
The visitors had a decent start to the first 14 games of the season (W7, D 3, L 4) but have slipped up in the 16 games since (W 3, D 2, L 11) and as a consequence had dropped to 18th in the table at the start of play, 2 places and 2 points above us having played 2 games more.
They certainly didn't start like a team lacking form, looking sharp and dangerous in attack and having a couple of early efforts at goal, one went wide and another straight at Jack Hopwood. They went close to taking the lead after only 6 minutes when Bruce N'dala hit a pile driver that Hoppy did well to punch away to safety.
However, a moment of real quality from the outstanding Luke Dunstan in the 11th minute set the tone for the rest of the game. Having intercepted a pass he ran at the Foster's defence and into the area where he struck an assured left foot shot past the keeper. It was a superb bit of play and finishing from Luke who was making his 157 First Team appearance a day before his 21st birthday. Score 1-0.
Before our opponents could recover from this early blow we doubled our lead 5 minutes later with an impudent piece of football from Jack Read. Taking a free kick on the right hand edge of their area the Fosters keeper and defence had lined up expecting a ball to the far side but Jack had other ideas bending the ball round the outside of the wall into the bottom of the net. It gave the keeper no chance and put us into an early commanding lead. Score 2-0.
Readie had the whiff of another chance when he chested a fine pass from Steve Nott-Macaire in the area but the ball wouldn't drop quickly enough for him to get a shot off. But Jack was not to be denied getting his 2nd and our 3rd in the 29th minute, and again it was a delightful piece of play from the lads. George Carbery set the move in motion with a pass to Readie who sent Jack Sunderland away down the inside left channel. Sundy, who had a super game and ran his socks off, returned the favour with a fine pass to pick out Readie who steered an accurate shot past the keeper. Score 3-0.
The opposition looked shell shocked but in Femi Ogunsola they had a quality forward and he was a hand full through out the game. His neat back heel into the area just failed to pick up the run of full back Bradley Marriott and then he dribbled past a few of our defenders but then shot wide of the far post.
Fosters had a good spell of possession leading up to the break but they failed to get the goal that would have given some hope of a comeback whilst some clinical finishing had put us in a commanding position. HT Score 3-0.
The last thing Fosters wanted was to concede an early goal but 2 minutes after the re-start that's what happened. The two Jacks, Read and Sunderland, combined to put Luke Dunstan through and he was in no mood to miss such an inviting opportunity duly slotting the ball past the keeper for his 5th goal of the season. Score 4-0.
With the match effectively over we took the opportunity to make 3 changes as did Fosters who brought on Kojo Gyimah who had recently signed from Northwood and will be a very useful addition to their squad.
Jack Read had some opportunities to claim a hat-trick, chipping a nice effort just over and firing 2 shots past the far post after being set free down the right. He also shot well over after a free kick fell to him. Jack Sunderland also had some opportunities but was unable to hit the target.
After failing to add further to our score our opponents started to enjoy a lot of possession and they played some lovely football but without testing Hoppy. Chances were still coming our way with Colm Parrott heading wide a raking cross from fellow full back Ben Johnson and Max Hercules saw his shot saved at point blank range by keeper Lee Walker. Jack Read came mighty close to his 3rd when the keeper got a touch to his close range shot which looped up and hit the bar.
As we started to tire Fosters stepped up their attacks in a desperate effort to get something on their score board and there were claims for a penalty when Ogunsola went down in the area under a challenge from George Carbery, but in true Arsene Wenger fashion I didn't see the incident (honestly!).
The last 5 minutes saw the Fosters attack versus Jack Hopwood who was clearly intent on keeping a clean sheet. He produced stunning saves from Gyimah, Kinoshi and Ogunsola. When Gyimah did eventually beat him the shot went wide of the far post. Hoppy got his wish and we collected 3 valuable points. FT Score 4-0.
An excellent performance from the players to claim our first win over Fosters since 11th March 2014 when we won at home by the same score with goals from Trevor Gibbs (2), Paul Jeffrey and Jack Seaton. In the team that day were Chris Vardy, Ryan Sturges and a certain Stuart Stedman!
Afterwards Ian Richardson was quite naturally a happy man after a very productive 3 days. Hadley to come on Saturday who are always a stiff test and who seem to frequently get the better of us.
TA:1 Jack Hopwood 2 Tommy Twelves (17 Ben Johnson 53) 3 Colm Parrott 4 Mark Riddick (14 Max Hercules 64) 5 Steve Nott-Macaire 6 Dave O'Connor (16 Dan Steadman 49) 7 Luke Dunstan 8 Sam Joliffe (Capt) 9 Jack Read 10 George Carbery 11 Jack Sunderland. Sub not used: 12 Chris Vardy 15 Chris Mason.
C:1 Lee Walker 2 Bradley Marriott 3 Steven Bovington 4 Bruce N'dala 5 Ian Salt (Capt) (12 Lawrence Rispoli HT) 6 Andrew Kinoshi 7 Phillip Agathangelou (17 Kojo Gyimah 55) 8 Danny Boxer 9 Dan Williams (15 Paul Symes 55) 10 Femi Ogunsola 11 Matt Sinclair. Subs not used: 14 Oscar Egboh 16 Claudio Tipote
TA:Jack Read (16, 29), Luke Dunstan (11, 47)