Tue 1st May 2018
St Mary's Cup - Semi Final
Berkhamsted 2-0 TAFC First team
WE END THE SEASON WITH CUP DEFEAT
We bowed out of the St Marys Cup and completed the season with a defeat at near neighbours Berkhamsted. No disgrace in that as our hosts have won promotion by finishing runners-up in the league.
This was our last chance of winning some silverware this season and claim this old established trophy, which has been around since 1888, for the third year on the trot and 8th time in total. We were for a change able to put out a reasonably strong side but there was the strange sight of Chris Vardy filling the left wing back role necessitated by an apparent curse that players in this position end up getting injured! Full marks to Vards for performing well in this unfamiliar role.
We began slowly and our opponents dominated the first 20 minutes. We nearly had a disastrous start when a poor clearance from Lewis Todd went to Adiel Mannion who obligingly sent his shot straight back to him. Later the same player fired over after being picked out by a cross from winger Ashley Morrissey, who was a thorn in our side throughout the game.
We were not too prominent in attack during the early stages but a fine move instigated by Mark Riddick, who again put in a great shift, finally led to a well struck shot from Tommy Twelves. The ball easily cleared the bar but it first sign of our attacking intent. Our first scoring opportunity arrived in the 13th minute when Joe Fitzgerald and Max Hercules combined superbly down the right with the latter's cross picking out Mark Riddick who didn't get the connection he would have hoped for, with his shot going straight to James Wetherall.
A few minutes later Chris Vardy was played through down the left but the angle was tight and Wetherall got down well to save the shot. The home side were dangerous from set pieces and following a corner in the 21st minute we cleared a shot on target. When the ball was swung back in Max Farrelly headed wide at the far post. Soon after afterwards a free kick fell to home skipper Garry Jones who fired his shot across goal.
After a slow start we started to get into the game and a superb cross from Luke Dunstan presented Mark Riddick with a chance he would normally snap up but he sent his header wide of the far post. The game was now evenly contested and a brilliant move saw Luke Dunstan slip a nice pass to Tommy Twelves but from a promising position he shot over.
Berko roused themselves as half time approached but a generally even encounter ended scoreless. HT Score 0-0.
The home side won a corner soon after the restart from which they hit the post with a follow up shot hitting Mark Riddick. The Referee pointed to the spot and Josh Chamberlain converted to give Berko a vital lead. Score 1-0
We were now facing an uphill task to try and break down the third best defence in the Premier Division whilst keeping our back door closed. Alex Campana would have added a second goal mid way through the second half but for Dave O'Connor getting back superbly to clear the ball off the line. A minute later DOC turned provider when he collected a part cleared free kick and from a tight position on the bye line whipped over a superb cross which Luke Dunstan got his head to but was denied by Wetherall who produced a terrific save to tip the ball over.
A few minutes later a corner fell to Sam Joliffe but the penalty area was crowded and his on target shot was cleared. The home side were always dangerous on the break and we paid the price for giving the ball away cheaply in midfield in the 78th minute with Ashley Campbell having the easy task of tapping the ball home after a Berko counter attack tore us open at the back. Score 2-0.
The mountain we had to climb was now of Himalayan proportions but we stuck to the task of trying to get back in the game. Doc headed a corner back across goal to Luke Dunstan whose bicycle kick sent his shot wide. Later Jack Read had a couple of attempts at goal without troubling the keeper and Lewis Todd was forced to make a very good save to prevent Ashton Campbell from making it 3 nil.
The home side were able to run out easy winners in the end. FT Score 2-0.
Many congratulations to Berko for winning promotion and for getting to the final where they will meet Leverstock Green.
B:1 James Wetherall 2 Ollie Cox 3 Josh Chamberlain 4 Max Farrelly 5 Kyle Anthony 6 Garry Jones (Capt) 7 Alex Campana 8 Jack Stevens 9 Ashton Campbell 10 Adiel Mannion 11 Ashley Morrissey. Subs not used: 12 Steve Hawes 14 Dan Jones 15 Adam Mead 16 Frankie Jowle 19 Ben Bateman
TA:1 Lewis Todd 2 Joe Fitzgerald (14 George Carbery 74) 3 Chris Vardy 4 Mark Riddick 5 James Butler (17 Ben Johnson 62) 6 Dave O'Connor 7 Max Hercules 8 Luke Dunstan 9 Elliott Goward (12 Jack Read 76) 10 Sam Joliffe (Capt) 11 Tommy Twelves. Subs not used: 15 Connor Church 15 Steve Nott -Macaire.
B:Josh Chamberlain Pen (48), Ashton Campbell (78)