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First team report
Sat 23rd Jul 2016
TAFC First team 3-3 Potters Bar
ENTERTAINING DRAW IN HOT WEATHER
Despite the Mediterranean type weather both teams produced an enjoyable match that contained plenty of good football and goals.
Our guests were once regular opponents but we rarely meet now that they play in the Southern League. This was a step up for us but we coped very well and particularly in the first half we played some really nice football, building from the back and trying to play to feet.
Ben Seaton and Luke Dunstan have looked very impressive in the first two friendlies and they linked up superbly in the 10th minute, with Luke nutmeging his opponent before firing a shot that forced the keeper to get down low to save. Soon afterwards Paul Jeffery fired in a terrific cross that just evaded Chris Vardy and Chris Stapleton.
Potters Bar looked a class outfit and they looked sharp around our box playing lovely one twos to create shooting opportunities, but they failed to test Jack Hopwood. In the 28th minute there was a rare moment of sloppy play from us when a poor pass went stray and our opponents took full advantage to break forward from within their own half and score with a fine finish. Score 0-1.
Soon afterwards Jack Hopwood made a super save to prevent Potters Bar from doubling their lead. But we showed great spirit to bounce back and equalise 10 minutes before the break. Ryan Sturges produced an inch perfect pass to send Chris Vardy away and rounded the keeper to level the scores. Score 1-1.
We went close a couple of times with Chris Stapleton just failing to connect with Luke Dunstan's great cross then Ben Seaton picked out Chris Vardy who headed just wide with the keeper stranded. But we did take the lead two minutes into added time when Sam Joliffe out muscled his opponents to head home a Luke Dunstan corner. HT Score 2-1.
After the break both sides made changes and for much of the early part of the second half it was all one way traffic towards our goal. They missed a sitter in the 50th minute, the forward firing over from close range, but equalised 4 minutes later with a fierce strike that flew into the net. Score 2-2.
The opposition were dominating possession but we defended well and Jack Hopwood was not overly stretched. We had a couple of good moments with Paul Jeffery hitting a decent shot at the keeper and Paddy Downs shooting over after a nice lay off from Chris Stapleton.
Included in our ranks was newcomer Lessa Boka, a big powerful centre back who showed he could play a bit and he capped a fine performance with a superb ball down the left for Joe Naylor who kept his nerve to run on and score. It was against the run of play and put us back in front. Score 3-2.
In the last few minutes we had a number of chances to add to our score. Ryan Sturges, who was played through with a superb pass from Chris Stapleton, saw his goal bound shot superbly saved by the keeper. Then Chris Stapleton saw his shot cleared off the line and finally Joe Naylor was denied by the keeper who just managed to get a touch to deflect his shot just wide of the post.
But three minutes into added time Potters Bar deservedly got an equaliser with a well struck shot and an evenly contested match ended all square. FT Score 3-3.
Another good run out against a good side and another step in our preparations for the new season. There have been some very positive signs in our first two friendlies but there is still a long way to go. But so far so good.
Jack Hopwood, Stuart Stedman, Dan Steadman, Lessa Boka, Luke Dunstan, Sam Joliffe, Ryan Sturges, Chris Vardy, Paul Jeffrey, Jack Sunderland, Ben Seaton, Paddy Downs, Chris Stapleton, Joe Naylor, Tom Shaw, Shazad Hussain.
TA: Chris Vardy (35), Sam Joliffe (45+2), Joe Naylor (83)