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First team report
Sat 13th Aug 2016
Spartan South Midlands Premier Division
London Colney 2-1 TAFC First team TAFC goals: Christopher Vardy
GOOD PERFORMANCE FAILS TO YIELD TANGIBLE REWARD
We took on last season's League Runners-up London Colney and can justifiably feel very disappointed at coming away pointless after a very good performance. We have had to readjust after losing a number of key players in pre-season but Manger Ian Richardson will be pleased at the response he got from his players who competed on equal terms with an inform Colney side who sit at the top of the table and have had a perfect start to the season with a four wins from four games.
We started the game positively winning a corner after only 46 seconds, which we took short and led to a shooting chance for Ryan Sturges. Then soon afterwards Chris Stapleton burst forward in his trade mark style but again we couldn't get a shot off. Our hosts, who were led by Greg Shaw who made 21 appearances and scored 4 goals for us in the 2007/08 season, were dangerous on the break and looked sharp all round but we were matching them punch for punch (fugitively speaking!).
In the 18th minute Ashley Morrissey cut inside nicely from the right and found his fellow winger Russell Gallagher in space down the left but the resulting shot failed to test Jack Hopwood. A minute later home custodian Tom Gowmans produced a poor clearance and Dave O'Connor read the defenders intention to get the ball back to his colleague but his attempt to lob the ball into the net ended up with it nestling safely in the keeper's arms.
We were enjoying a good spell and mid way through the half 21 year old Tommy Twelves, who alongside fellow new signing Lessa Boka slotted impressively into defence, saw his deflected shot drift just wide of the far post after a good bit of play involving both Chris's, namely Stapleton and Vardy.
We then nearly shot ourselves in the foot when a poor back pass was seized on by Russell Gallagher but from a tight angle he shot just wide of the far post. We again played Dave O'Connor at centre forward and he did cause the home defence plenty of problems. He won a free kick right on the edge of the area (or was it just inside? - It was a tight call) but we failed to take advantage of the opportunity.
We couldn't relax against Colney as they were always a threat and Jon Clements, who already has 4 goals to his name this season, found himself in a good shooting spot but Jack Hopwood was able to deal easily with his effort. Just past the half hour mark Sam Joliffe produced an exquisite cross to pick out Ryan Sturges at the far post who would surely have scored had his shirt not been tugged from behind by full back Callum Dudrenec. Amazingly none of the officials saw the incident.
A few minutes later Ryan Sturges went close again following a move instigated by Chris Stapleton, he cut inside the defender and shot just to the right of the near post. We were enjoying a purple patch and Tommy Twelves took a quick throw to Chris Vardy whose shot was deflected just over.
We were in the ascendency so it was disappointing to go a goal behind in the 38th minute. From a set piece Colney hacked the ball clear to their only forward player Ashley Morrissey who from quite a way out lobbed Jack Hopwood. It was a spectacular finish but from our point of view we should have shut him down better. Score 1-0.
It could have been worse for us 4 minutes later when Jon Clements linked up well with Jack Woods but from the inviting cross Clements shot wide of the goal. It was a let off for us as a 2 goal deficit would have been a big hurdle.
With half time nearly upon us Chris Vardy pulled the ball back nicely to Dave O'Connor but forgetting he wasn't a centre half he smashed a presentable opportunity over the bar. So after a good half we were unfortunate to go in for the break a goal down. HT Score 1-0
Again we started on the front foot winning a corner after 12 seconds which led to Sam Joliffe firing in an inviting cross which we failed to take advantage of. A few minutes later Chris Stapleton broke down the left and then superbly picked out Chris Vardy with his cross. Vardy's header appeared to strike the outstretched arms of the defender but our call for a penalty was ignored.
But we didn't have to wait long for a deserved equaliser, with Chris Vardy latching onto a lovely flick from Dave O'Connor and then calmly slotting the ball past the keeper in the 54th minute. Praise must also go to Sam Joliffe who picked out DOC with the initial pass. Score 1-1.
Colney came back strongly with Russell Gallagher controlling the ball skillfully before producing a shot that forced Jack Hopwood into a diving save with Chris Mason clearing the loose ball. The dangerous Jon Clements then burst through midfield but was stopped by a superb block from skipper Dan Steadman. Gallagher then forced Jack Hopwood to tip away his shot after he latched onto a dangerous cross into our box during a good spell for the home side.
But we weathered this mini storm and had chances to win the game. Tommy Twelves made a good run and from the edge of the box his shot was deflected to Chris Vardy who from close range saw his shot superbly saved by the keeper. We were looking very threatening and in the 71st minute went mighty close to taking the lead. A good break saw Ryan Sturges feed Chris Stapleton whose shot was pushed up into the air by the keeper, Chris followed up but lobbed the ball agonisingly over.
But with ten minutes left all our good work was undone by a moment of indecision when we failed to deal with a long routine ball down the middle and sub Archie McClelland ran through to score, to add to the hat-trick he got against Leverstock Green. Score 2-1.
It was a big blow and we tried desperately to grab another equaliser with another new player 18 year old Lanrewajh Ladipo, who came off the bench, having our best effort with a sweet volley but it went straight at the keeper and Colney were able to see out the game and maintain their 100% start to the season. FT Score 2-1.
It was a highly encouraging performance against a good team who beat Berkhamsted 2-0 on Tuesday night. On the balance of play overall we probably just shaded the game but unfortunately a couple of basic defensive errors were to prove costly. But there were a lot of positives to take away from the game and with a few more new signings in the wings the prospects for a successful season looks promising.
Our next match is on Saturday when we entertain Leighton Town for a Premier Division fixture. Despite their close proximity to us this will be the first ever competitive encounter between us.
LC: 1 Tom Gowmans 2 Gregg Douglas 3 Callum Dudrenec 4 Seb Smith 5 Shaun Murphy 6 Spencer Clarke Mardel 7 Ashley Morrisey (16 Archie McClelland 67) 8 Greg Shaw (Capt) 9 Jack Woods 10 Jon Clements 11 Russell Gallagher (17 Mark Riddick 84). Subs not used: 14 Rickey Brennan 15 Rhys Lawrence.
TA: 1 Jack Hopwood 2 Tommy Twelves (15 Jack Seaton 84) 3 Chris Mason 4 Luke Dunstan 5 Dan Steadman (Capt) 6 David O'Connor 7 Ryan Sturges (14 Jack Sunderland 84) 8 Sam Joliffe 9 Chris Vardy 10 Lessa Boka 11 Chris Stapleton (12 Lanrewajh Ladipo (72) . Subs not used: 16 Paul Jeffreys.
Premier Division Spartan South Midlands League, LONDON COLNEY FC 2 TRING ATHLETIC 1 Goals Ashley Morrissey 35mins, Archie McClelland 79 mins. Chris Vardy `51mins. The Blueboys picked up three more points on Saturday with a 2-1 win at home against Tring Athletic with agoal from Ashley Morrissey in the first half and a late winner from Archie McClelland. London Colney started well with Jon Clements having two chances early on with the first effort being saved by Jack Hopwood after Clements had cut into the box from the left wing whilst his second was a rising shot that flew just over the crossbar. It was not all oneway as Tommy Twelves for Tring saw his effort deflected just wide of Gowans right hand post. The Blueboys should have taken the lead when Jack Woods latched onto a poor backpass but after going around the keeper he fired his low drive wide of the far post. Then the home team had a quick break away which saw Morrissey race away down the right wing whereupon he crossed the ball to the far post where Russell Gallagher managed to keep the ball in play with a firm header back into the goalmouth but Hopwood managed to gather the ball as other London Colney players were closing in. Morrissey then had a shot saved after Woods had set him up and then Jack Woods himself fired in a shot that flashed just wide of the far post. Then on 35 minutes the Blueboys took the lead when ASHLEY MORRISSEY just outside the box saw him spin on a sixpence and send a tremendous shot over the head of Jack Hopwood who was well off his line and into the back of the net to make the score 1-0. Next Greg Shaw setup Clements and he struck a sizzling shot just wide of Hopwood`s right hand post. Then the Blueboys nearly scored a second goal when Jon Clements played the ball to Jack Woods who quickly sped away down the right whereupon he swept over a superb low cross into the box and Jon Clements racking in saw his close range effort clip the outside of the near post and go out for a goalkick. Six minutes into the secon half Tring drew level when a pass from Dave O`Connor spilt the Blueboys backline and send Chris VARDY clear and he easily sent his low strike past Tom Gowans to make it 1-1. The Blueboys tried to hit back and Russell Gallagher went on one of his many dazzling runs towards goal and he was very unlucky when he saw his fierce strike pushed away by Hopwood at the last moment. Jon Clements then surged forward which saw him push the ball past a defender and then fire a firm shot goalwards which saw the ball take a wicked deflection and go just wide for a corner kick. Jack Woods then setup Russell Gallagher and his fine shot also took a deflection as the Tring defenders were blocking all the attempts on goal with their bodies and yet another effort went for a corner kick. Gallagher then swung over a fine cross into the box from the left which punched clear by Hopwood whilst a Gregg Douglas throw-in was only partly cleared and Callum Dudrenec crossed the ball in to the far post where Archie McClelland who had just come on for Morrissey saw his header go just wide. Although Tring pressed hard they just could not get a clear shot in on goal and on 79 minutes the Blueboys scored the winning goal. A long ball forward from the back saw Greg Shaw nod the ball on and although a Tring defender tried to head the ball clear he only managed to help it on its way to the Tring goal and within a blink of an eye ARCHIE McCLELLAND was onto it in a flash and before you knew it the ball was nestling in the back of the net for great finish and make the final score 2-1.
Team 1 Gowans, 2 Douglas, 3 Dudrenec, 4 S.Smith, 5 Murphy, 6 Clarke-Mardel, 7 Morrissey, 8 Shaw, 9 Woods, 10 Clements, 11 Gallagher. Subs played 17 Brennan, 20 McClelland. Subs did not play 18 R.Lawrence.