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First team report  

Tue 2nd Aug 2016
Herts Charity Shield 1st Round
Harpenden Town 2-2 (2-3 pens) TAFC First team

TAFC goals: Christopher Vardy, Sam Jolliffe
Athletic progress in late late show.

Athletic started their new season campaign against division one side Harpenden Town in this Herts Charity Shield game and came away with a fortuitous win on penalties.

Missing a number of players through unavailability and injury, Athletic led twice before the home side equalised in added time leading straight to penalties.

Athletic's keeper, and man of the match Jack Hopwood, saved three consecutive penalties before Ryan Sturges coolly netted the final spot kick.

Harpenden nearly scored in the first minute when Athletic gave the ball away but keeper Jack Hopwood saved with his legs. The keeper was called upon again 3 minutes later when Jimmy Warner was played through but again Jacks long legs came to Athletics rescue.

Athletic then took the lead in the 7th minute when a cute pass by Chris Mason found Chris Vardy who cleverly shot past the home keeper. The home side came back and had two very good opportunities to score,
Sam James shooting just wide and then a Mark Hitchcock header again just scraping past the post.

The game ebbed and flowed in unseasonable wet conditions and Town's Joe O’Brien was cautioned when he pulled Chris Vardy back. Athletics keeper Jack Hopwood pulled off another excellent save from Ben Warrens header in the 25th minute.

Athletic had a short period of domination, Ben Seaton's terrific shot was just finger tipped past the goal by keeper Matt Lord, then Athletic should have scored in the 34th minute when chances fell to Chris Vardy and Vinnie Iannone from close range.

Half Time: Harpenden Town 0 1 Tring Athletic

The second half saw Joe Naylor come on for Vinnie Iannone. Harpenden pushed forward from the start of the half. A free kick came into Athletics area and defender Jack Seaton tried to clear with a header but miscued luckily for Athletic onto the goal post.

Athletics Sam Joliffe was booked following a foul in the 55th minute.

Jack Hopwood again saved with his legs in the 57th minute when Mark Hitchcock was played through. Harpenden were dominating play and had a succession of corners and half chances and were finally rewarded in the 77th minute. The equaliser however came about following a defensive error with Ben Warren getting the final touch

With the 90 minutes up defender Jack Cartwright was lucky to only receive a yellow when he pulled Joe Naylor back who was through on goal.

The resultant free kick by Sam Joliffe however was punishment enough, because the ball sailed into the top corner of the net after taking a deflection.

Athletic had only to defend for the few minutes of added time but from a long throw in the ball was scrambled into the goal by Sam Edwards. Within a minute of the re-start the referee blew for time and straight to penalties.

Although Harpenden scored their first penalty and Athletic missed theirs, Jack Hopwood then saved the next 3, Chris Stapleton and Sam Joliffe put Athletic in the driving seat before Ben Warren equalised leaving Ryan Sturges to calmly win the game with the last of Athletics penalties.

Full Time: Harpenden Town 2 2 Tring Athletic (Athletic win 3 - 2 on penalties)

TAFC: Jack Hopwood,Stuart Stedman,Dan Steadman(c),Jack Seaton(Tommy Twelves 66),Ryan Sturges,Sam Joliffe,Chris Mason,Ben Seaton,Chris Stapleton,Vinnie Iannone(Joe Naylor 46),Chris Vardy(Paul Jeffreys 69).
Crowd: 53

(No photos on file)