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First team report  

Sat 1st Oct 2016
Spartan South Midlands Premier Division
Sponsored by Will Dunstan
TAFC First team 3-2 Stotfold

TAFC goals: George Brinkman, George Carbery, Christopher Vardy
VARDY LEAVES IT LATE

It was almost full time and the game seemingly heading towards a 2-2 draw when our chief poacher Chris Vardy grabbed a late dramatic winner. It was joy for us but tough for the visitors who came from behind twice to level the score and did enough to warrant something out of the game.

The visitors had a good start to the season winning 4 of their 6 games in August but suffered a miserable run in September with just one win from 7 games. Ironically that win was an impressive 4-1 trouncing of highly rated Hertford Town away, this being the only blemish for the Herts side so far in the league. Stotfold were clearly a side to be respected especially as they had within their ranks a genuine scorer in Daniel Bond who had 9 goals to his name so far including a hat-trick against Hertford.

For once we started with an early goal after only 3 minutes after Luke Dunstan was upended just outside the opposition penalty area. Up stepped George Brinkman to skillfully curl a left footed free kick past the wall and into the far corner. Score 1-0.

It was just the start we wanted and playing three at the back with Jack Seaton and Jamie Warne pushing forward as wing backs we looked lively going forward and went on to create some decent chances to build up a healthy lead. In the 14th minute Chris Vardy played Ryan Sturges through but the keeper Harry Pilsworth aided by a defender just managed to deny Ryan and then George Carbery.

Later Chris Vardy tested the keeper with a well struck low shot from a tight angle and then in the 23rd minute Vards latched onto a Ryan Sturges cross, rounded the keeper and picked out George Carbery in the middle but again a defender just managed to deny the 19 year old.

The visitors main threat came from defender Drew Cardines making some impressive speedy breaks down their right but the resulting crosses failed to pick out any colleagues. Ben L'Honore tried a snap shot that was well struck but wide of the target and Dave O'Connor did extremely well to make a timely clearance as Bond and L'Honore tried to latch onto a dangerous ball played into our area.

With 33 minutes played keeper Mark Richardson had not had a meaningful save to make and we were looking the better side. But some hesitation in defence allowed Daniel Bond to gain possession which he astutely used to find fellow forward Ben L'Honore who neatly side stepped a challenge and smashed the ball past Mark Richardson. Score 1-1.

Encouraged by this goal the visitors nearly took the lead a few minutes later when a free kick from L'Honore came off Mark Richardson and hit the woodwork. We managed to scramble the ball clear but the game was now more evenly balanced.

The half ended on a sour note when the goalscorers George Brinkman and L'Honore were sent off after a scuffle. It was not clear what started it (although there were some unhelpful and biased opinions offered) but it seemed completely out of context with the mood of the match which was not abrasive or out of hand. The Referee had no choice but to send them both off and fortunately there was no further incidents in the match HT Score 1-1.

We retook the lead in the 55th minute following some clever thinking by Chris Vardy who caught the opposition defence napping with a quickly taken free kick that sent George Carbery away. The former Berko player rounded the keeper and from a tight angle calmly slotted the ball into the net to score what will hopefully be the first of many goals for the club. Score 2-1.

With each side a player down there was more space and it was no surprise that the game was more open and both keepers were called into action to make important saves. Ryan Sturges converted a pass from Chris Vardy but the goal was disallowed because George Carbery was offside, the officials obviously felt he had interfered with play. Soon afterwards Vards produced a cheeky chip that was just over the bar and Mark Richardson had to beat away a well struck shot from Daniel Bond.

It was end to end football with Stotfold's main danger again coming down their right through Cardines. Richardson made a very good save from sub Paul Morris after he had been played through and Dan Steadman did well to head a dangerous cross from Cardines over his own bar.

Chris Vardy did really well to work his way into the opposition area and sportingly didn't go down for a penalty when the defender caught him from behind, but instead of shooting Vards tried to set up Ryan Sturges who was crowded out.

Both sides made changes and the Stotfold newcomer Collins Atrubram had a chance to level the scores but he fired a presentable chance wide. We had been defending well but we made a bit of a bloomer in the 78th minute giving the ball away on the edge of our area to Stotfold's best player Cardines and he took advantage to fire home the equaliser. Score 2-2.

Keeper Harry Pilsworth did superbly to deny George Carbery getting down low to make a finger tip save and later made another good save to again deny George. At the other end Mark Richardson foiled a goal attempt as the clock ticked down to full time.

A draw seemed certain as the game entered the third minute of added time until Chris Vardy intervened, with the help of a deflection off a defender, to score his eighth goal of the season. FT Score 3-2.

The three points pushed us up three places to seventh in the table and with a game or two in hand over the teams above so we could move up a few more places. The victory also extended our unbeaten run to 10 games.

We were not at our best, particularly in the second half when we gave the ball away too often, but we worked hard and kept going to the end and were ultimately rewarded for our efforts and commitment. One player that did well was keeper Mark Richardson who stepped in for the injured Jack Hopwood to make his First Team debut. Mark made some great saves and could not be faulted for either goal.

On Tuesday night we visit Colney Heath in the Herts Charity Shield (a competition we reached the final of last season) then on Saturday we travel to Hoddesdon Town in the Premier Division.

Teams:

TA: 1 Mark Richardson 2 Jack Seaton 3 Jamie Warne (16 Chris Mason 73) 4 George Brinkman 5 Dan Steadman (Capt) 6 David O'Connor 7 Ryan Sturges (14 Jack Sunderland 73) 8 Sam Joliffe 9 Chris Vardy 10 George Carbery 11 Luke Dunstan . Subs not used: 12 James Banfield 15 Joe Naylor 17 Lessa Boka.

S: 1 Harry Pilsworth 2 Drew Cardines 3 Michael Simpson (14 Jordon Stewart 65) 4 Tobi Falodi (12 Collins Atrumram 73) 5 Michael Payne 6 Luke Burkett 7 Ben McMullen (15 Paul Morris 53) 8 Ashley Fitton (Capt) 9 Daniel Bond 10 Ben L'Honore 11 Jonny Butler.

Scorers:

TA: George Brinkman (3), George Carbery (55), Chris Vardy (90+3)

S: Ben L'Honore (33), Ashley Fitton (78)

Crowd: 71

S WEB: http://www.stotfoldfc.co.uk/index.php

(No photos on file)