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First team report  

Sat 29th Oct 2016
Spartan South Midlands Premier Division
Crawley Green 1-3 TAFC First team

TAFC goals: Sam Jolliffe (pen), Jack Sunderland, George Carbery

We found ourselves a goal behind and under the cosh against newly promoted Crawley Green but we showed the sort of mettle that has sustained us through 17 unbeaten games to come back strongly and take the lead by half time, adding a third goal in the second half to run our convincing 3-1 winners.

Our first ever league encounter against the Luton based outfit, who finished runners-up in Division 1 last season, saw us travel to the picturesque Barton Rovers ground where Crawley Green (CG) have a long standing ground sharing arrangement with the Southern League team.

Included in the opposition line up was former Athletic favourite Kevin McManus who performed with distinction with us for two seasons clocking up 89 First Team games (shame he didn't quite make it 90) and scoring one goal. Looking through the programme Kevin has improved his scoring record with his new club, notching three goals so far and occupying third place in the leading scorers list.

The home side have endured a recent run of poor form, with just one draw the only tangible reward from their last six games. Their main problem, pointed out to us before the game by their officials, has been finding the net with just 22 goals from 21 games, just a fraction over one goal per game.

But despite their recent problems they started this encounter the stronger, taking the game to us with some swift penetrating attacks with the impressive Charlie Clayton leading the line well and looking dangerous. CG had the best early efforts on goal with Clayton striking a fine volley that was not too far off target. Winger Aaron Brown was also a thorn in our side and he forced Jack Hopwood to beat away his fierce shot and then Jack watched as the follow up lob landed on the roof of the net.

With some key players again absent, we were struggling to get our game going and our only worthwhile attempts included a header from Adam Scotcher from a corner which went over the bar and a clever flick from George Carbery which bounced invitingly in the area, but no one was around to take advantage of the opportunity.

CG were rewarded for their positive start by opening the scoring in the 12th minute although the manner of the goal was soft, the Referee deeming that Ryan Sturges had handled the ball when it appeared to be a case of it accidentally hitting his arm. Never-the-less CG took full advantage when Aaron Brown fired home the spot kick. Score 1-0.

Going behind seemed to spark us into life and we leveled the score within ten minutes with another soft penalty after a defender appeared to trip Adam Scotcher as he chased a penetrating pass from Sam Joliffe. Sam wacked it home for his eighth goal of the season to draw him level with leading scorer Chris Vardy who was not available for this match. Score 1-1.

The game was now more evenly balanced with Charlie Clayton sending one effort just over then going even closer by striking the woodwork with a super shot. Seconds after that near miss we struck with a second goal, Jack Sunderland latching onto a quickly taken free kick which caught the home defence napping then firing an angled shot past the keeper into the far corner. It was a superb finish from Jack and a great time to open his account for the First Team this season. Score 1-2.

We went close to extending our lead with the superb Luke Dunstan heading a cross at the keeper then steering a fine shot just over after a good run and pass from Ryan Sturges. It was then Ryan's turn to go even closer smacking a shot against the bar with Luke unable to take advantage of the loose ball.

After a tentative start we came back well to end the first half with our noses in front. HT Score 1-2.

We started the second period on the front foot with George Carbery getting on the end of a couple of crosses but failing to stretch the keeper with his shots. On the hour mark we went close again when Sam Joliffe struck a free kick against the post with follow up shots from Chris Mason saved firstly by the keeper than blocked by a defender.

The game had been competitive but not dirty and there was an unfortunate incident in the 72nd minute when Joe Bradbury was given a straight red card. It seemed harsh but the Referee was close to the incident and indicated that the CG player had challenged with his studs raised.

We replaced Paddy Downes, who had done well, with George Brinkman who had missed five games and was making a welcome return. With just over a quarter of an hour to go Adam Scotcher released Jack Sunderland with a lovely pass but he was denied by Dean Bull, who just got his finger tips to Jack's shot to make a brilliant save.

Clayton reminded us that with just a slim one goal lead CG were still in the game when he latched onto a throw to force a good save from Jack Hopwood who up that point had not had much to do in the second half.

We needed a third goal to put the game to bed and with 13 minutes to go we finally got it after a superb pierce of play from Luke Dunstan who produced some great twinkling footwork to dribble along the bye line before picking out George Carbery to score for the fourth time in five games. Score 1-3.

CG valiantly tried to respond and Clayton forced a couple of great save from Jack Hopwood but we were able to see out the game for another valuable victory. FT Score 1-3.

Overall this was another fine performance and it again demonstrated the spirit in the camp to respond after a difficult start to the game. Fine performances all round with the defence of Jack Seaton, Chris Mason, Dan Stedman and Sam Joliffe (who showed his versatility by dropping back into defence) doing particularly well for standing up to some probing attacks from CG.

The three points pushed us up to fifth in the table and if we win our games in hand we would move up to third.

We have two home games coming up next week. On Tuesday we face Oxhey Jets in the Herts Senior Challenge Cup then on Saturday we have a Premier Division match against Edgware Town.


CG: 1 Dean Bull 2 Kevin McManus 3 Ed Skinner 4 Sam Pemberton (Capt) 5 Luke Fonseca (12 Reece Green 83) 6 Liam McGovern 7 Ashton Grant 8 Joe Bradbury 9 Charlie Clayton 10 Stuart Strange (14 Rob Newman 83) 11 Aaron Brown (15 Kane Dempsey 83).

TA: 1 Jack Hopwood 2 Jack Seaton 3 Chris Mason 4 Paddy Downes (12 George Brinkman 72) 5 Dan Steadman (Capt) 6 Sam Joliffe 7 Ryan Sturges (14 Lanre Ladipo 86) 8 George Carbery 9 Adam Scotcher 10 Jack Sunderland (16 Cameron Brooks 89) 11 Luke Dunstan. Sub not used: 15 Lessa Boka 17 Stuart Stedman.


CG: Aaron Brown Pen (12)

TA: Sam Joliffe Pen (22), Jack Sunderland (34), George Carbery (77)

Crowd: 32

REPORT TAKEN FROM LUTON NEWS - Monday 31st October 2016

SSML Premier Division: Crawley Green 1 Tring Athletic 3

Ten-man Crawley Green suffered a 3-1 defeat to Tring Athletic at the weekend after the controversial dismissal of Joe Bradbury midway through the second half.

The red card came with Green trailing 2-1, but a man down, Crawley couldn’t mount a response, as Tring scored again to ensure victory. In the first half, Athletic saw an early Adam Scotcher header go over, before Crawley had the better of the opening 20 minutes. A dip in form has seen Green find the net just 22 times in 21 games and despite those problems in front of goal, they began brightly, Charlie Clayton’s fine volley going over, while Aaron Browne’s effort was beaten away by keeper Jack Hopwood, with his follow up landing on the roof of the net.

The hosts did take the lead on 12 minutes though when Ryan Sturges was penalised for handball in the area and Browne stepping up to smash the spot-kick home. Score 1-0. Stuart Strange saw an effort cleared by Sam Joliffe, but the goal appeared to spark Tring into life as they were awarded a penalty on 22 minutes after Scotcher’s challenge on Luke Fonseca, with Joliffe beating Bull to level the scores. Score 1-1.

Clayton was close again for Crawley, sending one effort just over then going even closer by striking the woodwork with a super shot. Seconds after that near miss, Tring broke away to make it 2-1 as Jack Sunderland latched on to a quickly taken free kick which caught the home defence napping and fired an angled shot past Bull.

Tring went close to extending their lead but Luke Dunstan headed straight at Bull, while Sturges’ effort which cannoned off the bar.

Half Time: Crawley Green 1 Tring Athletic 2

In the second half, Tring were denied by the woodwork once more as Joliffe’s free kick struck the post, but with 18 minutes to go, Bradbury received his marching orders for a challenge that was deemed to have been with his studs high by the referee.

Tring then took control as Sunderland was denied by a brilliant save from Bull, although the hosts came close to an equaliser, Clayton’s shot excellently stopped by Hopwood. However, on 77 minutes, Athletic sealed the win, as Dunstan pulled the ball back for George Carberry to score. Score 1–3.

Crawley valiantly tried to respond and Clayton forced a couple of great saves from Hopwood, who then prevented Ashton Grant bagging a late consolation.

(No photos on file)