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First team report  

Sat 26th Nov 2016
Challenge Trophy - 1st Round
Aston Clinton 1-2 TAFC First team

TAFC goals: Kieran Turner, George Carbery

We booked our place in the second round of the Challenge Trophy courtesy of a winning goal from birthday boy George Carbery, but this was no walk in the park as Second Division Aston Clinton made life difficult for us although we didn't help ourselves by missing two penalties.

Just 4.5 miles separates us from Aston Clinton but this was the first ever competitive encounter between our two clubs. In the programme notes Managers Jordan King and Kenrick Hazell stated they would not roll over and they can certainly feel proud that their players responded so well to push us right to the final whistle. They also said that they have some ex Athletic players who would have a point to prove and that was certainly the case as the two in question made significant contributions.

Aston Clinton got off to a terrific start with the classic case of "Sods Law" that former players score against their old clubs and that is exactly what Neil Roberts did in the 4th minute when he smashed home a superb 30 yard free kick giving Jack Hopwood no chance. Unfortunately for Neil, who made 16 appearances and scored 4 goals for us during the 2009/10 season, he had to go off in the 37th minute when he unfortunately pulled his hamstring. Score 1-0.

Despite the shock of going behind so early we responded well with Kieran Turner rifling a fierce shot just over and Dave O'Connor, making a welcome return after quite a few weeks out injured, heading a presentable chance from a corner wide. Kieran was causing all sorts of problems for the home defence and he soon grabbed an equaliser. In the 16th minute Kieran, who was making his second appearance since rejoining us from Aylesbury FC, went on a trade mark run, cutting in from the left before shooting past keeper Liam Smith for his 41st goal in 99 First Team games for the club, a superb return for a midfielder. Score 1-1.

We started to get into our stride playing some nice football from the back and stretching the home defence. Opportunities were being created with Chris Mason having a shot blocked in the area, Kieran Turner shooting just wide of the far post after being set free by a fine Dave O'Connor pass and Sam Joliffe forcing Liam Smith to save his free kick just under the bar.

Just past the half hour mark we had a golden opportunity to turn our pressure into a goal when keeper Liam Smith pole axed Luke Dunstan in the area. Liam made 3 First team and 14 Reserve appearances for us last season and played for our Reserves on Tuesday night when he was sent off. Having been red carded the previous Saturday in Aston Clinton's game at Tottenhoe he was somewhat fortunate to avoid the distinction and expense of a hat-trick of dismissals in one week!

But Liam's sacrifice turned out to be worthwhile because Sam Joliffe smacked the penalty against the post with the ball going out for a throw on. Its not very often you see a throw resulting from a spot kick!

Undeterred we kept pushing forward in the search of a second goal so we could go in at the break in front and four minutes into added time we achieved our aim. Again Kieran Turner was involved slipping a lovely pass through to George Carbery who rounded the keeper and fired the ball home despite the presence of a defender on the line. Score 1-2.

We nearly followed that up with another goal before the break when Kieran again found George free in the area but the former Berko player, who was celebrating his 20th birthday, just could not quite add to his tally of seven goals since joining us.

After an early set back we responded well and went in at half time deservedly in front. HT Score 1-2.

The Aston Clinton managers must have given a rousing half time team talk of Churchillian proportions as they came out for the restart fired up and for 20 minutes they made life difficult for us as we struggled to get our passing game going.

Home centre forward Tom Brindley just failed to get on the end of a ball headed across our area and from a long throw we blocked a dangerous shot. Aston Clinton were pushing forward forcing us back on defence and Jack Hopwood was forced to come out and make a good save from David Brown.

But gradually we weathered the storm and started to get back into the game with Chris Mason producing a fine cross to the far post where Kieran Turner was unable to get a header on target. We made a change bringing on highly rated Youth Team player Louis Walsh for his First Team debut and the 16 year old quickly showed his promise with an intelligent pass to pick out Sam Joliffe on the edge of the area but Sam's shot went wide.

The game was still finely balanced but we looked the more likely to score with Chris Vardy forcing a good save from Liam Smith who then palmed out a free kick from Luke Dunstan with the loose ball cleared . Kieran Turner shot just wide and Chris Vardy cheekily tried to lob Smith following a quick breakaway.

Bang on time we had the chance to wrap things up when a defender grabbed Chris Vardy in the area. Vards took the penalty himself but Liam Smith made a super save to keep his sides hopes alive. Aston Clinton won a last minute corner but we managed to hold on for a hard fought victory. FT Score 1-2.

Full credit must go to Aston Clinton who despite being two Divisions below us put in a sterling performance and kept the tie alive to the very last moment. This tie was a potential banana skin but we survived some difficult moments to find the quality needed to see us through to the next round where we have a difficult away tie at Edgware Town, who are one of only three teams to have beaten us season.

Next week we entertain Bovingdon on Tuesday night in the St Marys Cup then on Saturday we travel to Hornchurch to face FC Romania when we hope to have some key players back for this important FA Vase game.


AC: 1 Liam Smith 2 Callum Jenkins (12 Jamie Philip 63) (14 Alex Smith 72) 3 Sam Austin 4 Neil Roberts (15 Teague Gallagher 37) 5 Alex McGowan (Capt) 6 Alec Bell 7 Tom Burton 8 Harrison Mann 9 Tom Brindley 10 David Brown 11 Lewis Workman. Sub not used: 16 Luke Russell.

TA: 1 Jack Hopwood 2 Tommy Twelves 3 Chris Mason 4 Luke Dunstan 5 Dan Steadman (Capt) 6 David O'Connor (12 Louis Walsh 66) 7 Jack Seaton 8 Sam Joliffe 9 Chris Vardy 10 Kieran Turner 11 George Carbery (15 Aaron Nash-Baker 79). Subs not used: 14 Stuart Stedman.


AC: Neil Roberts (4)

TA: Kieran Turner (16), George Carbery (45+4)

Crowd: 85


(No photos on file)