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First team report  

Tue 27th Dec 2016
Spartan South Midlands Premier Division
Berkhamsted 0-1 TAFC First team

TAFC goals: Ben Seaton

Our last game of 2016 saw us make a short trip down the A41 to our close neighbours and rivals Berkhamsted. Being a Bank Holiday there was a decent crowd of 228 but the fare served up was far from festive and more in keeping with a local derby as it was generally scrappy with few scoring chances for either team.

With the match entering time added on and seemingly heading towards a goal less draw up popped 18 year old sub Ben Seaton, who had only been on the pitch for 6 minutes, to try his luck with a shot from 25 yards which squeezed under keeper Carl Tasker for a late dramatic winner. One can only feel sympathy for the Berko keeper and presume that the ball took a bad bounce or hit a bump.

The first scoring opportunity came our way after only 2 minutes when Kieran Turner, back on his old stomping ground, picked out another Berko old boy George Carbery at the far post with a super cross. Carbs had more time than he realised and his rushed header went tamely to the keeper. The home side responded when Alex Campana's cut inside a challenge and saw his firm shot deflected to Jack Hopwood. Soon afterwards Dan Jones struck a fine 35 yard free kick but it didn't trouble Jack Hopwood.

That was about the sum total of the meaningful action in the first 20 minutes until there was a roar of disapproval from the home contingent when Jack Stevens went over in our box and the Referee awarded a free kick to us rather than a penalty, indicating that some tugging had taken place first.

Kieran Turner produced promising crosses from the left and then right bye line after beating his man but they were both cleared by the Berko defence. The dangerous Berko winger Ashton Campbell whipped over a super ball across our area but none of his colleagues were on hand to take advantage of the opportunity.

There was a bit more activity with Kieran Turner heading a Sam Joliffe free kick over and later Luke Dunstan produced a powerful header from a corner but it thudded against the advertising boards besides the goal.

Campana's long range shot was deflected for a corner which then caused us some anxiety with a shot being blocked and then an overhead kick going wide. The one real moment of quality came just before the break when George Carbery found Lee Stobbs who cut inside and curled a lovely shot towards the far corner forcing Carl Tasker into a good save.

But after a competitive, tight but disappointing first half there was nothing to separate the two sides. HT Score 0-0.

The home side started the second period on the front foot and Ashton Campbell missed a great opportunity to put his side ahead within 2 minutes of the restart, side footing a cross at the far post wide from 6 yards. A few minutes later Jack Hopwood made a terrific save to block a shot from the same player.

Our hosts won a series of corners but we dealt with this threat well and it was our turn to go close in the 52nd minute when nice play from Chris Vardy sent George Carbery through on goal, but keeper Tasker did well to come out and save the shot with his outstretched leg. Four minutes later Kieran Turner's cross from the right wing was not cleared by the defender but Lee Stobbs was unable to get to the loose ball which was eventually hacked clear.

Lee Stobbs tried his luck with a long range effort that was well struck but went wide. Later he did mange to get an effort on target but it nestled safely into the keeper's midriff. Both sides made changes Berko replacing Jack Stevens with Ashley Lewis and we brought on Chris Stapleton for George Carbery.

It was our turn to have a shout for a penalty when Chris Vardy appeared to be tripped in the area but the Referee, who generally handled a potentially difficult game well and with common sense, waved away our appeals.

With both sides seeming to run out of steam and failing to test the two keepers the managers decided to make another round of substitutions with the home side bringing on Dan Edwards and Dale Sears for Ashton Campbell and Dan Jones whilst we replaced Lee Stobbs with Ben Seaton.

A minute into time added on and with the game drifting towards a goalless draw came the dramatic moment when Ben scored the only goal of the game to claim a win and three valuable points. Score 0-1.

There was still time for Chris Stapleton to produce a Lionel Messi moment with a mesmerizing run from the half way line through the home defence but he failed to find the finish to top it off, firing wide of the far post. But by the final whistle it was Ben Seaton's first goal of the season that separated the two sides. FT Score 0-1.

This was a good solid performance from the lads who restricted a talented Berko side to few sights of goal. Everyone worked their socks off and there was a good spirit and camaraderie amongst the players. Everyone played well but special mention should go to the back four of Tommy Twelves, Chris Mason, Dave O'Connor and Captain Dan Steadman who did exceptionally well to keep a clean sheet.

The three points means we jumped over Berko into 7th place in the table and means we end 2016 on a high note with a good league position (which could be even better if we win our games in hand) and still involved in a number of cups including the FA Vase.

Our next fixture is a home league match against Holmer Green on Monday 2nd January, which is a Bank Holiday so hopefully we will attract a large crowd.


B: 1 Carl Tasker 2 Gerado Smaldone 3 Tom Carter 4 Steve Hawes 5 Ed Canham 6 Dan Weeks (Capt) 7 Ashton Campbell (17 Dan Edwards 85) 8 Jack Stevens (16 Ashley Lewis 64) 9 Matt Bateman 10 Alex Campana 11 Dan Jones (12 Dale Sears 87). Subs not used: 14 Terry Dixon 15 Will Bisney.

TA: 1 Jack Hopwood 2 Tommy Twelves 3 Chris Mason 4 Luke Dunstan 5 Dan Steadman (Capt) 6 David O'Connor 7 Lee Stobbs (15 Ben Seaton 85) 8 Sam Joliffe 9 Chris Vardy 10 Kieran Turner 11 George Carbery (12 Chris Stapleton 67). Subs not used: 14 Jamie Warne 16 Stuart Stedman.


B: -

TA: Ben Seaton (90+1)

Crowd: 228


(No photos on file)