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First team report
Sat 15th Apr 2017
Spartan South Midlands Premier Division
Sponsored by Timothy Solk TAFC First team 0-0 Berkhamsted
LOCAL DERBY FAILS TO SERVE UP ANY EASTER GOODIES
Games between us and Berkhamsted are usually feisty but this was a rather tame affair with an end of season feel about it. The game lacked the usual intensity found in these local derby matches and this was reflected in only two players being booked (one for each side) following a handbags incident around the hour mark.
The excellent young Referee Thomas Wyatt played his part (you know you are getting old when doctors and policemen look younger and it now seems to apply to referees!) with an impressive display to keep the lid on any potential incidents but undoubtedly the low key nature of the game was down to both sides being affected by injuries and also we had just completed our 4th match of the week.
The game (which attracted a crowd 151 - our best of the season) was fairly evenly contested and a point a piece was probably the right outcome although we could justifiably point out that we had the best 2 chances which included hitting the post. Ultimately a draw probably suited both teams, with Berko able to continue their good run of form with just one defeat in 12 games whilst we stay on course for a 5th or even 4th place finish with just 3 league games to go.
We produced the first shot of the game with Jack Read's effort going wide but the visitors started the stronger with Ashton Campbell's speculative overhead kick nearly finding Tom Carter in the area. They won a number of set pieces from which they were a threat and Jack Hopwood was forced to punch a dangerous free kick away.
But as the half wore on we came more into the game and just before the half hour mark Jack Read's well struck shot hit Lewis Rodrigoe on the back of the head. The defender knew little of what happened but it probably prevented a goal. Spurred on by this near miss we enjoyed a good spell and Jack Read's nicely weighted pass into the area set up Luke Dunstan whose shot was superbly saved by keeper Carl Tasker.
Ryan Sturges made a fine run into the opposition box but couldn't get his shot away and Ollie Butler produced a lovely turn and shot that went just wide of the post although the keeper appeared to have it covered.
A cagey half ended without any goals and the game finely balanced. HT Score 0-0.
There was a bit more activity at the start of the second half with young Ben Johnson whipping over a superb cross to the far post to pick out Chris Vardy who headed the ball over the bar. Berko's leading scorer Ashton Campbell managed to collect a loose ball but his shot went well off target. Later the same player shot wide of the far post.
Both sides had their half chances with Campbell and Campana producing dangerous crosses that were cleared and Captain Jim Baldry headed a free kick well over. Then Campbell appeared to have an opportunity to have a run on goal but was neatly robbed.
Luke Dunstan connected with a free kick to the far post but only succeeded in lofting the ball up in the air and it seemed to take a while before the visitors cleared their lines. Later a quickly taken free kick sent Chris Mason away down the left and his fine cross was cleared over his own bar by a defender. But both teams were failing to work the keepers and generally the defences were on top.
The nearest the game came to a goal was following our corner 10 minutes from time when the ball fell to Chris Vardy at the far post and his shot hit the upright after taking a slight deflection off a defender. From the corner Sam Joliffe headed the ball wide but injured himself in the process and will miss the remainder of the season. Sam has been magnificent in the centre of our defence and he will be missed. It also adds to our ever growing injury list
The last action of note saw 17 year old Max Hercules, who came on for Ollie Butler, whip over a fine cross that the keeper failed to catch. George Carbery tried an overhead kick at the far post that went wide not realising that Ben Johnson was behind him in a much better position.
The game ended in a goal less draw, the first in the 19 matches between our two clubs. FT Score 0-0.
This game bucked the previous trend which had seen 73 goals scored in 18 previous encounters, an average of over 4 goals a game. But the long season is starting to take its toll and the players will be looking forward to their summer break.
But before our players start thinking about sun, sea and sand they still have 3 league games to play starting with a visit to Holmer Green on Tuesday night. That is followed by our last home league game of the season when we entertain Crawley Green on Saturday. Our final league game will be away to Colney Heath on Saturday 29th April.
In addition we are still in the St Marys Cup and will play either Oxhey Jets or Leverstock Green who meet on 20th April. So we have a semi-final and possible final to play.
TA: 1 Jack Hopwood 2 Ben Johnson 3 Chris Mason 4 Luke Dunstan 5 Dan Steadman (Capt) 6 Ollie Butler (14 Max Hercules 85) 7 Ryan Sturges 8 Sam Joliffe (12 Jack Seaton 82) 9 Chris Vardy 10 Jack Read 11 George Carbery. Subs not used: 15 Stuart Stedman.
B: 1 Carl Tasker 2 Gerardo Smaldone 3 Jim Baldry (Capt) 4 Max Farrelly 5 Kyne Anthony 6 Lewis Rodrigoe 7 Alex Campana 8 Steve Hawes (16 Dan Weeks 82) 9 Ashton Campbell 10 Sam Bateman 11 Tom Carter (14 Dan Jones 67). Subs not used: 12 Ed Canham 15 Dan Edwards 17 Will Bisney