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First team report  

Tue 6th Dec 2016
The Buildbase F A Vase Round 3 Replay
Sponsored by Paul Vockins
TAFC First team 2-1 F C Romania

TAFC goals: Sam Jolliffe (2, 1 pen)
SAM'S BRACE EARNS HISTORIC VICTORY

This game will go down in the Club's annals as one of the great nights of cup football when we defeated a very good side to enter into unchartered territory. After securing a terrific draw away it was an opportunity for us to do the business at home and the boys did superbly well to book our place into the 4th round of the FA Vase for the very first time. After 13 years and 36 attempts to get this far we can now enjoy the moment for a few weeks until the next round comes along in January.

It was an occasion to savour, with a decent crowd (pleasingly full of ex-players), played under lights and with a splash of colour and noise provided by the away support with their flags, flares and drums. This tie was a personal triumph for Sam Joliffe who scored both goals to add to the one he scored in the first game which is a superb return for someone who played in central defence. Sam currently leads our scorers list with 12 goals and at the tender age of just 26 is one of the most experienced members of the side, showing his versatility by playing in either midfield or defence. He is the sole survivor from the last time we played this team 4 years ago and has clocked up over 200 First Team games.

After Sam gave us a two goal advantage early in the second half we looked well on the way to winning the tie but a magnificent finish from a substitute gave the visitors renewed hope, forcing us back onto defence and nearly snatching a very late equaliser which would have taken the game into extra time.

We kept the same starting eleven and formation from Saturday and the visitors made just one change replacing Ion Costache with Seriu Maximov who was on the bench for the first game. Again we made a positive start with Lee Stobbs cross into the area cleverly headed down by Kieran Turner, but a defender cleared before we could take advantage of the opportunity. There was a rare moment of indecision in our defence which allowed Ionut Danila to latch onto a long ball down the middle but under pressure he struck a firm shot just over the bar.

Luke Dunstan and Tommy Twelves linked up superbly down our right and Tommy showed the deft skill of a striker to get around the defender but his cross was well anticipated by the keeper Adrian Darabant. The visitors were playing their usual brand of keep ball football and they were not frightened to shoot but their efforts failed to hit the target.

In the 25th minute we won two consecutive corners and from the second Kieran Turner fired the ball into the goal mouth which caused chaos in the opposition defence and Sam Joliffe took full advantage to stab the ball home from close range. Score 1-0.

Eight minutes later Jack Seaton sent Chris Vardy away who struck a decent shot but the keeper did well to get down quickly and make a good save. The visitors were playing some lovely possession football but as in the first game their moves broke down as soon the reached our area and they didn't win their first corner until 39th minute.

Kieran Turner picked out Tommy Twelves unmarked in the area with a terrific pass but Tommy was just unable to keep control of the ball. As half time approached Dan Steadman had to clear a dangerous cross from Liviu Popa and their resulting corner just failed to pick someone out at the far post.

An entertaining half ended with us holding a slim one goal lead. HT Score 1-0.

Dave O'Connor (about who somebody tweeted "the young Tring number 6 has not lost a tackle") nearly had an opportunity to do as well at the other end but his header from a Lee Stobbs cross went over the bar. The opposition centre forward Danila laid a lovely ball off to Seriu Maximov who smashed a fierce drive just wide, although I would like to think Hoppy had it covered.

Around the 54th minute a lovely move involving Lee Stobbs and Kieran Turner ended with the ball being played into the area to Jack Seaton who was tripped. After missing two penalties in a recent game there may have been some trepidation but Sam Joliffe stepped up and cracked the spot kick home to give us a crucial two goal cushion. Score 2-0.

Soon afterwards Luke Dunstan produced a spectacular volley which had it been either side of the keeper might have found the net. By the hour mark the opposition manager had obviously seen enough and he pulled off his two main strikers and the change brought an immediate dividend when sub Seriu Pitaru smashed a magnificent volley that whizzed past Jack Hopwood. It was a terrific goal and as in the first game it showed that the opposition did not give up easily. Score 2-1.

Kieran Turner tried his best to restore our two goal lead, latching onto a loose ball after a great tackle from George Brinkman and firing a good shot that the keeper tipped round the post. From the corner the ball fell to Kieran in the area but his goal bound shot was blocked.

But gradually the opposition started to take control as we dropped deep to keep hold of our slender lead. We started to look weary and our opponents saw a lot of the ball but they were making little headway against our solid defensive line and Jack Hopwood was not overly stretched.

We brought on Chris Stapleton, Paddy Downes and Jamie Warne to try and liven things up but it did little to change the pattern of play. The clock seemed to be ticking round slowly and the anxiety amongst our supporters was palpable but we were rock solid and despite the obvious tiredness the players kept working their socks off to keep the opposition at bay.

Deep into added time and seconds away from the final whistle we had a scare when a header from Maximov looped up in the air and it looked as if it may drop in under the bar. But to much relief it struck the top of the bar and went over and with that the Referee blew for time. FT Score 2-1.

A superb performance from our young team who over the two legs fully deserved the win against a very good FC Romania side. Defensively we were almost flawless to restrict a team that averaged 3 goals per league game to few genuine scoring chances over two games.

Our reward for winning this tie is yet another away game which will the sixth on the trot in this competition and one wonders whether someone at the FA doesn't like us! Our opponents will be either Sporting Khaisa from Wolverhampton or Sleaford Town from near Lincoln. Their replay takes place tonight (ie Wednesday) and the 4th round game will take place on 7/1/2017.

In the mean time we have some league matches to catch up on starting with a tough local derby on Saturday when we travel to Leverstock Green.

Teams:

TA: 1 Jack Hopwood 2 Jack Seaton (12 Jamie Warne 87) 3 Tommy Twelves 4 George Brinkman (16 Paddy Downes 82) 5 Dan Steadman (Capt) 6 Dave O'Connor 7 Luke Dunstan 8 Sam Joliffe 9 Chris Vardy 10 Kieran Turner 11 Lee Stobbs (15 Chris Stapleton 70). Sub not used: 14 Chris Mason

FCR: 1 Adrian Darabant 2 Dinu Barcari 3 Cosmin Sandu 4 Marius Teleoaca 5 Gabriel Ghinea 6 Seriu Maximov 7 Llie Vasile 8 George Taban (Capt) 9 Ionut Danila (15 Sergiu Pitaru 59) 10 Andrei Pavel (17 Adrian Macosei 59) 11 Liviu Pop. Subs not used: 12 Gabriel Stroe 16 Ionut Roman 18 Anaras Kelemen

Scorers:

TA: Sam Joliffe (25, 54 Pen)

FCR: Sergiu Pitaru 60)

Crowd: 140

FCR WEB: http://www.fcromania.com/

(No photos on file)