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First team report
Tue 7th Feb 2017
Spartan South Midlands Premier Division
Sponsored by Ethan McAndrew TAFC First team 1-3 Hertford Town TAFC goals: Sam Jolliffe (pen)
HERTFORD MARCH ON TOWARDS TITLE
This game was much anticipated to see how we would get on against a title chasing team to test how much we have improved this season. Unfortunately we fluffed our lines and allowed Herford to dominate us from the first whistle. Conceding a soft early goal didn't help but we looked out of sorts all through the first half and although we did improve after the break and grabbed a late consolation goal in all honesty we never looked like getting anything out of this game.
Hertford are a strong side packed with good, experienced players and we struggled to get to grip with their intensity, directness and physicality. They started like a train whilst we seemed in a daze. A poor throw and misplaced pass put us on the back foot within the first couple of minutes and we had to be thankful for a super challenge from Seb Smith to stop a visiting forward getting on the end of a good cross.
But the reprieve was short lived as the visitors took the lead in the 5th minute. A huge long throw from Jay Lovell caught out Jack Hopwood who stretching and under pressure spilled the ball into the net. Ninety nine times out of a hundred Jack would have caught the throw but it was symptomatic of what was to follow. Score 0-1.
It was the last thing we wanted to do was give our opponents an early confidence boost and they rose to the occasion as we sank. The visitors spurned some good chances to increase their lead whilst our only effort was a shot from Jack Read that didn't stretch the keeper.
We needed to get to half time with just a one goal deficit so we could regroup and come out stronger in the second. But a minute into added time Mark Summer scored a killer second goal which greatly reduced any chances we had of coming back into the game. HT Score 0-2.
We did improve after the break with Jack Read sending a shot wide then Chris Stapleton saw his header from a nice cross from Lee Stobbs go off for a goal kick. It was a tough ask to penetrate the meanest defence in the Premier Division (just 20 goals conceded in 27 league games) and in truth we never really looked like breaching their solid back line.
Jack Read did produce a goal bound header following a fine move which forced the keeper to tip it over the bar but the game was finally put to bed in the 77th minute when Mark Summers smashed home his second of the match to make the score 0-3.
To be fair to the lads they kept going and were rewarded in the 81st minute when Sam Joliffe dispatched his 9th penalty of the season after Chris Vardy had been clattered in the area. It wasn't going to change the outcome but at least it was some reward for our second half efforts. FT Score 1-3.
A very disappointing performance and we know we can do better then that, hopefully starting at Welwyn Garden City on Saturday. The win keeps Hertford two points behind league leaders London Colney and the crunch may come on 8 April when then two teams meet at Cotlandswick Playing Fields.
TA: 1 Jack Hopwood 2 Tommy Twelves Chris Mason (12 Ryan Sturges 73) 4 Luke Dunstan (14 George Carbery 73) 5 Dan Steadman (Capt) 6 Seb Smith 7 Lee Stobbs 8 Sam Joliffe 9 Chris Vardy 10 Jack Read 11 Chris Stapleton. Subs not used: 15 Jordan Gilbert 16 Stuart Stedman.
HT: 1 Jayden Purdue 2 Ollie Sharman (Capt) 3 Ed Taylor 4 Matt Thomson 5 Glenn Draper 6 Jay Lovell 7 Brett O'Connor (Phillip Lowen 88) 8 Ricky Light 9 Mark Summers 10 Tommy Wade (Connor Scully 88) 11 Tyler Hatherley. Subs not used: 12 Jack Bartlett 16 Ben Andreos