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First team report  

Tue 14th Mar 2017
Spartan South Midlands Premier Division
Sponsored by Will & Debbie Dunstan
TAFC First team 1-0 Oxhey Jets

TAFC goals: George Carbery

George Carbery's 9th goal of the season finally broke the resistance of Oxhey Jets for a thoroughly merited win. Carbs has a knack for getting into good scoring positions and his close range finish midway through the second half was a welcome relief after hitting the woodwork twice, seeing the Jets keeper pull off a string of great saves and rubbing our eyes in disbelief at all the chances we spurned.

With Jack Read joining Sam Joliffe in Mexico, where the sale of pina coladas will no doubt increase, we started with Chris Stapleton up front and he put in his usual 100% performance as well as setting up the winning goal. The other change from Saturday's line up saw George Carbery come in for Lee Stobbs who dropped to the bench.

Games against Jets are always challenging and this was a potential banana skin as they had only lost on 6 occasions from 19 previous visits to Tring. They have had a poor run of form with just two wins from 18 games but they had a terrific 1-0 win on Saturday over 4th placed Wembley, who beat us by the same score 10 days ago. We have been below our best recently so this was set up to be a tight competitive game, which is how it turned out although we should have won by a more comfortable margin.

A fine interception by the impressive Tommy Twelves set up an early chance for Chris Vardy whose well struck volley was not too far wide. Jets tried to hit back through Jim Armstrong who used his strength to claim a high ball but with his back to the goal he tried an over head kick which went well wide. In the 8th minute George Carbery and Chris Stapleton combined superbly to set up Chris Vardy whose shot with his less favoured right foot seemed to be heading for the corner of the net until keeper Rob Parrington's produced the first of what would turn out to be a series of super saves to push it onto the post.

Tommy Twelves set up George Carbery but his shot was blocked and then Tommy nearly picked out Chris Vardy with a fine pass. Jets are known as a footballing side and the game had a nice ebb and flow to it. The visitors were a threat on the break and midfielder Scott Pugsley saw his well struck shot just drift just wide of the post.

Possession and territory were probably evenly shared but we certainly won hands down on chances created with George Carbery having a great opportunity on the half hour when he carved his way through the opposition defence with some fine footwork but fired his shot over the bar. Jim Armstrong provided a physical presence up front for Jets, heading a cross wide and then a minute later he was given a sight of goal following a fine move but struck a fierce shot over the bar. This turned out to be the visitors best chance of the game.

In the 36th minute a superb Chris Vardy shot smacked against the bar and when the ball was recycled to him he was denied by a point blank save by Parrington. A minute later Parrington denied Vards again this time magnificently tipping his rasping shot over the bar.

The first half ended scoreless but on the balance of play we should have been a couple of goals ahead. HT Score0-0.

The second half started in the same vein as the first with both sides willing to attack. Chris Stapleton tried a spectacular over head kick which didn't trouble the keeper. Just past the hour a Jets free kick bounced dangerously across our area and out to safety and it was from a set piece that we eventually took the lead in the 68th minute. Luke Dunstan lofted the ball over to the far side where Chris Stapleton headed it back across the area where George Carbery stole in to convert from close range. Score 1-0.

Lee Stobbs and later Seb Smith came on for Luke Dunstan and George Carbery and Stobbsy was soon in the action picking out Jack Seaton (who had a super game at left back) at the far post but Jack's well struck shot hit the side netting. A minute later Chris Vardy was denied a wonder goal when noticing the keeper was off his line he produced a shot from just inside the Jets half that was heading for the net but Parrington quickly back peddled and managed to tip it just over the bar. It was a superb piece of skill from Vards and Parrington who fully justified his Captain's armband.

Jets were playing some good stuff and were always dangerous going forward but we defended really well as a team and when any openings arose we quickly shut them down with a well timed tackle or block. Despite enjoying their fair share of possession Jets had failed to test Jack Hopwood until 12 minutes from time when he came out to beat Ian Hurst to a through ball.

Some further openings came our way with Chris Stapleton's superb run and pull back to George Carbery who seemed certain to score but Parrington stuck out a foot to prevent a certain goal.

With just a one goal lead we were always vulnerable to a late reply but we kept our shape and discipline whilst the visitor's frustration grew leading to 3 yellow cards being issued to them in the last few minutes. The game ended with Ryan Sturges having a late chance to double our score but he shot over. FT Score 1-0.

After some disappointing performances recently this was a much improved display against a good footballing side. We looked like our old selves, competing all over the park and being well organised and solid, the only thing lacking was our finishing but on the positive side we did create a lot of chances. All in all a much better effort with special mention for Ben Alcock who is settling nicely into the team after stepping up from the Reserves. He provided a shield in front of the defence winning challenges and finding colleagues with his passes.

The win was our 3rd over Jets this season and moved us up two places to 6th. We could leap above Wembley, who are one place and one point above us, if we win our game in hand. We could steal a march on our rivals as we have a game on Friday night against London Tigers who will technically be the home side with the game being switched to Tring as their pitch is unavailable.

The following Tuesday we have a Herts Charity Shield Cup Final against Berkhamsted who had reps at our game obviously giving us the once over although they my not have learnt anything new.


TA: 1 Jack Hopwood 2 Tommy Twelves 3 Jack Seaton 4 Ben Alcock 5 Dan Steadman (Capt) 6 Dave O'Connor 7 Ryan Sturges 8 Luke Dunstan (12 Lee Stobbs 71) 9 Chris Vardy 10 George Carbery (14 Seb Smith 80) 11 Chris Stapleton. Sub not used: 15 Stuart Stedman

OJ: 1 Rob Parrington (Capt) 2 Luke Lloyd 3 Bradley Thompson 4 Warren Gladdy (12 Luke Dawes 80) 5 Liam James 6 Jude Bell 7 Ian Hurst 8 Scott Pugsley 9 Matt Hodges (14 Darnell Shortland 75) 10 Jim Armstrong 11 Gary Warn (15 Liam Sole 59).


TA: George Carbery (68)

OJ: -

Crowd: 58