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First team report
Sat 1st Apr 2017
Spartan South Midlands Premier Division
Sponsored by Knight Master Groundwork Ltd TAFC First team 1-0 Colney Heath TAFC goals: Christopher Vardy
VARDY'S STUNNING LATE INTERVENTION SEALS APRIL FOOLS DAY WIN
With a minute left on the clock the Colney Heath players must have been quietly congratulating themselves on a job well done and earning a hard won point in their quest to put some distance between them and the clubs fighting relegation.
The visitors had defended well and restricted us to few clear cut opportunities and although they conceded territory and possession they actually spurned the games best scoring chance. They must have felt there was no danger when in the 89th minute Chris Vardy received a pass from Jack Read on the left wing some 20 plus yards out and at an acute angle to the goal. But our talisman had other ideas.
Spotting Craig Clark off his line he produced a superbly accurate lob that beat the keeper at the near post. It was a top quality finish that any Premiership star would be proud of and clocked up his 80th goal for the Club in 164 First Team appearances, averaging nearly a goal every two games.
As for the match it was like a training exercise of attack versus defence, with Colney Heath dropping off deep and defending in numbers whilst we played mainly in their half. We had plenty of possession particularly our two full backs Chris Mason and Jack Seaton who seemed to have acres of space in front of them, but once we reached the penalty area we found it tough to break through the massed ranks of opposition players.
We won a corner after only 34 seconds and a minute later Colney's James Ewington shot into the side netting but that was about the sum total of the meaningful action during the first 20 minutes or so. Luke Dunstan did head home a lovely cross from Youth Team player Max Hercules, making his second start in the First Team, but the goal was rightly ruled out for a foul. Moments later Luke just failed to get on the end of a deft header from Chris Vardy off Jack Seaton's cross.
Max Hercules was taking the set pieces like a seasoned pro and not a lad who has only just turned 17 and from his free kick he picked our Sam Joliffe whose header was well off target. Chris Vardy had a shot that was deflected off for a corner and Luke Dunstan hit a nice shot that forced the keeper into a save albeit an easy one. We were having a good spell around the half hour mark and Chris Vardy put over a super cross with his right foot (yes his right foot!) which just evaded Luke and Max.
Colney played deep, keeping it tight at the back and were prepared to let us have possession and the tactic worked because we failed to carve them open or test their keeper. They were relying on set pieces and quick breaks for scoring opportunities and this nearly dividends right on half time when Bradley O'Donovan played James Ewington through but the Colney centre forward was denied by a super save from Jack Hopwood who spread himself al la Kasper Schmeichel style. HT Score 0-0.
It was more of the same after the break with Colney doing a bit more attacking but we still dominated possession but again without creating too many clear opportunities . We had a few half chances with Sam Joliffe heading a Max Hercules free kick wide than Jack Read, who came off the bench, did really well to keep possession and strike a firm shot which the keeper Craig Clark was able to save. Soon afterwards Jack Read headed a Ryan Sturges cross just wide.
The visitors were more ambitious after the break and there was an opportunity for their sub Adam Lawton midway through the half when our defence seem to open up and he had a sight of goal but his shot was well off target. Chris Vardy just missed a fine cross from Chris Stapleton and sub Bradley Robinson got on the end of a good cross but his header went well wide.
With 5 minutes to go we produced a fine move involving Luke Dunstan and Chris Stapleton who sent Jack Read away down the right. Jack returned the favour by finding Stapes who struck the ball well but Craig Clark got down quickly to make a fine save.
Colney sub Luke Dolan produced a good shot that went straight to Hoppy and the game seem to be inexorably heading towards a scoreless draw until our leading scorer took matters into his own hands with a supreme finish that was worthy of winning any game. FT Score 1-0.
A tough result for Colney Heath who battled well throughout and defended with some spirit. Their officials felt they were still in a relegation battle but there are 5 teams below them with Broxbourne Boro surely doomed with London Tigers the most likely to join them so they should be okay.
We can feel pleased that our perseverance paid off in the end and it keeps our good run of league form going with 5 wins from our last 6 games with pleasingly 5 clean sheets.
The 3 points enabled us to retain 5th place in the table, one place and one point behind Wembley (who thumped a Welwyn Garden City side containing George Brinkman 4-0) but with a game in hand. We have already exceeded last season's points tally of 63 points with 7 league matches still to go and we should have our eyes set on 4th place which would be our 2nd highest finish in the Premier Division. This would cap a great season for our young side.
We have a break from midweek action and face 9th placed Hoddesdon Town at home on Saturday.
TA: 1 Jack Hopwood 2 Jack Seaton 3 Chris Mason 4 Luke Dunstan 5 Dan Steadman (Capt) 6 George Carbery 7 Ryan Sturges 8 Sam Joliffe 9 Chris Vardy 10 Chris Stapleton 11 Max Hercules (12 Jack Read 62). Subs not used: 14 Seb Smith 15 Stuart Stedman.
CH: 1 Craig Clark 2 Cian Sweeney 3 James Lawrence (14 Bradley Robinson 79) 4 Sam Doolan (Capt) 5 Luke Jones (17 Luke Dolan 68) 6 Ant Burns 7 Osamu Allman 8 Liam Sweeney 9 James Ewington 10 Bradley O'Donovan (12 Adam Lawton 54) 11 Stef Geraldes. Subs not used: 15 Carl Osbourne 16 Joe Leslie.