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First team report
Wed 1st Mar 2017
St Marys Cup - Quarter Final
TAFC First team 3-2 Bovingdon TAFC goals: Jack Read (3, 1 pen)
JACK READ COMES TO THE RESCUE
When Bovingdon extended their lead to 2 nil early in the second half it looked as if we were going to exit our second cup competition on consecutive nights. They certainly deserved their lead as they were the better side and played some great football. A look at their team sheet showed they had a very strong line up with a core of past and present Aylesbury United players that included Louis Austin, Stacey Field, Ben Butler, Lee Bircham and Jack Wood the current Ducks skipper who has played 344 games for them despite being only 24.
But we showed some great spirit and character to stage a fight back and led by Jack Read's hat-trick we managed to dig out a victory. Having played a tough match the previous night at Hoddesdon we naturally made some changes, selecting a mixture of first and reserve team players with only Tommy Twelves, Seb Smith, Luke Dunstan and later as a sub Chris Vardy retained from last night's team. Our line up also included Max Hercules making his debut start in the first team. The 16 year old Youth Team player is one of our bright prospects for the future and was another Aylesbury United link as his father Cliff was a legend at the club. The team was led by the evergreen Stuart Stedman who discarded his coaches track suit for the number 3 shirt and the captain's arm band.
We started well with Jack Read very prominent in the early exchanges striking a good shot after only two minutes which the keeper did well to beat away then nine minutes later sending an effort just wide of the far post after being sent away by a terrific pass from Tommy Twelves. A super move started by Max Hercules led to an opening for Joe Naylor whose shot was caught by keeper Harrison Rogers. Stuart Stedman then got in on the act with a slide ruled pass to George Carbery who beat his man and slid an inviting ball across the area but unfortunately we had no one in the right spot to take advantage of this opportunity.
For the first quarter of an hour the visitors demonstrated they could play a bit but they created little in front of goal apart from a shot from Ben Butler which didn't stretch keeper Mark Richardson. But gradually they got on top with Ben Butler again leading the way with a shot that Mark pushed away which we then managed to clear. They went even closer in the 18th minute when from a corner Louis Austin smashed a shot that hit the underside of the bar and bounced out.
The visitors gradually took control and only a superb challenge from Seb Smith prevented Stacey Field from scoring. Bovingdon centre back Jack Maynard did stick away a fine header from a Ryan Laville cross but was flagged offside.
The visitors finally took a deserved lead in the 34th minute when Louis Austin picked up a loose ball outside our area then lobbed Mark Richardson. It was a fine finish from a player who also played for AFC Dunstable and Leverstock Green. Score 0-1.
Stacey Field then shot just wide and Mark Richardson did well to cut out a dangerous cross from the same player but we managed to get to half time without suffering any further damage. HT Score 0-1.
Soon after the restart Louis Austin fired an opportunity over but the visitors didn't have to wait long to extend their lead, Stacey Field raced onto a good pass then produced a super finish to beat Mark Richardson. Score 0-2.
Apart from the first 15 minutes we had been second best and it looked a long way back for us. We needed a quick goal to get us back in the game and a defensive error provided the boost we needed in the 56th minute. The Bovingdon keeper had dealt well with everything that came his way but he dallied over a back pass and was robbed by Jack Read who slotted the ball home. It was a great bit of play by Ready to shut down the keeper and stick away a difficult chance. Score 1-2.
The goal changed the nature of the game and it became a far more evenly contested. The Referee handed out a few yellow cards as tension built up and both sides made changes with us bringing on Chris Vardy and Jack Sunderland. One of Bovingdon's subs Lee Bircham had an a great chance to reclaim the two goal lead within seven minutes of coming off the bench when he was sent away with a long ball but with only our keeper to beat he shot into the side netting. Soon afterwards Mark Richardson tipped over a rasping shot from left back Connor Deadman.
The turning point in the game came in the 77th minute when Tommy Twelves made a superb run into the area but was caught late as he crossed the ball. The Referee awarded the penalty and Jack Read dispatched it with confidence. Score 2-2.
The game was nicely balanced and Bovingdon were still a threat with James Butler producing a terrific game saving tackle to deny Stacey Field. With seven minutes to go Tommy Twelves played a nice pass to George Carbery who in turn released Chris Vardy down the left with another good ball. Vards then produced a superb inviting cross which Jack Read stuck away for his first hat-trick for the club. Score 3-2.
With added time included there was still over 10 minutes of play left and Bovingdon pushed forward in search of an equaliser. Football folk law says that in such circumstances a team will get one chance and that fell to Stacey Field in the 95th minute but his close range shot was magnificently saved by Mark Richardson to seal our place in the next round. FT Score 3-2.
Commiserations to the visitor's who on the balance of play and chances created probably deserved to win. They were a very strong side and it is no surprise that they are second in the Premier Division of the Herts Senior County League. We wish them all the best for the rest of the season.
From our point of view it was a great comeback especially considering the many changes we had to make to the lineup. Also a big well done to Jack Read for a fine hat-trick and to Tommy Twelves and Seb Smith for playing 180+ minutes over two consecutive nights.
In the semi-final we will travel to either Oxhey Jets or Leverstock Green who are due to meet on 21 March.
TA: 1 Mark Richardson 2 Tommy Twelves 3 Stuart Stedman (Capt) 4 Ben Alcock 5 James Butler 6 Seb Smith 7 Max Hercules (12 Chris Vardy 60) 8 Luke Dunstan 9 Jack Read 10 George Carbery 11 Joe Naylor (15 Jack Sunderland 71). Sub not used: Jordan Gilbert.
B: 1 Harrison Rogers 2 Mitchell Cole (14 Lee Bircham 65) 3 Connor Deadman 4 Jack Wood 5 Jack Maynard 6 Steffan Bailey 7 Ben Butler 8 Ryan Newman 9 Stacey Field 10 Ryan Laville (Capt) 11 Louis Austin (12 Joe Slade 54). Subs not used: 15 Steffan Owen-Edwards 16 Harry Woods 17 Nathan Williams.