Tue 1st Aug 2017
Herts Charity Shield 1st Round
Sponsored by Ralph Griffiths
TAFC First team 4-1 Leverstock Green
TAFC goals: Jack Read (2), Chris Blunden, James Shaw
WE START THE SEASON WITH A POSITIVE RESULT
With the pre-seasons preliminaries out of the way we got down to the serious stuff on Tuesday night with a victory over Leverstock Green in the Herts Charity Shield. Our reward is a mouth watering tie against Berkhamsted (their words on Twitter) at The Grass Roots Stadium, date to be decided.
The end result looks emphatic but for most of the first half Green were the better side and would have been ahead but for some good saves from Jack Hopwood and some wasted opportunities. The key moment came around mid way through the first half when Ian Richardson and his coaches identified that their formation wasn't working so they changed it and this altered the game particularly in the second half when we took control.
With Chris Vardy, Jack Read and Chris Blunden in the line up we were obviously going for an attacking line up, which included two new full backs in Lewis Smith, a former Green player, on the left and young 18 year old Zac Crawford on the right. Later James Shaw came off the bench and he marked his First Team debut with a superb goal. With Dan Steadman delayed and on the bench the captain's arm band went to Sam Joliffe.
Our guests got off to a cracking start with their lanky wide man Craig King heading a fine cross just wide with barely two minutes on the clock. Soon afterwards Jack Hopwood had to beat away a fierce shot from Jonathan Lacey and Hoppy followed that up by making an equally good save from David Lawrence.
The visitors were clearly in the ascendency but we had our moments with Chris Vardy nearly sending Jack Read through who then nearly turned provider with a lovely pass to Tommy Twelves who was denied by the quick reactions of Green's keeper Charlie Hoskins. Chris Blunden, another former Green player who has returned to us after a couple of seasons away, showed great tenacity to create some space but shot just wide.
Green midfielder Chris Marsh won the ball then curled a lovely shot just wide and Craig King headed a cross over the bar. Jack Hopwood was called into action again making a double save from Brima Johnson and Jonathan Lacey and from a free kick he tipped over a nicely struck free kick from Casey Linsell.
Ian Richardson had seen enough and decided to pull Sam Joliffe back into a back three with Zac Crawford and Lewis Smith pushing forward as wing backs and this masterstroke paid quick dividends. From our first corner the ball reached Jack Read who cleverly created some space on the edge of the area before firing a fine shot that found the corner of the net to put us into the lead in the 38th minute. Score 1-0.
We nearly doubled our lead three minutes later when Dave O'Connor's deflected shot was just kept out by the keeper who turned defence into attack with a long kick that sent David Lawrence through and despite the attention of Jack Hopwood and some defenders the Green centre forward managed to squeeze the ball home. It was a fully deserved equaliser but it was a poor goal to give away.
We were somewhat fortunate to go in at half time on level terms but there were signs in the latter part of the first half that the changes made to our formation were paying dividends and we ended it strongly. HT Score 1-1.
We were a different proposition in the second half and although our opponents were still in the game until late on they never posed the kind of threat that they had in the first 45 minutes and Jack Hopwood was not called upon to display his considerable range of skills.
Within two minutes of the restart we should have retaken the lead with Chris Blunden lofting the ball over an empty net after good link up play by Jack Read and Tommy Twelves. It was the sort of chance Chris would have snapped up 99 times out of a 100.
More chances soon followed with Chris Blunden setting up Jack Read who tested the keeper with a well struck shot then the two strikers linked up again with Jack Read shooting just wide. A goal looked on the cards and it arrived in the 66th minute when Jack Seaton's fine cross was flicked on by Chris Vardy with Jack Read heading home at the far post for his second goal of the game. Score 2-1.
To their credit the visitors kept pushing forward in search of an equaliser but we were now in control and Green created few clear chances. There were some shots and crosses but none stretched Jack Hopwood. Chris Blunden had worked hard and went close in the 85th minute but he got his just reward three minutes later scoring from the edge of the area. Score 3-1.
The best goal of the game came three minutes into added time when a short corner was played to James Shaw who curled a first time shot from outside the area into the top corner. It was a great way to mark his debut in the First Team and it means he has, for a short time, a 100% scoring record!
After a difficult start the players did well to refocus and eventually produce a very good, winning performance. On Saturday we are in FA Cup action with a difficult away trip to Colney Heath who thrashed St Margaretsbury 8-2 on the same night. Rumour has it that our opponents have splashed the cash and their line up included a lot of new faces including some from last year's champions London Colney, so a tough encounter lies ahead of us.
TA:1 Jack Hopwood 2 Zac Crawford 3 Jack Seaton 4 Tommy Twelves 5 Lewis Smith (16 Dan Steadman 86) 6 Dave O'Connor 7 Ryan Sturges (15 James Shaw 80) 8 Sam Joliffe (Capt) 9 Chris Vardy 10 Chris Blunden 11 Jack Read (14 Max Hercules 70). Subs not used: 12 Qwarm Thomas 17 Callum Wilson.
LG:1 Charlie Hoskins 2 Brima Johnson (14 Zak Howells 83) 3 Casey Linsell 4 Lewis Bowers 5 Reece Fallon (Capt) 6 Ben Darby (16 Aaron Flood 56) 7 Ross Adams 8 Chris Marsh 9 David Lawrence 10 Jonathan Lacey 11 Craig King (15 Sam Nair 70). Subs not used: 12 Alex Marsh 17 Luke Nugent.
TA:Jack Read (38, 66), Blunden (88), James Shaw (90+3)
LG:David Lawrence (41)
To see the opposition's report click here - http://levgreenfc.co.uk/