Sat 2nd Sep 2017
Spartan South Midlands Premier Division
Sponsored by Debbie & Will Dunstan
TAFC First team 1-3 Hoddesdon Town
TAFC goals: David O'Connor
WE ENDURE A STUTTERING START TO SEASON
After an excellent season last year we have failed to find our feet yet in the new campaign suffering our second league defeat of the season after losing 3-1 at home to Hoddesdon Town on Saturday.
We produced some fine football at times and certainly created some great scoring opportunities with Ben Johnson and Luke Dunstan getting into good positions down both wings but we were profligate in front of goal whilst our opponents were more clinical and for that reason deserved their victory.
We started quite brightly with young Ben Johnson, making a welcome return to the side, putting over a fine cross which Luke Dunstan was just unable to get on the end of with the loose ball being scrambled away.
Hoddesdon responded with a quick break with their dangerous centre forward Leigh Rose showing nice skills to evade a challenge then send Steve Redmond away on goal, but Luke Dunstan did well to get back and pressurize the wing back who shot wide. But the visitors quickly atoned for that miss with a somewhat strange goal in the 7th minute.
From a free kick the visitor's Captain Louis Rose got his head to the ball which seemed to go in a slow motion loop which evaded Jack Hopwood and dropped gently into the net. It was either a superbly judged header or a bit of good fortune but in any event it gave our visitors an early advantage. Score 0-1.
Tommy Twelves then nearly came to the fore with a hat-trick of opportunities to equalise. The first saw him drill a shot just wide from inside the area then he nearly capitalised on a loose ball in the box but was foiled by the keeper who came out quickly to smother the ball. Then keeper Harry Isham again foiled Tommy by brilliantly tipping his shot round the post.
Despite being a goal behind we were playing some decent stuff with another fine move giving Chris Vardy a great shooting opportunity. He had more time than he realised and his shot cleared the bar. Ben Johnson was a constant threat down the right and delivered a series of dangerous crosses which unfortunately went begging. In the 37th minute he decided to have a go himself but the keeper got down well to save his shot.
The visitors were a constant threat especially on the break and Jack Hopwood had to grab the ball at the second attempt to prevent Leigh Rose from connecting with a fine cross from Campbell.
With six minutes to go before half time we switched off and allowed our opponents to extend their lead with Sam Berry slotting the ball past Hoppy from close range. Score 0-2. It was nearly curtains for us five minutes later when the visitors missed a great chance to trebled their lead with Frazer John blasting over a presentable chance after Leigh Rose had got on the end of a cross to the far post and laid it back to his colleague.
After a first half in which we had played some good football and created some great chances we went in two goals behind with plenty to contemplate during the interval. HT Score 0-2.
Chris Blunden had an early effort blocked following a Ben Johnson cross and a Chris Vardy flick which created the opening but any hopes of a comeback were dashed within seven minutes of the restart when Kardan Campbell produced a superb volley from a corner to put Hoddesdon into a commanding 3-0 lead. Score 0-3.
It was a terrific goal but there was a sense of injustice that you get when things are not going your way because the corner stemmed from a blatant push on Luke Dunstan that amazingly went unpunished. But what ever the rights and wrongs of the incident we now had a proverbial mountain to climb.
We made an immediate change bringing on young Max Hercules who had been rested after playing for the Youth Team on Thursday night and his energy and trickery gave us a boost and to our credit we rolled our sleeves up to try an rescue something, probably pride, from the game. We later brought on Ronnie Blagdon for his debut and Lewis Smith.
We started to push forward leaving ourselves vulnerable at the back and Hoppy had to come to our rescue by saving a shot from Frazer John with his legs. We needed a break through and it finally came in the 70th minute when a flowing move released Max Hercules on the right and his tempting cross was converted by Dave O'Connor. Score 1-3.
It gave us a little ray of light and Tommy Twelves went mighty close to narrowing the deficit but he hit the bar when he really should have scored. We kept pressing but the clock was against us. We had some late chances with Dave O'Connor going close on a couple of occasions and Chris Blunden fired a shooting chance over but Hoddesdon were able to see the game out for a comfortable 3-1 win. FT Score 1-3.
The weather may have been lovely but the result was anything but sunny. The defeat looks heavy and was but we didn't play that badly. We were however naive in both goal areas and were taught a lesson by our opponents who converted the chances that came their way.
Its still early days and we have been hit by some unfortunate injuries which has prevented us from fielding a full squad of players. Hopefully a much needed win will soon arrive which will hopefully give us a much needed confidence boost and kick start our season.
Our next game is on Tuesday when Biggleswade United are the visitors for a Challenge Trophy game then on Saturday we visit London Tigers for a league match.
TA:1 Jack Hopwood 2 Ben Johnson (17 Ronnie Blagdon 67) 3 John Smith (14 Max Hercules 57) 4 Tommy Twelves 5 Dan Steadman (Capt) 6 Dave O'Connor 7 Ryan Sturges 8 Sam Joliffe (15 Lewis Smith 79) 9 Chris Vardy 10 Chris Blunden 11 Luke Dunstan. Subs not used: 12 Jack Seaton 16 Karl Davidson
HT:1 Harry Isham 2 Steve Redmond (14 Thomas Cowell 68) 3 Dom N'Joya 4 Sam Berry 5 Jake Bowden 6 Michael Elliott 7 Karden Campbell 8 Louis Rose (Capt) 9 Leigh Rose (12 Thomas Massey 84) 10 Frazer John (16 Davey Evans 68) 11 Connor Scully. Subs not used: 15 Harry Bushell 17 Michael Bardle.
TA:Dave O'Connor (70)
HT:Louis Rose (8), Sam Berry (39), Kardan Campbell (52)