Sat 7th Oct 2017
Spartan South Midlands Premier Division
Hadley 1-0 TAFC First team
WE DRAW A BLANK AT HADLEY
Hadley held an official opening of their lovely new facilities, which included a superb pitch, at their Brickfield Lane ground on national Non-League Day and then proceeded to celebrate the occasion by ending our recent good run of four unbeaten games, in which we won three and drew one.
The defeat shouldn't be a surprise to our supporters as Hadley are probably our biggest bogey side with only one victory to our name in nine visits. That lone success came last season when we did the double over them so we may have gone into the game with some hope, only to be disappointed yet again.
The final score suggests a close game but in truth we were well outplayed and would have suffered a heavier defeat if the home forwards not been so wasteful and Jack Hopwood not been in such superb form.
We put out a very attacking line up with Chris Blunden and Jack Read up front supported by Luke Dunstan but we were hit by an early goal which made our tasks much harder.
The early breakthrough for Hadley came after only 13 minutes when a pass was slipped through our square defence for Yemi Buraimoh who finished smartly past Jack Hopwood. Score 1-0.
Hadley should have doubled their lead six minutes later when a superb cross from left back Justin Thompson picked out the unmarked Lewis Francis in the area and although his firm header was on target he was foiled by a brilliant Jack Hopwood save.
The home side were dominating proceedings winning most of the challenges and loose balls as we struggled to get our game together. On the half hour mark we had a great chance to level the score when a Ben Johnson's pass forward was missed by the home defence to set Chris Blunden free. Chris did the right thing in lobbing the stranded keeper but his effort just cleared the bar.
Two minutes later a mix up in defence saw us inadvertently play the ball through to Francis but luckily for us his shot just went wide of the post. It was another let off and we managed to get to half time with just a one goal deficit but importantly still with a chance of getting some reward. HT Score 1-0.
Soon after the restart we caught the home defence napping with a quickly taken free kick which released Ben Johnson down the right flank. His nicely measured cross found Luke Dunstan whose header went just wide of the far post with Chris Blunden just unable to get a touch to turn it home.
Francis showed some nice skills to get away from his marker but sent his shot wide of the far post. Hadley were still looking much the better team so we brought on Chris Vardy, Lewis Smith and Max Hercules in the hope we could shake things up and get the elusive equaliser.
We pushed forward but never really threatened to score and the home keeper David Boateng wasn't stretched. We were starting to leave gaps at the back and Francis was twice denied a goal by Jack Hopwood who was without any shadow of doubt our best player.
Hadley ran out very worthy winners and our only consolation is that we kept the score line down to just one goal. FT Score 1-0.
A frustrating and disappointing afternoon for us although Hadley are a very good side and there is no disgrace in losing to them. Whilst our cup form has been excellent (winning four out of five games) we have struggled to pick up league points, managing only five from nine games.
We therefore need to start picking up league wins so we can climb out of the bottom four where we presently sit and we have two opportunities coming up in the next week, although neither will be easy.
On Tuesday we travel to Leverstock Green for a tough local derby. Levy beat Oxhey Jets 3-2 on Saturday coming back from a two goal deficit so they will be full of confidence.
Then on Saturday Leighton Town visit Tring on the back of a 1-0 win over Colney Heath that pushed them up one place to 7th, so we can expect another tough encounter.
H:1 David Boateng 2 Ivan Machedo (17 Nick Chrysanthou 72) 3 Justin Thompson 4 Harry Sedgley 5 Shaz Anwar 6 Tyrone Mulholland 7 Zaine Gangadeen 8 Yemi Buraimoh (16 Luke Alfano 80) 9 Lewis Francis 10 Jake King (12 Rhys Shirley-Clarke HT) Cameron Ferguson.
TA:1 Jack Hopwood 2 Ben Johnson 3 Tommy Twelves 4 Mark Riddick 5 Dan Steadman (Capt) 6 Ronnie Blagdon (16 Lewis Smith 70) 7 Ryan Sturges (12 Chris Vardy 70) 8 Sam Joliffe (Capt) 9 Chris Blunden 10 Jack Read (14 Max Hercules 70) 11 Luke Dunstan. Subs not used: 15 Ryan Reeves.
H:Yemi Buraimoh (13)