Tue 31st Oct 2017
Herts Senior Challenge Cup - First Round
Sponsored by David Doman
TAFC First team 0-1 Oxhey Jets
SAME OLD, SAME OLD
There was a touch of dj vu watching this game as the pattern of play followed what is fast becoming the norm for us lately. It starts with us doing quite well in the early stages, then we miss some opportunities to score, then we make a mistake and concede a goal, then we miss some more chances before we end up losing!
This is typical Gallows Humour used by football supporters of teams who are not doing well and with this game being played on Halloween we could have also used a headline like "Cup Shocker"! But that would be harsh on the players who tried their best but are having no luck at all at the moment and find themselves on a downward spiral of poor results.
But all joking apart what has gone wrong this season when we had such high hopes of doing well? In the last game of last season we beat Kings Langley to lift the St Marys Cup with basically the same team that has played this term. The main difference is the loss of Chris Stapleton who joined Buckingham Athletic and Ollie Butler who frustratingly would rather play for the A Team than the Firsts. On the plus side we have added Mark Riddick and Elliott Goward although the latter broke his nose and hasn't played many games.
The season has been disrupted by injuries to key players and we made a bad start with a consequence that our confidence levels took a hit. Although the results have been poor we have not been taken apart by many teams in fact 7 of the 11 defeats we have suffered so far were by only one goal. The solution is a confidence boosting win to ignite our season and lets hope that comes along soon.
As for this cup tie, we again started the better team with Tommy Twelves sending Jack Read away down the right after only 32 seconds with Jack shooting straight at the keeper. A few minutes later Readie tried his luck with a long range effort, which was well struck but went straight at keeper Rob Partington.
We were producing some positive moves during the early stages and Luke Dunstan found Jack Read out on the left and his cross was well directed into the box, but Elliott Goward was unable to get on the end of it. Almost immediately Elliott, who looked lively down the left in only his 2nd start, had a shot blocked on the edge of the area. Another cross from Elliott was headed back across goal by Dave O'Connor and although Mark Riddick produced an acrobatic over head kick it was easily collected by the keeper.
Its fair say that during the first half hour we were the better side although Jets were potentially dangerous in attack with the lively Elijah Seymour causing us problems with his speed. Jets midfielder Sim Armstrong smacked a good shot over the bar and Lewis Davis nearly got on the end of a long ball. Jets produced a fine move in the 26th minute and although Davis was in a good shooting position his effort was weak.
We were looking good but in the 35th minute we again let ourselves down when instead of clearing the ball we gave away possession and Seymour's quick feet and pace took him clear of our defence where he finished confidently past Jack Hopwood. Score 0-1.
Elliott Goward had an opportunity to register a quick reply when he beat the keeper to the ball but in attempting to chip it into the net merely played into the arms of the Jets custodian. We suffered another anxious moment when we again ceded position to our opponents and with Jack Hopwood out of position we were fortunate that Patre Maruis-Cosmin failed to hit the target.
With a minute to go to the break we should have leveled the score when following a fine move Jack Read played Tommy Twelves in on goal. In exactly the same position on Saturday Tommy scored but this time he dragged his shot wide of the far post, which meant we took our one goal deficit into half time. HT Score 0-1.
There was some early excitement in the second half when Elliott Goward's superb cross needed a touch and Tommy Twelves sent Jack Read away down the right who then fired a shot over. The game then went scrappy as we started to knock long balls in the hope of finding the head Dave O'Connor who was making a welcome return after a lengthy period out injured and who was drafted into the centre forward spot in the absence of Chris Vardy who was away on holiday.
This long ball tactic was food and drink to the Jets big centre backs who looked comfortable holding onto their one goal lead. Neither side created much and neither keeper was required to soil their gloves, but with us being a goal behind the emphasis was on us to create chances, which regrettably we didn't.
As the game headed towards the final whistle we at last roused ourselves with Max Hercules forcing the keeper to make a very good save to tip away his well struck shot away at the near post and George Carbery goal bound shot was deflected away beyond the far post for a corner. But it was all a bit too little and too late.
The game ended on a strange note when Hoppy went up for a corner and Jets broke with a 4 to 1 advantage with no keeper between the sticks, but somehow they managed to get themselves offside. But it mattered not a jot as they went through to the next round where we wish them all the best. FT Score 0-1.
It was disappointing to lose again but fortunately it was in a cup competition we were most unlikely to win. But we need to get that winning feeling back again and a good place to start will be on Saturday when fellow strugglers St Margaretsbury are the visitors. They lost 5-0 at home on the same night and same competition to Royston Town and are only 2 places and 4 points ahead of us having played the same number of games. If we win we will narrow the points difference to just one but if we lose the margin will grow to 7 points.
Our only league victory came at St Mags but that will count for nothing, this is a new game and it would be a great place to start our revival.
TA:1 Jack Hopwood 2 Ben Johnson 3 Jack Seaton 4 Mark Riddick 5 Dan Steadman (Capt) 6 Tommy Twelves 7 Luke Dunstan (12 George Carbery 62) 8 Sam Joliffe 9 Jack Read (14 Jack Sunderland 62) 10 Dave O'Connor 11 Elliott Goward (17 Max Hercules 80). Subs not used: 15 Steve Nott-Macaire 16 Ryan Sturges.
OJ:1 Rob Partington 2 Dan Taylor (Capt) 3 Conor Ferguson 4 Liam James 5 Vass Manderville 6 Jude Bell 7 Patre Marius-Cosmin 8 Sim Armstrong 9 Lewis Davis (14 Luke Lloyd 66) 10 Tom Gibson 11 Elijah Seymour (15 Kojo Agyeman 70). Sub not used: Warren Gladdy
OJ:Elijah Seymour (35)