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First team report
Tue 17th May 2016
Herts Charity Shield Final
Hadley 3-1 TAFC First team TAFC goals: Christopher Vardy
SEASON ENDS WITH FINAL DEFEAT
Our hopes of bringing down the curtain on our season by lifting the Herts Charity Shield for the fourth time were dashed on Tuesday night at the Herts FA County Ground, Letchworth by Hadley. The scores were level at the interval but two goals in the second half swung the game in Hadley's favour.
We used to be regular visitors to the County Ground but this was our first trip here since 2008 but we quickly reacquainted ourselves with once familiar surroundings scoring after only six minutes when Chris Vardy latched onto a poor back pass then kept a cool head to round the keeper and slot the ball into an empty net. Score 1-0.
It could have been even better for us as we had already missed two good chances with the Hadley defence looking shaky. An early Lee Stobbs free kick was nodded across goal by Dave O'Connor and from close range Sam Joliffe headed straight at keeper Charlie Mann. Then some miss control by a Hadley defender was seized on by Chris Vardy and you would have put your money on him scoring. But the keeper did well to come out and make a save as Vardy tried to round him.
But despite the great start we were pegged back within three minutes. Laste Dombaxe had already shown what he was capable of with a lovely turn and shot that went over but he was more successful with his next effort, firing an accurate shot past Jack Hopwood from well outside the area. It was a great finish but it was disappointing to give up the lead so quickly. Score 1-1.
Dombaxe tried his luck again soon afterwards with a well struck volley, but this time it went straight at Jack Hopwood, but Hadley were looking lively and sharp going forwards. We had to work hard to keep our opponents at bay but Chris Vardy and Taylor Collins showed it was not all one way traffic after some nice link up play that ended with a shot from Taylor that the keeper saved.
Jno-Baptiste was sent away down the left after some clever play from the tricky Zaine Gangadeen but the final shot didn't test Jack Hopwood. With ten minutes to go to the break Hadley broke well down the right with the ball being pulled back to Mustapha Mutlak who side footed his shot just wide of the post. Mutlak went close again eight minutes later just failing to connect with a diagonal ball played into our area.
We came to life just as the half was reaching its conclusion with Lee Stobbs thumping a shot at the keeper after combining well with Taylor Collins than Luke Dunstan produced a superb piece of skill to firstly keep the ball in play then round the defender on the bye before tantalising zipping the ball across the area. But as so often this season no one was there to take advantage of this great opportunity.
But a good half where both sides had their opportunities ended all square. HT Score 1-1.
After competing well in the first half we went to sleep at the start of the second and paid the price within two minutes of the restart. A hopeful ball played into our area found Dombaxe unmarked and the ex Spurs academy player took full advantage to shoot past keeper Jack Hopwood. Score 1-2.
We tried to strike back immediate but Sam Joliffe's header from Lee Stobbs free kick went well over the bar. Taylor Collins nice touch sent Kieran Turner away but as he tried to break into the area he appeared to be impeded by the defender but nothing was given.
Hadley were not content to sit on their lead and we managed to block a shot from Dombaxe following a good run down the wing from Jno-Baptiste. The next goal was going to be crucial and unfortunately for us it went to Hadley in the 63rd minute. We were caught napping after a diagonal ball was played into our area and Mustapha Mutlak, who started at full back and was then moved to right wing, nipped around the back and converted from close range. Score 1-3.
We immediately brought on Ben Seaton and Chris Stapleton who made a difference particularly Chris whose energy and direct running gave the Hadley defenders something to think about. We pushed forward looking for a goal to get us back into the game and Chris Stapleton went close on a couple of occasions but it was not to be and Hadley went on to deservedly lift the trophy for the first time. FT Score 1-3.
Overall it has been a good season for the Club, finishing in mid table, reaching two cup finals and lifting our first trophy in six years. In addition the Reserves had a brilliant season doing the league and cup double so prospects are looking promising for the future.
TA: 1 Jack Hopwood 2 Kevin McManus 3 Chris Mason (17 Ben Seaton 66) 4 Luke Dunstan 5 Dan Steadman (Capt) 6 Dave O'Connor 7 Lee Stobbs 8 Sam Joliffe (12 Ryan Sturges 79) 9 Taylor Collins (15 Chris Stapleton 66) 10 Kieran Turner 11 Chris Vardy. Subs not used: 14 Jay Caines 16 Jack Seaton.
H: 1 Charlie Mann 2 Tony Sebag (Capt) 3 Mustapha Mutlak (16 Hesham Benmansour 77) 4 Harry Sedgley 5 Louis Bowen 6 Sam Lyon 7 Laste Dombaxe 8 Nick Chrysanthou 9 Jermeel Jno-Baptiste 10 Zaine Gangadeen (15 Martin Flannery 90) 11 Tanasheh Abrahams. Subs not used: 12 Dan McAteer GK Tom Le Tissier