Sat 13th Jan 2018
Spartan South Midlands Premier Division
Sponsored by John Hollylee & Brian Bruton
TAFC First team 1-1 Hadley
TAFC goals: David O'Connor
DOC COMES TO THE RESCUE
After all the excitement in recent weeks Saturday's match against Hadley was in truth a bit of a damp squib. Both sides tried to play football but the game lacked goal mouth action and few clear cut chances were created.
The visitors were evidently missing some key players as were we and we were lacking our usual vim. The game started brightly, within 23 seconds Jack Hopwood had to dash from his line to beat Kerkstun Macpherson to a penetrating through ball. There were calls from the visitors that Hoppy had handled outside the area but from where I was sitting he didn't appear to touch the ball with his hands.
A few seconds later Luke Dunstan's exquisite pass set Chris Vardy free down the left and his cross picked out Max Hercules whose shot was blocked at close quarters by Hadley keeper Myles Bowman. But after that the game became a bit of a stalemate with neither side able to dominate play or create too much in and around the penalty areas.
Hadley's skilful left back Alfie Barram shot well wide following a long throw and their leading scorer Kerstun Macpherson produced an overhead kick which flew well over the bar. In the 18th minute we looked certain to score when Chris Vardy's inviting cross found Jack Read unmarked in the area, but from vey close range he somehow shot over (Readie don't look at U Tube!!). But to spare Jack's blushes the goal would not have stood as he was evidently offside.
Almost immediately Jack tried to make amends after being played into a good shooting position by Max Hercules but his effort went wide of the far post. Later Ben Johnson's fine pass released Max Hercules but Jack Read was unable to get to the resulting cross.
And that was about it for a fairly evenly contested half which if we are honest was a bit on the dull side. HT score 0-0.
Someone must have put a sedative in our tea during the break because we started the second half all over the place with some dreadful misplaced passes one of which nearly set up Hadley centre forward Jeff Idemudia who fortunately for us was unable to take advantage of the opportunity.
Max Hercules had to make a timely intervention in our area to prevent a goal scoring chance and we stood and watched as Shaz Anwar ran onto a pass and crossed for sub Yemi Buraimoh to stab wide. Around the hour mark Steve Nott-Macaire, who came on for the injured Luke Dunstan, slipped and that allowed Idemudia a run into our box where he was fouled. Macpherson stepped up and fired home the penalty to put Hadley in front. Score 0-1.
We were not firing on all cylinders and the nearest we came to a sight of goal was when Jack Read headed a Chris Vardy free kick over the bar in the 83rd minute. But credit to the players we did step it up in the last 10 minutes and they thought we should have had a penalty when Chris Vardy's well struck shot was blocked by Rhys Shirley-Clarke, Afterwards Vards said it was the best save of the match!
But we were rewarded for our late efforts with an equaliser with 2 minutes of normal time left. It stemmed from a well taken Chris Vardy free kick which Myles Bowman, whose handling had been impeccable all afternoon, failed to clear properly and Dave O'Connor was on hand to head the ball high into the net. Score 1-1.
The game perked up and there was more action in the last 10 minutes than in the previous 80. Mark Riddick's shot forced the keeper to stretch to catch it and Hadley mounted some late attacks looking for a winner. They won a couple of corners but when Idemudia shot well over the Referee blew for time. On the basis that neither team deserved to win a draw was a fair result. FT Score 1-1.
The players looked a bit tired and jaded so a draw was a reasonable result and at least prevented us adding to our appalling record against Hadley, who have won 10 of the last 17 encounters. We still remain in 17th place but we seem to have put our early season struggles behind us with a string of impressive results in our last 7 league games, with 5 victories and a draw and only one defeat which came at leaders Berkhamsted. We have also started to improve our goal difference with 18 scored and only 7 conceded in those 7 games.
Next week we have a St Marys Cup game on Tuesday night at home to Chipperfield then on Saturday we travel to Biggleswade United for a Premier Division game.
TA:1 Jack Hopwood 2 Ben Johnson (14 Colm Parrot 77) 3 Chris Mason 4 Mark Riddick 5 Dan Steadman (Capt) 6 Dave O'Connor 7 Max Hercules (15 Jack Sunderland 67) 8 Sam Joliffe 9 Chris Vardy 10 Jack Read 11 Luke Dunstan (12 Steve Nott-Macaire 60).
H:1 Myles Bowman 2 Rhys Shirley-Clarke 3 Alfie Bartram 4 Tom Milton 5 Stephen O'Hara 6 Jonathan Devite 7 Cameron Ferguson 8 Shaz Anwar 9 Jeff Idemudia 10 Kerkstun Macpherson (17 Andrew White 73) 11 Ibrahim Camara (14 Yemi Buraimoh (45+4). Subs not used: 12 Coyan Karagozlu 15 Jake King 16 Bradley Osbourne
TA:Dave O'Connor (88)
H:Kerkstun Macpherson Pen (62)