Wed 6th Dec 2017
Dudley Latham Memorial (Premier Division) Cup
Hadley 1-1 (5-3 Pens) TAFC First team
TAFC goals: Jack Read (pen)
WE EXIT CUP BUT WITH HONOUR
True to past form we again lost at Hadley (only one win now in 10 visits) and went out of the Premier Division Cup. But despite the defeat we showed some character as we had to play for over 50 minutes a man down, after Steve Nott-Macaire got his marching orders on his full debut. We were certainly played well in the second half, matching our hosts and spurning some good scoring opportunities and eventually went out of the competition on penalties.
After the euphoria of Saturday's win we had to do without Elliott Goward and new signing Luke Jones who were both cup tied, and Ian Richardson took the opportunity to make a few changes, rest some players and change the formation from our usual 4-3-3 to 5-3-2.
Despite the changes we started well and could/should have been ahead after only 33 seconds when Luke Dunstan broke down the left and pulled the ball back to Chris Vardy who shot wide of the far post when in a good position. A few minutes later a throw found Jack Read who turned and fired over and then soon after the home keeper dropped a corner but Luke Dunstan's shot was deflected away from the goal.
It took the home side a while to get going but once they got into their stride they started to play the ball around nicely. Justin Thompson got his head to a cross which was easy for Jack Hopwood and then Jermeel Jno-Baptiste struck a nice shot that fortunately went straight at Hoppy. The home centre forward then knocked over a dangerous cross which we cleared with Thompson waiting expectantly.
Jack Read's cross found Chris Vardy who produced a spectacular overhead kick that wasn't too far off target and then in the 22nd minute we got some reward for our positive start. Luke Dustan was the instigator with a terrific run into the area where he was upended for a penalty. Jack Read took responsibility for the kick and duly opened the scoring. Score 0-1.
Hadley came back strongly with the tricky Zaine Gangadeen hitting a super shot that Jack Hopwood did well to tip onto the bar and over. The home side were now looking a different side and we were forced onto the back foot to contain the Hadley attacks. Dave O'Connor , back in the side after missing a couple of games through injury, produced a superb challenge to prevent a certain goal.
In the 34th minute there was an incident that was to later have repercussions for us, when Steve Nott-Macaire challenged a Hadley player who appeared to jab his elbow back. Fortunately no one was injured but our players were incensed that no action was taken and Steve took his protests too far and was booked. Six minutes later a foul was awarded against Steve and that was followed by a second yellow and a red card. It has to be said that this was an extremely harsh decision.
Matters took a turn for the worse when from the resulting free kick Gangedeen produced a stunning strike that gave Hoppy no chance to level the scores just before half time. So after a great start to the game we ended the first half back on level terms, with just 10 players and facing a daunting second half HT Score 1-1.
But despite facing an uphill task we reverted to a 4-3-2 formation for the second half and actually looked better structured and organised. We naturally had to withstand some periods of pressure but we defended well and didn't make it easy for our opponents.
Jack Hopwood made a good save with his feet from the dangerous Gangadeen soon after the restart and Hadley had some possible opportunities that they failed to take. We started to push forward ourselves and from one such foray Luke Dunstan set Tommy Twelves free down the right and he tried to find the unmarked Jack Read in the middle but the keeper read the situation well and made a timely interception.
We had a lucky escape when sub Tariq Turay hit the bar with what looked more like a cross than a shot and later Thompson glanced a header just wide of our far post but as the half wore on we started to grow in confidence and threaten to score.
Just before the hour a free kick routine straight from the training ground involving Tommy Twelves and Chris Vardy presented Jack Read with a very scorable opportunity, but from close range he shot wide. Six minutes later Luke Dunstan found Jack Read in space in the Hadley area but it unfortunately came to nothing. We again went close when Chris Vardy and Jack Read linked up and at this stage we looked the more likely winners as the home team appeared to have run out of steam.
Entering the last quarter of the game Luke Dunstan headed a free kick to Tommy Twelves who neatly laid the ball off to Jack Read who was denied by the keeper who came off his line to make a crucial save, injuring himself in the process. Hadley came alive again as the clock started to tick towards the 90th minute with Thompson going on a mazy dribble that nearly took him through the centre of our defence.
But an entertaining and even game finished all square and moved into a penalty shoot out. FT score 1-1.
The penalty shoot out was of a high standard with Hadley converting all theirs although Hoppy nearly saved the first one, getting his hands to the ball but being unlucky to see it spin into the corner. We converted three of ours but missed the first making the last kick unnecessary. Won't embarrass the taker by naming him but what we can say it was so far off target that Hadley are still looking for the ball! Penalties 5-3.
Disappointing result but not the effort or performance from the players. Special mention for Mark Riddick who goes about his game unnoticed but does a great job winning challenges and headers to deny the opposition time and space and is becoming a very important part of the team.
Best of luck to Hadley in the semi-final, they have a difficult away trip to Welwyn Garden City. No game this Saturday but we have a St Marys Cup game at home on Tuesday against Chipperfield Corinthians. Then on the following Saturday (16th December) we have a crucial league game against Stotfold where we desperately need to pick up some points if we want to move away from the foot of the table.
H:1 Sean Fryer 2 Rhys Shirley-Clarke 3 Alfie Bartram 4 Shaz Anwar 5 Stephen O'Hara 6 Paul Wright 7 Sam Edwards (17 Tariq Turay 50) 8 Zaine Gangadeen 9 Jermeel Jno-Baptiste (14 Kabir Kareem 76) 10 Zaine Gangadeen 11 Justin Thompson. Subs not used: 12 Jonathan Davite 15 Yemi Buraimoh 16 Jerome Eusebe.
TA:1 Jack Hopwood 2 Ben Johnson 3 Chris Mason (12 Colm Parrott 69) 4 Mark Riddick 5 Steve Nott-Macaire 6 Dave O'Connor 7 Luke Dunstan 8 Sam Joliffe (Capt) 9 Chris Vardy 10 Jack Read 11 Tommy Twelves. Subs not used: 14 Max Hercules 15 Geore Carbery.
H:Zaine Gangadeen (42)
TA:Jack Read Pen (22)