Tue 31st Jul 2018
Herts Charity Shield - 1st Round
TAFC First team 3-0 Hatfield Town
TAFC goals: Kieran Turner (2), Billie Busari
WINNING START TO NEW SEASON
We eased into the new season and the next round of the Herts Charity Shield with this comfortable win. It was by no means easy, Hatfield defended in depth and with plenty of spirit and we had to wait until the 38th minute before opening the scoring, but once we broke the ice we looked the most likely winners.
Interestingly only 3 members of Tuesday nights squad played in the opening game last season (Tommy Twelves, Sam Joliffe and Chris Vardy) and we had 7 new signings on display. It was a new signing Billie Basari who scored the first goal and returnee Kieran Turner bagged the other two.
We started strongly with Joe Fitzgerald firing a shot over after a neat Tommy Twelves back heel had set him up with the chance then new signing Ashton Campbell saw his shot saved by keeper Jaiden Doocey legs, the first of many the Hatfield custodian would make throughout the game.
The visitors caused some problems when they won two successive corners but fortunately for us they came to nothing. Later they won a free kick in a promising position but Darren O'Brien's effort was safely gathered in by James Dowsett another one making his debut.
Dooley made a superb close range save from Kieran Turner and although Billie Basari slotted home the loose ball it was disallowed for an infringement. Our guests were defending doggedly and getting bodies in the way of crosses and shots but we had a great chance to open the scoring in the 38th minute. Doocey made a good save from Billie Basari who was tripped as he collected the loose ball. A penalty was awarded but Doocey came to the rescue of his team again by saving Sam Joliffe's spot kick.
But we didn't panic and 10 minutes later we got the crucial opening goal. Kieran Turner received a short corner then went past the defender and whipped in a great cross that Billie Basari flicked home at the near post. The teenager was with the academy at Fulham and Reading and looks a great prospect. Score 1-0.
The visitors keeper was in action again saving a shot at the near post from the impressive Ashton Campbell and a shot from Kieran Turner but right on half time we got a second goal and it was a peach.
Our new centre back Carl Menshah started the move with a super pass up the right wing to Joe Fitzgerald who flicked it first time inside to Ashton Campbell who then relayed it onto Kieran Turner who ran through to score. HT Score 2-0.
Our opponents had defended well but little had been seen of them in attack and our keeper James Dowsett was barely tested, unlike the Hatfield keeper who was again called into action tipping Kieran Turner's free kick over the bar. From the resulting corner Carl Menshah saw his header hit the bar.
Just past the hour we made the game safe with a third goal when Elliott Goward and Ashton Campbell linked up well with Kieran Turner whose shot beat the keeper at the near post. Its great to see Kieran back in an Athletic shirt and he capped a fine display with two goals. Score 3-0.
We took the opportunity to make some changes as did our opponents and as a result the game lost a bit of its flow. Carl Menshah picked out Chris Vardy with an exquisite pass but Vards sent his volley wide of the far post. Later Vards found himself in loads of space but shot well over.
Hatfield did produce some decent moves and in the 75th minute had their best chance of the game when the ball was played across our area but an unmarked Max Jessop failed to get a decent connection. Another promising youngster Ehban Nancarrow forced Dooley into a good save and then he had a shot blocked as did Ashton Campbell. FT Score 3-0.
A very satisfying performance particularly when we had so many new players who blended in very well. We now have 3 tough home games to come over the next 2 weeks against newly promoted Baldock Town, then local rivals Leverstock Green and finally newly promoted Berkhamsted in the FA Cup.
TA:1 James Dowsett 2 Joe Fitzgerald 3 Connor Church 4 Tommy Twelves 5 Luke Dunstan (15 Roy Byron 61) 6 Carl Menshah 7 Billie Busari 8 Sam Joliffe (Capt) 9 Ashton Campbell 10 Kieran Turner (16 Ehban Nancarrow 61) 11 Elliott Goward (12 Chris Vardy 70). Subs not used: 14 Alex Campana 17 Ben Johnson.
HT:1 Jaiden Doocey 2 Steve Newton (Capt) 3 Louie Benjamin 4 Greg McIntosh 5 Chris Gray 6 Jack Sheldrake (12 Paul Otim 70) 7 Toby Kirkham 8 Alfie Gibbs (16 Max Jessop 59) 9 Callum Riley 10 Mark Meremik (15 Toby Coleman 59) 11 Darren O'Brien. Subs not used: 14 Curtis Warner 17 Bailey Rose.
TA:Kieran Turner (45, 61), Billie Basari ((38)