Sat 1st Dec 2018
The Buildbase FA Vase - 3rd Round
Sponsored by Debbie & Will Dunstan
TAFC First team 1-1 Biggleswade FC

TAFC goals: Mark Riddick

This clash of the top two teams in the South Midlands League failed to produce a winner after 120 minutes of ultra competitive football and both clubs will listen with interest on Monday to see who they could potentially meet in the fourth round of the FA Vase.

Both clubs will take some satisfaction from the game, with the visitors showing their delight at the end to get a second bite of the cherry after playing for an hour with 10 players after their centre forward Tom Cookman was sent off for a second yellow card in the 59th minute.

For us any disappointment at not being able to make home advantage and an extra man count will be greatly outweighed by making a much better fist of it against the best team in the League at the moment after some very poor performances in recent weeks.

The visitors have been in blistering form with just one league defeat all season
and are the highest scorers with 52 goals from 16 league games. They are a very good team that play a lovely brand of football and we knew we would be in for a tough game.

But despite some recent setbacks we have also had a very good season and fully deserve our 2nd place in the table. We are the 2nd highest scorers with 43 goals from 18 games and we also boast the meanest defence with just 16 goals conceded from 18 League games, so we had reasons to be hopeful of a positive result.

The visitors started brightly as you would expect from a team full of confidence but we were solid and competitive. We won the first corner after 10 minutes and although big Carl Mensah got his head to the ball he sent his effort over the bar. Five minutes later we had a narrow escape when an attempted clearance in our area was sliced up in the air and we had to desperately block a couple of goal bound shots. Young Patrick Sinfield, who before the game was deservedly presented with the Player of the Month Award for November, made a good save from the visitors impressive captain Alex Marsh.

Kieran Turner produced a terrific run and shot that keeper Dan Child punched away with Lee Stobbs just unable to convert the loose ball. Then a few minutes later Lee picked up a loose ball and drove a low shot that forced a good save from the keeper. Ashton Campbell did well to recycle the ball back to Kieran Turner who shot just wide. The opposition replied with midfielder Pat McCafferty heading a free kick over.

It was an even game but with 9 minutes to go to the break we opened the scoring. It stemmed from a short corner taken by Lee Stobbs to Kieran Turner whose precise cross was superbly headed home by Mark Riddick for his third goal of the season to the delight of the large number of home supporters amongst a decent crowd of 239. It was great to see Mark on the score sheet because he works so hard in midfield alongside Roy Byron. Score 1-0.

The last action of the half saw Alex Marsh send a shot straight at Patrick Sinfield and Kieran Turner's shot was deflected over the bar following a super move. The visitors may have had more possession in the first period but we took a crucial lead, albeit a narrow one into the break. HT Score 1-0.

We had to make a change at half time with Chris Vardy going off after receiving some fairly rough treatment in the first period. It was a shame for Vards who had been out injured since 15 September so we hope its not too serious. He was replaced by Connor Church, who has only just returned to action recently himself after a long injury.

Our opponents started the second half in determined fashion and we had to endure some pressure. A header from Alex Marsh forced a good save from Patrick Sinfield and we seemed unable to keep hold of the ball and we paid the price 10 minutes into the second half when Lee Northfield drove a fine shot home. Score 1-1.

Four minutes later came a potential turning point when Tom Cookman received a second yellow card for simulation. It has to be said that the forward had walked a fine line with some dubious challenges.

The pendulum now appeared to swing in our favour but to the oppositions credit they didn't buckle and continued to play their normal style of football. We pushed forward and naturally enjoyed more possession but Biggleswade defended well.

Carl Mensah headed over from a corner after Mark Riddick had nodded the ball back across the area and following a good move Lee Stobbs whipped over a dangerous cross that the keeper did well to come out and intercept. Midway through the 2nd half the ball was played to Kieran Turner in a good scoring position but the defender did well to block his shot with the loose ball then being hacked clear.

Mark Riddick is terrific in the air and from a corner he again got a good connection to send the ball goalwards and from right in front of the keeper Ashton Campbell flicked the ball over the bar. Despite our numerical advantage we were not finding it easy to open up the oppositions defence and as the clocked ticked towards the 90 minute mark they created some opportunities themselves.

We were caught napping at a short corner and when the ball was played into our area it found Alex Marsh who stabbed his shot wide. Biggleswade then went close again from another set piece this time from a free kick which defender Benat Pena headed over from a good position.

The last action of normal time saw Tommy Twelves go close twice. Firstly he struck a vicious shot that the keeper did well to push away then he was picked out by an accurate cross from Joe Fitzgerald but his header went straight at the keeper. FT Score 1-1.

A further 30 minute period of extra time saw sub Matt Richardson shoot just wide for Biggleswade then Ashton Campbell did well to get to the bye line but Kieran Turner was just unable to get on the end of his inviting cross.

But as extra time went to the later stages Biggleswade went close to snatching a late goal with Alex Marsh going close twice then sub Justin Leavers had the opportunity to win the tie at the death but Patrick Sinfield came out to make a crucial save. Final FT Score 1-1.

Afterwards Manager Ian Richardson said "the Boys worked their socks off against a very good Biggleswade FC side. Its a bit disappointing that we couldn't take advantage against 10 men but we're still in the draw on Monday and we will be ready to go again next Saturday".

The winner of replay will carry the responsibility of being the last remaining team from the South Midlands League in the FA Vase after Leighton Town and Leverstock Green suffered heavy defeats at Lye Town and Histon..


TAFC:1 Patrick Sinfield 2 Joe Fitzgerald 3 Chris Vardy (16 Connor Church HT) 4 Roy Byron 5 David OConnor 6 Carl Mensah (12 Sam Joliffe 108) 7 Lee Stobbs 8 Mark Riddick 9 Ashton Campbell 10 Kieran Turner (Capt) 11 Tommy Twelves (14 George Ironton 105). Subs not used: 15 Jack Read 17 Ben Johnson.

BFC:1 Dan Child 2 Adam Hunt 3 Michael Simpson 4 Pat McCafferty 5 Michael Carroll 6 Benat Pena 7 Alex Marsh (Capt) 8 Lawrie Marsh 9 Tom Cookman 10 Lee Northfield (15 Matt Richardson 90) 11 Ryan Inskip (12 Justin Leavers 72). Subs not used: 14 Adam Drakulic 16 Nathan George 17 Sam Kelly.


TA:Mark Riddick (36)

BFC:Lee Northfield (55)


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