Sat 29th Dec 2018
Sponsored by Ralph Grifiths
TAFC First team 3-1 Cockfosters FC
TAFC goals: James Verney (2), George Ironton
FLOODLIGHT FAILURE FAILS TO TAKE SHINE OFF OUR CLIMB BACK TO THE TOP
We ended the year with a move back to the top of the table after our close rivals Biggleswade FC surprisingly drew 1-1 at home with bottom of the table Stotfold. We have a two point lead but the Beds side have two games in hand and a better goal difference. Our game against them in Tring on 19th January will be eagerly awaited.
After a poor run of results in late November/early December we have begun to find our form again and this victory was our 4th on the trot, but it was far from easy against a side lying one off the bottom of the table. The visitors are managed by Ryan Wade, who was a very good goalscorer and has obviously not lost his instincts in front of goal as he the Club's leading scorer with 12 goals, although he didn't play in this game.
Wade has recruited a lot of new players as there were 9 changes to the list in the programme and they only lost 1-0 at home to Hadley the previous Saturday so it was clear they would be a tough. They also had a couple of Luton Town youngsters namely Magcoire Muvembe and Sam Scott, whose parents I sat next to.
They were probably the better side in the first half but in the second period, which was delayed by 25 minutes due to floodlight problems, we raised our game and could have won by a bigger margin.
We had to make some changes with Dave O'Connor not fully fit so he was moved to the bench and Les Barkers-Oua stepped up from the Reserves for his First Team debut and he settled in well. However, DOC was soon called into action when Carl Mensah went off injured in the 42nd minute.
We were also missing Kieran Turner and Tommy Twelves and all our left backs so Joe Fitzgerald moved across to left back and produced his usual excellent performance and 20 year old local boy James Verney made his 2nd appearance this time from the off and was to play a significant part in our victory. It was also good to see Luke Dunstan make a second half appearance after a lengthy spell out injured, his energy and commanding presence will be much needed in the weeks ahead.
The visitors tactics were clear from the start, to defend in depth and catch us off guard with quick breakaways and at times we did look uncomfortable at the back, certainly during the early stages of the game. Their lively centre forward Ceykan Karagozlu fired an early which bounced awkwardly for Patrick Sinfield who had to recover quickly to avert the danger.
We had a couple of anxious moments in defence during the early stages but we had a great opportunity to open the scoring in the 14th minute when James Verney was tripped in the area. But Carl Mensah, who evidently has been slotting them away with ease in training, smashed the ball over the bar to continue our appalling record from spot kicks with only 2 converted from the last 10!
A sloppy pass out of defence nearly cost us a goal with the shot from George Beattie blocked. But we recovered to produce some fine attacking play ourselves with Ashton Campbell making some great runs down the left. But the visitors were playing well in defence so we didn't create too many clear chances, although George Ironton was not too far off target with a couple of efforts.
But the visitors looked the more likely to score with Joe Fitzgerald making a terrific intervention to prevent a goal and Patrick Sinfield saved a good shot from Kane Thompson-Summers with his feet.
It came as no surprise when Fosters opened the scoring in the 39th minute when again we were caught out by a quick counter attack and Reece Mosanya took full advantage to slot the ball home from close range. Score 0-1.
Fortunately for us the lead lasted a mere 2 minutes when James Verney struck a superb free kick past the keeper from 25 yards. Score 1-1. Soon afterwards Lee Stobbs slipped a nice pass to Verney but his well struck effort hit the side netting.
Two minutes into time added on we took the lead when another super run from Ashton Campbell took him to the opposition bye line before he pulled the ball back for James Verney to calmly slot it home. It was only James second game for us and the youngster has scored three goals and although it is still early days he has already made a big impression. HT Score 2-1.
The delay to the second half seemed to benefit us more than our opponents and we looked a different proposition straight from the restart. James Verney twice went close to getting his hat-trick and Ashton Campbell also tested the keeper on a couple of occasions. The visitors attacks were less frequent and less dangerous but a defensive lapse presented them with an equaliser, with Reece Mosanya having his shot blocked with the follow up effort from Kane Thompson-Summers deflected over.
Just past the hour mark we grabbed a crucial third goal when George Ironton rifled home a left foot shot that found the bottom corner. It was his first for the Club and put us in a commanding position. Score 3-1.
We could have increased our lead with Lee Stobbs smashing a shot off the underside of the woodwork and later Jack Read's header hit the top of the bar. There was one last scare for us when George Beattie ran through but Patrick Sinfield came out to make a very good save, although he had fouled Ben Johnson in the process so justice was served. FT Score 3-1.
For the second game running we have shown the spirit and character to come from behind and win the game. What is clear is that there are no easy games in this league as teams are constantly changing managers and bringing in new players so there is a long way to go yet, but 2018 comes to an end with us in a good position.
Our next game will be at home to Crawley Green in a league fixture on Saturday.
TA:1 Patrick Sinfield 2 Ben Johnson 3 Joe Fitzgerald 4 Mark Riddick (Capt) 5 Les Barkers-Obua 6 Carl Mensah (16 Dave O'Connor 42) 7 Lee Stobbs 8 Roy Byron (14 Luke Dunstan 78) 9 Ashton Campbell 10 James Verney (12 Jack Read 83) 11 George Ironton. Subs not used: 15 Stuart Stedman GK Dave Saunders.
C:1 Michael Corderoy 2 Magloire Muyembe 3 Joel N Browne 4 Sam Ruff (Capt) (17 Jack Francis 82) 5 Sam Scott 6 Nick Mountford 7 Reece Mosanya 8 Rian Carroll 9 Ceykan Karagozlu 10 Kane Thompson-Summers (15 Finbar King 74) 11 George Beattie (14 Francesco Di Bello 81). Subs not used: 12 Harley Haag 18 Billy Murray.
TA:James Verney (41, 45+2), George Ironton (62)
CH:Reece Mosanya (39)