Sat 19th Jan 2019
Sponsored by Knightmaster Gardening
TAFC First team 0-2 Biggleswade FC
WE LOSE GROUND IN TITLE RACE FOLLOWING DEFEAT IN TOP OF THE TABLE CLASH
This eagerly expected encounter between two of the top teams chasing the title and promotion ended with a resounding win for the visitors from Beds. Biggleswade grabbed the initiative with an early goal and although we hit the post and had other chances, mainly from headers, we failed to find the vital breakthrough. A second goal just past the hour mark killed off any hopes we had of getting anything from this game.
Ourselves and Biggleswade have been the leading lights in the Premier Division from the start of the season but recent dips in form, with Biggleswade picking up just 4 points from last 4 league games and us collecting just one point from previous 2 games, has allowed Hadley and Biggleswade United to join the party to turn the competition for honours into a 4 horse race.
We have slipped down to 3rd place, 5 points behind leaders Hadley but with 2 games in hand, but with 14 leagues games still to play we are still very much in the hunt for glory and our final destiny is still in our own hands.
We have recently been unable to play a settled defence but we had Carl Mensah back but we were still missing Dave O'Connor who is still injured. So in came Jack Humphrey on loan from Wingate and Finchley to fill the gap in central defence. During this uncertain spell we have developed an unwanted tendency of conceding the first goal and we again fell into this trap after a mere 3 minutes, for the 5th time in the last 6 games.
There appeared to be no danger when an aimless pass was played into our area until Lee Northfield appeared from nowhere to slip the ball past Connor Sansom, who was back in goal in place of the injured Patrick Sinfield. The players and spectators nearby felt the player was offside but no flag went up and the visitors had a crucial early lead. Score 0-1.
This was a big early blow especially against a quality team like Biggleswade but we came back strongly with Aston Campbell firing a shot into the side netting after latching onto a fine pass from George Ironton and getting away from his marker. George was the instigator again with a lovely chip to set up Ash but his header went too near the keeper.
It was great to have big Carl Mensah back in action and he came very close to putting ice on the cake with a header from a George Ironton corner that struck the post. It was then Kieran Turner's turn to go close with a header from a Jack Sunderland cross but keeper Ross Tomkins did superbly well to get down quickly and stop the ball on the line with his defenders managing to scramble the ball away to safety.
But it was far from being one way action as our opponents are a fine attacking side and they had their opportunities as well. Connor Sansom had to stretch to tip away a header from a corner. Connor then had to be quick off the mark to come out and smother the ball at the feet of Tom Cookman who had been nicely set free in our area. Opposition right back Adam Hunt worked his way cleverly to our bye line but fortunately Carl was in the right place to clear his dangerous cross.
Half time was reached with us feeling a bit unlucky to be a goal behind and with plenty to do in the second half against a strong team with the best defensive record in the Premier Division. HT Score 0-1.
For the first quarter of an hour after the restart the game was finely balanced with both sides recognising that the next goal was going to be crucial. Then in the 60th minute came the moment that swung the game very firmly in our opponents favour.
Connor Sansom did well to block an attempted lob over him by Alex Marsh and there were shouts for a penalty when he appeared to foul the opposition's captain. But the legitimacy of this claim was soon irrelevant as from the resulting corner our opponents scored a killer second goal.
Again we could have done better with the corner with Connor unable to keep hold of the ball and then we failed to clear the danger allowing Alex Marsh to reaffirm his status as his team's leading marksmen when he fired home his 22nd goal of the season. Score 0-2.
With a mountain to climb we went for broke by throwing on two forwards, firstly new signing Jon Clements who scored 35 goals for Welwyn Garden City last season and young James Verney. But despite all our attacking efforts we found the opposition defence resolute and strong and clear chances were few. Carl Mensah fired the ball over the bar following a corner and Ashton Campbell forced a super save from the keeper with a downward header from a Lee Stobbs cross but the visitors were able to see out the game to claim a valuable three points. FT score 0-2.
A disappointing result but to put it into perspective Biggleswade have lost only one league game all season and are a very good team, probably the best in the League. We will meet again for the return league fixture on 23rd April but before then we have a Premier Division Cup Semi-Final on 19th February so there is more drama to follow.
Our next game will see us travel to Stotfold on Saturday.
TA:1 Connor Sansom 2 Joe Fitzgerald 3 Jack Sunderland 4 Roy Byron (14 James Verney 81) 5 Jack Humphrey (12 Jon Clements 64) 6 Carl Mensah 7 Lee Stobbs 8 George Ironton 9 Ashton Campbell 10 Kieran Turner 11 Luke Dunstan. Subs not used: 15 Les Barkers-Obua GK Dave Saunders
BFC:1 Ross Tompkins 2 Adam Hunt 3 Sam Kelly 4 Patrick McCafferty 5 Nathan George 6 Benat Pena 7 Alex Marsh (Capt) 8 Lawrie Marsh 9 Tom Cookman (14 Justin Leavers 64) 10 Lee Northfield 11 Ryan Inskip. Subs not used: 12 Connor Inskip 15 Abraham Eze 16 Adam Drakulic 17 Darren Woodend.
BFC:Lee Northfield (3), Alex Marsh (61)