Sat 9th Feb 2019
League
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TAFC First team 3-3 Oxhey Jets

TAFC goals: Jack Humphrey, James Verney, Ashton Campbell
LATE GOAL ROBS US OF WIN

We showed the resolve to come from behind twice and then finally take the lead midway through the second half, but we let ourselves down by dropping 2 valuable points after being the better side in the first half and then dominating almost the entire second period.

We failed to press home our advantage and were denied by the dreaded curse of returning old boys as former Athletic players Kyle Johnson and keeper Matt Evans played a significant part in their team getting a point, with the former scoring one and setting up the late dramatic equaliser and the latter pulling off a string super saves.

We were missing Luke Dunstan, Tommy Twelves and Ben Johnson but we again went for an attacking line up with Jon Clements and James Verney supporting Ashton Campbell up front. We also had a very strong bench which included Brima Johnson who has joined from Leverstock Green. Brima has always impressed when we have played against him and he will be terrific asset in our push for promotion.

Before the game there was a presentation to Jack Sunderland for Player of the Month for January. Sundy seems to have been around for years and years having played 265 games with appearances at every level within the Club from Youth Team up to the First Team. He is still only 25 having reach that age on the day of the game. So we wish him a belated happy birthday and many congratulations for the award.

After the pre-match ceremony the first quarter of the game was fairly non-descript with both sides creating little in front of goal. Ashton Campbell saw an early shot bobble wide of the goal and James Verney saw his shot hit the arm of a defender but the Referee waved away appeals for a penalty.

The visitors produced a couple of promising moves with Luke Jones, another former Athletic player, lifting his shot over the bar then Jets leading scorer Nick Kerley put his sweet left foot to good use with a well struck shot that went straight at Connor Sansom.

As the half wore on we started to enjoy more possession and territory with James Verney forcing Matt Evans into making a good save who then tipped a follow effort from James over the bar.

But just as we started to build up a head of steam the visitors scored against the run of play in the 32nd minute. Kyle Johnson, who scored four goals for us earlier this season, collected a cross then did really well to find some space and shoot past Connor Sansom. It was a very well taken goal and not for the first time in recent months we found ourselves a goal behind. Score 0-1.

We struck back as if offended by this set back with Jon Clements forcing Matt Evans to keep his shot out with his feet and then James Verney saw his shot deflected into the side netting. From the corner Jon Clements header was cleared off the line.

But Jets relief was short lived as the pressure finally told in the 37th minute when Jack Humphrey headed home a well flighted corner from George Ironton for his opening goal for the club to level the scores. Score 1-1.

But after working our way back into the game we suffered another sucker punch when we fell asleep at a corner 2 minutes into added time. No one seemed to pick up Jets centre back Scott Bonner who was given a free header to put his side back in front again as the teams went in for half time. HT Score 1-2.

Words must have been spoken over the half time cuppa as we came out for the second period in determined mood, taking the game to our opponents and putting them under periods of pressure.

With 36 seconds of the restart Matt Evans again used his feet to keep out a shot from Jon Clements and Carl Mensah was mighty close to getting his head to an inviting cross. Evans then made great saves from Ashton Campbell and Clements but an equaliser was coming and it arrived in the 55th minute.

Jon Clements, who has been a terrific signing, worked hard to retain the ball before slipping a pass to James Verney, who instantly clipped a lovely dipping shot over Evans. It was a superb strike from the youngster and took his tally to 5 goals from 7 games. Score 2-2.

The Jets keeper was the busiest player on the park keeping out 3 more goal attempts from the lively Jon Clements before we, for the first time in the game, deservedly took the lead in the 70th minute. The visitors failed to clear their lines properly and from outside the area Ashton Campbell lofted a super left shot past the outstretched arms of the keeper for his 22nd goal of the season. Score 3-2.

We seemed to be in control and Connor Sansom had not been called into too much action apart from a well struck shot from Kerley which he gathered at the second attempt. Jets powerful midfielder Henry Marku went down in our area but the Referee was not impressed obviously feeling that he went down far too easily.

Both teams made changes with Dave O'Connor making a welcome return after being out for some weeks with an injury to replace Jack Humphrey who got a knock. With just over 5 minutes plus added time to go Jets went for broke in an effort to get something out of the game. We seemed to weather the storm but 2 minutes into added time we paid the price for not making the game safe

Kyle Johnson played a big part getting off a shot that Connor Sansom pushed away but winger Sean Giordmania collected the loose ball and from a very tight angle did really well to find the back of the net and snatch a rather fortuitous draw. FT Score 3-3.

This was a very disappointing result to drop 2 points that should have been in the bag, especially after scoring 3 goals at home. Defensively we have been poor in recent weeks and have now failed to keep a clean sheet in our last 9 games. We did have the best goals against column in the Division and we need to get back to that standard quickly.

Credit must go to Oxhey who worked hard, took their chances and kept going to the end. They have taken 4 points from 2 recent games against both Biggleswade sides so they are a team to be reckoned with.

Biggleswade United were only ones of our rivals to play the same day and their 3-0 win at Crawley Green means they are only 2 points behind having played the same number of games as us. We still remain in 3rd place and if we win our game in hand will move above Hadley and up into second place, so our destiny is still in our own hands.

Our next game will be a trip to Wembley on Saturday for a League match.

Teams:

TA:1 Connor Sansom 2 Joe Fitzgerald 3 Jack Sunderland 4 Roy Byron 5 Jack Humphrey (16 Dave O'Connor 73) 6 Carl Mensah 7 James Verney (12 Lee Stobbs 83) 8 Jon Clements 9 Ashton Campbell 10 Kieran Turner 11 George Ironton (15 Mark Riddick 75). Subs not used: 14 Brima Johnson GK Patrick Sinfield.

OJ:1 Matt Evans (Capt) 2 Jamie Speer 3 George Turner 4 Henry Marku 5 Scott Bonner 6 Gary Wallace 7 Ollie Lawford (14 Sam Adetiba 73) 8 Luke Jones (15 Harry Beaumont 83) 9 Kyle Johnson 10 Nick Kerley 11 Sean Giordmania. Sub not used: 12 Ryan O'Sullivan

Goals:

TA:Jack Humphrey (37), James Verney (55), Ashton Campbell (70)

OJ:Kyle Johnson (32), Scott Bonner (45+2), Sean Giordmania (90+2)

Crowd:75

(No photos on file)

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