Tue 11th Feb 2020
Spartan South Midlands Premier Division
North Greenford United 2-1 TAFC First team
TAFC goals: Prince Nimoh
First of all my congratulations to all those at NGU for all their hard work in getting the pitch ready, although it was marginal with large sanded areas especially on the edge of the penalty area at the Clubhouse end. As ever the hospitality was up to the usual high standard at this Club.
We kicked off we the same starting X1 as in the win last
Saturday. It became obvious fairly quickly that maybe the euphoria of Saturday and an awkward journey to today's game had taken something out of a couple of players.
In midfield we did not move the ball quickly enough and the odd missed tackle and unfortunate ricochet meant we lacked some fluidity.
Having said that we were the better side making good headway out wide on both wings and the delivery at set pieces created problems.
On 25 mins Harrison Cornick was unfortunate with a side foot volley on the far post after a cross following a cleared corner. On 30 mins we took what was I suggest a deserved lead with a near post finish from a Will Foley corner,
We then a break of 3 on 1 but unfortunately Jack Sunderland having beaten the keeper saw his shot hit the post and go wide. On more than one occasion a poor last pass when in a good position brought promising attacks to an end.
To be fair NGU had a decent share of possession especially early on when they consistently found their tricky left winger who delivered several crosses but as a unit we defended well and half time arrived with David Saunders and their custodian not really have made a save.
Our opponents certainly picked the pace up in the second half but had posed little danger till we again lost a ball in midfield which resulted in a corner ,this in turn was miskicked on the near post and the looped clearance was converted on the far post.
NGU then got on top for 10 mins spraying the ball out wide but despite having us on the back foot there were few moments to cause concern.
We slowly worked our way back into the by introducing substitutes inc Connor Blake who was neat and tidy in midfield and Joe Naylor who gave extra ,momentum out wide.
The 2 relatively easy chances that we made were spurned and in the 92 min then winner came when the excellent Kev McManus made his only mistake by slipping over .
A defeat that should have been at least a draw is hard to take but as was pointed ,in truth we had 4 good,good chances and missed them all while our opponents scored with their only worthwhile strike on goal.
We kept trying to play tidy football when maybe a plan B when we turn defenders should be used. Hopefully as a unit we can learn from this on and off the pitch.
D.Saunders. M.Habashi, K.Mcmanus,H.Cornick,J.Cowan
W.Salmon,W.Foley ( J.Naylor) O.Butler ( C.Blake)
P.Nimoh ,C.Asante , J.Sunderland ( F.Hercules)
View from our opponents-
Our good form continues
Playing in extremely difficult conditions on a bitterly cold February evening with a very strong wind swirling round the heavy Berkeley Fields pitch, both teams deserve to be highly commended for producing a fast-paced, entertaining contest for all the spectators braving the elements to watch the game.
After all the dramatic events that had taken place off the pitch in recent weeks at one of the SSML Premier Division title favourites, Tring Athletic, the clubs new look young side displayed all the qualities in all areas of the park that had resulted in the sides emphatic 6-0 home win over Leverstock Green at the weekend.
For their part, from the moment the game kicked off, the equally young North Greenford side showed just why the team had notched up 14 out of a possible 21 points in their last 7 games, a record that included 3 clean sheets.
There was very little to choose between the two sides until half way through the first period when the United defence failed to deal with a dangerous low Will Salmon corner across their six yard box, leaving striker Prince Nimoh able to stab the ball over the Blues goal line to open the scoring for the visitors.
From that point Tring gained the upper hand and it needed committed, determined Greenford defending, admittedly at times riding their luck, to prevent Athletic extending their lead before the break.
Presumably inspired by a strongly worded management talk during the interval, the Blues, now playing towards the clubhouse, raised their game. However, the well-organised Tring defence dealt comfortably with any United threats in their final third.
Ironically, Greenfords equaliser also came from the failure of the opposition to deal with a corner. On this occasion Joe Mills failed to clear the first man who unfortunately sliced his clearance into the six-yard box, the ball falling to Blues centre half Ekow Coker who, presented with the easiest of chances, made no mistake, volleying the ball into the back of the visitors net from close range.
Although the pace of the play never slackened with both teams as they had to in these conditions passing the ball around on the ground, few clear-cut chances were created at either end.
The contest was clearly heading for a result that would have left both sides deservedly sharing the spoils when, some three minutes into stoppage time, Greenfords substitute striker Redha Zerka broke clear down the right after his opponent had slipped, drove towards goal and fired in a fierce low drive under keeper David Saunders to find the back of the Tring net.
For North Greenford this was another extremely welcome 3 points to be added to the clubs tally as it continues its efforts to climb well clear of the Premier Division relegation zone. Its now 17 out of a possible 24 in 8 games, and if the Blues can sustain that record until the end of the season, they would surely finish in a strong mid-table position.
NGU Team: Sam House, Georgie Brown, Damel Dioum, Tom Ward, Ekow Coker, Joe Mills, Leonardo Pedro, Andrew Manitou (Mark Webb 84), Nathan Davis (Redha Zerki 80), Conor Molyneaux, Jake Nickless (Ryan Kirwan 78)
match report by Pat Hillier