Sat 5th Sep 2020
TAFC First team 2-1 Leighton Town
Goals from Connor Goodliffe and Joe Chott saw Athletic come from behind to beat Leighton Town

Firstly, thank you to Joe Sweeney for bringing over a strong squad and then to the Committee and all those in the background who helped things run smoothly.

On a smashing late summer day the good sized crowd were treated to a decent quality game played in the right spirit.

There was a pre game meeting to discuss the poor result Tuesday and to generally clear the air on and off the pitch and the message was quite clear to the players that there is genuine competition in every position.

The match consisted of 3 X 30 min segments and we started by kicking down the slope and it became clear very quickly that we had stepped both the pace and quality of our play and matched Leighton all round the pitch.

Keeper Johnny Pitts distributed the ball well and the back 4 of Paolo Bagatti, Kev McManus, Adam Murphy & Jack Sunderland kept an excellent shape of the ball and the 2 central defenders, who literally had to be introduced to each other in the warm up, looked like they'd played together for some time.

In midfield ,Scott Bonner apart from a couple of minor errors protected the defence and passed balls out wide to Prince Nimoh ,who was his usual excellent self,and Callum Shortt seems to have found his natural place in the side. Ollie Butler as ever looked a good ,good player and alongside him Will Salmon was arguably MOM.

Joe Naylor who has been unavailable for a few weeks, is vying for the striker position and improved as the game went on, holding the ball up well and bringing others into play.

Both teams put in decent crosses to which the final touch was missing but if there was any fear left over from last Tuesday this evaporated as the game went on and we played the tidy football we can.

We changed ends on 30 mins and this enabled Leighton to push us back but no real chances were created by either side. On 50 mins a delightful chip by the opposition left back was crossed to the far post by old boy Ashton Campbell and converted.

The first of our subs made an impact when Connor Goodliffe, who was with Hemel Hempsted U18 last season, made an interception, ran into the area and played a 1-2 with Callum Shortt before converting.

Casey O'Gorman and Joe Chott introduced out wide, Frankie Hercules in the midfield, David Saunders between the sticks and they all showed their determination to get into the starting X1.

The winner came on 80 mins when David Saunders rolled the ball to Kev McManus who played the ball to Frankie Hercules who in turn plated a superb pass between the central defender and the left back for Joe Chott to run onto and chip over the keeper.

We lost defender Harrison Cornick with a groin strain and Connor Blake with a neck injury and Gareth Terblanche with the hump before kick off, all of which shows strength in depth.

We next host Aston Clinton on Tuesday evening with a 7.30pm ko and then start our League campaign with a tough, tough game away at Colney Heath.

Jonny Pitts (David Saunders) Paolo Bagatti, Kevin Mcmanus, Adam Murphy, Jack Sunderland, Prince Nimoh (Joe Chott), Will Salmon, Scott Bonner (Frankie Hercules), Olly Butler (Connor Goodliffe) Callum Shortt (Casey O'Gornan) Joe Naylor
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