Sat 5th Mar 2022
Spartan South Midlands Premier Division
Leighton Town 0-2 TAFC First team
TAFC goals: Ronan Hutchins, Godlove Oppong
WE EXECUTE CLASSIC AWAY PERFORMANCE
A month or so ago the short trip to Leighton Town would have been viewed with dread, but such has been our progress over the past few weeks that some of us were quietly confident that we could get something out of this game.
The odds were not on our side - we were without centre half Harry Seabrook, centre forward Ollie Butler and utility man Tommy Twelves and we have lost 5 of our last 6 games against Leighton. Added to that was the 4-0 stuffing they gave us in Tring back in September when former Athletic man Ashton Campbell scored a hat-trick. With Ashton on our hosts team sheet as well as another former Athletic player Joe Fitzgerald named as Captain a fraught afternoon was on the cards.
But a quiet revolution has been taking place at the Club since the turn of the year with Ryan Sturges and his coaches building a very young side that is vibrant and full of talent. We excelled in this game scoring 2 good goals in the first half then we dug in after the break to protect our lead and deny Leighton goal scoring opportunities.
Our hosts started strongly and Jake Alley had to get down smartish to save a header from Bill Morgan and then James Towell fired a shot just over following a corner. But it was us who broke the ice in the 15th minute when Adiel Mannion did well to win the ball off the defender and slip a lovely pass to Ronan Hutchins who fired a left foot shot through the keepers legs. Score 0-1.
We started to play some nice football on a sticky surface and George Carbery saw a shot cleared off the line. Just before the half hour mark there was a key moment when Ashton Campbell looked certain to score but Eli Hearn made a fantastic block. Had our hosts equalised the outcome may have been different.
Play was fairly even but in the 38th minute we extended our lead with a brilliant goal from Godlove Oppong. He latched onto a poor clearance just outside the box and then volleyed the ball past the keeper into the far corner. Score 0-2.
It was a brilliant first half performance from our lads but we knew our opponents would come out strongly after the break. HT Score 0-2.
In the second half we battened down the hatches to protect our 2 goal advantage and the lads did a superb job to restrict our opponents to few clear sights of goal. At the heart of our defence was skipper George Carbery who was superb, organising the players and getting crucial challenges in.
Most of the danger came from set pieces but we dealt with them well, although Joe Fitzgerald did go close with a free kick 7 minutes from time. In time added on Jake Alley tipped a shot over the bar which was pretty routine for our big keeper but generally he was not overly stretched. FT Score 0-2.
A superb performance from the lads against a top team and it was nice to see that two 18 year olds got the goals. That stretches our undefeated run to 5 games and the South Midlands League named us amongst one of the teams of the day. Three of those games have come against sides in the top 4 from which we have picked up 7 points.
Hopefully we are now clear of the relegation zone and we can now try and catch the teams in mid table. However, there are still plenty of games left starting with a home game against Oxhey Jets on Tuesday night.
Finally a word of congratualations to Ryan Sturges, Lee Groves and Ian Richardson who have turned our fortunes around in a short space of time. The supporters can now look forward to watching a team they can be proud of.
LT:Connor Coulson, Ben Collins, Luke Williams, George Kerr, Bill Morgam, Joe Fitzgerald (Capt), Josh Hatton, Luke Pyman, Ashton Campbell, Sonny Newbury-Barr, James Towell. Subs Used: Miles Kenny, Brian Foulger, Ross Adams Subs Not Used: Freddie Heeps, Finlay Peart
TA:Jack Alley, Harrison Cornick, Adam Sawyer, Eli Hearn, George Carbery (Capt), Lennie Armstrong, Leo Farruch, Charlie Miller (Jack Stevens 68), Godlove Oppong, Adiel Mannion (Frankie Hercules 74), Ronan Hutchins. Subs not used; Ali Mohinddin, Matt Ellis, Jimmy Doherty.
TA:Ronan Hutchins (15), Godlove Oppong (38)