Sat 9th Oct 2021
Spartan South Midlands Premier Division
Sponsored by Brian Lovell
TAFC First team 1-0 London Colney

TAFC goals: Chris Blunden


Our 42nd contest against London Colney (which stretches back to 1992/93) was played in bright Autumnal sunshine against the backdrop of a hot air balloon being inflated in the field next door in celebration of a lucky persons birthday. We were also able to celebrate, not a birthday but the chalking up of our first League win of the season thanks to a stunning goal from Chris Blunden at the start of the second half.

The fact that we did it whilst giving the first airing of our snazzy, modern kit sponsored by the Home Office made it doubly enjoyable. Hopefully this was a lucky omen for the future.

The 3 points collected was achieved against the odds because we had to play most of the second half with10 players. Hopefully it will prove to be symbolic as it moved us off the bottom of the table, jumping above Dunstable Town, who lost 4-0 at Harefield United, and Oxhey Jets, who secured a highly creditable 2-2 home draw against table topping Leighton Town. Its interesting to note that the Jets are now managed by Kevin Christou who was once here at Athletic.

The decisive goal came just 27 seconds into the second half and was a beauty and a type of finish we have come to expect from Chris Blunden. Picking up the loose ball around the edge of the area he swiveled quickly and smashed the ball into the top right-hand corner giving the keeper no chance at all. It was a goal worthy of winning any game.

The goal seemed out of context of what went on in the first half, which was competitive but scrappy. Its fair to say that our opponents had the greater possession and territory but we looked really solid and Colney had very few sights of goal and they didnt force David Saunders into making any serious saves.

We started the game positively and after only 5 minutes Frankie Hercules and Kieran Turner combined well on the left before the latter whipped over a great cross to the far post where Cameron Brooks headed the ball back across the 6-yard box but unfortunately for us a defender cleared the danger before Chris Blunden could get to it.

Regrettably, Camerons involvement was cut short 20 minutes later when he took a kick to his leg and he was replaced by Manny Gbejuade. Perhaps it was the curse of the Player of the Month Award which was presented to Cameron before the game for his performances in September. We hope he recovers quickly because he has become an important member of the team and he will be missed.

There appeared to be a moment of controversy in the 27th minute when the Referee waved away our penalty appeals after Frankie Hercules latched onto a long ball and rounded the keeper and then seemed to be pulled down in the area. But incidences like this can be deceiving because our supporters behind the goal said the keeper didnt touch Frankie but he stumbled over, so the official was spot on.

We were not at our fluent best and our guests were seeing a lot of the ball but were making very little impact around our area so perhaps unsurprisingly we reached half time scoreless. HT Score 0-0.

After the explosive start to the second half with Chris Blundens goal we looked well placed to go on and win the game but 9 minutes after the restart we were dealt a major blow when Adam Sawyer received his second yellow card and we were down to 10 players with 36+ minutes still left to play.

It seemed like a very harsh decision but we had to face up to the reality that if we wanted to hold onto our lead we would have to dig in which we did superbly. Ben Johnson came on in place of Frankie Hercules to slot into Adams position in defence.

It was at times back to the wall stuff as Colney brought on 2 forward players for their full backs and pressed forward looking for a chink of opportunity to get back in the game. David Saunders had to tip over a free kick from Anthony Stockman, which was fairly routine for a keeper of his quality, and later was grateful to see a weak header from sub Josip Jevdjic go wide and a well struck shot from Pijus Montvydas skip just passed the post. With time almost up Herbie Townsend tried his luck with a fierce long range effort which David caught at the second attempt and we were able to hold on for a crucial and morale boosting win against an inform side that had lost only 1 of their previous 7 games. FT Score 1-0.

This was terrific and much needed win which we can build on now we have broken the ice. It was down to great team effort and commitment to the cause in which every player played their part. However, we are not out of the woods yet because we only above Dunstable and Oxhey on goal differences so we still need to pick up more wins which would propel us up to mid table.

Coming up we have a tough midweek trip to 6th placed Hadley and then on Saturday we entertain Flackwell Heath who at the moment are 1 point and 2 places above us in the table.

One final moment to treasure was the performance of Jimmy Doherty who encapsulated the spirit of the team. Only 16 years of age he made his First Team debut in the 78th minute replacing Chris Blunden. Jimmy, who impressed during some first team pre -season friendlies and looks a real prospect for the future, is a midfield player but was asked to play up front on his own and to chase down the opposition and make a nuisance of himself for the last dozen minutes or so. He did this energetically and with utter commitment and played his part in running down the clock to victory.

Man of the match was awarded to Evans Lamboh, who had another impressive game, but we should also mention the superb performances from Harry Seabrook and George Carbery who were rock solid in central defence. However, every member of the team played their part.

Final word should go to Ian Richardson who tweeded the only way is up. I think we would all second that.


TA: Dave Saunders, Harrison Cornick, Harry Seabrook, George Carbery, Adam
Sawyer, Cameron Brooks (Emmanuel Gbejuade 24), Tommy Tweves, Evans
Lamboh, Kieran Turner (Capt), Frankie Hercules (Ben Johnson 57), Chris Blunden
(Jimmy Doherty 78) Sub not used: Johnny Pitts (G/K)

LC: 1) Samuel Launay 2) Andrew Simmons (Finbar King 74) 3) Jordan Gill (Josip
Jevdjic 64) 4) Jack Mace 5) Zack Holding 6) Mickey Shuttlewood (Capt) 7) Herbie
Townsend 8) Anthony Stockman 9) Matthew Walsh 10) Pijus Montvydas 11) Andre Odetola. Subs not used: 15) Aiden Tolley 16) James Lawrence 17) Issouf Coulibaly.

TA: Chris Blunden (46)


Crowd: 105

(No photos on file)

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