Sat 29th Jan 2022
Spartan South Midlands Premier Division
Holmer Green 1-3 TAFC First team

TAFC goals: Elijah Hearn, Adiel Mannion , Ronan Hutchins
RONAN CALMS THE NERVES AND SEALS A VITAL WIN

Its been a bit of a roller coaster ride for us this season with good performances being unfortunately out numbered by poor ones which culminated in some of our senior players leaving following our exit from the FA Vase.

We took a bold step in turning to youngsters and in the 5 games since (I am excluding the blip in midweek at Baldock Town!) they have not let us down. Okay we only won 2 of those games but we surely would have beaten Leverstock Green had we not had a player sent off when we were 2-0 up and we only lost by 1 goal to Harefield and table toppers Risboro Rangers.

But our trip to our old friends Holmer Green was always going to be a big test as both teams are struggling near the bottom of the table and are desperate for points. Our last visit to Watchet Lane was 5th April 2018 when we lost 3-0 and games against our old rivals were always close and competitive and this game was no different.

To say the pace was frenetic from the start would be an under statement and neither side was able to settle and consequently it was scrappy. The only incidents of note saw Olly Butler force a good save from the keeper and Jack Stevens sent a free header wide from a corner. Green had the best chance when a dreadful back pass went straight to Oliver White but fortunately for us Jake Alley came out quickly to block the shot.

It was inevitable that the pace would drop off and after about 20 minutes we started to create some great scoring opportunities. Eli Hearn and Godlove Oppong (who were both terrific throughout) linked up well down the right wing with the former finding the latter in the box with a fine cross but the header went wide. Soon afterwards Harry Seabrook, who was solid in the centre of defence, saw his header from a free kick flick off the bar.

Just past the half hour mark we deservedly opened the scoring when Eli Hearns corner went straight in to open his account with the club. Score 0-1.

Eli then struck a rasping shot from about 25 yards which the keeper punched away and then Adiel Mannion and George Carbery sent shots over the bar from good positions. Just before half time we added to our score when Adiel Mannion drilled home a low free kick. Score 0-2.

So we were well placed at half time with a 2 goal advantage but the cynics amongst us were slightly concerned that we had not built up a bigger lead from the chances we created. HT Score 0-2.

Our fears were well placed because 10 minutes into the second half Oliver White pulled a goal back and in that moment the nature of the game changed and our hosts were revitalised. Score 1-2.

Green sniffed an opportunity to get something out of this game and we were forced to dig in, which to be fair to the lads they did well but it was still a nervy period. With Green pushing forward we were able to catch them on the break a few times with Olly Butler sending one shot just wide of the far post and then his cross was somehow missed by Ronan Hutchins who nearly made up for it later when he curled a shot just wide of the far post.

The home side made life uncomfortable for us and they created some good shooting opportunities but they failed to test Jake Alley. With just one goal advantage the game was still in the balance but with time nearly up we finally clinched the win when Ronan Hutchins tucked away a superb free kick from about 25 yards out. FT Score 1-3.

Full marks to the lads because this was not an easy game and they did well to pick up 3 valuable points which moved us above Holmer Green to 3rd from bottom. Whilst its nice being out of the relegation zone we are far from safe as only 6 points separates the bottom 4 clubs.

We look a better more balanced side than we were back in early December and we have some gifted young players who are producing a better quality of football. The team spirit has also improved but our qualities will be tested in the next 2 games when we face Hadley and New Salamis who are 3rd and 2nd in the table.

Difficult to pick a man of the match because everyone played their part but I think the back four of Eli Hearn, Harrison Cornick, Harry Seabrook and Jack Stevens all deserve credit for standing up to the pressure in the second half.

Teams

HG:M Giacobbe, J Daio, J Jarrott, J Bent, S Thomas, J Mitchell, A Dimitrijevic, E Eghuiudje, U Lalustani, L Williams, O White. Subs used: M Wooster (12), Y Cardoso (62), O Esplund-Evans (69) Sub not used: K Chunga

TA:Jake Alley, Harrison Cornick, Harry Seabrook, Jack Stevens, Eli Hearn, George Carbery (Capt), Jimmy Doherty, Like Peerless, Olly Butler, Adiel Mannion, Godlove Oppong. Subs used: Ronan Hutchins (48), Frankie Hercules (73), Adam Sawyer (90). Sub not used: Matt Ellis.

Scorers

HG:Oliver White (56)

TA:Eli Hearn (32), Adiel Mannion (43), Ronan Hutchins (90)

Crowd:122

(No photos on file)

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