Sat 5th Feb 2022
Spartan South Midlands Premier Division
Sponsored by Pendley Day Nursery
TAFC First team 2-1 Hadley

TAFC goals: Ronan Hutchins (pen), Oliver Butler

After our morale boosting win last Saturday our supporters were probably wondering whether our exciting young side could rise to the occasion against an in form Hadley side that had gone 11 league matches undefeated and were sitting nicely in 3rd position, 15 places above us. Well the emphatic answer was yes.

Despite shooting ourselves in the foot after only 8 minutes with what can only be described as a right old cock up we can take pride at not falling to pieces. In fact we competed on an equal basis with our opponents, eventually equalising just before the hour mark before snatching a very late winner.

Probably the key turning point came in the 71st minute when Hadley looked certain to take the lead again until Adam Sawyer somehow managed to get back and head the goal bound shot over the bar. It was a stunning clearance and its worth watching on twitter.

Our starting line up included another new youngster namely 19 year old Charles Miller and he slotted nicely into our midfield alongside our other 5 teenagers in the side. Overall we had 10 players in the squad who were age 21 or less.

We didnt get off to the best of starts but full marks to Hadleys big centre forward Jordan Edwards who took full advantage of our sloppy play to give his side an early lead with a nice finish. Score 0-1. We could have easily fallen apart but we showed a lot of character to match our opponents and there was little to choose between the 2 sides.

Soon after the goal there was a cry from our bench for a penalty when former Athletic keeper Charlie Mann came out and missed the ball and appeared to catch Ollie Butler but the referee waved away our appeals.

Hadleys left back Billy Baird went on our good run and struck a nice shot that went just wide of the post and later the oppositions forward Solomon Ofori forced a good save from Jake Alley although he did look offside. Ofori came into the game as Hadleys leading scorer with 22 goals and he was a constant thorn in our side with his pace and trickery.

Our guests probably just about edged the first half but there was little to choose between the 2 sides but crucially Hadley went in at half time with a goal advantage. HT Score 0-1.

The second half started with more attacking intent from both teams. The impressive Leo Farruch had a goal disallowed for a tight offside decision and the dangerous Ofori would have been through on goal but for a brilliant tackle from Harrison Cornick, who again showed what a terrific and adaptable player he is by later switching seamlessly into central defence when Jack Stevens went off injured.

The game was much more open now and just before the hour mark we won a penalty when Charlie Mann took out Leo Farruch. Another youngster 18 year old Ronan Hutchins, who had only just come off the bench, coolly despatch the penalty to level the scores. Score 1-1.

In response Hadley brought on 2 subs and raised their game and in the 71st went mighty close to retaking the lead. Again it was Ofori who was the instigator forcing another good save from Jake Alley and when the ball fell to Cameron Ferguson he must have thought that he would score when he struck the ball towards the empty net until Adam Sawyers miraculous intervention.

Later Ofori again came face to face with Jake Alley and again our keeper won the duel. As the game wore on we started to look dangerous and have a good share of the ball. We had another call for a penalty when defender Dylan Ebengo appeared to be all over Ollie Butler but again the Referee dismissed our claims.

Two minutes into added time the talented Ronan Hutchins knocked over a tremendous cross to the far post to pick out Ollie Butler who directed his header back across goal and into the far corner. It was a fine header from Ollie and unsurprisingly pandemonium broke out. FT Score 2-1.

This was a tremendous result against a quality team and with Holmer Green drawing and Crawley Green losing it put us 4 points above the bottom 2 and nearer to Baldock Town and London Colney.

We have another stern test on Tuesday when we visit New Salamis who went to the top of the table following their 2-0 win at Leverstock Green. So we are not out of danger yet but things are looking brighter and if we continue to show this type of form we will surely move up the table.


TA:Jake Alley, Harrison Cornick, Ollie Butler, Godlove Oppong, Adiel Mannion (Ronan Hutchins 56), Eli Hearn, George Carbery (Capt), Jack Stevens (Adam Sawyer 56), Harry Seabrook, Leo Farruch, Charlie Miller. Subs not used: Tommy Twelves, Will Bisney, Frankie Hercules.

H: Charlie Mann, George Alfieri (Joshua Yoane 65), Billy Baird, Tom Milton (Zack Uribarri 80), Dylan Ebengo, Solomon Ofori (Ed Davis 65) , Cameron Ferguson, Jordon Edwards, Shaz Anwar, Luke Jupp, Nnamdi Harold-Egole (Capt). Sub not used: Luke Ward,


TARonan Hutchins Pen (58), Ollie Butler (90+2)

H:Jordan Edwards (8)


(No photos on file)

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