Tue 19th Apr 2022
Spartan South Midlands Premier Division
Sponsored by The Pundit League
TAFC First team 2-1 Risborough Rangers

TAFC goals: Jack Stevens, Godlove Oppong
WE TAKE ON ROLE AS PARTY POOPERS

Our guests had to put the Champagne bottles away after goals from Jack Stevens and Godlove Oppong dashed their hopes of lifting the Premier Division title in this penultimate League game of the season. But all is not lost for Risboro Rangers, they can finish the job on Saturday when they play 2nd place New Salamis in what should be a memorable end to the season. The fixture compiler certainly got this right - that the two teams who were promoted last season to the Premier Division should battle it out for the title on the last game of this season.

Risboro have a two point lead and home advantage and will be cheered on by a large crowd so the odds would seem to be in their favour. A draw would be enough and we wish them all the very best on the day.

Risboro were clearly determined to settle matters on the night and from the off and right throughout the game was played at a pulsating pace. But full credit to our players, they matched the commitment and energy of the opposition and we had a dream start when Luke Stevens headed home a well taken Eli Hearn corner. If it rattled the visitors it didnt show as the lead only lasted 16 minutes when a fine cross from Keiron Schmidt to the far post picked out Alex Kedzierski who deftly tucked his header just inside Mike Underwoods near post.

Midway through the half Marcus Wyllie flashed a shot just over the bar and Adam Sawyer whipped a wicked ball across the goal mouth with it crying out for someone to get a touch. The pace was furious and players had little time on the ball so it was no surprise that goal opportunities were limited.

Just before the break there was a scramble in our area with Jack Stevens making a goal saving challenge then Bailey Osborne smacked a shot into the side netting although the opportunity came from a clear foul on Adam Sawyer.

In the second half it was more of the same with the visitors having more possession and territory but hardly stretching Mike Underwood in goal. We ought to say a big thank you to Unders who came out of retirement to help us out after regular keeper Jake Alley had to have an operation. He made over 170 First Team appearances over a 5 year period from 2009 to 2014 and he was a calm presence in goal, even at one stage catching the ball whilst on his knees!

We blew the title race wide open in the 63rd minute when Eli Hearn seized on a mistake in the opponents defence then slipped a lovely pass to Godlove Oppong who finished smartly. It was his 9th goal of the season and was a fitting reward for him because he was a constant threat to the Risboro defence. We could have increased our lead 6 minutes later when Harry Seabrook had a free header at a corner but his effort was cleared off the line.

Our opponents piled forward searching desperately for a goal to get them back in the game and in the latter stages we had to endure a series of corners and free kicks which we dealt with superbly to inflict on Risboro only their 2nd league defeat of the season. FT Score 2-1.

This was a superb result and performance from the lads and Ryan and his team of coaches can take great pride in how they competed on an equal basis with a team that rarely loses and may win the League title.

After the game the Risboro manager questioned why we were 15th in the table which was a reasonable point to make because we dont play like a team from the bottom half of the table. The answer is quite simple this is a different side to the one that started the season. Just before Xmas we had a change of policy and went for youth (the average age of the on field squad for this game was 20.6) and these youngsters have been a revelation which is highlighted by the fact that we have taken 11 points off the top 4 teams in the League.

The Official Man of the Match awarded went to Eli Hearn, the 17 year old set up both goals, had a great game and showed his versatility by moving from right midfield to left back when Adam Sawyer got injured. However, it must be emphasised this was very much a team performance.

On Saturday we have our last home game of the season with Crawley Green the visitors. Our guests had a good result on the same night beating Baldock Town 3-0 at home which moved them up to 3rd from bottom. But they are not safe as both Holmer Green and London Colney can still overtake them so they will provide a tough contest.


Teams:

TA:Mike Underwood, Harrison Cornick, Adam Sawyer (Frankie Hercules 67), Eli Hearn, George Carbery (Capt), Jack Stevens, Harry Seabrook, Charlie Miller, Godlove Oppong, Lenny Armstrong (Luke Peerless 76), Ronan Hutchins. Subs not used; Ali Mohinddin.

RR:Jack Brooker, Lewis Patrick, Joel Read, Josh Urquhart, Alex Kedzierski, Asher Yearwood, Marcus Wyllie, Sean Coles, Ben Sturgess, Gavin James, Keiron Schmidt. Subs: Berti Squires-Adams, Adam Morris, Liam Enver-Marum, Evans Lamboh, Bailey Osborne.

Scorers

TA:Jack Stevens (3), Godlove Oppong(63)

RR:Alex Kedzierski (19)

Crowd:180

(No photos on file)

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