Tue 8th Feb 2022
Spartan South Midlands Premier Division
New Salamis 2-2 TAFC First team
TAFC goals: Oliver Butler, Charles Miller
ARE WE BECOMING THE MAN UNITED OF THE SOUTH MIDLANDS LEAGUE?
The Old Trafford outfit, under the leadership of a legendary Scottish manager, were renowned for scoring late goals during what became known as Fergie Time. Well we have emulated the Red Devils in the last 2 games with a 92nd minute winner over 3rd placed Hadley on Saturday and a goal in the 93rd minute on Tuesday night to clinch a draw against league leaders New Salamis.
That means we have now gone unbeaten in our last 3 games which may not sound earth shattering but considering the season we have had and the fact that 2 of those games were against two of the best teams in the Premier Division it has been quite an achievement. This was a terrific performance especially considering we were missing Godlove Oppong, Adiel Mannion, Jack Stevens and Skipper George Carbery from Saturdays starting line up. However we were able to introduce another new player Lennie Armstrong who seamlessly slotted into midfield and looks a quality player.
The game took part at Coles Park, White Hart Lane (with the new Spurs Stadium just up the road) where our hosts ground share with Haringey Borough. The last time we visited this ground was on 20 October 2012 when we drew 2-2 with Haringey with 2 goals from Stewart King. Since then the stadium has received a big refurb with a 3G pitch which suited our style of play. Interestingly when we played Boro at home later that season we lost 2-1 with our goal being scored by a certain Oliver Butler!
Our hosts have Cypriot origins and in their first season in the South Midlands have done terrifically well. As well as being top of the table at the start of the game they had won 5 gmes on the trot and were also the highest scorers in the Premier Division with 70 goals from 24 games.
This was obviously going to be a real tester for our young team but we made a great start when Charlie Millers low shot was not held by the keeper and Ollie Butler was able to put away the loose ball to add to his winner on Saturday. Score 0-1.
We were playing some lovely football on the artificial surface and 2 minutes later Ollie Butler went close but his shot hit the side netting. Our opponents were really quick on the break and left winger Elijam Ogunseye sent a shot just over.
From the beginning it was obvious that the main threat from the home side was going to come from their leading scorer Derek Asamoah who has had a remarkable career. He has played for clubs in England, France, Scotland, Bulgaria and South Korea and has 4 caps for Ghana. Amazingly he is 40 years of age but is still razor sharp and extremely quick. He must have been uncatchable when he was a young man!
It only took 19 minutes for our opponents to level the score and of course it was Asamoah who, despite being under pressure as he was played into the area, still managed to find the net. Score 1-1.
The rest of the first half was generally even and the only disappointment was the injury sustained by Harrison Cornick who is becoming such a key defender for us. But Eli Hearn moved across to join Harry Seabrook in the centre of defence and 18 year old Matt Ellis slotted into right back and its a credit to them all that we still looked solid. HT Score 1-1.
In the second half our hosts upped their game and dominated possession and territory but we were well organised, with the whole team playing their part, and we made it difficult for them.
Harrison Georgion and Elijam Ogunseye had half chances for the home side and there were calls for 2 penalties from the home supporters but the Referee who was well placed was not interested. Despite all their possession our hosts couldnt find a way through the solid wall we put up to protect keeper Jake Alley who was not overly stretched.
Its fair to say that the home keeper wasnt called into action either and as the game progressed New Salamis were desperate to find a winner bringing on 3 subs in the space of 8 minutes. They finally got their wish 7 minutes from time when a defence splitting cross was converted at the far post by Harrison Georgion. Score 2-1.
It would have been easy for our youngsters to drop their heads but they showed great character to fight back and grab an equaliser 3 minutes into time added on with Charlie Miller playing an instrumental part.
The 19 year old, who was playing only his 2nd game for the club, started the move with a fine pass out to the right for Matt Ellis. When the cross came in Charlie was in the right place to fire home through a crowd of players to snatch a late equaliser. FT Score 2-2.
The draw knocked New Salamis off the top of the table with Risboro Rangers, courtesy of their 4-1 win over Levy Green, jumping above them with a 1 point advantage and 2 games in hand. We still remain 3rd from bottom but have stretched our lead over Holmer Green to 5 points and to Crawley green to 10 points, with Holmer Green having a game in hand.
Whilst recent performances have been much improved we are still not out of trouble yet so we need to keep this good form going and catch up Baldock Town (who are above us on goal difference but have a game in hand) and London Colney who are a point ahead.
On Saturday we have another tough fixture with a trip to 7th placed Flackwell Heath but we go there with a bit more belief than we had a few weeks ago.
NS:Sam Soutar, Andreas Chabi, Freddy Tandon, Jandir Jose, Luke Foster, Ryan Hervel , Jordan Sanderson, Harrison Georgion, Arti Krasniqi, Derek Asamoah, Elijam Ogunseye. Subs played George Lutaalia, Charles Georgiou, Denzil Mehmet, Subs not used: Steven Wade, Antionio Michael.
TA:Jake Alley, Harrison Cornick (Matt Ellis 30), Adam Sawyer, Harry Seabrook, Eli Hearn, Tommy Twelves , Lennie Armstrong, Ronan Hutchins (Frankie Hercules 83), Charlie Miller, Ollie Butler, Leo Farruch. Sub not used: Jimmy Doherty.
NS:Derek Asamoah (19), Harrison Georgion (83)
TA:Ollie Butler (6), Charlie Miller (90+3)