Harman double keeps Reds in the mix
Lee Harman became the club's all-time leading goalscorer with a brace in a gripping 4-1 win at Brimsdown on Saturday.
The result doesn't tell the full story though as some defensive heroics and a touch of luck saw Town beat a home side who more than belied their current lowly league position.
Harman's latest brace takes him to 12 goals in 14 appearances this term and an impressive all-time record of 107 goals in 123 appearances - surpassing Harry Holland's record of 106.
Brimsdown was where the promotion bid died last season as Town eventually ran out of steam in a gruelling run-in. As per last term, Brimsdown had looked relegation certainties for two-thirds of the season, but a new management team and influx of new players now sees them as a match for most in the division.
Manager Luke Gregson shuffled his pack once more following a hard fought goalless draw at Risborough on Tuesday night. Louis Lee, who was impressive from the bench at right back, replaced the injured Adam Pitcairn. Freddie Morris returned in place of Owen Robertson, whilst Callum Riley came in on the right for Luke Hennessey.
The visitors had the perfect start, taking the lead on 5 minutes. Harry Holland sent over a corner from the near side and Lee Harman rose superbly to head home unchallenged.
The same combination almost brought a second goal eleven minutes later. A great diagonal pass from deep from Holland had Harman clear, but this time his radar was slightly askew, blazing wide of the target.
Baldock continued their early domination with a lovely move midway through the first half. A Louis Lee throw to Luke Gregson was diverted in the path of Callum Riley and he burst for the byline. However, his cross flew harmlessly across the face of goal with Harman looking for the pull back.
Whilst the visitors were the better side at this stage, Brimsdown were undoubtedly a threat with their pace on the counter attack. As the half headed toward the half hour mark, the hosts began to ask questions of the Town defence. Three brilliant goalsaving blocks from Liam Kenna (twice) and Louis Lee in the space of a minute kept the lead intact, but the pressure finally told on 29 minutes.
After Baldock had scrambled clear another set-piece, an excellent inswinging cross from the near side found the excellent Brimsdown no 9, who headed home past Jack Farmer from close range.
The pendulum then swung back the visitors way on 35 minutes. After forcing a corner from a neat buildup, Holland's ball in was turned home at the near post. Liam Kenna was claiming it, but it looked like it had gone in via a home player.
The Reds went in at the break with a slender lead, but the match was still very much in the balance. This was all the more evident when Jack Farmer made a terrific point blank save seconds after the restart. Brimsdown won the ball on the right hand side and an absolutely superb ball between defence and keeper put the home forward in, but Farmer was up to the task.
A few minutes later Town had a great chance to put daylight between themselves and their hosts once more. Good build up down the right saw Callum Riley send a low cross to the far post. Holland was completely unmarked, but the keeper somehow smothered the ball when the Baldock forward looked certain to score.
Seconds later it was Brimsdown's turn to go close. A marauding run from the no 9 from deep saw him steam past a number of visiting players, but once again Farmer saved well. The home side were really ramping up the pressure with some high tempo and intricate passing and movement. Their latest surge through saw another good stop from Farmer - this time with his legs.
It seemed only a matter of time before Brimsdown would level, but Baldock were digging deep. A low cross from left saw the home number 11 divert towards the near post, but again Farmer saved and player/manager Luke Gregson heroically blocked the rebound as Town again somehow scrambled the ball to safety.
Gregson introduced Owen Robertson just after the hour to try and turn the tide and the youngster was soon in the thick of the action. Some good work down the left hand side saw him pull the ball back. Riley sliced his goal attempt into the path of Kenna, who guided the ball just wide of the target.
The Reds had done well to come through the Brimsdown onslaught and the contest became even once more. The home side's confidence in playing out from the back got the better of them 12 minutes from time and gifted Town a killer third goal. The tireless Lee Harman seized on a loose pass just inside the left hand side of the penalty area. With the keeper out of his goal, he squared quickly to the edge of the box for Freddie Morris, who kept a cool head and guided the ball into the roof of the net.
This seemed to break the resistance of the impressive home side and Town grabbed a fourth five minutes later. Robertson picked out Harman on the diagonal with a glorious pass. Despite being forced away from goal initially, Harman did well to swivel and drive home his record-breaking strike into the bottom left hand corner to the delight of the travelling contingent.
Baldock were able to see out the remaining moments relatively comfortably, but all involved were naturally delighted at the sound of the final whistle. This was a brave and gutsy away performance that could easily have gone the other way, but Town have their final home game of the season against Codicote to negotiate on Saturday before what promises to be a nail-biting showdown at Harpenden a week on Tuesday.
This Tuesday night, the Reds travel to Biggleswade United in the Semi-FInal of the North Beds Charity Cup. That tie is a 7.45pm KO at Second Meadow, SG18 0AA - the winners will take on Stotfold in the Final. Then on Saturday for our final home game, we entertain local rivals Codicote. This match is a "Pay What You Want" fixture, so please do come along and show your support if you can!