A dominant first half display, up there with the best The Hornets have played this season, saw Adam Sykes
and James Holbrook
score to put BSTFC in a commanding position. Three goals for Stanton Drew in the second half undid that hard work, but Tom Anderson-Dixon’s orderly lob saved a point for the home side.
Sears’ 4-2-3-1 formation looked to be paying dividends as The Hornets enjoyed large spells of possession in the first twenty minutes. They got a deserved lead as a long ball was flicked on by Brad Clark
, releasing Sykes, whose first touched set himself for a driven shot into the top corner.
Their second goal came from an unlikely source, as Holbrook claimed his first goal of the season. After Stanton failed to clear a corner, the ball was crossed into the six yard box by Clark, before the ball fell to Holbrook, who calmly placed the ball into the net from ten yards.
Half time arrived and The Hornets knew that the next goal was crucial. Unfortunately for the home side, Stanton gave themselves the deadly combination of hope and momentum as a mishit corner deflected off of Nick Favell
and into the net.
It didn’t take long for the equaliser. After the ball managed to breach The Hornet’s defence, Stanton’s quick winger made no mistake in drilling the ball past James Potter
to really put the home side on the back foot.
Stanton continued to press, and The Hornets offered little in return. It didn’t take a genius to guess who would score the next goal, and the inevitable happened as Stanton took the lead. This time, it was their controlling midfielder, who had been dictating the game with his left foot, but scored with his right after a quick break.
Sears knew something had to change, and he reverted to a 4-3-3 formation to try and offer more in attack. David Duarte and Tom Anderson-Dixon, the two summer signings by Sears, were brought on in quick succession and immediately made an impact. Duarte positioned himself wide left and linked up with Adam Townsend
, who was playing in the unfamiliar position of left back. Anderson-Dixon took up his favoured position of striker.
This change the momentum of the game, and as Stanton eased off the pressure, The Hornets increased it. Chances began to arise and Matt Hull, Sykes and Townsend all had efforts. The equalising goal was one of quality that, when taking the whole performance into account, was thoroughly deserved.
The move was started by Townsend, who showed his attacking side by dribbling past a Stanton player before playing the ball into Matt Corney. Corney’s first time pass with perfectly weighted over the Stanton back line and Anderson-Dixon’s explosive pace ensured he was the only one reaching the pass. There was still lots to do by the striker, and he passed the ensuing test by audaciously lifting the ball over the onrushing keeper and into the net.
The game became extremely open with ten minutes remaining and a winning goal could have come from either team. It was certain that one more chance would present itself to one of the teams, and that chance came The Hornet’s way. Duarte, still heavily involved with anything The Hornets conjured, received the ball on the edge of the area. He threaded a ball through to Hull, but the top goalscorer could only poke the ball wide. Stanton can be thankful to their keeper on this occasion, as he produced a Schmeichel-like position that blocked the entirety of the goal.
The game ended and both teams would have to admit that a draw was a fair result. It was a case of what could have been for The Hornets after throwing away a dominant position, but a spirited fightback will provide ammo for next week’s clash against Portville Warriors, as The Hornets aim to avenge a 7-1 defeat from earlier in the season.
For now, they will be left pondering whether this was two points dropped, or one point gained.