Buntingford Town 2 - 0 Hadley Wood & Wingate
Hadley Wood & Wingate's hopes of a top three finish in the Herts Senior Premier League took a blow against a strong Buntingford Town side after a 2-0 defeat at The Bury.
From the start Buntingford were the dominant team over powering the young Hadley Wood side with a long ball playing style which Hadley Wood could not cope with.
It was this style of play that led to the first goal of the game which via a hotly disputed penalty on 12 minutes. A free kick on the halfway line was given away by Hadley Wood. Buntingford's captain Ross Barker sent in a high ball into the box and it was flicked on by Buntingford out for a goal kick. However, the referee spotted a slight infringement and awarded a penalty. Barker stepped up and sent Ross Weinrabe the wrong way to make it 1-0 Buntingford.
Ten minutes later Buntingford nearly made it 2-0 when Barker sent another trademark long ball into the Hadley Wood box and Max Camp struck the ball on the volley which was well blocked by Bradley Marriott and out for a corner. From the resulting corner Buntingford came close again when a header from Jamie Babbage was cleared off the line by James Karena.
Hadley Wood's first real chance didn't come until 27 minutes were on the clock. James Karena had the ball on the right hand side of the Buntingford box and sent in a dangerous cross. The cross was cleared but only as far as the edge of the box where it fell to Cameron Lyttle who shot first time but the shot was blocked for a Hadley Wood corner. Lyttle took the corner and put it perfectly onto the head of Charlie Harris but Harris could not direct his header goal wards and put it just wide.
It was a miss which turned into disaster for Hadley Wood. The goal kick following the miss was sent forward by the Buntingford goalkeeper, Jack Caine. The ball by-passed the midfield and bounced over the Hadley Wood defence. Bradley Marriott tussled with Buntingford's striker Sam Nicholls but it was Nicholls who won the battle and tucked the ball underneath Weinrabe rushing out from his line to make it 2-0 Buntingford. It was a tough pill to swallow for Hadley Wood after a good spell of possession and some good chances.
However, they nearly pulled one back before the break when, after some good football in the midfield from Ayoola Abe, he found Lyttle in the middle of the pitch. Lyttle sent a first time quick pass through to Harris who was one-on-one with the keeper but his shot was straight at Caine who came off his line to make the angle more difficult for Harris.
In the second half Hadley Wood looked the better side for the majority however the better chances, which were rare, came by Buntingford. On the hour mark Hadley Wood were forced down to 10 men when Bradley Marriott pulled up with an injury and had used up their only sub at half time when Gilberto Abril came on to replace Ayoola Abe, who was also injured.
The disadvantage could not be seen though as Hadley Wood showed great determination to try and get back into the game with Buntingford's players showing signs of tiredness.
In the final 15 minutes Hadley Wood had three good chances but couldn't put any of them away. The first, with 15 minutes left, came after Nicholas Kouroushi dinked a ball over the Buntingford defence to Harris who tried to use the bounce of the ball to lob the goalkeeper but put too much power on the lob and it went over the bar.
With 10 minutes remaining Harris had another chance which was well defended after Amon Walton Owen's defence splitting pass put Harris through on goal. He cut inside onto his right foot, which allowed Buntingford a chance to get defenders behind the ball, and his shot was deflected which took all the power off the shot and gave the keeper a more comfortable save.
Two minutes later Hadley Wood had their final chance of the game. Cameron Lyttle sent a cross field pass over to substitute Abril. Abril cut inside onto his right foot from the byline and drilled it powerfully towards the far post but Caine was there once again to make the save. Harris tried to get to the rebound but was unable to turn it in.
A much more positive second half performance from Hadley Wood and some good lessons learnt for the youthful side starting with 10 players under 21. The next game is another away match with the re-scheduled match away to Evergreen on Tuesday 26th April with a 18:30 kick off.
Hadley Wood and Wingate: Weinrabe (GK), Karena, Walton-Owen, Hadjithemistou, Marriott, Chingoka, Lyttle, Kouroushi, Harris, Webb, Abe (Abril 45)