Spirited display from the Blues
Last home fixture of 2017
Spirited display from the Blues
Bostik League North Division
Saturday 23rd December 2017
Hertford Town 2(1) Maldon & Tiptree 3(3)
(Ruff 4’, Toner (pen) 81’)
Harshly reduced to ten men in the 35th minute and trailing by three goals to one by half-time, the Blues were well and truly ‘staring down both barrels’. Their promotion-chasing opponents had the game by the scruff of the neck and a heavy defeat for the Blues looked to be on the cards.
But, when the final whistle was blown it was the high-flying and in-form visitors who were hanging on to secure all three points. With nine minutes of normal time remaining the Blues had reduced the deficit to a single goal and were pressing in search of an equaliser. Their efforts were in vane, though, and they fell to defeat but, after all that had gone before, they came out of the game with their heads held high. With only ten men they had had been the better side in the second half and in the end they could count themselves unlucky not to get a result.
The game had started well for the Blues, Michael Toner volleying narrowly wide from 20 yards in the 3rd minute and Charlie Ruff giving the Blues the lead in the following minute when he got in behind the visiting defence to neatly slot the ball pat the keeper.
It was at this point, however, that things started to go awry for the Blues. Some poor defending led to the concession of an equaliser only two minutes later and despite a close-fought twenty minutes that followed, the Blues fell behind when they failed to defend a corner in the 26th minute. The Blues were creating chances, though, and a comeback was on the cards but, ten minutes before half-time, the referee thought he saw something that warranted a straight red card fro Charlie Ruff when he was being obstructed by a Maldon defender.
This was clearly a serious setback for the Blues and one which was made worse when central defender, Jason Beck, soon after damaged a hamstring and had to be substituted. And, with the team clearly unsettled, the Blues conceded a third in injury time to go in at the break facing a difficult second period.
It was therefore to the Blues’ enormous credit that they put in a second-half performance to be proud of. Michael Toner’s goal-bound header appeared to strike an arm in the 46th minute – no penalty given, though – and Matt Thomson had a shot from a good position saved in the 52nd minute after good work from Ricky Light down the right.
The Blues were having the better of the exchanges and the visitors were being forced onto the defensive. Chances were few and far between and any there were, were not falling to the visitors.
The Blues’ pressure finally bore fruit in the 81st minute when a crude foul on Tommy Wade was punished by a penalty kick which Michael Toner dispatched with ease. One more chance very nearly brought an equaliser but it went begging when nobody was on hand to finish Michael Toner’s ball across the face of the goal.
So, the game ended in a defeat for the Blues but they can take heart from their performance in difficult circumstances against one of the division’s best teams.
Team:, Charlie Mann, Ollie Sharman, Tyler Hatherly, Matt Thomson, Jason Beck(Phil Lowen 39’), Dan Palmer, Ricky Light(Charlie Cole 85’), Michael Toner, Charlie Ruff, Tommy Wade and Brett O’Connor.
Subs not used: Luke Foster and Ben Andreos.
Match report by Ray Greenall