Blues overcome ten-man handicap
Double over Tilbury
Bostik League North Division
Saturday 24th March 2018
Hertford Town 3(2) Tilbury 2(1)
Reduced to ten men with the sending off of central defender Jay Lovell and then conceding an equaliser, the Blues responded with true character and quality to take all three points through a Michael Toner penalty.
Having picked up a victory at Norwich United only two days earlier, the Blues would have gone into this game confident that they could do the double over their Essex Thames-side visitors. That confidence was soon dented, however, when the ‘Dockers’ started brightly and soon put the Blues on the back foot.
It therefore came as no surprise when the visitors took an early lead. A quick break down the right in the 11th minute, led to the ball being pulled back across the goal from the byeline and fired in at the back post by Harry Norman.
Up to this point the Blues had been well off the pace but the goal seemed to wake them up and only seven minutes later they had pulled themselves level with a well-taken goal from Charlie Ruff after good work down the left from George Lutaaya.
The Blues were no beginning to dominate the game and took a well-deserved lead in the 27th minute with a clinical finish from a marauding Jason Beck who had forsaken his defensive duties to ghost into the box onto the end of an Eman Osei pass and drive low into the bottom corner from 15 yards.
The Blues took their 2-1 lead into the second half and were looking relatively comfortable until defender Jay Lovell picked up two yellow cards in the space of eight minutes and was duly dismissed from the field although many felt that the second yellow was harsh given that he had been elbowed in the face and not retaliated.
Some readjustment was now necessary and Dan Palmer was brought on at the expense of Charlie Ruff and many of the Blues’ attacking options. As a result the Blues were forced onto the backfoot as the visitors forced their way back into the game. They hit the top of the bar in the 71st minute but they weren’t to be denied for very long. Only a minute later they were awarded a penalty which was coolly dispatched by Jack Carlile to level the scores and threaten to take the game away from the Blues.
It wasn’t to be, though, as the Blues shrugged off their one-man disadvantage and raised their game in search of a second win in two days. Brett O’Connor went close in the 78th minute after good play between George Lutaaya and Eman Osei and then, two minutes later, Brett had a second effort on goal parried by the keeper into the path of George who was scythed down as he shaped to shoot. An obvious penalty kick was given and Michael Toner stepped up the thump past the despairing custodian, to claim all three points for the Blues to take them past their pre-season target of 50 points with still nine games to go.
Team:, Charlie Mann, Ollie Sharman, Michael Toner, Matt Thomson, Jay Lovell, Jason Beck, George Lutaaya(Ricky Light 85’), Luke Illsley, Emmanuel Osei, Charlie Ruff(Dan Palmer 66’) and Brett O’Connor(Phil Lowen 89’),
Subs not used: Phil Lowen, Charlie Cole and Glenn Draper.
Match report by Ray Greenall