No chance of PBT being stick-in-the-muds
'Scholars' conquer a boggy pitch
by Neil Metcalfe
By Jeff Barnes
'Scholars' conquer a boggy pitch by Neil Metcalfe
Potters Bar Town moved into the automatic promotion places at the top of the Bostik League North Division with a comfortable 4-1 win at Ware – but they had to conquer a boggy pitch to do it.
There was a wonderful moment prior to kick-off when the PA system played Sandstorm by 90’s Britpop band, Cast. Whether that was intended or just a beautiful coincidence was unknown but it summed things up perfectly because the parts of the pitch that weren’t a boggy mud bath were covered in sharp sand.
It seemed very unlikely we would have any play at all with both sides staying out of the dressing rooms and unchanged.But after consulting both management teams, the referee finally gave the go-ahead at 1.56 pm.
What followed was a war of attrition with neither team able to play any sort of cultured football. In fact it took a good half-hour for the teams to come to grips with the surface.
Turning on a sixpence was nigh-on impossible and keeping your balance was tough enough.
The referee seemed intent on keeping the players honest from the word go. Two bookings, one for each team, came in the opening six minutes, but it did make players think twice about diving into tackles that would be difficult to control or time right.
It meant players concentrate on other things and it was Potters Bar who got the upper hand quickly.
Sandro Costa Dias Fernandes was the master, gliding over the slippery, muddy surface with ease.
His first saw him cut inside from the left, a change of direction that meant the defenders couldn’t halt their momentum, and with space opening up in front of him he fired low inside the post beyond the diving Harry Voss. (24 mins)
His second just before the break was an improvised effort, hitting it with his left when the ball suddenly moved away from his right. (45 mins) It came from a quick break involving Eoin Casey and Ben Ward-Cochrane and it was the latter who had the best chances aside from the goals.
The first was fired over and the second got held up in the mud allowing Damien Green and Gareth Madden time to get back and make the sliding block. A third chance again didn’t roll cleanly and Alaa Oujdi was able to get the tackle in.
But it was obviously meant to be for Bar’s number nine and after Costa Dias Fernandes was fouled on the edge of the area, Ward-Cochrane took a leaf out of Michael Murray’s book by whipping the ball up, over the wall and in.(50 mins)
Goal difference may yet prove vital for the ‘Scholar’s in this promotion race but the third actually sparked Ware’s best period of the game.
It culminated in a penalty, awarded when a shot from Marcus Milner hit Steve Brown’s hands. Jordan Watson sent Berkley Laurencin the wrong way for a milestone in the club’s history, their 10,000th goal.
Ware were still threatening without drawing a save from the Bar keeper but if there were nerves, they were cast aside by a fabulous strike from Casey.
A goalmouth scramble which saw Brown and James Budden go close was finally cleared but unfortunately for the hosts it went to the ‘Scholars’ top scorer who volleyed it in from 12 yards.(79 mins)
That was it as far as chances went and it means the ‘Scholars’ are now in the position where Bowers & Pitsea are doing the chasing for the first time this season.
Potters Bar Town: Laurencin, Brown, Lomas, O’Leary, Budden (Wambeek 84), Grace, Adcock, Lawal, Ward-Cochrane (Nicholas 80), Casey, Costa Dias Fernandes
Subs (not used): Doyle, Murray
Goals: Costa 24, 45, Ward-Cochrane 50, Casey 79
Ware: Voss, Madden (Furlonge 82), Oujdi, Oyibo, Green, Milner, Rose, Watson, Cowley (Haag 80), Laurent, Frasier (Elsom 80)
Subs (not used): Long, Yexley
Goal: Watson (pen) 67
HT: Ware 0 Potters Bar Town 2
Man of the match: Sandro Costas Dias Fernandes