Newsletter No 19 by Bill Scholes
22:24 01 Jan 13
Saturday 29th December
It never rains but it pours, and it certainly did and sadly we were faced with yet another almost total washout. A few games survived (six to be precise, although one fell foul of the Electricity Board) and full marks to those clubs whose groundstaff and helpers battled to get their pitches fit for play.
In one of the few matches played, a very local derby saw AFC Dunstable host Dunstable Town in front of a bumper crown of over 260, but it was the visitors who took all three points in an entertaining 3 – 1 win, a victory which extended their lead at the top to six points. The pitch was playable and held up well throughout the game which was a testament to the ground staff. Town started like an express train with AFC seemingly still mentally in their dressing room. Lee Roache scored Town’s first goal on just 2 minutes as he pounced on a shot parried to him by AFC keeper Ryan Darby. Darby saved a second effort at the second attempt, as Town ran the game. But the second goal was not long in arriving and Roache ran across the defence to shoot the ball into the corner of the AFC net on 12 minutes. Town continued to dominate the game and the first AFC effort from BJ Christie from a tight angle was saved by Town keeper Paul Taylor on 23 minutes. Another AFC effort from a corner kick was chested off the Town goal line by Wayne Mills and that was as close as AFC came in the first half. Roache could have had a first half hat trick, but Darby in the home goal saved with his legs. AFC started the second half quickly and pulled a goal back on 47 minutes when Steve Hawes converted a right wing cross. AFC came into the match but without really threatening Taylor in the Town goal. Nathan Frater had a great chance to increase the Town lead but he miscontrolled the ball and the chance was gone. Town did increase their lead on 71 minutes when AFC failed to clear the ball and Tony Burnett scored from close range. AFC battled back and a shot hit the Town post and fell to Christie but he blasted the ball wide of an open goal. There were half chances at both ends but there was no further scoring and Town ran out comfortable winners. More excellent work from the groundstaff at Ampthill Town enabled the match between the two sides promoted from Division One last season to go ahead. Signed from Newport Pagnell in mid week, Dominic Lawless, rejoining his old boss Craig Bicknell fro their days at Padbury Utd, got his new club off to a great start with a goal in the 12th minute, but London Colney drew level ten minutes before half time with a goal from Dan Fitzgerald. With no further scoring, both sides had to settle for a point apiece, but it was a point that enabled Colney to move above AFC Dunstable into 5th spot. However, Colney have played quite a few games more than most clubs around them. More great work from the men with forks further across the County as Biggleswade Utd’s game against Stotfold also went ahead – unfortunately it only brought reward for the visitors as they ran out 3-0 winners with a brace from Nyasha Sagwete and one from Kim Forsythe. All of Oxhey jet’s efforts to get their game on against Hanwell Town proved to be to no avail in the end as a total power failure in the area caused the floodlights to go out and the game to be abandoned with 15 minutes remaining. The score at the time was 1-1.
The only game in this Division took place at Lowfield where Hoddesdon’s ground staff did a remarkable job to get the pitch playable in such difficult conditions. Unbeaten in their previous thirteen games and on a run of twelve straight wins, Hoddesdon Town finally tasted defeat for the first time in eleven weeks. A stuttering first half performance proved to be the Lilywhites downfall as they conceded two goals, and despite a great second half comeback, a very late Crawley Green winner cost them at least a deserved point. Hoddesdon looked the stronger side as they clawed their way back to draw level in the 65th minute but they failed to push their advantage home and were caught out by a sucker punch just before the end of normal time... Crawley had the better of the opening and had a strong appeal for penalty turned down after 5 minutes. Hoddesdon replied after 9 minutes when Ben Andreos headed wide form a Jamie Brandon corner. The game continued to flow from end to end and Shortly after Crawley’s Stuart Strange had an effort saved by Reece Buck in the Hoddesdon goal. Andreos then went through for Hoddesdon but miss kicked in front of goal. After 24 minutes Crawley created the best chance of the half when Peter O’Donnell set up Chris Gibson but his effort was well saved by Reece Buck. Crawley continued to create chances and took the lead after 35 minutes. JJ Billy, Stuart Strange and Peter O’Donnell combined to set up Chris Gibson who fired a shot into the bottom right hand corner of the goal. Five minutes later Crawley doubled their lead after Gibson’s effort from JJ Billy’s cross was turned round by Buck and from the resulting corner whipped in by Adam Reid, Lee Loasby rose to head the ball firmly past Buck to make it 2-0. In the second half Crawley created an early chance from a Peter O’Donnell cross but it was Hoddesdon who dominated. After 3 corners in quick succession Hoddesdon got back into the game after 61 minutes when a quick break down the right presented a chance for Mark Gradosielski to make it 2-1. Hoddesdon were in complete control at this stage and after 68 minutes were awarded a penalty, hotly debated by the Crawley players, but Ben Andreos kept calm during the protests and calmly smashed the ball past Dean Bull to make it 2-2. At this stage Hoddesdon looked certain to run out winners. Dean Bull kept Crawley in the game when he tipped over an effort from Tyler Hatherly and after 75 minutes Ben Darwin headed wide from a Jamie Brandon corner. With Hoddesdon failing to make their pressure count, Crawley nicked the winner with two minutes remaining, after Jamie Warne’s cross was turned in at the far post by JJ Billy.
DIVISION TWO –SECOND ROUND
Possibly hurt by the criticism levelled at them a few weeks ago for playing their First Team against Risboro Rangers, Aylesbury Reserves only played a couple of first teamers against Aston Clinton in this 2nd Round Cup tie, and it was one of them, Brian Haule, who scored their solitary goal as they were demolished 8-1 by the home side. Kevin Mealor got the ball rolling after just 60 seconds, and goals rattled in at regular intervals throughout the game. Sam Ward scored a hat trick and Anthony Kew, Steve Miles, Matty Tallyn and Neil Roberts also contributed to the total.
The Spartan South Midlands Football League Committee would like to wish all of their clubs and match officials
A VERY HAPPY,
PROSPEROUS AND SUCCESSFUL NEW YEAR
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