Friday, 14 April 2017

Twelves of Herts Leaves Hadley Missing a Trick

Hopperational details
Date & Venue
Thursday 13 April 2017 at Brickfield Lane
Hadley 1 Tring Athletic 2
Spartan South Midlands Premier League (Step 5)
Ground 604, local enough for an evening hop.  I tried to come here once before, when I was still relatively new to non-league.  Hadley’s first team were groundsharing at Potters Bar in those days, and I’d not realised until the only other cars in the car park contained members of the Women’s Institute heading for a gardening talk at the adjacent hall.  We’ve all done it (I hope).
Pre-match preparation
I saw Hadley ease their relegation fears two days ago with a win at Sun Sports.  Tring are sitting much higher in the table but arguably are playing for pride only.  The result matters to at least one team, which is as much as any neutral can hope for at this stage of the season.
This match in one sentence
Tring took the points with an effective defensive display whilst Hadley will count themselves somewhat unlucky not to get a draw.
So what?
Hadley are unlikely to catch Holmer Green above them so this result just uses up one of their games in hand over London Tigers below.  They have four of their last five games at home so don’t need to panic yet.
The drama unfolds
There was the prospect of pre-match drama when the programmes ran out well before kickoff.  Fortunately I was one of the smug early birds.  On the pitch, two officials warmed up but they turned down my offer of help, assuring me that there would be a full set of three.  Hadley started the game just as bright and busy as earlier in the week, but Tring are a big strong side and they largely cancelled each other out in the early stages.  Tring broke the deadlock with an attack down the right.  I was at the other end but it seems that a shot across the keeper went in off the post.  The scorer was Tommy Twelves.  0-1 after 19 min

Hadley heads stayed up and a lively enjoyable game ensued.  They nearly gifted an own goal with a sliced spinning clearance across the six-yard box after a moment of defensive indecision.  They defended the corner and it immediately needed a timely tackle at the other end to prevent a leveller.  Hadley went close once more before the interval.  0-1 at half-time

The second half was pacy end-to-end stuff, great for the passing neutral.  Hadley are quick, comfortable on the ball, and play with width.  Tring are solid, organised, good in the air and direct on the break.  Hadley had a huge amount of possession but could not find the final ball, as they say.  Tring’s keeper questioned a decision with an appeal to the ref’s grasp of the physical sciences.  “What’s he supposed to do? Evaporate?”  I reflected that quantum tunnelling would be more effective, but it only happens with sub-atomic particles not big ugly Step 5 defenders.

Hadley came close a few times.  One superb tackle by Tring’s Number 6 on Ivan Machado was a hinge point.  Then came a 90th minute penalty appeal which the ref turned down.  I’m not really in a position to comment but the atmosphere turned very sour.  To add insult to injury, Chris Vardy then absolutely buried a left-foot shot to seal the win.  0-2 after 90+2 mins

With one last attack, Hadley did earn a spot-kick when Justin Thompson was felled near the byeline.  Laste Dombaxe rolled it in after a stuttered run-up for his third goal of the week, but this was for consolation only.  1-2 after 90+4 mins and at FT
Ground Pix

I didn't notice immediately, but there's a windmill nearby ...

Match Pix

Goalkeeper Top Colour Stats
Green v Grey but no clean sheet for either side.  Updated table to come after my northern weekend.
What Next?
Off to Yorkshire early in the morning for Day 1 of the NCEL hop, no doubt alongside another couple of hundred obsessives.  Watch @GrahamYapp on Twitter for details!

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