HERTS SENIOR CENTENARY TROPHY 1ST ROUND
After leading 3-0 Eagles succumbed to a frenetic last 15 minutes and lost a fiercely contested cup tie to a winning goal in the last couple of minutes as the Eagles defence collapsed.
The first half was relatively uneventful as neither side created any clear cut chances in the first 30 minutes. After 10 minutes Sam Gittings volleyed a cross straight at the keeper and Cuffley also missed a half chance after 17 minutes when a shot from 12 yards went wide of the post.. Shane Carthy volleyed over the bar from a corner and then shot just wide from about 10 yards. Just before half time the same player just failed to connect to a cross which flashed across goal, but he was not to be denied and just before half time he blasted the ball into the net from the edge of the penalty area.
Eagles roared into a 3-0 lead within 5 minutes of the restart. First Carl Williams shot low into the net from 12 yards and within minutes struck again when his shot found the net from inside the area.
Play then switched to the opposite end of the pitch and within a minute the home team scored with a low shot from the edge of the penalty as Eagles failed to close down the ball quickly enough. Within 5 minutes Cuffley scored again when Eagles left an opponent totally unmarked and he scored easily from inside the penalty area.
Eagles then responded with some good attacking play and scored again after 65 minutes when a shot from Williams was deflected into the home net by a defender. Jamie Platt then shot wide from 20 yrds when left unmarked , as Eagles began to look confident of victory.
That all changed 10 minutes from time. On 80 minutes a cross from the left was not cleared, defender Sam Williams slipped, and the ball was knocked in from the edge of the goal area. This was almost followed a minute later by a fourth goal for Cuffley as eagles defence back pedalled but the ‘ goal’ was disallowed for offside. Relief was short lived because a few minutes from time Eagles defenders failed to clear the ball from the goal line a few yards from the keepers near post. The ball was chipped up and headed in from a couple of yards. Defender Ricky Small was then sent off for protesting too long and too heatedly with the referee and this put the away team in real trouble.
Extra time looked certain but Dan Goad had to push the ball round the post from a shot from the edge of the area. In time added on there was a scramble for the ball in the Eagles goal area and the ball was bundled over the line.. Mitch Cox almost levelled the score at 5-5 in the dying moments but his free kick from 25 yards went just wide of the post. It was a case of too little too late, in a game which Eagles should have had sewn up on the hour.