HERTS SENIOR COUNTY LEAGUE PREMIER DIVISION
Eagles narrowly failed to unseat league high flyers Whitwell in a hard fought game between two evenly matched sides.
Eagles were back to full strength and refreshed from having no game the previous Saturday, but they failed to make much impression on the Whitwell defence in the early stages of the game. The first chance fell to the visitors after 15 minutes when only a fine tackle from Sam Williams about 20 yards out following a break down the centre of the field saved Eagles’ bacon. A few minutes later a shot from distance just cleared the eagles crossbar, and Eagles were making little impression in the final third of the pitch.
Whitwell should have scored on the half hour when a clear run on the left resulted in a shot from a narrow angle which beat keeper Dan Goad but was cleared off the line by Sam Williams.
Eagles had another fright just before half time when a free kick was headed just wide of the Eagles post, but they rallied with shots from Williams and Ricky Small which did not trouble the keeper.
Almost on half time Whitwell hit the Eagles bar from just inside the area, and could count themselves unlucky not to have led by half time.
Eagles opened the second half more dangerously. Carl Williams almost beat the keeper to a long ball down the middle of the field, and on 50 minutes Mitch Cox sent a shot flashing just wide from 15 yards after a fine eagles passing movement.
Play swung from end to end but Eagles were finally undone when Lewis Mitchell was harshly punished for handball in the penalty area .Whitwell smacked home the penalty down the centre of the goal with Goad diving the wrong way. Sam Gittings was booked for dissent and a few minutes later received his marching orders for a second yellow card, leaving Eagles with an uphill task for the rest of the game. Strangely the 10 men played with added heart and great determination for the rest of the game.
After 75 minutes Sam Williams blazed high over the bar when facing an open goal from 12 yards out and then Cox headed just wide a cross from Small. As Eagles pushed forward it left gaps in defence and 5 minutes from time Goad made a great save from a close range shot which was heading towards the top corner of the net.
In the dying seconds Eagles hit the post which would have been just reward for their efforts in the second half, but there was to be no fairy tale ending to the game for the home side.