MATCH REPORT SAT 6 DECEMBER 2014 HERTS FA SENIOR CENTENARY TROPHY 3RD ROUND
LETCHWORTH GC EAGLES 3 FC BROXBOURNE BOROUGH 2
In a close fought cup tie Eagles recovered from an early setback to overcome Broxbourne from the Spartan League div 1. The game was full of incident and the visitors finished with 9 players as their discipline disintegrated in the late second half.
It took Broxbourne only 5 minutes to get the opening goal with a hotly disputed penalty. Eagles keeper Dan Goad was deemed to have fouled an onrushing forward as he attempted to steer the ball into an unguarded net, but made contact with both the player and the ball. Match referee Andy O’Brien did not immediately award a penalty kick, but after consultation with his Assistant the penalty was awarded and scored with ease.
Eagles had to claw their way back into the game but their first effort did not come until 15 minutes when Den Crook headed narrowly over the cross bar from a direct free kick. After 25 minutes it was 1-1 when Sam Gittings headed across the goal for Shane Carthy to bundle the ball into the net at the far post from a few yards out. A few minutes later it was 2-1 for the Eagles when leading scorer Gittings, back from injury, converted a cross from a lively Paul Morris.
Play settled down into a pattern with neither side creating clear chances although Gittings almost got a second when he side footed the ball just wide of a post from a pass by John Coley which opened up the Broxbourne defence. A clear chance and so close. Broxbourne finished strongest at the end of the half forcing a series of corners without anyone being able to apply the finishing touch to some dangerous crosses into the Eagles penalty area.
Eagles opened the second half brightly and when Coley broke clear on the right his cross cum shot was gathered by the keeper at full stretch. He almost repeated the move a few minutes later but his raking low cross just eluded an on rushing Gittings at the far post a few yards from goal.. Coley was proving a real handful to the Broxbourne defence and soon again tested the keeper with a shot from 15 yards, which the keeper parried so that it did not have sufficient power to cross the line.
Eagles started to make mistakes and the visitors scored after 55 minutes only for the goal to be ruled out for offside. They managed to hang on and on 60 minutes scored their third goal with a bullet header by Ricky Small direct from a corner kick..
As Broxbourne wilted eagles created a succession of decent chances including a volley by Anthony Geary that fizzed just wide with the keeper well beaten. Things got worse for the visitors when a player was sent off for serious foul play, but on 80 minutes there was a bizarre incident which profoundly affected the game.. A magnificent rising shot from outside the Eagles penalty area seemed to have beaten Goad completely but the ball appeared outside the goal net. Broxbourne players insisted that a goal had been scored. Mr O’ Brien inspected the net, but after a great deal of discussion refused to allow the goal and awarded a goal kick to the Eagles. Broxbourne were furious and threw all their resources at the eagles goal. Goad made a magnificent save to tip a direct free kick over his cross bar, and as the pressure increased Broxbourne were awarded another penalty for a push in the back in the penalty area.. That made it 3-2. There was constant pressure from the visitors to get a third. The ball was kicked off the Eagles goal line by a covering defender with Goad beaten, and a goal looked likely until in another act of ill discipline when Coley was thumped in an off the ball incident, and Broxbourne went down to 9 players.
Eagles held on, and in the dying minutes Paul Morris was put clear on the left and had a great chance to finish the game , but his shot was well saved by the keeper.
A great victory for the Eagles against higher level opposition, but the arguments about the goal that wasn’t continued long after the game.