HERTS SENIOR COUNTY LEAGUE PREMIER DIVISION
Despite dominating the first half Eagles failed to take their goal scoring chances and were fortunate to take all 3 points after an heroic second half performance by keeper Dan Goad.
A strong wind and hard bumpy pitch made it difficult for either side to play football and so there were many errors of misplaced passes and lack of a good first touch.
Eagles almost got ahead in the first 5 minutes when Sam Gittings low cross from the edge of the penalty area was met by a diving header by Dami Fajiobi that was heading towards the bottom corner of the net until the home keeper managed to push it round his far post. Shane Carthy then dribbled through a static defence but his shot from close range was deflected back into play without troubling the keeper.
For the first half an hour Eagles keeper Dan Goad was merely a spectator until he had to dash to the edge of his penalty area to collect a long ball down the centre before the chasing Mill End forward could reach it. Lee Pateman then flashed a shot from near the edge of the penalty area just over the Mill End crossbar and post .
Mill End struggled to get out of their own half but on 35 minutes almost scored when the Eagles defence was opened up by a fine flowing move, but the final shot cleared the eagles cross bar.. At the other end Fajiobi dribbled with the ball along the Mill End goal line leaving defenders in his wake but no Eagles player was able to force the ball into the net from a couple of yards out. Right on half time a cross cum shot from Carthy was tipped over by the keeper and from the corner a Fajiobi shot clipped the crossbar .
Second half Mill End were far more positive and within minutes a fierce shot from the edge of Eagles penalty area whistled over the cross bar. Eagles were unlucky not to do better when the home keeper raced outside his area to try and block Lee Pateman, only to be left stranded leaving an open goal. From an acute angle Pateman was unable to find the net or an eagles player and the danger was cleared.
After 55 minutes Goad made a great save to push away a shot bound for the top corner of his net, he then parried a low shot and tipped over the cross bar the rebound. Eagles defence were looking shaky and Goad had to parry another shot from 12 yards, before eagles got the all important goal. Carl Williams, playing in a forward role, tried to dribble though a group of defenders before his shirt was tugged pulling him off the ball. He calmly slotted home the penalty himself.
After 70 minutes eagles had another let off. Goad parried a shot but the rebound from Mill End was heading towards the net before it was hooked away from under the crossbar by Den Crook.. The good fortune did not last when in the pushing and shoving at a Mill End corner Ricky Small was judged to have pushed his opponent in the back, despite his vociferous protests. Luckily the penalty was blasted high and wide.
MillEnd continued to press and create goal chances but on 90 minutes almost conceded a second goal when after a superb following move and cross by John Coley, the ball was hit just wide of the top corner of the net by Carthy.