MATCH REPORT TUESDAY 21 APRIL 2015
HERTS SENIOR COUNTY LEAGUE PREMIER DIVISION
On a pitch resembling a meadow more than a playing field Eagles struggled to overcome a Hertford Heath side that lost its goalkeeper in the first half.
The opening exchanges produced many errors by both sides as they tried to play football on a bone hard pitch with grass long enough to take off a hay crop, but Mitch Cox almost scored with a trade mark free kick after 20 minutes which the keeper did well to push round his post. Then Sam Gittings was put clear on goal with only the keeper to beat but he chose to side foot the ball and the long grass slowed down the ball so it was easily gathered by the keeper.
Hertford relied on the counter attack and looked certain to score from close range before debut Eagles keeper Callum Rodgers made a good block and deflected the ball away from danger.
Paul Morris almost scored on the half hour after a mazy run through a static Hertford defence, but placed his low shot wide of the post. Soon after the Hertford keeper was sent off for an off the ball kick at Gittings having just smothered a close range effort from Lee Pateman. Gittings took the penalty himself and scored with a low shot under the diving keeper.
Almost on half time Eagles keeper had to make a great save to push the ball wide so a covering defender could clear the ball, preventing what looked like a certain equaliser.
Second half eagles applied constant pressure but not long into the half Rodgers allowed a low shot from 30 yards to creep under his body into the net.. Eagles soon responded. A Pateman cross from the right was not cleared by the Hertford defence and Morris lashed the ball into the net from 10 yards.
On the hour it was 3-1 to the Eagles, when Gittings scored his second penalty after a Hertford defender handled the ball in the penalty area. Then it was 1 -4 when a Hertford defender kicked a cross from Morris on the left touchline into his own net, giving the keeper no chance. It looked as if the floodgates might then open as Hertford tired. Gittings could have got his hat trick when he ran clear of the defence but his shot from a tight angle was saved by the substitute keeper at the foot of his near post. Another Morris pas to Gittings gave him another chance, but although the shot was well struck and heading for the top corner of the net the keeper brought off a great save to push the ball out for a corner. Shane Carthy tried his luck with a low shot which was saved by the keeper .
Despite almost constant Eagles pressure Hertford did have their chances, and Rodgers had to make a great save at the other end of the pitch to parry a shot from 10 yards. 5 minutes from the end they did get a second goal when a long ball down the centre caught Eagles defenders holding too high a line and as Rodgers rushed from his goal the ball was expertly chipped over his body into the empty net from the edge of the Eagles penalty area.
As the game drew to an end it was still packed with lots of incident. Dami Fajobi looked as if he would score after chasing a ball into the Hertford penalty area, and become involved in a scramble with the keeper to push the ball over the goal line from close range, but he was judged to have fouled the keeper. Then Carthy failed to force home a low cross from Gittings at the far post just before the final whistle.