HERTS SENIOR COUNTY LEAGUE PREM DIVISION
The season finished with a top of the table clash between league winners Belstone and runners up Letchworth, who had earlier beaten Belstone in the Herts Senior Centenary Trophy Final.The game was entertaining and full of goals and incident as it swung from the advantage of one team to another.
In the first 15 minutes Eagles were by far the better side. In the first few minutes leading scorer Sam Gittings raced down the left of the field and his cross was headed just wide by Dami Fajobi from a few yards out. Gittings then volleyed a corner kick towards goal but it was deflected by the back of a defender. Another corner produced a great chance for several Eagles players to score from inside the goal area but none could apply a decent finish and the ball was eventually cleared.
After 15 minutes a lively Gittings just failed to connect with a header and then shot just wide from the edge of the penalty area. Eagles keeper Dan Goad was almost a spectator but in a counter attack Belstone missed a good chance from 10 yards when clear on goal. Goad then had to dash out of his goal to clear the ball with hands and feet before Eagles went ahead on 20 minutes when Gittings broke clear on the left, round the Belstone keeper and angled his shot into the top of the Belstone net. Soon after Den Crook got a second with a low shot through a crowded penalty area.
Play quickly swung to the other end and on 25 minutes Belstone scored easily from 10 yards after Eagles defenders failed to make a strong challenge and were bullied out of possession. Goad then had to hold a shot from the edge of the penalty area at full stretch. At this stage Belstone were clearly on top and they almost scored when a slip by David Locke let in Belstone to work the ball into the Eagles penalty area, but the shot was smashed just wide from the edge of the area. It was end to end stuff as Fajobi was put clear on goal by Mitch Cox but the keeper saved with his feet.
Belstone quickly scored just after half time after Eagles missed a chance to score again when a cross from Crook was fired towards goal by Gittings from a few yards out, only for a defender to clear off the line. Play swung straight to the other end. Goad parried a shot but the ball was slammed into the net before an Eagles defender could react..
Michael Deacon made a rare sally upfield to shoot just over the Belstone crossbar from the edge of the penalty area and then Sub Jamie Farrar headed just wide of the post from near the penalty spot. The Belstone keeper was kept busy as eagles piled on the pressure. He punched wide a shot from Gittings from the edge of the penalty area and then punched a way a free kick from Cox from well outside the penalty are after Crook had been fouled.
After 65 minutes Eagles got their reward when Fajobi was felled in the penalty area and Gittings slammed the penalty low into the corner of the Belstone net, making it a personal goal tally of 41 for the season. The lead was however short lived. Belstone made a quick break, attackers outnumbered retreating defenders and they scored easily from inside the penalty area. Eagles tried to respond with Farrar heading wide a cross by sub Krystian Malachak, but after 74 minutes it was 3-3 when a cross was pushed home from the edge of the goal area with Eagles defenders again outnumbered. As Eagles tired so Belstone created and spurned several chances to score the winning goal, until 5 minutes before time when Eagles could not clear the ball from their own penalty and it was finally scrambled into the net from close range. A draw would have been a fairer result, but Eagles had to go away empty handed.