HERTS SENIOR CENTENARY TROPHY
The Eagles cruised comfortably into the semi finals of the competition they won last season, with the reward of a plum tie against local rivals Baldock awaiting them in February.
Chipperfield seldom offered a serious threat to a solid Eagles defence, which was well marshalled by skipper Ricky Small, and the home side had a mountain to climb when Eagles scored within the first couple of minutes as Sam Gittings shot home from close range a pass from Charlie Thake .Eagles piled on the pressure in the first 20 minutes but without really testing the keeper. Chipperfield did almost score a shock equaliser with a quick break down the centre but keeper Dan Goad was able to collect the ball at the feet of the onrushing forward who was under pressure from Small.
Jamie Farrar headed a cross from Small just over the crossbar and another header was grasped by the keeper just under the crossbar after good work by Gittings to create the chance. Goad had to make a great save to parry the ball near the edge of his penalty area as the Eagles defence was split open and full back Ian Thorne was beaten for pace. Chipperfield then had a series of corners and finally scored direct when an inswinging corner was caught by the strong wind and swirled past Goad into the far corner of the Eagles net. Eagles stormed back and a cross from Thake was deflected just wide of an onrushing Gittings as he attempted to repeat the first minute goal. After 42 minutes Eagles scored a deserved second goal when Thake chased a long ball down the centre of the field and executed a delightful chip over the head of the onrushing keeper and into the back of the net from at least 20 yards.
Eagles were the quickest to find their rythmn after half time when a goal bound shot by Shane Carthy was deflected wide of goal by a defender and then Thake headed the corner wide of a post. Soon after Gittings flashed at a low cross from the left from a few yards out and the ball bobbled past the keeper and gently rolled into the net. Gittings and Thake then both went close, with Gittings having a goal ruled out for offside, before the home side won a hotly disputed free kick on the left side and at the edge of the Eagles penalty. Eagles defenders had anxious moments after Goad had deflected ball into a crowd of players, before it was finally hacked away.
Chances to get a fourth goal came and went including a shot from Thake which hit the side netting, before it finally came in the 75th minute. Shane Carthy made another surging run at the Chipperfield defence and this time his low shot from at least 25 yards deceived the keeper and found the corner of the net. It was followed soon after by goal number 5 from a shot from outside the penalty area by Joe Humphries ,which hit the corner of the post and crossbar, and then rebounded over the line into the opposite corner of the net.
Eagles were then able to relax and introduced 2 young 16 years old players from the youth sides George Denman and Jack Jones for the last quarter of the game. Denman nearly had a dream start when he was put clear on goal by sub John Coley but his low shot was just too close to the keeper, who managed to get down and make a good save.
In the dying minutes Eagles defence failed to clear a corner kick and after several attempts to hack the ball clear by desperate defenders it fell to Chipperfield on the penalty spot and the ball was blasted into the back of the Eagles net, giving Goad no chance.