HERTS SENIOR COUNTY LEAGUE
Despite a strong first half performance Eagles had to concede defeat to a physical Belstone side with its own sights set on retaining their league title, having missed some great chances to score.
Eagles first attempt on goal was not until 10 minutes when a shot by Joe Humphries was well saved by the home keeper, who pushed the ball round his post. Eagles did go ahead after 15 minutes when Josh Coley collected the ball on the left, outpaced several defenders, went round the keeper and shot into an empty net.. Soon after he chased down a loose ball and passed to Charlie Thake ,who under pressure from defenders, shot just wide of the post. Ricky Small also had a chance to score but headed the ball into the keeper’s hands from a direct free kick.
Eagles had to defend their own goal against Belstone counter attacks and suffered a number of anxious moments as shots were blocked by defenders. Coley put a free kick just wide of a post, Shane Carthy shot just over after a clever exchange of passes with ‘ Iggy ‘ Thorpe, and Thake had a shot blocked. Play swung from end to end. Eagles keeper Bradley Gillham had to rush out from his goal to head clear and just before half time a Thake header from a corner was saved by the keeper at the foot of his post. The keeper then made a great save from Coley when he was put clear on goal by Thake .
By half time Eagles had failed to take several great chances, and were made to pay soon after . Gillham made a great blocking save but was helpless to stop a low shot from 10 yards after 60 minutes to level up the scores as Eagles were unable to repel a succession of assaults on their goal. Eagles responded . A shot by Thake just grazed the outside of a post and then he was put clear on goal but his shot was tipped by the keeper at full stretch just wide of the far post. Eagles almost conceded again when Anthony Geary passed into open space in the centre of the field and this was intercepted by Belstone, forcing Gillham to make another great blocking save.
Eagles hopes were raised when a low cross from Coley was put over the cross bar by Humphries from just a few yards from goal, but it was Belstone who scored the all important winning goal after 80 minutes when a fine passing move ended with a great shot giving Gillham no chance. Eagles then went down to 10 men when Humphries had to leave the field with a nasty head wound from a flying boot, that should have merited a red rather than yellow card for the Belstone player. In the final minutes Gillham had to make a great save with his feet to save Eagles blushes, and with the departure of Humphries there was no way of snatching an equaliser.