HERTS SENIOR COUNTY LEAGUE PREMIER DIVISION
Despite absences of key players and outfielder Paul McGennity having to play in goal, the Eagles overcame a stubborn Sarratt side to record their first league win of the new season.
Eagles made their usual slow start and went behind in the first 5 minutes, after Sam Day knocked the ball just wide of the post in the first real chance of the game. Sarratt responded with a quick break down the centre and McGennity was given no chance with low shot into the corner from 12 yards. The home team almost got another goal when Iggy Thorne was badly out of position upfield leaving a Sarratt forward unmarked, but an attempt to lob the Eagles keeper from 30 yards was unsuccessful as the ball sailed just wide .
Eagles continued to press and Josh Cranfield was unlucky when his low shot from 10 yards was parried by the keeper; the ball trickled slowly towards the goal line but lacked sufficient power and he was able to recover it before it crossed the goal line. Eagles did equalise after 35 minutes when a Sam Gittings corner was superbly headed in from 6 yards by Den Crook. He almost repeated the goal but his header from a direct free kick this time sailed over the crossbar. Eagles finished the half strongly and Sarratt did not manage a shot on target during the last 20 minutes.
After half time Eagles continued to apply pressure. Cranwell just failed with a lob shot over the keeper and Jamie Platt stooped to head a great cross from Liam Huckle just wide from 3 yards. Sarratt counter attacked but failed to take advantage of confusion in the Eagles defence, failing to get the ball clear, and finally a fierce shot from 25 yards was straight at McGennity.
Sam Gittings was put clear on goal but his shot was straight at the keeper, but after leaving the field with a shoulder injury his substitute Kane Dougherty scored with almost his first touch of the match, heading in a cross at the far post after 65 minutes. Eagles were unlucky not to add to their total as a Huckle cross was headed over his own crossbar by a Sarratt defender, and the home defence panicked trying to clear the ball but no Eagles player able to take advantage to force the ball into the net.
As Eagles pressed up field they became more vulnerable to the counter attack. A low cross from the left flashed across the Eagles penalty area with two Sarratt forwards unmarked in the centre as Eagles unsuccessfully tried to play them offside. The first flashed at the ball with an air shot that landed at the feet of his team mate, who in turn screwed the ball well wide of goal when it looked easier to score. A shot from 25 yards cleared the Eagles crossbar and several good chances were spurned, with Eagles under constant pressure. Cranfield did have a chance to make the game safe when put clear on goal by Jamie Platt, but the keeper made a great save low to his left to push the ball wide of his post.
Overall Eagles played the better football and deserved their win against a very average team, but they needed some poor finishing by the home side to achieve it.