HERTS SENIOR CENTENARY TROPHY
Two late goals for the Eagles ensured victory against a Buntingford side relying mainly on the long ball upfield and a lot of hard running.
For the first half Eagles had most of the possession and played the better football, but could hardly muster a shot on target. It could have been so much different if Sam Gittings had taken a chance in the opening minutes when clear on goal from 6 yards out, but he scuffed his shot wide of goal.
Buntingford rarely threatened but Eagles keeper Bradley Gillham had to be alert to save a low shot from fully 30 yards at the foot of a post. Paul McGennity then had to make a great saving tackle inside the eagles penalty area to prevent an excellent goal scoring opportunity. Carl Williams hit a shot over the crossbar after a surging run by Iggy Thorne, but the Town went ahead after 20 minutes with a superbly taken goal. An attempted clearance fell to the feet of the unmarked Voght who hit a crisp curling shot into the Eagles net from edge of the penalty area giving Gillham no chance.
Play swung from end to end with Jamie Farrar heading a Gittings corner just over the crossbar from close range, and then Gillham had to be quick off his line to pick the ball off the toe of a Buntingford forward after a quick break down the centre of the field left the Eagles defence exposed.
Eagles nearly scoredwhen Josh Cranwell and Gittings broke through the Buntingford defence outnumbering covering defenders but Cranwell was denied by a great blocking tackle a yard from the goal line when set to score. Eagles played some attractive passing football but the home keeper barely had a shot to save first half and there were far too many passes to opposition players.
Second half Eagles came out with more purpose and Cranwell soon had a shot deflected just wide of a post.. The corner was not properly cleared and Mc Gennity headed the loose ball into the net from close range. Eagles got a second a few minutes later when Gittings chased a long ball down the centre of the pitch and toe poked it into the net through the advancing keeper’s legs
Buntingford rarely threatened the Eagles goal but in another long ball breakaway attack they equalised after 65 minutes when 3 defenders failed to cut out a cross from near the right corner flag, and the ball was well headed home at the far post from 5 yards.
Eagles introduced Kadeem Gutzmore for extra pace up front and he soon made an impact. Getting clear of defenders and having a clear sight of goal with acres of space and time he scuffed his shot at the keeper. Eagles piled on the pressure. Carl Williams was put clear on goal by a pass from Gutzmore but was unable to finish from close range, the home keeper making a good blocking save with his legs. Eagles finally got the important goal when a surging run and cross by Iggy Thorne on the right was put into the far corner of the net by a glancing header by Williams stooping low in front of a Buntingford defender from 6 yards. Within minutes Eagles had a fourth when a shot from Gittings from the edge of the home penalty area took a wicked deflection off a defender and sailed in an arc over the head of the keeper left stranded off his line. In the last kick of the game a Williams pass put Gutzmore clear on goal but he well wide of an open goal.