HERTS SENIOR COUNTY LEAGUE PREM DIVISION
A second half hat trick from leading striker and man of the match Charlie Thake secured a comfortable win over a Cuffley side who faded badly in the later stages of the game.
Eagles nearly went behind in the early minutes when a poor back pass left keeper Paul McGennity chasing after the ball to divert it away from the empty goal and round the post for a corner. Eagles created only half chances and Cuffley looked by far the more dangerous side with swift breaks down the wings, but poor finishing left the Eagles goal intact. Just before half time Eagles went ahead with a superb break down the right wing and low cross from Lee Pateman across the Cuffley goal area, which was pushed home by Sam Gittings.
Cuffley opened the second half brightly and Gittings had to block the ball at the far post to stop an almost certain goal. McGennity then had to make a great save with his legs to stop a goal bound shot from 12 yards. In the last half hour the game changed completely when Charlie Thake came on as a substitute. His strength in the air and on the ground clearly disturbed Cuffley defenders and it was no surprise when he gathered a pass from Gary Christie and thumped the ball into the back of the net from 15 yards, giving the keeper no chance. It was soon 3-0 when Thake accepted another pass from Christie and put a low shot wide of the keeper.
Cuffley tried to counter attack and caused a few anxious moments before in a flowing move Shane Carthy rampaged through the Cuffley defence to the goal line and pulled the ball back into the centre. The keeper was unable to clear properly and Kadeem Gutzmore hammered the ball into the net from close range. Carthy then almost repeated the move this time with a dash down the left wing and a low shot which passed just wide of the far post with Thake unable to apply the finishing touch.
By this time the Cuffley defence was struggling to contain a resurgent Eagles side. Gutzmore beat several defenders for speed before snatching his shot and putting the ball high and wide when well placed to score. Cuffley continued to counter attack, and McGennity had to make another good save to parry the ball at the foot of a post before Thake got his hat trick with a low shot from the edge of the penalty area to complete the scoring in the final minutes of the game.