HERTS SENIOR CENTENARY TROPHY SEMI FINAL
On a waterlogged pitch and in constant driving rain Eagles almost overcame their high flying opponents from the Spartan league division 1 but in the end were worn down in the final 20 minutes as tired legs conceded 3 goals after taking the lead on the hour mark.
Eagles almost went behind in the early minutes of the game when Lions rapidly advanced down a vacant left side, and although the low cross found an unmarked player the well struck shot was deflected by the outstretched arm of Eagles keeper Paul McGennity. Lions applied constant pressure and a shot from the edge of the penalty area went just wide of a post. Eagles did respond and after 20 minutes from a corner Joe Tyler smashed the ball towards goal from close range but into the face of a defender. After 40 minutes Charlie Thake had a low shot from 18 yards parried at full stretch by the home keeper, but only into the path of River Amis-Robinson. Faced with an open goal he tried to take the ball round the prone keeper instead of shooting in from close range, and he put the ball into the side netting from a narrow angle.
Lions then had another chance when McGennity had to make a fine save to palm over his cross bar a shot from 20 yards. The resulting corner was not properly cleared and there was a goal mouth scramble before the ball was finally hacked clear of the Eagles goal. It was end to end play and almost on half time Iggy Thorne put Thake through on goal, but his shot was palmed away by the Lions keeper.
Soon after half time Lions missed another great chance when a low cross into the goal area found an unmarked player who hoofed the ball well wide of the Eagles net.. At the opposite end Thake dribbled through the Lions defence but his shot was beaten out by the keeper, and a shot from the rebound by Ray Antcliff was blocked by a defender.
On the hour the Eagles finally scored. The ball was caught in standing water, collected by Amis- Robinson who ran forward and scored with a low shot into the corner of the Lions net from 12 yards. From that moment Eagles were forced back by relentless pressure by Lions. Amis- Robinson and Antcliff had to come off because of calf problems caused by the heavy pitch and Lions equalised when the ball was dribbled through a static Eagles defence , passed to an unmarked forward in space on the left who scored with a low shot through the legs of the Eagles keeper from 10 yards. A direct free kick from a good position and distance was then lofted over the Eagles crossbar and McGennity had to touch over the crossbar a shot from 15 yards
There was panic in the Eagles defence, and Thake covering near the near post at a corner narrowly failed to slice a clearance into his own net. McGennity had to pull off another excellent save low down to a shot from near the penalty spot, but Lions were not to be denied and scored their second goal when a corner was headed in from close range at the near post. This was soon followed by a third goal when Platt suffering from cramp was beaten for pace down the left wing and the ball was cleanly placed wide of McGennity into the corner of the net. A cross from the right was side footed just wide of the Eagles net and a direct free kick was headed into the eagles net but ruled out for offside. In the dying minutes as Eagles flagged and were effectively down to 10 men following a groin strain to Thorne. McGennity had to make a superb save to parry a shot after a through ball down the centre of the Eagles defence beat covering defenders. A great performance to almost grasp an unexpected victory, before fatigue and injuries took their toll.