Hertford VI 3 - 3 West Herts VI
By Geoff Oates
The masters of the late fightback strike again
In form league leaders West Herts arrived looking for a win to secure promotion, and with a handy goal difference of plus 54, 23 of those coming in their last two games.
With Nick Earnshaw swapping over from the 4s (in exchange for Graham White) and Andy Rawlings making a welcome return, we didn't look quite as old as we did up at Sandy two weeks ago, and we were determined to make them work for it.
It didn't start well. We were competitive if not very threatening in open play, but like last week, two slick short corners in the first quarter kept us on the back foot, we barely created a chance of our own in the first half, and a third West Herts strike from open play before half time seemed to wrap things up. Without a string of good blocks from Justin it would have been much worse.
Did they take the foot off the accelarator? Was it my half time team talk? Or just a cussed determination to recover our own goal difference? Or, with Adam off injured, the ecclectic substitutions that saw Clive and myself popping up in the forward line? The energy levels soared, Lanky's passes began to find players in space, Ian and Daryl began to get near to their D. We forced our first short corner - Daryl first short was saved, the second hit the backboard. Play swung from end to end, with West Herts making no attempt to protect their lead, and Justin still had plenty to do in goal. Then Adam returned rejuvenated, threading passes neatly though their midfield again and again, and we anjoyed our only real spell of sustained control, at last giving their keeper something to do. With 10 left Ian forced another short. This time Daryl only needed one shot.
West Herts realised they had a game on, but still pushed forward and left enticing gaps in midfield. Another break and another string of short passes took us down to the right hand corner, Andy picked up the cross on the penalty spot and picked out the cornert of the backboard to complete a dream return for our old trooper. We played out the last five minutes without major alarms.
Gold stars to Lanky for a lively perfomance in from of the back 4, to Ian for some incisive dribbling, to Justin for marshalling defence and to the old boys at the back who kept tight shape under heavy pressure.
That takes our league goal tally to 35, a new high water mark for the 6s, Daryl tops the board with 9, 5 of them in our last 3 outings. Our goal difference is safely back to +/- 0. Two to go......