Spartan South Midlands FL, Premier Division
Saturday 7th October 2017
Toby Davies, Tom Cowell, Tom Massey (Steve Redmond, 77), Jason Brown, Louis Bowen, Bradley Fraser (C), Kardan Campbell (Kyle Johnson, 20, (Harry Bushell, 75)), Connor Scully, Leigh Rose, Frazer John, Dominique Njoya
Unused subs: Lewis Ellis, Ross Clemo
Following two recent disappointing defeats Hoddesdon got back to winning ways at Lowfield on Saturday, and moved up to sixth in the table. Having cruised into a 3-0 lead, the Lilywhites took their foot off the pedal and allowed their visitors to grab a couple of goals back, before finally sealing the points a few minutes into time added on at the end.
Harry Isham was unavailable so Paul Halsey called up one of the Under-18 goalkeepers, Toby Davies. Tom Cowell and Louis Bowen came in to slot into defence, and Steve Redmond dropped to the bench. Regular captain, Louis Rose, was also absent and Bradley Fraser took over the armband. It was good to see Kyle Johnson back on the bench following his recent absence.
A blustery afternoon greeted the two sides at Lowfield, but the pitch was again in excellent condition, reflecting the amount of work being put in to keep it in a good state.
The opening fifteen minutes of the game was very much an even affair with both sides probing to find openings. Toby Davies was soon in the action, and his confidence levels quickly rose thanks to a good save pulled off with just eight minutes gone. A couple of robust tackles on Kardan Campbell took their toll, and he was clearly struggling.
With eighteen minutes gone, Loren Maxwell squandered a chance to put the visitors ahead when he got on the end of a fine cross, but put his header wide of the target. A couple of minutes later, Kardan Campbell finally succumbed to his injury and was replaced by Kyle Johnson.
Johnson was immediately in the action as the Lilywhites had won a corner on the right, Connor Scully’s set-piece was met by the striker whose header hit the crossbar and was cleared. Four minutes later another Connor Scully corner from the right was headed clear only as far as LEIGH ROSE who drove the ball hard and low back into the net.
A goal to the good, the Lilywhites started to take control of the game, and with twenty-eight minutes gone doubled their lead. Tom Cowell hit a long range free kick into the London Colney penalty area where Louis Bowen did well to head the ball down and TOM MASSEY lashed it home.
The final fifteen minutes of the half were dominated by the Lilywhites who could and should have further increased their lead. On the half hour, Frazer John did well to collect a long clearance, and broke clear to run at Joe Simmonds in the London Colney goal, but his final touch to beat the ‘keeper put the ball just wide. Jason Brown soon after made a great run down the left and played the ball to Frazer John who took on and beat his defender before hitting a dangerous cross that was headed wide by Connor Scully.
London Colney were hoping to hear the half time whistle when Hoddesdon won yet another corner, this time on the left. Once again, Connor Scully hit the ball into the danger area where the visitors’ defenders got into a tangle with the ball, but none of the Hoddesdon players could get the final touch to poke the ball home.
Hoddesdon went into the break with a comfortable lead, but London Colney have never been a side to be underestimated and an interesting second half was in prospect.
Six minutes into the second half the Lilywhites grabbed a third goal which should have allowed them to comfortably seal the points. Frazer John had been a thorn in the side of the London Colney defence for much of the first fifty minutes of the game, and yet again he made a searching run which was brought to an end with a foul inside the penalty area. JASON BROWN took responsibility for the penalty and duly fired it home.
The final forty minutes of the game should have been a comfortable ride for the Lilywhites, but with twenty-three minutes still remaining the visitors put a spanner in the works. The Hoddesdon defenders failed to deal with a cross knocked deep into their penalty area, and Bobby Armstrong at the far post was allowed to beat Toby Davies from close range. London Colney came close to scoring a second goal in the seventy-fifth minute when substitute Emmanuell Hammond finished off a quick break with a twenty-five yard effort that hit an upright and bounced back into play before being cleared. At this point, Harry Bushell came on to replace Kyle Johnson.
Two minutes after that second substitution, London Colney made the final period of the game a nail-biting affair as they notched a second goal. This time Emmanuell Hammond was on target as he got his head to a free kick from the left and beat Toby Davies from close range. Paul Halsey then made his third substitution, bringing on Steve Redmond for Tom Massey.
A minute of normal time was still remaining, and Hoddesdon were hanging on a little, when Frazer John made another great run down the left and crossed into the middle where Steve Redmond saw his effort hit the crossbar and come back into play before being cleared.
It looked as though the Lilywhites were just about home and dry by the narrowest of margins when TOM COWELL finally made the points safe. The Referee had played the best part of five minutes of added time when Hoddesdon broke quickly from the back, and a great through pass allowed Cowell to run on and chip the ball over the onrushing ‘keeper for a well taken goal.
Overall it was a good performance from the Lilywhites, and a deserved win, but they made life difficult for themselves with those lapses in concentration in the second half. Both Bradley Fraser and Toby Davies were sound nominations for Hoddesdon Town’s man-of-the-match award, but it went to Leigh Rose who had an excellent game and led by example I midfield and up front.
Next up for the Lilywhites is a return home League game against Leighton Town on Tuesday 10th October, followed four days later by an away League game at Wembley.