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Hadley 3 v 3 Hillingdon Borough
Dombaxe (2), Petrucci
Hadley v Sun Sports
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The 1st team entertained Hillingdon Borough who currently sit at the foot of the table, but have recently made a change in management and brought in an influx of new players. It was our visitors who took the lead with a cross and close range finish to make it 1-0. We drew level through Dom Petrucci and then we took a 2-1 lead very shortly after with Laste Dombaxe adding to his fine run of recent goalscoring form to make it 2-1. As half time approached, Hillingdon were awarded a penalty for a foul by Dombaxe, the spot kick was converted to make it 2-2 at the break. We restored our lead with an outstanding long range strike from Laste Dombaxe that gave the Hillingdon keeper no chance. We enjoyed good spells of possession and created some good opportunities to increase our lead but failed to convert, and with Hillingdon not giving up the fight, the game was never over. This was proved as Hillingdon were awarded a free kick on the edge of the box late on in the half, and their left back smashed the ball into the top corner to make the final score 3-3.
The reserves also had a 3-3 draw, sharing the points with London Colney reserves. Goals from Macauley Harrington, Idriz Adedoja and Dale Small had given us a 3-1 lead but our visitors fought back and scored two second half goals to make it 3-3. The 3rd team had a good win, beating Abbotts Langley 4-2 thanks to goals from Ryan Willoughby (2), Danny Gruar and Abel Tekleab.
The 1st team welcomed the visit of St Margaretsbury who are one of the in-form teams of the division, winning all of their last 7 league matches. After a good start we took an early lead through midfielder Laste Dombaxe who burst into the box and finished well from a cross from the right wing. We maintained our lead to make it 1-0 at half time. Our visitors started to apply some pressure in the second half and got their equaliser through centre back Jack Bartlett, who was a Hadley player last season. A set piece fell to Bartlett in our penalty area and he finished well with his left foot to make it 1-1. We got back into the game again after this but neither side could break the deadlock and the points were shared in what was probably a fair result overall.
The first team returned to league action with a trip to Ampthill Town. After going 1-0 down early on, we equalised from the penalty spot through Dom Petrucci after Petrucci had been fouled in the box. The home side then restored their lead soon after to give them a 2-1 lead at the break on a difficult playing surface that was starting to freeze over in certain places. We started the second half brightly and began to attack from the outset. We got our equaliser about 20 minutes into the second half after Dave Pigden found space in the box and rifled the ball into the roof of the net to make it 2-2. Ampthill were then reduced to 10 men as their player manager was sent off, and at the same time we introduced Ivan Machedo and Jamal Baptiste from the bench. The double substitution had an immediate effect as both wingers started to cause big problems for the Ampthill defence straight away. Baptiste set up Jernade Meade who finished well to give us a 3-2 lead. Laste Dombaxe then came of the bench and also had an immediate impact as he scored to make it 4-2 after good work from Ivan Machedo on the right wing. With minutes remaining Machedo made it 5-2 which meant that all three substitutes had come on and scored. Overall, an excellent second half performance and a good three points in tough conditions.
Elsewhere, the reserve and 3rd team matches were both postponed due to frozen/waterlogged pitches.
Tuesday 13th January 2015
The first team were knocked out of the Herts Senior Cup at the Quarter Final stage following a 3-2 defeat against a strong St Albans City side. After settling into the game, we nearly took the lead when a Dom Petrucci free kick crashed against the crossbar. We did break the deadlock shortly after when we were awarded a penalty for a foul on Dan McAteer. Petrucci stepped up and finished well from the spot to make it 1-0. We started to get our passing game going and doubled our lead with what will surely be goal of the season after Dom Petrucci saw goalkeeper Tom Coulton off of his line and smashed the ball home from a good 45 yards to make it 2-0. We nearly extended our lead further but Alan Murray's effort hit the post. The home side then pulled a goal back through the prolific John Frendo to make it 2-1 at half time after an excellent first half performance from us. St Albans began to apply a lot of pressure from the start of the second half and got their equaliser soon after the restart, David Keenleyside scoring to make it 2-2. We introduced fresh legs from the bench with Jamal Baptiste and Nick Chrysanthou replacing Martin Flannery and Ivan Machedo. This got us back into the game and we created a couple of chances, with the impressive Jernade Meade going close. However, St Albans began to look the fitter team and took the lead for the first time with Frendo scoring his second of the game to make it 3-2. We changed formation and introduced Kieren Smith up front, replacing captain Tony Sabag. The change nearly worked as we had a great chance to equalise when Dom Petrucci found himself one on one with the St Albans keeper, but Petrucci snatched at his shot early, thinking that a defender was closer than he was, his shot going wide to keep the score at 3-2. The home side then saw the rest of the game out to book their place in the semi final but it was a great game to watch and an excellent performance from us, something that we look to continue in the league on Saturday when we make the trip to Ampthill Town.