Extra special win for under-21s

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Blues’ return to the Herts Intermediate Cup after nearly a decade ended in success as the under-21s won 4-2 at Watford-based Old Parmiterians, on Saturday.

The home team are top of Herts Senior League second division having lost just once this season, and the Blues struggled in the first half as the game started at a frantic pace.For the first thirty minutes both sides created opportunities with Jon Nzengo hitting the crossbar and captain Jack Hayes having a header brilliant saved by the home keeper being the best Stortford chances but with the home side gradually becoming more dominant it was no surprise when they took the lead with a far post header from a free kick unnecessarily given away in a wide area.

After a few home truths were discussed at half-time Blues came out with real purpose, playing at a much higher tempo. It was therefore against the run of play when another needless free kick given away by the young Stortford side resulted in the home side taking a 2-0 lead ten minutes into the second half.

The introduction of Jay Lantieri and Raphael Dual straight after the home side’s second goal, proved to be a pivotal turning point in the match, almost immediately great work from Ben Smith created an opportunity for Nzengo and after an initial save from the keeper the rebound was bravely headed home by Lantieri to reduce the deficit to 2-1.

The home side were now under constant pressure from the young Blues and were becoming frustrated, giving away numerous free kicks and starting to accumulate yellow cards.

Eventually the pressure told and the away side grabbed an equaliser with 20 minutes remaining following good work by Sean Clare, the keeper parrying his shot and the rebound was forced home by Sam Ashford.

herts fa newThe home side were then reduced to ten men following a second yellow card but the Blues showed their inexperience by taking their foot off the gas having worked so hard to get back on level terms and nearly paid the price when the home side came close to scoring three times in the final ten minutes but the match stayed 2-2 at the end of the 90 minutes to send the game into extra time.

The Stortford side stepped up another level and, against their tiring opponents, dominated the extra time periods and soon took the lead through a superb Lantieri free kick.

That became 4-2 to Stortford moments later after a great run and turn from Lantieri resulted in him being brought down in the box and Duah superbly tucked away the penalty. The home side were then reduced to nine men after a frustrated opponent lashed out, and the visitors closed out the win.

The reward for the young blues hard thought victory is a third round trip to Baldock Town Reserves on December 13th. Prior to that the under-21s have key league matches at Chelmsford City on Saturday November 22nd and at Brentwood Town on Wednesday November 22nd as they aim to maintain their position at the top of the league.

Author: Dave Ryan