(BOSTIK LEAGUE – PREMIER DIVISION)
Goals from Ben Worman and Olly Miles saw Blues end high-flying Mertsham’s ten game unbeaten run with an excellent second half display.
While Worman and Miles both opened their league goalscoring account for the Blue Brazil, it was an excellent penalty save from Arthur Janata that paved the way for the home side to move up to 12th place in the Bostik League and take their points tally to 40.
Having already twice denied the Surrey side as Blues progressed in the league cup with a penalty shoot-out victory, the young keeper was again the hero saving Fabio Saraiva’s 65th minute spot kick and then blocking away a shot from the rebound.
The penalty decision by referee David Harrison, who didn’t have a particularly good game, was debatable as he rules that Mark Haines handled a Roman Michael-Percil effort, but if anything Janata’s save seemed to spur the hosts on.
There were a few changes in the Stortford squad for Merstham’s first-ever visit to the ProKit (UK) Stadium. Both Jack Thomas with a foot injury, and Alfie Mason, back problem, were injured although named on the bench whilst Luke Callander was away on holiday. Hector Kyprianou also was not playing due to being called up for the Cyprus under 19s squad for two matches against Romania in the next week.
On the positive side Ryan Henshaw returned to partner Haines in the centre of the defence after the completion of his four-match suspension.
Early in the match neither side made an impression in the first half as Merstham had most of the possession but created few openings whist Stortford only threatened midway through the first period when a Jamie Cureton low shot was close.
The hosts started the second period brightly with Ryan Charles having a shot parried away for a corner by Amadou Tangara in the 47th minute, after good work by Ben Worman.
Ten minutes later, Ryan Charles was almost through after a great run on the right before winning a corner. Johnville Renee also nearly broke the deadlock soon afterwards when almost fastening on to a through pass but a defender came across to concede another corner.
Janata’s heroics saving the spot-kick clearly boosted Stortford and they went ahead in the 77th minute when a pass from substitute Alex Warman deflected into the path of Worman who shot low past Tangara for his second goal in successive matches.
The Moatsider’s keeper saved well from Charles three minutes later and also a little later from Worman when diverting a goalbound shot away for a corner with his foot.
At the other end Janata pulled off a fine near post save to deny substitute Calum Davies equalising and from the resultant corner in the second minute of added time Stortford broke for Renee to supply a pass for Miles to net the second with a cool finish.
STORTFORD: Arthur Janata; Ben Sampayo; Chris Gregan; Sam Robbins; Ryan Henshaw; Mark Haines; Johnville Renee; Nathan Livings (Alex Warman 73); Jamie Cureton (Olly Miles 73); Ben Worman; Ryan Charles.
Unused substitutes: Haaroon Belaid, Jack Thomas and Alfie Mason.
MERSTHAM: Amadou Tangara; Harry Osborne; Ben Harrison; Simon Cooper; Ollie Cook; Tom Kavanagh (Manny Ighorae 81); Kershaney Samuels (Fabio Saraiva 46); Kenny Beaney; Walter Figueira; Gus Sow (Calum Davies 46); Roman Michael-Percil.
Unused substitutes: Caio Guimaraes and Tutu Henriques.
Referee: David Harrison