Dominant Blues maintain play-off push


Essex Leopards v Nottingham Hoods, 13th Oct 2018; Sam NewmanBlues maintained their late push for a play-off place after a fifth successive league win with a comprehensive victory over Worthing.
Two goals from the evergreen Jamie Cureton in his 999th club career appearance were the highlights of a fine performance from the hosts who were on top for nearly all the match.
Essex Leopards v Nottingham Hoods, 13th Oct 2018; Rory WinterIt was probably Stortford’s best performance of the season over the ninety minutes and took them to within two points of their fifth placed opponents Worthing who at the end of the match occupied the final play-off spot.
Essex Leopards v Nottingham Hoods, 13th Oct 2018; Sam NewmanSuch a result seemed unlikely before the start as Stortford were without Ben Sampayo who was ill and George Craddock dropped out having suffered a groin injury in the pre-match warm-up, leaving them with just two substitutes
In addition there was no Olly Miles due to the double fracture of the cheek-bone suffered in the previous Saturday’s contest against Margate. However, Ryan Charles returned to the squad.
Rebels’ keeper Lucas Cavagnari saved low from Charles in the fourth minute after a swift break upfield following a Worthing corner and a neat back-heel from Cureton.
a5Although David Ajiboye was narrowly wide after a solo run it was Stortford who controlled the game and a deep free-kick from the left by Alfie Mason was headed narrowly over by Ryan Henshaw.
A free-kick from Cureton in the 18th minute wasn’t far off target before Stortford deservedly took the lead in the 26th minute with Cureton scoring from the penalty spot with a shot high into the net after Leyton Orient loanee Shadrack Ogie was brought down just inside the box by Joel Colbran.
a6The visitors were having trouble putting their game together but Ajiboye was denied an equaliser in the 38th minute after a swift move on the right when Arthur Janata turned his shot over the bar.
Cavagnari struggled to turn a Cureton corner over the bar on the restart and although a Jesse Starkey cross-shot struck the top of the Stortford bar on the hour the Blues held the upper hand with Charles and Ben Worman going close.
They eventually doubled their lead in the 79th minute as Ogie collected a loose ball 25 yards out and found the bottom corner with a powerful shot for his first Blues goal.
Cureton rounded off the scoring two minutes later from a tight angle after a sweeping move involving Worman, Alex Warman and Charles who produced a fine final ball across goal for Stortford’s top scorer to notch his 359th club career goal.
While Cureton will grab most of the headlines, the central defence duo of Ryan Henshaw and Sam Robbins who were outstanding and helped keep another clean sheet. Robbins making an excellent block to keep out a close-range shot from Joe Clarke in the 86th minute.
STORTFORD: Arthur Janata; Johnville Renee; Shadrack Ogie; Jack Thomas; Sam Robbins; Ryan Henshaw; Ben Worman; Alex Warman; Jamie Cureton (Luke Calander 83); Ryan Charles; Alfie Mason.
Unused substitute: Mark Haines.
WORTHING: Lucas Cavagnari; Joel Colbran; Jalen Jones; Ricky Aguiar (James Crane 55); Joe Clarke; Alfie Young; David Ajiboye; Alex Parsons; Callum Kealy; Oliver Pearce (Darren Budd 55); Jesse Starkey.
Unused substitutes: Henry Ikeije, Billy Barker and Ross Edwards.
Referee: Craig Barnett
Attendance: 308
Essex Leopards v Nottingham Hoods, 13th Oct 2018