Hartley 6 v 2 AFC Hayes
Post by KOB - 07-09-2016, 09:46
Another strong performance from the boys that, apart from the outcome, was much the same as we played at Villa on Saturday I felt. We again created plenty of opportunities through good build-up play and the difference was that Hayes failed to defend as tightly as the Villa boys had. Sam Argent put us one up within the first ten minutes and Ross hammered a shot off the bar. A superb whipped cross - one of many on the night from the very impressive Dean Stow - found the head of Sam Argent and we were 2 up within half an hour. But then we switched off slightly and a quick move down our right flank resulted in a good strike beating Craig Bradshaw at his near post.
2-1 at the break - we could have been further ahead but the pace of Hayes going forward kept reminding us that we were still very much in a tough game. We continued to create opportunities but Hayes looked capable going forward and it was clear we needed the cushion of a third goal. Once we got that goal, courtesy of another pinpoint cross by Dean onto the head of Ross Cook, it both settled us and understandably sapped the will of the visitors. We then became rampant, with Man of the Match Steve Laidler and Ian Jones alongside him in the middle pulling the strings with ever increasing authority. Dean deservedly got himself onto the scoresheet after great work by Ross, cutting in from the right and pulling it back for Dean to slot it home. By this time our dominance was overwhelming as we went into the last 10 minutes of the game. Ross Cook scored from the penalty spot. Sam failed to convert a couple of great chances, the sort we just didn't get at Villa, before he set up Steve Duff whose powerful strike made it 6-1.
There was still time for Hayes to nick the ball from us in midfield and win a free-kick on the edge of the box which was despatched into the net via the bar and Craig Bradshaw's back. Own goal as far as I'm concerned but it was officially given to the Hayes number 8.
As I said to a couple of the Hayes lads as they walked off, they fought well and didn't really deserve what ended up a bit of a pasting, because at 2-1 it was still very much all to play for, but then again they didn't defend against us the way Villa did at the weekend and so paid the price.
I still don't feel we were at our best, especially in the first half when a few passes went astray, but there was a lot of very nice interplay from the boys. A good match for the neutral too I imagine, as Hayes helped to make it an open, attacking game. I expect them to do okay this season and so this was a strong result for us.