Dominant performance to maintain winning record
Before the match Hartley and Cove united for a moment as we paused for a minute's silence in memory of the tragic loss of life during the Shoreham air show, particularly remembering those at Worthing United FC who lost two of their players. Always a sobering moment during the hype around a football match.
Hartley sealed their 5th league win of the 2015/16 season on Tuesday evening - and in some style. Four goals in the first half and three in the second.
Hartley only had two changes from the weekend's win as Callum Eagle was recalled from his very brief loan spell to sit in at right back, and Steven Duff went into right midfield. Hartley dominated possession from the beginning and created an early chance with some good work from Everiss and Argent. It was Steven Duff however who opened the scoring and helped himself to his 6th goal of the season. Duff who started on the right hand side and, with his back to goal, turned and drifted inside past three players before hitting a great strike into the bottom corner of the goal from distance.
Jones and Parfitt kept us ticking in central areas, and it was the latter who picked out an inch perfect pass that cut through a small opening in the Cove defence. The perfect weight on the ball allowed Everiss to take it in his stride who calmly struck it past the goalkeeper to double our lead.
Hartley continually applied pressure across all areas of the park and looked threatening from all angles. We scored our third just before the half hour mark when Cook found space on the right hand side and struck a ball to the far post to be met by Argent who finished within the 6 yard box. Argent came close moments later when Everiss whipped in a ball to which Argent's header went agonisingly close as it found it's way past the far post.
Ian Jones grabbed his first goal of the season after a shot was blocked by the busy Cove goalkeeper and Jones lashed home the rebound driving the ball into the bottom left of the goal. A great strike and I am sure the first of many this season. We went into half time with a four goal lead. We were very happy with the scoreline, but more so with the performance. We wanted to be ruthless in all areas of the pitch and the boys delivered. The challenge now, was to maintain the same tempo for the second set of forty-five minutes. Saturday's game against Colliers Wood, was a great win, but we allowed them to claim a stake in the game in the second half, we didn't want a repeat of that so reinforced our message. Liam Eagle replaced Steven Noakes at half time.
Hartley set up camp in the second half and began to carve out continuous opportunities, Argent once again went close and a fantastic save from the Cove keeper denied Ross Cook as he plucked the ball from nestling into the top corner.
Cook went on to score three in the second half, the second was a fantastically struck free kick from just outside the area. His third was following a deep cross from Everiss after the ball was recycled out to the left hand and Cook struck the ball with venom past the helpless keeper. Liam Eagle went close with a header towards the end of a game, he met the ball with great power, out jumping the Cove centre back but the ball went just over.
It was a superb win against local rivals, Cove. A performance that we craved following the second half at Colliers Wood, it was our most dominant performance so far this season in terms of controlling everything controllable. August has been a great month for us with 6 wins out of a possible 6 and plenty of goals, it sets us up nicely for our FA Cup tie vs Banbury on Saturday afternoon. It will be our toughest test to date and a great opportunity to show how far we've come in a short space of time. Despite our league form, we go into this game as the underdogs playing against higher league opposition. We will undoubtedly have to be firing on all cylinders to be in with a chance of progressing to the next round.
Lastly, as ever, thank you for your support last night. I looked over my shoulder and down the pitch and all I could see was Hartley support. It makes a real difference to see so much support and we thank you for it. Look forward to seeing you all again on Saturday. [DB]