Hartley end Spelthorne's 8 game unbeaten run
Spelthorne Sports are a side that up until last night had gone eight games unbeaten, scoring 20+ goals in the process. Hartley started on the front foot and for the opening 10 minutes dominated possession and, in getting the ball wide, had a lot of joy delivering into the box for the impressive Sam Argent and Eddie Smith. Eddie partnered our skipper up front due to the extension of the loan whilst we wait for Ross Cook to return from his short injury. A partnership that has early signs of promise and their understanding of each other's movement led to a host of chances being created within the first half. It was the very same partnership that created our first goal, Ed received the ball on the left hand side and with a touch out of his feet, whipped in a lovely ball to the back post where Argent headed home with great precision.
Tuesday night's game marked a quarter of the way through the league season and with it came a difficult tie in Spelthorne Sports.
We went a little flat after scoring the goal, although we were still creating chances and were rarely troubled at the back. Spelthorne play a possession game, especially across the back four but with the partnership of Jones and Paris eradicating the space for any advancing pass to be made, so we regained the ball in dangerous areas of the pitch. Jannaway and Everiss continued to offer us great attacking width which pinned back the full backs and generated the holes for Ed and Sam to receive the ball. Half Time 1-0.
Like the game on Saturday, we knew we had an opportunity to shift through the gears and get the game dead and buried. Nothing changed in our approach, the message was just a reinforcement of concentration and tidying up in decision making and quality.
Spelthorne were reduced to ten men following a foul committed by their captain on Joe Paris, the red was shown not for the tackle but for a terrible reaction from the Spelly captain who pushed Paris in the face whilst he was on the floor following the foul. It was a poor decision by the Spelthorne captain and his absence created more space for Hartley to expose.
Ed Smith and Argent once again linked up to provide the second goal of the evening when Ed played the ball through round the back of the defender to which Sam ran on and finished in the top right of the net. Argent then completed his hat-trick with the best strike of the night. In a trademarked run, he worked his way across the box from left to right cutting in and beating helpless defenders in the process and unleashed an emphatic finish into the top right hand corner. A stunning strike and a great way to cap off a fine performance from the skipper.
Spelthorne managed to pull a goal back when a cross was lofted into the box and a looping header which nestled under the crossbar gave Atko no chance. It was disappointing to concede in that manner, but that being the first goal we've conceded at home in the league, we mustn't grumble...too much. Defensively, we were once again sound and gave very little away, it's easy to hand the plaudits to the attacking threat we posses and last night probably deservedly so, but over the course of the first quarter of the season, our back four who have remained pretty consistent have been in fine form. That situation is made much better with the quality we have on the bench and even on the sidelines.
Zac Horkan replaced Toby Jannaway mid way through the second half and made an immediate impact. After beating his man for the third successive time, he cut the ball back to Ed Smith who drove the ball past the keeper. Ed deserved his goal having turned provider for most of the evening.
It's a great way to kick off November as we enter the 2nd quarter of the season. A lot of games to be played this month and with pitches starting to turn, we know we are going to have to utilise the depth of quality we have amongst our ranks. Looking forward to Hanworth Villa at the weekend, it's always a very difficult place to go and play football. A pitch that doesn't give you much space against a side that concede very few at home. [DB]