Hartley match their club record by reaching the third round of the FA Vase
Hartley faced Windsor on Saturday afternoon in the second round proper of the FA Vase, with well documented knowledge that in progressing to the next round would equal the club's record in the competition. The last time Hartley reached the third round was back in 1992 when Luke Mullen's side were beaten 2-1 by Rothwell.
There have been a couple of occasions this season whereby the scoreline possibly flattered us a little. This time, we certainly deserved more.
It was a highly anticipated game and one which the boys were looking forward to. Before the game we were cautious that the boys focussed approach to the game would be diluted knowing their current position in the league. Windsor have consistently delivered strong, quick and classy sides and so we were expecting much of the same. Mindful of the last game of the season from the previous campaign where they quite simply destroyed us at their place.
After only 3 minutes, it was Aaron Parfitt who instigated our first and turned the key to unlock their defence. A cross from a deep position was met by the well timed run of Callum Eagle, who managed to adjust his body to angle a looping header that sailed over the keeper and just under the bar. It was a terrific finish and well deserved with our early sustained pressure.
We started sharply with determination, cohesion and intensity on the ball. It was a real spirited performance with Joe Paris orchestrating proceedings from a central area. Joe's understanding of space is terrific, he read's the game very well from a deep position. There was one spell where he made three two-touch passes out to our wingers as Windsor were frantically trying to get out of their own half. The ball would come out, and there he was. It was relentless.
Windsor were becoming increasingly frustrated. There number 7, Charlie Samuel, who was later to be sent off - was even demanding that players were getting warm on the subs bench. Hartley continued to probe and create chances on a relatively consistent basis.
Both on and off the ball Hartley were dominant. The continued pressure almost paid off as we nearly doubled our lead moments following the first goal. A well worked corner that was met at the front post, again by Callum Eagle, was palmed away by the keeper after a lovely shot with the outside of his boot. In a bid to gently lift the ball into the top corner, the keeper made a good save to keep it out.
Jannaway & Duff were menacing down their respective wings. Although Duff was struggling with a shortness of breath, you could see that we are starting to see glimmers of him regaining his best form. He had a blistering start to the season and was unlucky to miss some important games. With him getting back to his best, we are only going to get stronger. Half Time 1-0.
There have been a couple of occasions this season whereby the scoreline possibly flattered us a little. This time, we certainly deserved more. It was mentioned at half time that we needed to be more clinical as the creation of chances was ever present. It was one of our most dominant performances in a few weeks and we were pleased with the work rate, we just needed to continue to do the right things in the second half.It was important we retained our composure and saw out the job. We needed to learn from the previous Tuesday as we let a lead uncharacteristically slip.
It wasn't until the 70th minute when we doubled our lead. A nice one-two between Jannaway & Everiss allowed the latter to break through and finished excellently. Not that it was ever in doubt, but the second goal certainly eased the mental pressure. One nil is a dangerous scoreline, especially in tournament football, so we were very pleased when we saw Evo's goal sail in.
A surging run saw Toby Jannaway fouled 25 yards out from goal. Parfitt stepped up and fired the ball into the top right hand corner, a superb finish and his second of the season.
The referee has previously warned the Windsor bench that the number 7 needed to be taken care of. His repeated dissent towards the referee was always going to land him in trouble, but it was his reaction to a fracas that built up late in the game which saw our own Jannaway get sent off for 'leading with his head' in a confrontation. The Windsor player, who had boasted throughout the game that he was on loan from Molesey, then tried reigniting the feud by trying to confront Jannaway on their journey to the changing rooms. Very disappointing, it's certainly not reflective of the professional manner that Windsor have continually displayed in the past and present.
The back five were solid throughout and turned defence into attack with intelligent passes to our forward running players. It was a real team performance and one that the boys can be proud of. Windsor have got some real quality in their side and they will certainly improve on their current position in the league. One lapse in concentration allowed Windsor a goal that was well finished at the back post from a corner. Disappointing to concede as our efforts deserved a clean sheet.
We look forward to finding out who we will face on Monday afternoon in the third round of the competition. Great to see so many CCL clubs get through to the latter stages of the Vase, congratulations to all. [DB]