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Match Summary: Hartley Wintney v Marlow, BFB Challenge Cup

Post by KOB - 15-11-2017, 10:48

Marlow chalked up win two out of two against Hartley this season thanks to goals late at the end of each half.

The League Cup competition was an ideal opportunity to rotate the squad and saw Hartley give competitive first team outings to young 'keeper Freddie Gee, experienced recently arrived centre-back Michael Buck, and new signing Nick Hutchings, a talented left-back who joins us from Farnborough, having gone there from Fleet Town at the end of last season; no doubt a player Millers and Dan had highlighted during our ADFA Cup Final against Fleet.

The first half was largely uneventful in truth, with Jake Baxter often isolated up front, and the defences at both ends on top. The Hartley central defensive partnership of Michael Buck and Adam New looked strong, Freddie Gee looked assured, and Nick had a fairly comfortable debut. A couple of players looked as though they needed the game time, looked a little off the pace and/or struggled to make an impact; the management will say that's why they were being played last night, which would be a fair comment, but it wasn't conducive to us winning the tie.

The opening goal came on 41 minutes when Hartley lost their concentration in the middle and neither Callum or Michael could stop the run of Jordace Holder-Spooner who finished well, low into the corner passed Gee.

The second half appeared to be winding towards the 0-1 finish when a double substitution was made, which did fire the game into life. Jayden Englefield replaced Luke Perkins and Paul Hodges came on for James Tennant. There was still long enough in the game to give Jayden, in particular, a chance to really get involved, though personally I'd have liked to have seen him on earlier - he's young, clearly talented but needs to gain experience, which means he needs as much game time as is practical. Of course I understand Perkins and Tennant are coming back from injury and needed the game time too, but I feel a switch could have been made at the break as JT was nowhere near his best and 45 minutes would have been enough for Luke.

Once Rowan Vine came on for Joe Paris, who seemed to be carrying a knock, Hartley's play became much more 'connected' and, with Paul Hodges and Jayden starting to run at them, Marlow looked far more vulnerable at the back than at any point before.

Michael Buck was first onto a loose ball on the edge of the six yard box to fire Hartley level on 75 minutes, and it looked as if the minimum Hartley would get would be the chance to win the match from the spot (as the game would have gone straight to penalties at the end of 90 minutes). But then one of a few unfortunate slips and mis-passes during the evening, along with a wicked deflection, cost us the game.

With just two minutes of normal time on the clock, with Hartley in possession and looking to build another attack from the centre circle, the ball was timidly given away and Marlow quickly seized the opportunity. Substitute Marcus Mealing got a shot off that took a deflection and looped up and over Freddie Gee, dropping just under the bar into the corner. It was a cruel way to lose the game and very frustrating in the way we conceeded it, but overall the game provided a good opportunity to test the depth of our squad. Whether the Hartley management team will have learned anything about their players they didn't already know is questionable, but Michael Buck's performance shows we have no less than four strong centre backs in the squad and that's good to know because we may well need to call on cover for injuries and suspensions. [KOB]
Final score: Hartley Wintney 1 v Marlow 2

Hartley Wintney: Freddie Gee, Callum Eagle, Nick Hutchings, Adam New, Michael Buck, Joe Paris, Luke Perkins, Dean Stow (c), Jake Baxter, Aaron Parfitt, James Tennant.
Subs: Jayden Englefield (on for Luke Perkins), Jack Dansie, Jack French, Paul Hodges (on for James Tennant), Rowan Vine (on for Joe Paris)

Marlow: Oneal Garnes, Harry Rush, Fabien Etienne, Jack Kerrigan, Alex Salmon, Ryan Wharton, Curtis Chapple, Jay Welch (c), Luke Farrugia, Jordace Holder-Spooner, Allen Bossman.
Subs: Dan Bailey, Chris Ovenden, Junaid Bell, Marcus Mealing, Phil Brown
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