Doctor's Hatfield Reserves lose to Crawley Green counterparts

PUBLISHED: 10:31 04 February 2009 | UPDATED: 21:18 26 October 2009

Town Reserves captain Joe Brandon came closest to equalising but he saw his effort hit the side-netting

Town Reserves captain Joe Brandon came closest to equalising but he saw his effort hit the side-netting

HATFIELD Town Reserves slipped to a 2-1 home defeat to their Crawley Green counterparts on Saturday. After the previous week's victory over Kent Athletic, the side were looking to continue their winning ways against an organised Crawley outfit at a windsw

HATFIELD Town Reserves slipped to a 2-1 home defeat to their Crawley Green counterparts on Saturday.

After the previous week's victory over Kent Athletic, the side were looking to continue their winning ways against an organised Crawley outfit at a windswept Birchwood Playing Fields.

This was Town's first home game for two months and despite the recent heavy rain, the pitch was in good shape.

But the swirling wind made the conditions difficult for both sides.

The hosts were missing several regular players from the starting line-up through illness and work commitments.

Hatfield got off to a poor start kicking against the wind when Crawley Green centre back Mark Smith was left unmarked following a corner from the right.

He was allowed to head home unopposed in the fifth minute of the game.

The visitors cranked up the pressure and went in search of a second goal.

Town goalkeeper Reece Brandon made a brilliant save 15 minutes later when a Crawley forward volleyed from the edge of the area.

Hatfield equalised on the half hour with their first chance of the game.

Darryl Smith's pinpoint through ball found Phil Thomas on the edge of the Crawley Green area.

Thomas showed great control of the ball and stroked it home to make it 1-1.

It was all square at the break and Hatfield came out for the second half looking for a better display than their first half showing.

And they had several chances in the second period to notch a winner.

Ten minutes in, Kev White powered a shot from the edge of the area which was scrambled clear by the Crawley Green keeper.

Darryl Smith's accurate free-kick was then tipped round the post by the visiting custodian.

With 10 minutes to go, tragedy struck when a poor back-pass from James Elliott forced Reece Brandon to dive at the feet of a Crawley Green forward who tumbled over and the referee pointed to the spot.

Carl Read duly scored the penalty to make it 2-1 to the Luton-based side.

Hatfield pushed forward in search of an equaliser and in the last minute Joe Brandon hit the side-netting from an acute angle.

But it was to no avail as Town went down 2-1 for their first home league defeat of the season.

Man-of-the-match went to keeper Reece Brandon for his string of quality saves.

Town Reserves manager Gary Doctor said after the game: "Obviously, it was disappointing to lose and I thought that the result was harsh.

"It was difficult to play football in the conditions and I was also missing several regular players.

"Saying that though, they were a good side going forward.

"I think we underestimated them but a draw would have been more of a fair result.

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