Hatfield’s Premier Division future goes down to the wire
PUBLISHED: 10:06 24 April 2013 | UPDATED: 10:06 24 April 2013
HATFIELD Town’s fight to avoid relegation from the South Midlands Premier Division will go down to the last game after last night’s 4-1 defeat at Colney Heath.
In what was a real chance for The Blueboys to avoid last-day nerves, once again defensive errors blighted the game.
With the score at 1-0 to The Magpies at half-time, Town were very much still in the game.
But a further two goals in the opening five minutes of the second half effectively ended the game as a contest.
Heath took the lead in the fifth minute when Dean Parratt, who was by far and away the best player on the pitch, cut into the box far too easily, and afforded as much space as he wanted, crashed an effort past Hatfield keeper Emmanuel Olajide.
While Hatfield maybe had more of the ball in the opening 45, it was Heath who created the more clear-cut chances, and they could have been out of sight at the break.
Jamie Eames, Aaron Clarke and Parratt all spurned decent chances, while for Hatfield, Jason Kayila should have done better when getting on the end of a Chris Webb cross, but his weak effort was comfortably gathered by home custodian Tom Blackman.
At half-time with only one goal in it, the feeling around The Recreation Ground was that the result was far from decided.
But as the clock ticked onto 50 minutes, that feeling had changed.
Hatfield were their own worst enemy in the 48th minute, when they once again backed off Eames in the box, he bundled the ball through to Paul Armstrong who made no mistake.
And two minutes later, Clarke scored the game’s best goal when he sent a looping 25-yarder over Olajide, again with the freedom of the park.
From this point on, Hatfield threw caution to the wind and switched to a 3-3-4 formation in the hope of pushing for a way back into the tie.
And they were very much the better side for this; but lacked that creative sparkle in the middle, as well as a prolific striker.
Matt Gill, who is by trade a goalkeeper, started centre-half, and ended centre-forward, had a fine effort parried and collected by Blackman, and Jason Kayila was also denied by some last-ditch defending.
Heath countered on 83 minutes, and scored a fourth courtesy of the hard-working Eames, with Hatfield keeper Olajide unlucky after getting a hand on his first effort, only to see the ball fall back at the feet of the home midfielder.
Gill hit the post for Hatfield with two minutes to go, before finally the visiting fans had some reason to cheer as Webb was floored in the box, dusted himself down and netted from the penalty spot.
On Saturday Hatfield face an ominous task as they travel to Premier Division champions, and undefeated this season, Dunstable Town.
The Blueboys will be keeping everything crossed that bottom side Holmer Green fail to get a home win against AFC Dunstable. A draw or defeat for Green in that game would see Hatfield safe.
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