Hatfield United move off the bottom with a battling victory over Rayners Lane Reserves
PUBLISHED: 18:59 05 March 2019 | UPDATED: 14:31 07 March 2019
Hatfield United took a leaf out of big brother Hatfield Town's book as a 1-0 win over Rayners Lane Reserves helped haul them up the table.
Three defeats in a row had seen them slump to the foot of Herts Senior County League Division One but they have now jumped up to 15th thanks to James Upson’s second-half strike.
Those successive losses had all been by the odd goal but this time their better play brought a deserved three points.
Playing into a strong wind in the first-half, United found it difficult to put any pressure on their opponents and only a glaring miss from the visitors to Birchwood prevented them going a goal down early on.
But United defended well and their main attacking threat came from some terrific runs by full-back Ross Davidson down the left-hand side.
Adriano Gil making his full debut on the right was also making producing some great runs to relieve the pressure but for the majority of the opening 45 minutes it was a backs-to-the-wall effort from United, for whom Ryan Pearman was in commanding form in central defence.
The sides turned round with neither having found the back of the net, a pleasing statistic for United who emerged in confident mood after the break.
Upson and Cam Leijgrave kept the Lane defence busy and 10 minutes after the restart, they got the breakthrough.
Davidson’s free kick was parried by the keeper and although Upson had his back to goal, his overhead kick found the net.
Both he and Pearman also saw headers go just wide, as Gil delivered a succession of inch-perfect crosses, and Solomon Dowadu saw a close-range shot blocked on the line.
Nerves started to creep in during the final 10 minutes and Rayners Lane began to get back into the game.
And it needed two point-blank saves from Ryan Moss to preserve a first clean sheet of the season and lift United off the bottom.