Potters Bar Town back on the winning trail after Merstham success
PUBLISHED: 22:59 19 November 2019 | UPDATED: 22:59 19 November 2019
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Potters Bar Town snapped a minor and short run of defeats with a 2-1 success at home to Merstham.
Goals from their dynamic strike duo, Josh Hutchinson and Brad Sach, were enough to keep them 13th in the Isthmian League Premier Division despite the visitors pulling one back through substitute Ellis Brown.
Potters Bar manager Lee O'Leary had shuffled the pack since their exit from the FA Cup and there were three new names in the starting.
It was another manager who was on everybody's lips at the start of the evening though.
News of Mauricio Pochettino sacking at Tottenham reached the terraces just before kick-off but it was soon forgotten as Potters Bar began perfectly.
After a few disappointing results, the latest a loss to league leaders Horsham on Saturday to two late games, it was important to get on the front foot early and Hutchinson's strike was just the tonic.
Imedd Kartita did exceptionally well to first keep the ball in and then deliver a cross under pressure.
The Scholars' top scorer was the target and after taking a touch and turning he drilled the ball low to the right of Matt Pierson in the Merstham goal.
They had to reshuffle slightly when Andy Lomas limped out of the action on 11 minutes, replaced by Stefan Powell, but they twice nearly doubled their lead in the minutes after.
The first chance came from a Kartita free-kick 20 yards out which was bent over the wall and clawed behind by a diving Pierson.
From the resulting corner the ball was only cleared as far as Roman Michael-Percil who smashed it low and only just past the post.
But from there the action petered out with only an effort from Brendan Ocran which seemed closer to the upright from the main stand than R'avan Constable appeared to believe.
And soon conversation had drifted back to the events at White Hart Lane, apart from the question of whether the linesman was wearing his work shoes.
The cold weather hadn't discouraged the crowd with a healthy 171 turning out at the Pakex but if their attention was going to be held for the remaining 45 minutes, it needed something far different and far more exciting.
It appeared as if that wish had been granted when Dwight Pascal, one of those new signings from Barnet, was tripped inside the box after a good run.
But after only a brief delay though Hutchinson's spot-kick lacked the power needed and Pierson dived to his left and tipped it wide.
From the corner another new signing Kieron Cathline nodded it up and onto the roof of the net.
There was definitely more bite in the game but Bar were looking more likely to score. A neat little reverse pass by Michael-Percil put Hutchinson in and needed the keeper to race out and block.
The pair featured from the corner too although this time Bar's number nine hit his shot straight at the stopper.
But the Scholars' lively start paid dividends with a second.
Sach got the ball in a fairly central position and after wriggling one way and then the other, he blasted it low into the back of the net.
Pierson palmed another Hutchinson shot wide as Potters Bar looked to finish the game off.
But out of nothing Merstham were back in it. A snap shot from Brown flew across Constable and into the corner.
The goal rattled the hosts and raised the spirits of the travelling side but slowly Potters Bar wrestled some of the initiative back.
A Keagan Cole run, where the defence seemingly melted away in front of him, needed a brave block by James Richmond.
Bar's midfielder then hit a low free-kick that skimmed the turf but was easily gathered by the keeper.
The best chance to kill the game off came in the 89th-minute when a loose back pass was picked up by Michael-Percil.
But after the former Wingate & Finchley man had finally found a gap to shoot, Sinn'Kaye Christie made a superb clearance off the line.
Four added minutes came but there was only a clipped ball into the area that was claimed by R'avan Constable to worry the home fans and the final whistle brought three valuable points.
Potters Bar Town: Constable, Pascal, Lomas (Powell 11), Cole, Cathline, Quarrington-Carter, Michael-Percil (Ward-Cochrane 90+4), Nicholas, Hutchinson, Sach, Kartita (Gogo 75).
Subs (not used): Craddock, Young.
Goals: Hutchinson 3, Sach 60
Booked: Gogo 86, Pascal 90+2
Merstham: Pierson, Copeland (Brown 61), O'Halloran, Dines, Christie, Richmond, Mendes-Calucane, Splatt, Folkes, Dainkeh (Monga 46), Ocran (Hayles 73).
Subs (not used): Hession-Harris, Gitou-Enegtemadu.
Goal: Brown 67
Booked: Folkes 55, Monga 63, Christie 76
HT: Potters Bar Town 1 Merstham 0