Victory for HertSavers County League against their Brighton counterparts
PUBLISHED: 15:14 22 October 2013 | UPDATED: 16:57 23 October 2013
The HertSavers Senior County League steered their way safely through Round One of the FA Inter-League Cup Round One with a hard-fought victory over the Brighton, Hove and District League at Colney Heath FC.
Herts made the early running, Jack Brown and Rob Courtnage involved in carving out a couple of early chances, Lee Inch going close on four minutes with a drive which rattled the bar.
Courtnage combined well with Inch and James Endacott as Herts looked for the opener, but the visitors were excellent on the break, and began to ask a few questions of the home defence.
Brighton centre-half Morgan Ball had proved a real obstacle for the Herts forwards, and soon showed he had more than one string to his bow when he headed the visitors ahead on 18 minutes after some hesitant defending.
Herts enjoyed some success on the their left flank, where Courtnage and Endacott again worked well to set up Elliot Harris, whose low drive was pushed for a corner by the Brighton keeper.
Seconds later Inch saw a snapshot deflected away for another corner as Herts pressed hard, and he saw another effort saved in the melee.
It was not one-way traffic though as a fine saving tackle from Gary Nicholson ended a promising break for Brighton.
The equaliser came on 35 minutes after some neat passing football saw Darren Butler and Brown combine to put Hart through, who earned a corner. A near post cross from Courtnage saw a Brighton defender throw himself at the ball, but only to head into his own goal.
Nicholson sent a half-volley onto the bar as the half neared its close, and the final chance fell to Harris, but he scooped his shot high over the bar.
Herts made an enforced change at the break as Jamie Hurst replaced Chris Ingham, but the second half started disastrously for Herts when Bobby Pannett was put through and clipped the ball home to give his side the lead.
Endacott found Ball too strong as he drove on goal, and eight minutes in, Harris jinked himself into space before shooting for the far corner, but the Brighton keeper palmed away.
Kosi Banden replaced a hobbling Courtnage on 55 minutes as the game entered a stage where Herts seemed to run out of ideas despite all their hard work, and Hurst was booked for a foul.
The equaliser came just before 70 minutes when Wesley Fox headed a corner powerfully onto the bar, but was alert enough to then flick the rebound home.
This put fresh wind in Herts’ sails, and within two minutes they were ahead, a push on Fox in the box resulting in a penalty which Elliot Harris calmly slotted home.
Brighton responded to this setback by throwing everything at Herts as the game became stretched for the first time, only some brave defending keeping them out on a couple of occasions.
With the game entering added-time, Brighton’s hopes took a major blow when Ross Smith was dismissed, presumably for something said to the referee, and the result was made safe in the dying seconds when Harris bagged his second with a fine finish after Banden had controlled for him.
HSCL Line-up: Nathan Ratcliffe, Chris Ingham, Rob Courtnage, Wesley Fox, Gary Nicholson, Darren Butler, Gavin Hart, Lee Inch, James Endacott, Jack Brown, Elliot Harris. Subs: Jamie Hurst, Kosi Banden (both used), Scott Piggott, Omar Diyenli, Kemal Ozyaja (not used)
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