Defender Friend is a big help to Sandridge Rovers
Herts Senior County Premier Division Bovingdon 1 Sandridge Rovers 1 DANNY Osborne scored the goal and defender Jack Friend made an impressive debut as Sandridge Rovers drew at Aubrey Cup finalists Bovingdon on Saturday in the Herts Senior County League P
Herts Senior County Premier Division
Bovingdon 1 Sandridge Rovers 1
DANNY Osborne scored the goal and defender Jack Friend made an impressive debut as Sandridge Rovers drew at Aubrey Cup finalists Bovingdon on Saturday in the Herts Senior County League Premier Division.
With Nicky Darke out due to flu and a number of long-term injury victims absent, Sandridge boss Bob Fowler called on young defender Jack Friend.
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Rovers started brightly and Osborne gave them the lead when he swooped to score after a free kick from Chris Wickens was pushed out.
Bovingdon, flying high after two wins against title hopefuls Hatfield Town including in the Aubrey Cup where they now meet Park Street Village in the final in May, mounted a strong physical approach to breaking the Sandridge resistance.
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Fowler's team proved up to the challenge with Jack Friend in towering form and repelled the home side until the final 10 minutes when Bovingdon snatched an equaliser.
The manner of the late goal was a disappointment for Fowler but he was upbeat about the performance and result and hailed young Jack Friend. He said: "Jack had an absolutely outstanding debut. It was one of the best debuts I have seen from a young kid. Jack is big and strong and calm under pressure which makes him a good defender. He kept his head and won challenges and played the ball out. He reads the game well and talks well.
"The equaliser at the death was disappointing. We felt George Friend (Jack's brother) was fouled. He has been baulked off the ball when going for a header. We saw it but the referee didn't. It is a point gained for us though in the circumstances. Not two points dropped.
"It was a good, entertaining battle. The Bovingdon style is to launch it into the opposition half and feed off the bits and pieces whereas our side try to get the ball down and play. They play to their strengths and it is not for me to criticise them because they are going to finish above us and they have a cup final. We prefer to get the ball down and play and they prefer to bang it long."
On Saturday, Sandridge looked to upset league leaders Met Police Bushey away from home (kick off 3pm) before going to Evergreen on Easter Monday for a 1pm kick off. Rovers also face local rivals and second-placed Hatfield Town before the end of the season. Fowler is looking forward to his side having a say in the battle for top spot. He said: "We have a little say in what goes on and will go out to beat both sides. That is the way it should be.