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SSML Division One Crawley Green 2 Harpenden Town 5 HARPENDEN Town travelled to Barton–le–Clay on Saturday to face a Crawley Green team that were unbeaten in their first three League games. In a hard fought match Harpenden turned the form book on its hea
SSML Division One
Crawley Green 2 Harpenden Town 5
HARPENDEN Town travelled to Barton-le-Clay on Saturday to face a Crawley Green team that were unbeaten in their first three League games.
In a hard fought match Harpenden turned the form book on its head by knocking five goals past their local rivals and recording their second away win of the season.
Crawley Green started off much the brighter of the two teams and within eight minutes had taken the lead following a mix up in the Town defence.
This helped to stir the sleeping beast in the Harpenden team and within 10 minutes they had drawn level due to a scintillating run by midfielder Jimmy Warner who, cutting in from the right past Crawley Green's static left back, delivered a perfect cross for Tim O'Donovan to stab the ball home at the far post.
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Having found the soft spot in the opposition defence Harpenden set about exploiting Crawley's weakness.
They were duly rewarded when Paddy Knock played a perfect cross field ball in behind the left side of Crawley Green's defence, Warner, showing great pace and determination latched onto the pass, cut inside the full back again and this time unleashed an unstoppable shot to put the visitors 2-1 up.
Right back Gary Wallace, provided the spark for the third goal when, on the stroke of half time, he delivered a David Beckham style cross of great artistry into the heart of the Crawley Green penalty area.
Warner rose to meet the cross and was duly bundled off the ball for a cast-iron penalty.
Chris Gregory calmly stepped forward and scored from the spot sending Harpenden in at half time 3-1 up and comfortably in charge of proceedings.
Harpenden extended their lead five minutes after the break. The move started when a Charlie Collins' goal kick was nodded on by Tim O'Donovan into the path of Warner who this time, having outstripped the left back, sent a low cross into the penalty area.
Gregory touched the ball out to the edge of the area and Richard Taaffe drove the ball past the keeper. Five touches in a move from box-to-box had seen Harpenden score their most stylish goal.
Shortly after O'Donovan had tested the keeper from short range, Gregory scored his second of the game when he bravely rose to head a Taaffe cross in at the front post.
Town were now 5-1 up after an hour and seemingly home and dry, however all credit to Crawley Green who rallied to try and recover some pride in the score.
After 75 mins, Crawley Green made a breakthrough by scoring from a hotly disputed penalty. The match finished 5-2 but not before Harpenden's towering central defender, Jack Cartwright, gave the crowd a most entertaining piece of skill.
He collected the ball in his own penalty area and, in the dying seconds of the game, going on an extraordinary run, slaloming around at least six opposition tackles and ending up in the Crawley Green penalty area, his shot across the goal narrowly slipping wide of the far post.
All those football loving Harpenden residents who missed out on a great spectacle of attacking, free flowing football served up by Cartwright and his team mates can catch another installment when the first team take on Bedford Town at home in Rothamsted Park on Saturday, August 29, kick off 3pm.
Harpenden: Collins, Wallace, Dawes, Cartwright, Knock, Jefferies, Potter, Taaffe, Warner, Gregory, O'Donovan. Subs: Burgess, Warren, Jarrad, Beazley, Senanayake.