Harpenden seal cup and chase Good Friday success

Watford Peace Hospital Memorial Shield Final Harpenden Rovers 3 Hadley 2 HARPENDEN Rovers lifted the Watford Peace Hospital Memorial Shield at Hemel Hempstead Town FC after a dramatic clash with Hadley on Monday. Hadley started the brighter with some bris

Watford Peace Hospital Memorial Shield Final

Harpenden Rovers 3 Hadley 2

HARPENDEN Rovers lifted the Watford Peace Hospital Memorial Shield at Hemel Hempstead Town FC after a dramatic clash with Hadley on Monday.

Hadley started the brighter with some brisk passing football and they broke the deadlock after just 10 minutes, leaving Rovers thinking that it was going to be a long evening.


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Rovers were given a lifeline when Hadley missed a superb chance for 2-0 and the equaliser arrived soon after. Goalkeeper Elliot Thomas launched a long free kick towards the edge of the Hadley penalty area and, after a fumble from the Hemel goalkeeper, Harpenden striker Gareth Devoti flicked the ball into the unattended net.

Rovers settled down after the goal and the back four seemed comfortable while midfielders Ollie Wedd, Hayden Williams and Ali Watson began to assert their authority on the match.

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The opening spells of the second half were similar to the first with Hadley starting much the brighter again. Rovers this time managed not to concede, with defenders Steve Jones, Joe Harmer and James Izzard nullifying the flurry of attacks.

It was on the hour mark that the deadlock was broken again. The move started off with a ball from Ali Watson finding Joe Burgess. After a mazy run and blocked shot the ball found its way fortuitously to Devoti who reacted first and blasted the ball into the roof of the net.

The celebrations did not last long as Rovers were pegged back almost immediately. Hadley were awarded a contentious free kick in a dangerous area, which resulted in the equaliser to level the scores at 2-2.

The match was in the balance and appeared to be heading for extra time but Rovers had other ideas. With nine minutes remaining, a long throw from Joe Burgess on the left-hand side was flicked on by Devoti to Hayden Williams, who glanced it on to Oliver Poole. A scramble ensued and Poole struck the ball home to settle the contest at 3-2.

Rovers stood firm with two crucial tackles from Izzard and Wayne Carberry and good organisation denied Hadley any chance of a riposte. Two-goal striker Gareth Devoti was named the Man of the Match.

Harpenden Rovers look to do the cup 'double' with another final on Good Friday when they face Hemel Rovers at Hemel Town with a 3pm kick off.

Harpenden Rovers: E. Thomas, O. Poole (A. Lee 86), J. Izzard, S. Jones, J. Harmer, H. Williams (G. Golds 75), W. Carberry, A. Watson, O. Wedd, G. Devotti, J. Burgess. Unused subs: P. Lythgoe, A. Palmer, N. Rawlinson, M. Chugg.

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