Tale of two halves as sending off spoils wonderful opening period for Harpenden Town
- Credit: Archant
A penalty and the sending of goalkeeper Alex Desmond undid an excellent first-half from Harpenden Town and set them on their way to a 2-1 defeat at home to Newport Pagnell Town.
The two sides are among the chasing pack behind Spartan South Midlands League Premier Division leaders Colney Heath and a goal from Sean McMonagle was a just reward for a dominating performance prior to the break.
But the game turned on a penalty decision in the second half and the ensuing melee saw Desmond sent back to the changing rooms.
That was converted and a second meant Harps slip to fifth in the table, two points behind their visitors and 16 behind second placed Tring Athletic.
Speaking on Twitter interim head coach Micky Nathan said: "Tough result today. Thought some of the football we played was outstanding.
"A mad moment from our keeper killed us but he apologised and we move on together."
That first period saw Harps move the ball from back to front with pace and purpose, looking to hit willing runners such as George Robinson.
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Their best effort before the goal was from a Harpenden corner that was met at close range by Tarik Dallas at the back post.
Unfortunately he couldn't keep his header down.
The goal itself came after a Bobby Dance shot was parried, McMonagle reacted quickest and after pushing it round the keeper he was able to slot it home.
The hosts had more chances after that but they couldn't add to their slim advantage and when they were caught off guard by a through ball in the second half, their day started to unravel.
Defender Joel Nketia manfully took on the goalkeeping duties following Desmond's departure but he was powerless to prevent Newport from grabbing a winner in the latter stages.
Harpenden went to Baldock Town on Wednesday night after HertsAdSport went to press with Saturday seeing them away to FA Vase quarter-finalists Leighton Town.
Those games will see them use new signing James Todd for the first time, the prolific frontman in the Herts Ad Sunday League signing from SSML Division Two side Codicote.