Harps beat St Ives 2-1 to continue unbeaten run
HARPENDEN turned in a resolute performance beating St Ives 2-1 to secure a further three points away from home to continue their fine run of form.
Goals from Nick Mclean and Mike Bowler ensured another win for Harps, who are unbeaten since the turn of the year.
Skipper David Falk was delighted with his side: “Great stuff from the lads today, against a very capable side, we didn’t give them a sniff, and when we had chances we took them.”
He singled out debutant goalkeeper Bob Voyce for particular praise. “Bob had a great debut – he looked very secure at the back. He’s definitely a find for the future.”
The skipper continued: “We have a huge game next week against Old Southendians who will be fighting for their lives. If they get points against us then they are in with a chance of survival. However, if we go out and fight harder than they do, we’ll win. It’s that simple.”
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The Kingston-Smith sponsored side were determined to start the game quickly and realised their ambition within the first five minutes. A tenacious tackle from Nima Saheli turned the ball over, and gave Danny Burgess the opportunity to drive forward down the right hand side, beating the St Ives defenders with his skill and pace. Burgess then sent an inviting ball across the face of the goal and Mclean dived full length in front of the covering defender to get the first touch and score the opening goal.
With their noses in front Harpenden looked to consolidate. The home side fought back strongly and retained the ball well through multiple phases of play. However, Harpenden were well organised in defence, and filtered back quickly to make it extremely difficult for the home side to break through.
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With such defensive discipline, any equaliser was going to have to be something spectacular or a defensive mistake. It was the later. Todd Bains was caught in possession, allowing the home side to counter attack in numbers and set up an easy tap in.
With the game level Harps refused to panic and stuck to their game plan. Once again they took their opportunity from the corner set piece. Industrious play from Lance Boyd-Clark released Saheli in the circle. A clumsy tackle from St Ives saw the umpire immediately indicated for a penalty corner. Harpenden executed precisely, switching left to allow Mike Bowler the space to flick high into the goal.
With 10 minutes of the game left, the home side threw everything at Harpenden, but the visitors resisted the storm, allowing St Ives just one half chance, which flashed harmlessly across the goal. The game concluded true to form, with Harpenden controlling the ball in the far corner of the pitch, as the clock wound down.
Elsewhere in the club, the results were patchy, the Mens 3s won well, but the Ladies 2s and 3s and Mens 5ths all lost out.