Subs gamble fails to pay off for Attfield

Borehamwood 2 Buntingford Town Yth 1 (after extra-time) TOWN S youngsters suffered extra-time heartbreak with a narrow defeat in the county cup final on Sunday. The game was played between two evenly matched teams but was never a classic encounter in wha

Borehamwood 2

Buntingford Town Yth 1

(after extra-time)

TOWN'S youngsters suffered extra-time heartbreak with a narrow defeat in the county cup final on Sunday.

The game was played between two evenly matched teams but was never a classic encounter in what turned out to be a very committed but largely scrappy match.

Wood started the better with Town looking a little edgy.

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Keeper John Bitting had to make two early saves with a near-post block and a tip wide from a floated cross-cum-shot, but gradually Town began easing their way into the game and created some good chances.

Luke Robins and Ashley Townsend had excellent chances after beating their respective markers in the box, but on each occasion the final shot was wayward and Gary Christie was inches away from connecting with a Tom Malins' cross at the far post.

Wood also had other good moments but did not test Bitting in goal and the half ebbed away without noteworthy incident.

The game came to life during the first 10 minutes of the second half.

Town took the lead in the 49th minute when a neat move ended with Robins beating the full back in the box and angling a 10-yard drive wide of the keeper.

With Town in the ascendancy Wood equalised in fortuitous circumstances six minutes later.

A right-wing cross looped in high off the far left-hand post giving Bitting no chance for a freakish equaliser.

The game could have gone either way with both teams creating chances. Wood were unlucky to hit a post on two occasions and have another effort inches off target while Ashley Townsend drew two fantastic saves from the Wood keeper as well as just failing to connect with David Cain's flick-on from a long throw.

With the teams tiring, the game slowed as both sides seemed resigned to the extra 30-minute period.

The context of the game changed at the beginning of extra-time.

Boss Paul Attfield gambled by using his two remaining substitutes and, 30 seconds into the first period, defender Lewis Endacott had to leave the field after a clash of heads.

A suspected broken nose meant Endacott could not return and Town were forced to have to play extra-time with 10 men.

It spurred on the Wood team and they proceeded to dominate.

Town defended stoutly and with plenty of commitment but were unable to gain any effective ball control.

After a couple of narrow escapes they ultimately conceded the winning goal with four minutes remaining after failing to clear a left-wing cross.

Attfield's team were tired and never created a genuine opportunity as the Southern League club held on to lift the cup.

A disappointed Attfield said: "Wood were a very good team but the way we lost the game was gutting.

"The equaliser was a complete fluke when we were doing so well and you just can't legislate for injuries.

"To suffer seconds after making our final changes just compounds the disappointment and it was too much of an uphill battle playing extra-time with only 10 men.

"I was proud of everyone's effort throughout, with all the players giving everything, although I did think we had enough clear chances to win the game over the 90 minutes."

Town: J Bitting, L Endacott, C Simmonds, M Roach, D Cain, L Jones, W Turl (J Bradshaw), T Malins, A Townsend (P Fisher), G Christie (T Jarman), L Robins. Unused subs: J Tyler, S McHale.

- A 9-0 win at Eynesbury Rovers on Tuesday means that Buntingford need just two points from their remaining two games to seal the Eastern Youth League Western Division.

They were due to host local rivals Royston Town last night and will visit St Ives Town tonight.