Town lose ground
Hadley 1 Buntingford Town 0 TOWN slipped to a narrow defeat against league leaders Hadley on Saturday, with the pacesetters now stretching their lead over Paul Attfield s men to six points. With both teams showing good attacking and defensive records befo
Hadley 1 Buntingford Town 0
TOWN slipped to a narrow defeat against league leaders Hadley on Saturday, with the pacesetters now stretching their lead over Paul Attfield's men to six points.
With both teams showing good attacking and defensive records before the game, a close game was expected.
The hosts started the better, not allowing Town to settle, but the visitors defended really well, and first-half chances were at a premium.
Although the tempo was quick, both teams struggled in the final third to find a cutting-edge pass to unlock the well organised rearguards, and it took nearly 20 minutes for the first clear chance on goal.
Town fell asleep from a short corner, and though a rasping shot from the edge of the area bounced up in front of keeper Damion Williamson, he dived to divert the ball over the crossbar.
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Four minutes later another quick free kick was hit just wide by the hosts, but other than that Town's defence was solid and as the half wore on they began to get some good possession.
It was a tough game for forward duo Ashley Townsend and Mark Wright, who found limited space, and Buntingford could muster only one clear chance just before the break, when Luke Robins' free kick found John Bitting on the edge of the area, and his floated shot hit the top of the bar.
With the match goalless at the interval, the decisive goal came 90 seconds after the break as Town were punished for some sloppy play.
Giving the ball away carelessly they stood off a quick counter attack, and Hadley's full-back found time and space to curl a fine 20-yard shot beyond Williamson's dive.
Town's response was impressive with some good spells of domination, which did create a trio of clear opportunities.
But as in recent games they did not test the target.
After 56 minutes a fine run and cross from Luke Robins found Townsend, but he miskicked wide from 10 yards.
And three minutes later Bitting's corner was headed wide by Wright, unmarked 10 yards out.
The best chance for Town came with 15 minutes remaining when Dean Chaffey's fine long ball was latched onto by Townsend clear on goal, but with the keeper advancing, he lashed his shot high over the bar.
Hadley always looked capable on the break, but failed to really test Williamson who only had a couple of routine saves to make.
Town pressed hard in the final 10 minutes as the home side had to defend in numbers and did extremely well to hold on to their slender lead.
Boss Attfield remained philosophical commented: "The result is disappointing but we more than matched a strong side and I have no problem with our performance.
"We had some good spells, especially in the second half, and again it was frustrating not to score as we created some good situations.
"But we definitely have good things to build on from this."
Town: D Williamson, L Endacott (M Roach), D Chaffey (G Christie), D Easley, J Babbage, M Turl, M Smith (W Turl), J Bitting, A Townsend, M Wright, L Robins. Unused sub: J Stephens
- Town are without a game on Saturday.
- Royston Town return to action after a week off with two games against Oxhey Jets in the space of five days.
Jets, who are one place above Royston in the Spartan South Midlands League but have played four games less, visit Garden Walk on Saturday for a league game, before the Crows travel to Boundary Stadium on Wednesday for the second round of the Premier Division Cup.