Bishop’s Stortford 3. Charles 13, Henshaw 25, Harris 38
Cheshunt 1 Miles 85
The Blues of Bishop’s Stortford exacted revenge for being dumped out of the FA Trophy on penalties before Christmas by starting this league game at a hundred miles an hour, clearly wound up and ready to go from the off Stortford pinned Cheshunt in their own half, launching balls into the channels and seeking to turn the Ambers defence, the pressure told as early as the thirteenth minute when the Cheshunt defence got pulled out to cover the Stortford right & an early cross in found Ryan Charles unmarked in a central position with time to glance a well placed header wide of George Marsh. Stortford had lined up with a back line loaded with centre halves who readily despatched any Cheshunt attack from the air with relative ease. The pain was doubled for the Ambers when Blues skipper Ryan Henshaw doubled their lead with a free header at the back post from a corner.
The Ambers defence struggled to deal with the direct long game Stortford were playing and the midfield seemed powerless to help out all too often cut out of the play completely as the ball sailed over them. Typical of the play was Stortford keeper Giddens having a legitimate claim to the assist for their third goal when his long punt straight down the middle found Chris Harris clean through on goal, it has to be said a straight long ball should have been cleared first time but once it was allowed to bounce it was gone, Harris still had to beat the advancing George Marsh & a deft feint wrong footed the Ambers keeper & Harris just beat him to the scramble across the six yard line to stab home next to the near post.
The third goal finally woke the Ambers up, Rowan Liburd beat two defenders on the left, and shaped to shoot but good Stortford cover forced him into a square pass to Reece Beckles Richards whose shot whistled just wide of the post. Liburd then took on Sam Robbins down the Cheshunt right in a race to the bye line & beat him to produce a low cross that Jamie Reynolds drove goal wards only to see it blocked and ricochet over the bar with the goal at his mercy. Taylor Miles went very close with a long range shot that just moved away from the far post with the spin. 0-3 down at half time in a match that could have been 2-5.
The half time team talk clearly had an impact as Cheshunt took to the field in the second half with more invention, width and the ball on the grass. As the second half ticked away the Ambers fitness started to show & they saw more of the ball, and got their midfielders passing game going. Substitutions gave fresh impetus & with Chevron McLean & Enock Ekongo able to advance wide options were becoming available to the man on the ball. The defence had to stay alert to the home side going long as they pushed up to close the gap between them & their midfield, George Marsh making a great diving save to his right to tip a rising drive over the bar.
As the match entered the final quarter Zubayr Boadi found himself free in the box on the right with an angle to shoot, alas his attempt was pulled, and fired across the box & wide. From the left good interplay worked Jamie Reynolds into position to drive a low cross from the edge of the box, the cross cut the keeper out and Mo Camara slid in at the far post along with half the home defence, a goal appeared certain, but the ball somehow contrived to deflect wide. The Ambers finally breached the Stortford defence with the goal of the match when again sharp passing moves took them to the edge of the box, a resulting throw in threatened the edge of the Blues box but the clearance ball fell to Taylor Miles who struck a clean shot into the top right corner of the net from twenty five yards that keeper Giddens didn’t see until it was going past him. Five minutes additional time to be added gave Cheshunt a glimmer of hope they might yet rescue the match, but Stortford were experienced enough to waste enough time to take the wind out of Amber sails & Miles’ goal was but a consolation.