Great finish from Lee Armitt gives Jets the lead
Jets were upset and disappointed but not at anybody but themselves as they lost to a last second stoppage time goal to Biggleswade United.
In a game ruined as any hope of a decent game by the gusting winds that were taking high passes and goalies kick outs straight out of play and literally turning the direction of the ball it quickly became apparent only deck play would be possible.
Jets took the lead with a quality strike by top scorer Lee Armitt from about 25 yards making hay of a splitter opening from Beardo, but the two were struggling with injuries and it was a matter of how long the strike pair could last not if they would. Jets seemed slightly more in charge of the proceedings but an inexplicably lax hand ball by Jordan Gutteridge allowed the hosts to level before the break from the spot, no complaints on this one, a bolt on penalty.
The second half was much the same Jets were more open but in honesty the middle today was not firing correctly and look more than a little down in the dumps. United played a brick wall countering system that worked well on the break, Jets problem was their usual one that they over commit forward and don't react to the counter attack, because they either don't spot the danger or some are really not fit enough too, a poor reflection on some players training attendance. This was evident when sharp passes forward opened Jets up and United took the lead 2-1.
Lee Armitt burst down the big slope to grab a real peach after super inter play from Smith and Beardo for his second of the game and 2-2.
This ground, however, is rarely a happy hunting ground for Jets, and today proved much the same as at 2-2 Tim O'Mara was denied at the back post with the save of the match by the busy Biggleswade United keeper, a brilliant finger tip save to hold the scores level.
Sim Armstrong replaced Beardsworth who was limping heavily as Armitt soldiered on hoping for that hat-trick and he was a constant menace. Sean Givernaud at centre half replaced Jamie Speer and Jets went for the win, but it was to cost them all today. Jets were streaming down the slope and the solid defending by the hosts was water tight and Jets did not learn that they had numbers and were reading the solo moves and the way was interplay not solo.
Jets went for broke and it went wrong when in the final ten seconds Sim Armstrong lost out on the edge of United's penalty area and two sharp passes upfield and with the whole lot pushed up, including wing back Chris Killer, Jets were exposed and United slotted a last gasp winner. There was no time to reply, the kick off was greeted by the final whistle.
Jets were far from happy in the postmortem not with just the game but the preparation. Some players feel others are putting in with the close season approaching. Mid table April is always a difficult time, but it's better than last years relegation threatened one I can assure them !!
Man of the match was thrashed out in the bar and the final say went to Wayne the manager and Sean the debutant, and it was, as the Red Arrows would say, a "flat display by the Jets" but the two shared award and the bottles to Will Baker, making important saves, and Lee Armitt, working to try to make things happen for Jets on a disappointing afternoon.
The save of the day denies Tim O'Mara with the game tied at 2-2
Beardo supplied a great defence splitting pass for the opening goal
Biggleswade level from the spot
Will Baker saves at full stretch
Will Baker saves at full stretch
Super strike from Lee Armitt brings it back to 2-2
A crucial tackle on Sim Armstrong as Biggleswade break and score the winner
Delight for Lee Armitt and Terry Smith after the opener
Tim O'Mara attacks into the area
Wayne Gladdy levels it at 1-1
Having praised the commitment on Saturday the same could not be said tonight for many as the long cold trek to Ampthill was met by a string of withdrawals and injury claims and no less than four on the day pull outs in a total of nine changes from the Saturday squad. That was good news for two youngsters as 16 yr old Joe Baldwin and 18 yr old Mason Smith played their debuts for the multi changed side.
Wayne Gladdy at least showed the way by playing a full ninety after getting out of his sick bed the day before, and scored a scorching equaliser for his efforts.
The pathetic build up to this match was no reflection on the bare bones squad that did their best but it was a middle table safe side performance vs a team who needs to contest every throw in and point to avoid relegation and after what was done to them and knowing how it feels a year earlier I hope they complete the job to safety. Ampthill scored an early goal in a period Jets didn't look too interested, a fast break and the keeper caught out and Jets task was suddenly very uphill, then Wayne Gladdy latched onto a ball and from way out on the touch line hit a blistering goal to tie up the game on 12minutes.
The neutral 'non league travel boys' description twas hat it woke Jets up and from there on they shaded the game was about the right summary. Lee Armitt had a few breaks but was denied by that final tackle and in the middle the two regulars Terry Smith and Tom Kennedy were as committed as ever but without Warren Gladdy and Beardo the passage to Armitt was more difficult as Smith was learning the first team game and poor Sim Armstrong was looking and feeling so ill with a dreadful stomach upset but with a 16yr old and a goalkeeper on the bench options were limited!
Jets rallied on in the second half and in honesty a draw looked the most likely outcome. Jets had two good efforts cleared off the line and they looked to have settled for the point when a decision against them turned the game. Lee Armitt went on a mazy run and was taken down for a bolt on penalty, but to everyone's amazement, it was not given (in fairness to the report the referee later said in his opinion from his position the defender made ball contact marginally before the player). Jets, angered, got more feisty and it caused Ampthill to up their game and they had three glorious chances that looked easier to score than miss then were denied by a super save by Davis Boetang, but from the resulting corner the keeper and defender hesitated and the hosts not surprisingly grabbed the winner. The only bit of luck for Jets was the keeper who had been dismissed Saturday again did a careless last gasp tackle and this time was very lucky it was only yellow, but he has to control the reckless charges.
Ampthill just about deserved all the points and got them a crucial 6 in two games but it's no harm to Jets but what won't be tolerated is the pre match build up attitude.
Man of the match was Chris Killer by a country mile and in the first half he did the best denying tackle of the season to keep Jets level.
Jets go close as Ampthill clear off the line
Another goal line clearance from Ampthill
16 years old Joe Baldwin made his Jets forst team debut
Wayne Gladdy got out of his sick bed to play a full 90 minutes
First Team debut for 18 years old Mason Smith
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A brave header from Tyler Connor gets Jets back to 1-2
It's one of those days when you are so proud of your teams commitment you realise why you do the job, then you think about some of the decisions and wish you didn't !!
I'm convinced the FA's petty pushing of referees to inflict a non contact game on us all is ruining the game, and every time a goalkeeper commits a foul it becomes a farce as the red card goes up, and in this case, even when it's such a nonsense that not even the 'injured' side calls for it, today one of those diabolical moments ruined what had been a keen tight contest between the title chasers of AFC Dunstable and spoilers, in-form Jets.
Jets first team keeper Will Baker proved why he's a born skipper by planning his and some lads trip away to Dublin to coincide with the teams Vegas trip and promptly booked the wrong date, so flights booked etc it left the Jets staff without him, Sim Armstrong and Jordan Gutteridge, and it turned out manager Wayne Gladdy himself who was suffering with 'man flu' or old man can't take it-itis from the Vegas trip.
The two Steves' took the helm and were forced to change things minutes from kick off when Andrew Brennan managed to break the world's slowest recorded automobile trip time, Wembley to Oxhey and miss the kick off, no match, no whole day in the end! So Timmy O'Mara got the switch from the bench in place of a defender to prove it was going to be a funny old day.
the game started as an end to end stalemate. AFC clearly had the upper hand but, on the counter, Jets looked more dangerous with Armitt, O'Mara and Beardo threatening. Davis Boateng up from the reserves to cover the travel agent Baker was busy and competent holding out the threats and long range shots as Jets defenders and busy midfield worked hard to eliminate then switch. Kennedy, Smith and O'Mara combined to set up Lee Armitt and the hot striker looked odds on but chipped the keeper and over the bar for the first big chance of the half.
Jets had held AFC Dunstable at their pad 0-0 in a fog bound night that we saw little of, just heard the whistle but although we could see this one it was looking a little 0-0 ish. The match officials and Davis Boateng jointly made sure that wasn't to be when, on 39 minutes, Davis was quick off his line spotting danger and sprawled full length and bravely to deny the striker, who went down for a definite penalty, but one that at no time gave us, any of us any thoughts of more to follow, not a single AFC player asking the question the referee goes off for a cosy with his assistant and bang, up goes red for one one the most pathetic decisions I've seen on penalties this season.
Why oh why is every penalty by a goalkeeper a red card in this card crazy game we endure now from the powers to be? Man up and wise up and understand the difference between an honest attempt to a flatten tackle might help. Anyway Davis dispatched, centre half Joe Horwood goes in goal and 0-1 to the visitors with Norman Carney converting. 0-1 then became 0-2 a minute later when Lorenzo Silvestri latched on to awful defending, as Jets were hesitant with the keeper, to all but kill the game for the team closest to chasing down champions elect Kings Langley.
Half time 0-2
The two Steve's badly wanted the two goalie volunteers Armitt and Horwood on the pitch to instigate a hoped for revival as the centre points of defence and attack, so when Beardo offered to take the gloves to allow their plan to be put into action it was accepted, and boy did it work. The rally call from the staff was answered from the restart as ten man Jets went at the title hunters throat and did all the pushing, and on the counter when AFC broke it was Beardo the cat looking as safe as houses in the sticks with the defenders protecting him like the Crown Jewels.
The breakthrough on 62 minutes came when Chris Killer's corner was met plum by today's skipper Tyler Connor whose bullet header went high into the net 1-2 and could you even dream it's possible.
Jets swarmed at the AFC goal then a cross was seen by the referee to have been handled and responded immediately to Jets loud calls for the 'hands' although the AFC bench were furious feeling the official had levelled the first half decision, but missing the crazy red out this time. Lee Armitt nets 2-2 and twenty two still to play.
Armitt who had earlier had a big penalty call turned down was cautioned for talking to the official for the first time, even though on at least four occasions the inconsistent gent had called the AFC skipper to issue lectures for the same offence to the visitors in a game that clearly neither side were happy with his handling of, a shame really because he started really well, talking to the players and not card happy, but lost his way and then the respect was gone on the pitch.
Beardo the cat made three good punches and a Kung Fu leap and kick under pressure to deny the visitors and Jets pushed hard too.
Warren Gladdy and Lee Armitt were lost to injury and this prompted the return unfortunately for Jon Daily from suspension and then Jamie Speer, so could Jets hold out even with Jon now in the side too?
Jets continued to defend hard and play possession as much as possible and spring the quickie when an offside flag stopped Jamie Speer on his break but the impish defender it seems dipped his head to the defender standing a good two foot taller than him and a straight Red was shown, a action in fairness supported by some sections on that side of the ground by Jets supporters and Jets had to fight out the remaining minutes with nine men (including Jon boy) , but took and fully deserved their point.
Man of the match was difficult because every man and boy on the pitch deserved a medal today, but the nod went to the skipper today, the committed Captain Fantastic Tyler Connor, a notable double for Tyler who was also Man of the Match in the fog ridden game at AFC though nobody really saw what happened that night. Coach Steve Rolfe asked for an extra bottle to go out to Beardo for his superb attitude to the team, taking the gloves and allowing the coaches to instigate a hopeful plan that worked and got something for Jets that was painful and will hurt all their legs tonight.
For AFC Dunstable Jets might have killed off the long shot hope of top spot and they have made the big battle for runners up even closer.
To the suits at the FA I say, give us football back as a competitive contact sport, free of the mass petty fund raising card displays we are putting up with every week, it's you who are killing the game, not the players, and that's why players are leaving the game.
Tyler's header hits the net
Lee Armitt levels from the penalty spot
Armitt's penalty strike is too well placed for the diving keeper
Smithy in control of the midfield
Hard working Lee Armitt caused problems despite struggling with injury
A first half strike from Beardo
Beardo 'the cat" keeps a second half clean sheet
Davis Boateng clears his line before his dismissal
Joe Horwood had a spell in goal and is beaten from the spot
Lee Armitt fires just over in the first half
Workaholic Tom Kennedy
Tim O'Mara came in as Jets adjusted their line-up
Big 2nd half Jets penalty appeal for a mistimed tackle was turned down
The ever energetic Chris Killer
Beardo looked confident in goal
Match officials for Jets vs AFC
Lee Armitt strikes Jets into the lead
Jets rolled on with a clean sheet that took them past last season's points total with a 4-0 home win over London Tigers.
Jets as on Saturday got the early boost when Beardo played in the industrious Tommy Kennedy who played a glorious cross pitch ball for Lee Armitt to score after just five minutes 1-0.
Jets were generally in control tonight without dominating but plenty of chances were zooming around the goal before Jets got the second that gave the gap for half time, this time it was top marksman Lee Armitt who drove the ball across the goal (or was it a shot?) and Terry Smith was on hand to slide home at the back post, just beating the full back to the ball. Half time 2-0
The changing room was like a massage parlour as crocks old and young had leg seizures, or was it pre-holiday cautions as the budding ski champions and Vegas bound lads just didn't want to board their flights on crutches? None of those excuses, mind, for Warren Gladdy as brother Wayne said was "just getting past it".
Jets really were in control and Tigers keeper made a super save from Beardo but his save was in vain as Lee Armitt from a really tight angle effectively killed the game with a hammer blow into the top of the net (54 mins).
Gladdy took off Beardo, Sim Armstrong and Warren Gladdy as their legs seized and showed full symptoms of the substitution limp, but it did not stop Jets adding to their tally when the ball of the game from Tom Kennedy sliced the Tigers open for Lee Armitt to complete his third hat-trick in four Jets games.(65 mins).
Jets played out the game and there was time for Wayne to manage to do the worst attempt of a cross or shot or whatever it was to the delight of his team and not to forget that Tom Kennedy managed to head the ball over the ball net into Cherry Hills from an open goal to the delight of his watching ex team mates from another club!
Just like last Saturday a mention again for the officials who were, like Saturday, good, efficient, consistent and approachable. Two games on the trot praising the officials, I'm off to the doctors!
Man of the match was easy tonight, but shared. Lee Armitt for a very effective hat-trick and without doubt Joe Horwood who was faultless in his first game up from the reserves to cover for the injured Jordan Gutteridge who has an operation tomorrow (wed) on his "Brennan hand" injury.
Very happy place to be at the mo, well done lads.
And Smith must score! And he does ... 2-0 to Jets
Lee Armitt gets his second, 3-0 to Jets
Lee Armitt completes a clinical hat-trick
Beardo opens up the Tigers defence with a great ball to Kennedy
Another view of Armitt's opener
Tom Kennedy was a strong influence in midfield ....
... but he did make ex Tiger team mates happy with this effort!
Killer tries his hand at goal
"Creaky" Warren controls the midfield
Beardo's shot his saved but Armitt hammered home the rebound
Jets defend in numbers
Good job from the match officials
Jets lose the game with virtually the last kick of the game as Biggleswade Utd catch them on the counter.
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