Luckless Jets Suffer Late Loss
So so unlucky, after one of the strongest and best performances for some matches luckless Jets ended the day empty after a sucker punch goal a minute from the end of regular time against high flying Harpenden Town.
Jets gave three debuts and one first start on the day to a new reshuffled side but were disappointed to be without leading goal scorer Nick Kerley (injured) plus the others weekly withdrawals for various reasons.
Sam Afolabi, Jahobi Maher and Lewis Smith all made their debuts while it was the first start for John Smith following his transfer from Tring Athletic.
It was a highly entertaining game, evenly poised end to end and Jets were giving as good as they took against the title-chasing side. It was an excellent game to watch that had both sides ‘oh and Ar’ ing.
Jets today looked a balanced team, and the debutants all looked very good in the line up adding work rate and imagination to the recent out of sorts midfield.
Making a significant difference was John Smith who was spraying the ball around and making things happen as Jets matched their higher placed opponents.
Jets took the lead on 15 minutes when Jahobi’s pinpoint free-kick was headed home past the keeper by John Smith.
It was still end to end, and Town almost levelled with a cross-goal shot missing by inches and then they were denied by a superb Partington save.
Jets were also denied by an excellent save pulled off the line by the Town keeper, then John Smith, Jahobi and Sam Afolabi all came close in the air.
The defences were in fairness both on top, and the game was being well defended rather than chances missed. Jets, however, will be disappointed with the equaliser on 30 minutes as Steve O’Reilly scored from 30 yards, assisted by a wicked deflection that took the ball away from Partington. HT 1-1
Jets lost Joe Patrick during the break unwell, and the replacement Lewis Davis caused a tactical switch round. Eli Seymour was far more evident in the second period running at the defence but at times if the quick release could be made he would be lethal.
Jets and Harpenden went nose to nose all the way and, if anything, Jets had a slight territorial edge.
With the match on 89 minutes, Jets were to take a killer blow. After a few edgy moments, the ball was back inJets control. Lewis Smith looked to probe into the midfield, but the ball was short and intercepted, and the quick Kyle McLeish burst down the line. From a tight angle, he lobbed the oncoming Partington for the winner and a cruel blow for luckless Jets.
In stoppage time a bizarre moment when Jets had a corner and even Rob Partington went up, but Town got the ball and broke at speed. Poor young Vass Mandeville found himself as the single Jets player in his half on a 4:1 chase to an unguarded goal. Vass did brilliant winning the tackle, but the ball fell to a 5th oncoming Town player who went direct, shot at the open goal past his teammates and Vass. His shot, however, hit the post and one of the Town players slotted home the rebound, and the goal was given.
Jets rightly went ballistic on and off the pitch, and with the ball on the centre spot, the referee checked with his assistant. After a lengthy discussion, the goal was ruled out for offside, because of course, the law states TWO players and Jets keeper was still in the other half of the pitch.
The decision angered Town who picked up cautions for the protests, but in the events of honesty the official made a mistake, realised it and owned up to it. The one Jets defender was the only Jets player in the half when the ball was played forward, so had it gone straight in yes goal, but once it was tapped in by another they became active and were offside.
So right decision but Town got their win, and today the defeat will hurt Jets as they deserved better.
Jets Man of the match went to John Smith for an outstanding midfield display and goal.
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