Seconds From Victory, Minutes From Disaster!
Jets bowed out of the FA Vase in an unconvincing well below par match again as the side seems to have badly lost confidence and form since the excellent start to the season.
Discipline, holidays and expectations denied Tim O’Sullivan the start line up he may have chosen but a more than competent line up failed to impress or stamp authority on the game against an excellent and deserving Harefield side brimming with confidence with their unbeaten start to the season.
The game was needlessly niggly, and on three or four occasions both teams had a coming together, nothing severe but positively disruptive to concentration and Jets need to get a grip on their loss of control.
The first half was no classic. Jets did by far more of the defending and a meaty tackle by George Turner set the first confrontation off and earned him a yellow card. The non-stop reaction to every tackle he made after was relentless. Right on the stroke of the break, a reckless challenge set things off leaving the manager no option but to substitute the player, not wanting a Leighton Town repeat.
Jets only real attempt of the first half was from a Jones free kick.
The second half saw changes and Jets were slightly better, but still, the home side had the upper hand in a hot-tempered derby not convincingly refereed, so the tension grew.
Harefield lost their keeper injured, but they had a keeper on the bench who was to have a quiet afternoon as Jets huffed and puffed but offered little to no imagination or anticipation on the attack.
In contrast, the defence was ruling things again, and it was quite a dull match. In the last fifteen Jets, with their first shot on target, grabbed the lead. The keeper could not hold, the ball ran loose, and Luke Jones shot high into the net from close range.
We didn’t threaten again, the attack imagination was zero, but it looked as if the win would come as three minutes into stoppage time Jets were still holding firm.
The non-stop Harefield pressure, however, finally told. After consecutive corners, an inexcusable loss of marking and concentration cost Jets, 1-1 and the normal time whistle.
The first extra-time period was copybook, Harefield attacking, Jets defence firm, counter attacks all easily mopped up, but a glimmer of Jets sparking up here and there.
Then as soon as the second period started, a disaster for the Jets. A defender caught with the ball and everyone upfield, robbed and the solo run to slot past the keeper, and everyone could only watch.
Now Jets had to come out, and of sorts they did. Finally, Brennan was injecting more go, and people started to get on the game, Brennan looked like he had the equaliser in his sight as he burst through but was ruthlessly taken out on the edge of the box in a red card offence that like the first half saw nothing but a yellow.
A lengthy stoppage, confrontation a many, handbags, allegations and all that you don’t want on a pitch before the free kick was placed right out the ground and Jets heads went with it.
Two clean breaks in stoppage with Jets pushed up only falsified the result to comfier than deserved, but this performance as a whole was not acceptable.
Man of the match could only go in defence, and Deji took the only nominations.
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