Cobblers back to winning ways
The gulf in ability between the two sides wasn’t matched by the final score line at the Hallen Centre on Saturday afternoon and the solitary first-half strike by Dave O’Hare that eventually separated the teams was scant reward for the visitors as they dominated their hosts for long periods of the game.
Even without their talisman striker Steve Murray (injured) Richard Fey’s charges drove forward in wave after wave of attacks on the Hallen goal during the first period and their corner count was well into double figures even before the game had reached the half-hour mark. But a combination of continuing bad luck in front of goal and some last ditch defending by the home side, coupled with their tactic of constant fouling designed to interrupt the game’s flow, Street were unable to put the game to bed early on and register the resounding win that their dominant attacking performance deserved.
As early as the 6th minute Street should have been ahead when Craig Herrod’s cross was met by the head of Harry Foster who saw his effort came back off the post and scrambled clear by a relieved Hallen defence. Then four minutes later, from Josh Wadham’s teasing right side corner, Ross McErlain saw his powerful goal bound header blocked on the line and eventually hoofed away to safety. Eventually the home side steadied the ship a little but any attacking threat they carried was nullified by a rock-solid display of tackling and defending by the Street midfield and back line. Ollie Morris especially was in fine form in the middle of the park and Matt Hurley showed everyone what a class act he can be with some sublime touches, while the centre-back pairing of Ross McErlain and captain Ben Amghar were faultless. In truth though this was a real team performance and every player played their part in the eventual victory. What proved to be the vital goal came after 35 minutes when a 40-yard cross-field pass found left-back Lewis Tasker in acres of space and his marauding left wing run and cross was met at the far post by O’Hare who made it 1-0. Three minutes later and Tasker himself nearly doubled Street’s advantage but his powerfully hit 25-yard shot missed the target by a matter of inches, then Foster had his close-range effort somehow blocked on the goal line after good work by Wadham.
Their first-half performance was always going to be a hard act to follow and the travelling Street fans were left wondering whether those early missed opportunities would come back to haunt them as the home side started the second period with more purpose. However, Hallen had little in the way of attacking threat and Tom Punchard in the Street goal was seldom troubled and only had a couple of half saves to make during the game. And although their opportunities were fewer in number it was the visitors who continued to be the most likely side to score with O’Hare almost doubling his tally on the hour mark following good build up play by Herrod and Wadham, but his sliding effort was blocked on the goal line.
The final 30 minutes saw Street have the lion’s share of the play without creating much up front while Hallen looked to the long kicking of goal-keeper Sam Burgess to cause any problems. That was until O’Hare set up Herrod for a well-hit long-range effort that flew agonisingly wide of the target with ten minutes left on the watch.
In the end, and despite causing a few nerves for those watching from the sidelines, it was another win for Rich Fey and the lads and three valuable points in the bag.
The reserves also returned to winning ways beating Burnham Utd 2-1 in the Somerset Senior Cup, a first half goal by Steve Njie and a second half own goal from a Njie cross were enough to progress despite a late goal from Burnham who were reduced to 9 men.
Up the Cobblers
(By Roger Palmer)