Mill End Sports v Reserves, 19 Sep 2020 (League)
Buntingford Lost 2-1
Town travelled away searching for their first win of the season to a Mill End side who had lost their opening 2 games.
More changes for Town as they welcomed Sid Arnold into the CB role alongside Ryan Bailey, Ayo Akiode made his first start at RB and there were also starts for Matt Smyth in midfield and Ross Murphy found himself in a CF role to add some presence.
An even encounter saw the home side string some nice moves together with Town playing more on the break looking to release the pace of Reece and Jacob Willis but early on our passes were overhit and mostly ran through to their GK.
Murphy did capitalise on some early indecision in the home defence but could only prod his shot into the side netting as the defender tried to shield the ball out for a goal kick.
Again Town tried to play out but such is the lack of confidence at the moment that after 1 or 2 passes the ball inevitably got sent long under pressure.
It was that pressure from a Mill End forward which saw him steal the ball just inside our half and go straight for goal, despite Ewan blocking his shot another striker followed up to make it 1-0 after 30 mins.
Town rallied well and after Jake Willis saw his far post header tipped onto the bar Sid then saw his header fly over the bar as he powered onto it unmarked from 8 yards out.
Desperately good chances not taken!
Mill End enjoyed some good attacking spells also especially with their lively left winger and forced several corners but Town managed to come in level at the break.
The start of the second half saw Town improve and as the half wore on the introduction of Cavill Costi, Toby Grieves along with attackers Tommy Jackson and Harrison Knowles gave Town some much needed fresh legs.
Town always seemed one good pass away from creating a clear opening and on 75 mins things took a turn for the worse when Ryan Bailey was clearly fouled and his protests were met with a 10 minute sin bin.
Bizarrely with a man down Town actually perked up and with Liam Faik being his usual busy self and Matt Smyth passing the ball around nicely Town had their best spell.
It was actually a low Smyth driven cross that hit a defenders leg and drew a point blank save from Mill End's goal keeper which led to Town's equaliser.
As a melee ensued to get to the loose ball, the goal keeper showed too much attention to Harrison Knowles and he was bundled over.
Despite the home side's protests which saw one of their own sin binned, the ref held his nerve, awarding the penalty and up stepped Knowles who rolled the ball in to make it 1-1.
With Ryan Bailey returning to the pitch for the final 10 minutes and Mill End a man down Town had every chance to win the game now but in the final minutes a superb far post cross was met with a towering header and Town found themselves 2-1 down.
A genuine piece of quality deserving of the winning goal.
Town weren’t done though and there was still time for Tommy Jackson to poke a lovely through ball behind the defence for Knowles to run on to, his shot beat the keeper and Town held their breath as the ball headed goalwards, only to see it bounce off the foot of the post and to safety.
A difficult start to the season for the Reserves, one point from nine and they are finding it hard to produce a consistent squad and therefore finding it hard to gel as a team; it's early days though and it wont take long before they click.