Bovingdon 'A' v Reserves, 05 Dec 2020 (League)
Buntingford Drew 2-2
Bunt Town Reserves lurched out of lockdown with a disjointed performance; yes you guessed it, away at Bovingdon A, a team who had only taken 3 points from their opening 6 games.
After going 4 games unbeaten, but having a month or so off from their last fixture Town were hoping to get the ball rolling again with what looked on paper to be a very winnable fixture.
However, despite the break the injury list had swelled and Town were without no fewer than 6 of the squad that played in their previous 2-2 draw at Stevenage, also accounting for players who have scored half their goal tally this season.
Luckily Town have an excellent and robust squad to call upon so there were starts for Jake Bush in goal, Kaps Patel in midfield and Josh Bradfield in attack, not to mention the return of Joe Tokely after suspension.
Town started quite well and it wasn’t long before George Lovegrove had dribbled forward and had a shot which the goalkeeper fielded quite comfortably.
Next it was Luke Sloan with a glancing header after 11 mins from Sid Arnold’s free kick which flashed wide of the far post.
Although the home side were busy they lacked any real threat and as the game progressed Town become of comfortable on the ball, assisted by the home side having a player sin binned for dissent.
Another good move from Town after 15 mins saw Ayo Akiode with a good table tackle feed Josh whose through ball to Tommy allowed him to steer a low cross which just eluded George at the far post.
Josh played in Tommy Jackson soon after but the keeper managed to get to the ball first before Josh saw his own shot go over moment later.
What happened next was unprecedented - 3 injuries in the space of 15 minutes!
On 18 mins Will Brant dislocated his shoulder and after a lengthy stoppage was replaced by Ryan Bailey.
Bovvy were battling well in between and carried a threat but mostly due to Town’s inability to keep the ball, not necessarily due to their dominance.
On 23 mins Jake Bush injured his hip while fielding a ball and was replaced in goal by Ross Murphy, although far from ideal, Ross actually kept goal very well.
On 30 mins yet another injury as Tokely fell awkwardly and had to be replaced by debutant Matt Prior.
Town slipped behind unexpectedly though when a clearance was charged down and tucked away by the Bovvy striker on 35 mins.
Behind at the break Town knew they had to improve and that the game was extremely winnable.
It didn’t take long into the second half for Town to equalise as on 47 mins, a flowing move involving George, Kaps, and Tommy resulted in Luke being bundled over in the box and a penalty was rightly awarded and then converted by Tommy Jackson.
Things got even better for Town when Tommy scored again on 55 mins to turn the game around.
Neither team were particularly dominant, but with Bovvy defending in numbers and Town trying to play football, Bunt were susceptible to the counter attack and should have heeded a couple of close calls before on 65 mins Bovvy were reduced to 10 men when their striker was shown a 2nd yellow and left the field.
Town rather than capitalise were pegged back to 2-2 when some lazy defending allowed a winger to run through and despite Ross making an excellent initial save 1vs1, the winger was allowed the time to turn and pick his spot to equalise.
Cooper Allen replaced Josh Bradfield as Town’s last option and his energy caused the home side problems; he swung in a number of crosses sadly none of which found a Bunt head.
On 75 mins a quick free kick from Prior found Sid who strode forward and unleashed a thunderbolt of a left foot striker from 30 yards but as it crashed back off the top of the upright George was adjudged offside as he tried to follow up.
Town huffed and puffed in their search for an equaliser but in truth were severely hampered in their attacking options, missing the likes of Liam Faik, Chas Bailey, Alex Hewer, James Parkins and Jacob Willis meant their goal threat was significantly reduced.
A point away from home was the outcome after the lockdown, with some positives to take, a sideways step in a season that had been bounding forward; let’s hope Town can regain their stride in next week’s away fixture!