Last Minute Heartbreak For Blues
Brilliant Blues succumbed to two late goals against unbeaten Haringey Borough writes The Mariner.
It is a measure of how much progress Blues have made in the last few weeks that they were disappointed with only a point against a previously unbeaten Haringey Borough, two goals in the dying minutes rescuing the visitors unbeaten record . It could have been so different had it not been for the Haringey keeper Valerey Pajajet who produced a series of stunning saves to deny Blues a well deserved victory. For long periods the quality of Blues play was pleasing on the eye leaving the visitors chasing shadows. Ade Cole who has hit a rich vein of form registered a brace with Jamie Slabber finding the net in probably his best display since his return to the club. Blues have it seemed at last adjusted and adapted their style of play required at the level they now find themselves, the ball is played forward with more pace and purpose and combined with an improved work ethic they now are now looking a solid outfit,boosted it must be said by a fully fit squad with the exception of Perry Dunn who will hopefully be back to add to the healthy competition for places.
Wednesday evening saw one change to the starting eleven with Stan Muguo returning in midfield at the expense of Suley Zuhdu, and his physical presence was evident throughout the 90 minutes.
Blues set their stall out right from the first whistle taking the game to their visitors playing at a high tempo ,Kieran Bishop, and Slabber worked well together up front not allowing the Haringey defenders time to settle on the ball .Blues one touch football and slickness in possession allowed them to pin the visitors back in their own half . A sublime passage of play culminated in a deft back heel by the effervescent Cole into the path of the impressive James Folkes who without breaking stride sent a tantalising low cross into the visitors box which caused some consternation, panicking Gordon to slice the ball and only a quick reaction from Pajajet spared his blushes.
Haringey were feeding off scraps but they did have an opportunity when Gabriel slipped Blues offside trap but the ever alert Lamar Johnson raced from his line to thwart the danger.
As the half progressed Blues laid siege to the visitors goal creating a number of chances,Richard Halle came close when he connected with a Barry Cogan corner powering a downward header forcing a smart save from Pajajet. Another corner saw the ball fall to Bishop in the box but he failed to make good contact and could only scuff his shot failing to trouble the keeper .Joao Carlos and Folkes sorties down either flank were swift and menacing but despite all the pressure Blues still failed to make a breakthrough .
Haringey were threatening only fleetingly although Gabriel always looked menacing and would come to haunt Blues late in the game.
Blues persistence paid off in the 36th minute,awarded a free kick out wide Cogan swung a testing ball into the box causing panic at the back, the ball was only half cleared falling invitingly to the lurking Slabber who accepted the gift and unleashed a fearsome shot past Pajajet.
The goal visibly lifted players and fans alike and just three minutes later Cole doubled Blues advantage.Bishop with his back to goal picked the ball up from a throw he held off his marker and fed the unmarked Cole drilling the ball into the far corner from a tight angle.
After the restart and faced with the prospect of a first reversal of the season Haringey started on the front foot and were rewarded with a goal in the 49th minute.The goal looked to have come straight from the training ground , played low to the edge of the box it found Richards who struck it first time and rebounding off a Blues defender to the predatory Gabriel who was on hand to score from close range.
A nervy few minutes followed as Haringey buoyed by the goal enjoyed a good deal of possession with McDonald finding space down Blues left flank and delivering some searching crosses, but Blues rearguard held firm and nullified the threat.
Cole thought he had increased Blues advantage when he teed up a drive from 20 yards only to see Pajajet turn the ball over. It was the first of a series of stunning saves from the impressive keeper.Cole who was becoming increasingly influential did get the better of Pajajet on the hour mark. A Cogan corner saw the ball headed clear looping into the air and found the diminutive midfielder who struck it on the volley, it was blocked and rebounded to him where he managed to get a toe to the ball wrong footing Pajajet and rolling into the net.
Haringey quickly replied courtesy of the combative Richards who scorned a golden opportunity blasting high and wide.
Blues were seeing less of the ball but utilising the pace of Bishop they still threatened .Latching on to a ball down the channel the striker outstripped his marker cutting inside he unleashed a drive that looked a certain goal but Pajajet had other ideas leaping acrobatically to turn the ball over.The keeper then denied Slabber a second goal when he pounced on a Bishop cross and powered a header towards goal only to be denied by another remarkable save.
With the clock ticking down and Blues looking good for their two goal advantage a flurry of substitutions changed the course of the game.Haringey enjoyed a period of pressure ,sub Ademiluyi looked dangerous wide on the left and was instrumental in the visitors second goal in the 87th minute. Sending in a powerful cross he found the head of the unmarked Gabriel who nodded past the exposed Johnson.
A nervy few minutes ensued for Blues fans with Haringey sensing they could salvage a result after looking dead and buried earlier in the half. Blues didn't help themselves displaying a degree of naivety,instead of running the clock down and playing the ball into the opposition corners they looked to try and add a fourth goal and it was to cost them dearly.
Deep into injury time the visitors were awarded what looked a dubious free kick in a dangerous area. For some reason Blues elected to employ their offside trap instead of getting bodies behind the ball and clear the danger,it didn't work and Gabriel was allowed to steal in behind and slot home his third and earn his teammates an unlikely draw.
The draw extended Blues unbeaten run to four games and they are now looking a more competitive outfit and the win sets them up nicely for their next match away to Cray Wanderers in the FA Trophy this coming Saturday.
Johnson,Mahal, Cross ,Cogan (Zuhdu 84),Halle, Muguo, Folkes,Cole, Bishop, Slabber(Monsheju 80),Carlos (Thompson 88)
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