GOAL SHY BLUES BEATEN AGAIN
Wayward finishing and an inspired home keeper sees Blues return without the points writes The Mariner
It's becoming like a broken record, but once again, Blues despite dominating play failed to register a score, due to a combination of woeful finishing and a man of the match performance from home keeper Richard Hayward, who pulled off a series of stunning saves to earn his side a much needed win. Despite the keepers performance, Blues had enough opportunities to have won the game comfortably, but were just not clinical enough in front of goal. Cheshunt defended like their lives depended on it and dispatched their only clear cut chance of the second half to claim the points.
A low key opening fifteen minutes produced nothing in the way of goalmouth action, with the ball spending more time in the air than on the greensward. Neither side could establish any rhythm or chances until Emile Aitken found space, turning quickly he tested Lamar Johnson who saved comfortably. Blues first chance came after Tommy Wade glanced a header just over from a James Folkes corner.
The Ambers enjoyed some success, with a long ball over the top of the Blues back line, catching Richard Halle and Joe Bruce square with the lively Alex Fiddes capitalising . A Halle mistimed tackle allowed ex-Blue Lheureux Menga a run on goal but he fired over. Blues replied when Barry Cogan on for the injured Stan Muguo delivered a free kick to the heart of the hosts defence, where a Cheshunt defenders downward header looked bound for the back of the net, only to see Hayward make a stunning save to keep the goal intact.
Blues were now in the ascendency with James Folkes enjoying success out wide. Ade Cole thought he had scored, when a 35 yard pile driver was somehow turned behind by Hayward. The keeper then made a double block from Wade and Joao Carlos, although both chances should have been converted. Opportunities came and were spurned by Blues, Hayward continued to perform like a man possessed between the sticks.
Fiddles had the last opportunity of a frustrating half for Blues when he weaved his way through and hit the target, producing a smart save from Johnson.
Blues avoided a repeat of last weeks disastrous opening to the second period by taking the game to Cheshunt. Folkes broke down the right flank, sending in a searching cross not attacked by the waiting Blues strike force. The hosts replied with a quick break, winning a free kick on the edge of the box after a clumsy Bruce challenge, but Ricky Sappleton wasted the opportunity firing high and wide.
Shortly after Blues found the back of the net, when a Carlos cross into the box was volleyed past Hayward by Wade , who turned to celebrate, only to see the goal mysteriously disallowed by the referee. A decision which baffled both sets of fans. Despite the setback Blues continued to press forward, but lacked the key to unlock a determined Cheshunt defence, backed up by an inspired Hayward, who despite receiving repeated treatment for cramp was not tested with shots of note on target.
Blues were dealt a sucker punch in the 69th minute, Cheshunt having weathered the pressure on their goal, showed the clinical approach in front of goal so lacking in Blues play . A quick break saw a neat one two between Fiddes and sub Kyle Roberts, leaving the latter free on the edge of the box, taking a touch he unleashed an unstoppable shot past Johnson.
Stunned by the goal Blues continued to push forward. Ryan Mahal supplied a great cross, finding Wade whose downward header was somehow turned behind by Hayward. A corner provided a golden opportunity for Wade, but he inexplicably sent his effort wide from 5 yards. At the other end Menga tried his luck, Johnson saving well
With the clock ticking down Kieran Bishop had a great opportunity to secure at least a point, when he broke free and with only Hayward to beat shot straight at the keeper blocking his effort, yet another opportunity squandered. To further compound Blues miserable afternoon Carlos received his marching orders in the 90th minute for a petulant stamp, a further addition to Blues poor disciplinary record this season.
The defeat leaves Blues without an away win this year, in yet another game where they controlled proceedings for long periods without an end result, against a side who looked more determined and resolute and took the one chance offered to them.
Johnson ,Mahal ,Folkes (Oli 76) , Bruce, Halle,Thompson Muguo (Cogan 16),Cole, Bishop, Carlos, Wade
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