17th December 2016, Hunton Bridge, Away (League)
Global edged out Hunton Bridge to finish 2016 with a much needed league victory.
Having been edged out of yet another cup by Croxley two weeks prior, the visitors rolled into Bushey needing a result to boost morale ahead of the Winter break.
And Gaffer Gaines was able to call on the obligatory ‘strong squad’, including new arrivals Danny Hunter, Russ Butlin and Craig McCrory. And with an injury list including the likes of Wardy (old age), Rob (balsawood ankles), and Gregor (runny nose), all the new recruits were needed.
Their hosts’ had their own player issues as well...lining up with only ten men at kick off, with the guy who organises everything sat in traffic or some other limp excuse.
As is customary, Global struggled against ten men. Within the opening seconds, the visitors’ re-shaped backline had been breached, with a Hunton Bridge forward firing wide of Greeny’s goal when well placed.
They also continued to struggle through the early stages as the home side made the early running, arguably confident in repeating their 3-2 win in London Colney. A couple of half chances went amiss, and Greeny had to be aware to make a sharp stop at his near post.
Global’s only meaningful action of the early stages was a booking for Chris Palmer. He took a cultured revenge filled swipe at his marker and ‘friend’ from their last meeting who ended up in a heap on halfway. A deserved booking for Palmer, but you got the feeling he quite enjoyed it being awarded to him.
Soon after Hunton Bridge were up to a full quota of players, and almost instantly Global started to gain the upper hand. Palmer’s direct running was causing the home side problems, and he arrowed an effort just wide.
With the interval approaching and having seen a couple of half chances go awry, the visitors’ finally got the reward their improved spell of play deserved. After snuffing out the home side’s attack, Simon Lucas fed John Sheehan on halfway. He played a great ball wide to Ben Pegram on the right, who drove forward. His cross was met at the far post by a neat volley from the arriving Sheehan, who had drifted unmarked into the box to put Global in front. 0-1.
The hosts were rattled, but failed to create anything of note as they looked to get themselves back into the game before the break. Advantage Global.
Half-time: Hunton Bridge 0 – 1 Global FC
After a solid, but unspectacular first half display Global knew there was room to improve in the second half, but the tight score line meant the contest was very much still in the balance.
Hunton Bridge also approached the remainder of the match with the same mantra, and started much more positively than they had finished the first half. A couple of early corners gave Greeny a chance to clatter as many opponents as possible as they looked to bag an equaliser.
Despite Global keeping their opponents at arm’s length during the opening exchanges, the home sided were handed a gift of a levelling goal by some poor officiating. The visitors’ cleared their lines from another corner, and quickly cleared their area. The ball was looped back in to a Hunton Bridge player inside the box, and although he was clearly offside, a claim supported by the linesman’s flag going up immediately, the ref allowed play to continue and the forward finished past Greeny. 1-1.
Global were incensed, and despite some lengthy arguing with the official he allowed the goal to stand, so it was back to square one for Gaffer Gaines’s side.
However, it didn’t take long for the visitors’ to turn their frustration into another goal as they regained the leader. The hosts’ ‘keeper pulled off a good stop to deny a Global effort on goal, conceding a corner as a result. Jimmy Hounslow delivered a fine cross to the back post, where it was met by a towering header from Butlin which ended up in the back of the net. A fine debut goal, from a header won by one of the shortest players in the box. 1-2.
The game was now an end-to-end contest as Global chased a goal to extend their lead. Sheehan and Simpson both went close, but to no avail as Hunton Bridge rode their luck and kept themselves within touching distance of the visitors.
And the home side benefitted from another lucky break to level the contest for the second time midway through the second half. Greeny punched clear a fairly innocuous corner, only for the shot back in to be deflected over him and into the back of the net. Another extremely fortunate goal for Hunton Bridge, who were looking increasingly like they were going to get a result that they really didn’t deserve. 2-2.
With a Desmond looking on the cards, and the hosts’ playing for time, Global took their chance to snap up all three points in great style. A long clearance from the Global box out to the right hand side was just about kept in play by Palmer, who then switched the play to the unmarked Dexter Simpson with a superb pass. With Hunton Bridge struggling to get back and defend, Dex drove into the box. He slotted the ball past the goalkeeper, which collected about 6 deflections on the way and rolled into the back of the net. Global were ahead for the third, and final time. 2-3.
That was Palmer’s last contribution as he hobbled out of the fray, but his contribution had been key to Global claiming a big win.
And that was pretty much it – the home side couldn’t get back into the game and Global collected a big 3 points. Global had to work hard for the win, and although it was a bit hairy at times they held on. Man of the match went to Russ Butlin, who capped an impressive debut with a fine goal.
Full-time: Hunton Bridge 2 – 3 Global FC
Man-of-the-match: Russ Butlin
Team: GK: Dave Green, RB: George Bowden, LB: Carl Fazekas, CB: Ben Gaines, CB: Russ Butlin, CM: Simon Lucas (capt), CM: John Sheehan, CM: Danny Hunter, RM: Ben Pegram, LM: James Hounslow, CF: Chris Palmer, SUBS: Dexter Simpson, Craig McCrory