Bradley erases bad memories at Chalk Lane
Full-back rescues deserved point, as Scott stakes claim for centre-half position
The Greens returned to the scene of their Emirates FA Cup exit a few weeks past, and put in a very good performance with a team which showed several changes from the previous Saturday. With Britnell and Murray not available, 17 year-old Mason Scott came into central defence to partner skipper Gary Lines. It was his second start of the season, having patiently sat out the last seven games while other partnerships were tried. Without Dean Powles up front Holmer’s strike force of Aaron Couch, Raiqwan Joseph, and Alex Rice would have preferred service on the ground. But too often in this game Holmer seemed only to get the ball into the danger area in aerial fashion, playing into the hands of the larger home defenders. When the ball was worked low, and around the flanks of the Cockfosters rear-guard, a goal for The Greens always looked achievable.
Indeed on just 3 minutes Couch tested the home ‘keeper with low driven cross. Then a left-wing corner for the Greens set up Jonty Summerell to feed Ryan Parsons, but the 20-yard shot was too straight. On 15 minutes the home side got in a 25-yard shot which seemed destined for the top corner. But Luca Gaster flung himself across his goal-area for a fine save. A Couch volley from 20 yards flew over the home crossbar on 19 minutes, and two minutes the same player’s low cross evaded defenders and forwards alike. However on 28 minutes it was Cockfosters which made the breakthrough. A corner kick was half cleared, and fell to Davis on the edge of the penalty-area. His first touch seemed clumsy, but with no close attention he was able to place the ball neatly across Gaster into the bottom corner. Holmer set up quite a few promising situations in their quest for a first-half leveller. But the nearest they came was a Parsons cross which Couch opted to meet with his foot rather than his head. The effort flew narrowly past the near post angle. HT 1-0
The rain and wind favoured Holmer in the second half, and the fairly long grass on the pitch soaked up the downpour. Only showing signs of cutting up in the very late stages of the game. On 56 minutes a Ben Bradley, and Joseph, move down the left resulted in a low cross that Rice converted into a good shot. This was well saved by the ‘keeper, and the loose ball favoured the defence. With a quarter of the match remaining Holmer sent on Leo Blackman for Crouch, making it six players under 20 years old on the pitch for the visitors. Although they were looking likely to get an equaliser, on 73 minutes The Greens had a let-off. Lines was clearly fouled in his own penalty-area and robbed of the ball. No decision was forthcoming and the resulting pass went left, Gaster having to fly off his line to save with his legs. On 78 minutes a Bradley cross almost found Rice, who had to take evading action to avoid running into the hedge behind the home goal. Five minutes later a Summerell run was only halted by the ‘keeper’s legs, and Bradley’s follow up went just wide of the right-hand post. With three minutes left, and with young debutant Ben Booker having replaced Scott, Bradley had to race back to clear a ball behind the Greens’ central defence. Anthony Tyson came on for the final minutes, and following a good ground-making move through the midfield as the 90 minutes was up, the ball came to Bradley just outside the home penalty-area. He side-stepped his man and using his recent attacking effort as a marker, placed a firm shot across the ‘keeper and into the bottom corner which he had just failed to find seven minutes earlier. A deserved equaliser for the away team, who had to survive just one more of the many long throw-ins that they were subjected to on the night.
Team: Gaster, Parsons, Bradley, Lines ©, Scott, Wooster, Summerell, Couch, Joseph, Rice.
Substitutes Used: Blackman, Booker, & Tyson.
Substitute Not Used: Curtis Stone.