Colney Heath 0 Hullbridge Sports 1 – Buildbase FA Vase 1st Round Replay
Tuesday 24th October
Sports were without Lewis Watson, Luca Frankis, Tom Ranger, Ollie Miller and Howard Wright for this FA Vase replay under the lights at Colney Heath.
It was 100 mile round trip on a Tuesday night and with Aaron Hunwicks again choosing to coach from the dugout, Sports struggled for substitutes and had to call on two of the Hullbridge Reserves to bolster their ranks.
The game got off to a flying pace with the home side coming on strong and when Charlie Buffin was booked on 7 minutes for kicking the ball away, you knew it was going to be a tough night all around.
Colney Heath had most of the early possession, but didn’t really create a great deal and there was plenty of defending to do for the Sports lads.
On 28 minutes Hullbridge pressed and gave little time to the Colney Heath defence after a quick throw in from Charlie Buffin. The Colney player attempted to clear the ball, but seemed to miss kick it under pressure and that gave Sam Dulieu a chance to nick the ball and coolly chip it over the advancing keeper to give Hullbridge a 1-0 lead, totally against the run of play.
Colney Heath continued to ramp up the pressure and 5 minutes after the Sports goal, a curling shot from the home side could only be watched as it slammed against the Hullbridge crossbar. As the sides left the field for the half time break, it would have been Aaron Hunwicks in the Hullbridge dug out that would have been happier not only being a goal up, but how his side had defended and organised themselves.
As the wind picked up in the second half it became more and more difficult to judge the ball and Hullbridge had another scare when a Colney Heath corner seemed to go through everybody, but nobody could judge it well enough to get a head to the ball and it flashed through everybody and off for a goal kick.
Hullbridge were almost on full defensive mode with Rob Hodgson, Ollie Quick and Angus Poole on constant aerial duty as Colney continued to chuck the ball in to the Hullbridge box. Sam Taylor was looking back to his best and Charlie Buffin had got his head back in to the game after his early booking and was defending well.
Lewis Catling was called it to action for the first real time in the game on 80 minutes and what a save it was! The ball came through a group of players and Catling somehow got down to his left hand post to not only make a last ditch save, but also push the ball away from a group of onrushing players standing in front of him.
On 83 minutes Colney Heath should have equalised when a volley heading for the Hullbridge goal was saved by Lewis Catling again, but the ball fell to the home side again and nobody in the ground could believe it when the player managed to blast it over the bar from 6 yards and Sports had a major let off.
On 90+1 minutes Colney were reduced to ten men when a player picked up his second yellow card, but this didn’t have any real impact on the game as the whistle was blown minutes later and Hullbridge progressed to the Second Round Proper and a home tie against Wembley FC.
This was a game of one mistake that Sports capitalised on and then defended for their lives. It was 90+ minutes of work rate, team work, passion and the desire to win. This has been missing from a Hullbridge side for most of this season, but the FA Vase proved they still had it in them. Colney Heath will look back at the possession and chances they had and feel they should have got something out of the game, but take nothing away from that defensive display often having 11 men behind the ball.
Report/Photo by Neil Hunwicks @ABridgeTooFar16