Watford Friendly League Under 18 Purple Division
Stonegrove Park 2 HMH 2
Stonegrove dominated, Stonegrove tackled, Stonegrove passed, Stonegrove created the lion’s share of the chances – but in the end Stonegrove couldn’t quite convert that into a win.
The opening few minutes were very tight, but it was against the balance of play that Stonegrove went 1 -0 down to a well-taken free-kick, albeit that the awarding of the free kick seemed harsh.
Somehow the a goal for Stonegrove would not come in spite of excellent work by Josh Olaifa and Alex Meredith and it was still 1-0 at the break.
Every team member was outstanding but special mention must go to the defenders Ben Kreiger, Sam Ebner, Daniel Lande, Joe Myers and Barnaby Powell who gave their all and kept a previously high-scoring HMH front line on starvation rations.
In midfield Daniel Yeshua showed the tackling and covering side of his game to go along with his obvious running skills and pace.
The second half started along similar lines to the first, with chances going begging, characterised by some nervous finishing from Stonegrove Park.
Finally the equaliser came when man-of-the-match Josh Olaifa was felled in the box. He dispatched the penalty with bravery and precision and in so doing, Stuart Pearce like, exorcised the disappointment of an earlier miss.
Stonegrove then held the game with outstanding goalkeeper David Hirschowitz limited to collecting the HMH over-run passes and one goal mouth scramble aside – HMH offered little.
The home side felt a sense of injustice when HMH were awarded a free-kick. They believed that no less than four players were standing in an offside position when the ball was fird into the net.
But cometh the hour, cometh the man, captain Paul Cotter equalising within a minute, slicing their defence open and from close range lashing the ball home.
Stonegrove Park manager Kevin Bernbaum said: "I am delighted with our progress and am urging us to move on to the next level. Well done."