With their Spanish coaches catching flights back home for Christmas, what better way for Biggleswade United players to show their appreciation than with a 3-2 win at Hoddesdon Town on Saturday.
Unbeaten at their home ground this season, third placed Hoddesdon Town were left reeling after United came back from a 2-1 deficit to take all three points in the final 14 minutes of the game and United now go into Christmas having completed a run of seven unbeaten League games.
This sixth win of seven sees Cristian Colas’ team in a mid-table position going in to the second half of the season with all to play.
But it needed a convincing all-round team performance at Lowfield to prove that they have turned the corner and contenders for a top ten spot and that is exactly what the coaches and away supporters got as United took the game to their high flying opponents.
On an uneven, bumpy playing surface it took a while for United to settle. Added to that, the visitors had to contend with the early setback of losing their inspirational midfield playmaker, Nick Elliott, who twisted his ankle in the fifth minute with substitute Tom Bryant making an unexpected early entrance.
As a result the hosts enjoyed the better of the early exchanges with evergreen striker Tommy Wade heading wide from a corner in the fifth minute and Josh Lillis failed to make the most of confusion in the United box four minutes later.
But against the early run of play United took the lead in the 11th minute. Taking possession in the middle of the park, Lucas Joyce went on a mazy run in to the Lillywhites area and finished by cutting the ball back to the unmarked AJ Ajeakwa. Ajeakwa’s powerful strike was spilled by home keeper Lee Robinson leaving United’s Mohammed Hashim the simple task of tapping the ball in from close range and giving the midfield dynamo his first goal in a United shirt.
The goal gave United the boost they needed and for the next twenty minutes they made the most of their quick passing football that had the robust Lillywhites’ centre half pairing of Glenn Draper and Ed Taylor unable to compete with United’s slick passing around the box. Joyce, Hashim, Ajeakwa and Adam Drakulic, all small in stature, were like mice around two big tom cats as they moved the ball around the edge of the Lillywhites’ area and each of them were unlucky not to add to Hashim’s early goal as the first half came to a close.
However, it was the home side who should have taken the sides in level at the break when Ricky Light fired high and wide when allowed free space at the far post.
As was to be expected, the side aspiring to finish top of the table, came out with a purpose after what must have been a stern talking to in the home team changing room. And within five minutes of the second half whistle Light made amends for his earlier calamitous effort with a sublime strike from 25 yards out. United were punished for failing to put in a crucial tackle in the middle of the park and gifted Light an unchallenged strike that curled over United’s Joachin Martos for 1-1.
No sooner had United central defenders, Nyasha Sagwete and James Cooper, recovered than they left looking bemused as neither had spotted Light unmarked on the edge of the six yard area when Wade headed on from a corner to Light who fired past Martos to give the Lillywhites a 2-1 lead.
It could have been early doors for United six minutes later when the hosts had a Jack Bartlett goal disallowed for a push on United’s Kane Farrell.
If there was ever a time for United’s Colas to prove his tactical nous than this was it and he pulled off a master stroke that got United the rewards. Moving to a flat back three he gave free rein to United’s attacking wing backs, Farrell and Adam Sartini followed by the introduction of attacking midfield player, Stuart Richardson, for the final fifteen giving United an attacking edge that the hosts struggled to contend with.
With United spreading play wide they were able to find diversionary routes around the previously formidable aerial domination of Draper and Taylor and United’s Joyce ad Drakulic made hay causing havoc down the Lillywhites’ flanks with their trickery and skill.
In the 79th minute Drakulic was felled by a lunging tackle almost on the corner post and having dusted himself off he sent a free kick in to the box to the head of Richardson who flicked on to Ajeakwa at the far post to stab home the United equaliser.
No sooner had the Lillywhites’ finished their inquisition as to how that was allowed to happen than United were celebrating once more. Joyce made yet another penetrating run past his marker and running headlong in to the box he fired low and hit the ball against the Lillywhites’ upright. The loose ball seemed to bounce around in the six yards area for what seemed an age before Drakulic snapped it up and fired in to send the United contingent in to raptures.
The hosts were unable to muster enough energy in the final five minutes to bring about a dramatic equaliser and United held firm to take all three of their deserving points and now look to make it 7 wins from eight with the trip to Stotfold in the local Xmas derby on the Bank Holiday Monday, December 28. Both sides are on an impressive run of form so it will be real a Christmas Cracker and this first meeting of the two sides this season will be one not to be missed. Kick Off 3pm.
United return home on Saturday, January 2 with title contenders, AFC Dunstable, the visitors. Kick Off 3pm.