Ashley Fuller scored a hat-trick as Arlesey Town brought early table toppers Potton United down to earth with a 3-1 victory on Saturday.
The opening exchanges were largely in the middle of the park where Potton were getting most of the ball and looking good on it and it was the Royals who created the first chance when a Josh Bamford header was well saved by Robbie Pointing.
The same player was involved in Potton’s next chance when a Jonny Hall cross to Bamford was saved.
A minute later Arlesey took the lead. Potton had not organised their wall for a free kick and were far from ready when Fuller’s shot rolled across the line with keeper Josephs static.
Arlesey could have been two up as their tactic of playing the two experienced front men of Fuller and Smith right up meant a long ball over the top left Smith in a foot race with Taylor that Smith won. A smart save from Josephs kept the score at 1-0.
Potton had plenty of chances in the remainder of the half, the best being a Bamford header which was pushed on to the bar after a great Alex Parrot cross.
Arlesey though had doubled their lead before this as Fuller scored from 10 yards after another long ball was not dealt with by Josephs leaving Arlesey to outnumber Potton in attack.
Potton’s task was made harder in the second half when Jordan Wright was dismissed for two bookings in the space of five minutes when the red mist descended. The first booking was for a late challenge, the second for dissent which was a bitter pill to swallow as the Royals had already been awarded the free kick!
United switched to a three man defence and in truth were the better team for the rest of the match. Despite this they went further behind when miscommunication in defence allowed Smith to play in Fuller to complete his hat-trick.
Potton did get one back on 74 minutes when they were awarded a penalty. Aaron Murrel’s shot was saved but Bamford had followed the kick up to drive home.
Potton did have another couple of chances to reduce the deficit further but Ash Farooqui’s header was over and Gareth Hunt who had an excellent game shot was just over.
Next up for Potton is a league cup match at Aston Clinton on Saturday followed by Crawley Green away in the Premier Division Cup on Tuesday. Arlesey visit Harpenden on Saturday in the league and host Hadley in the Premier Division Cup on Tuesday.