After an unexpected blank Saturday, there were four differences from the team that dramatically secured three more points on the road at St Albans, as last term’s Isthmian Prem Champs faced off against the Play-Off winners.
Goalscoring hero Lewis White kept his spot as Joe Rye and James Beresford also moved up off the subs bench, to compliment the inclusion of Jammeh for only his second start of the campaign. Cam Tutt, Danny Barker, Dan Bowry and Reece Myles-Meekums all dropped down to the dugout where recent signing Javaun Splatt replaced Conrad Honore.
The evening’s entertainment got off to an inauspicious beginning with the visitors – winners at The Crucial Environmental Stadium last year – shocking their high-flying hosts by taking the lead via the game’s first real attack.
Kian Flanagan nicked the ball off Kane Wills’ toes and drove forward on the left, before sending over an inch-perfect cross for an unmarked Dajon Golding to arrive unannounced at the far post and fire his side in front, with the aid of the underside of the crossbar.
After suffering the curse of a former player scoring against them, Reds responded through Ollie Pearce and Jammeh, at the end of some good approach work, only for Wills to wellie well wide at the conclusion of a well-timed run.
However, the home boys’ task became even harder when Rowan Liburd got on the end of Reece Beckles-Richards’ threaded through ball down the centre of the pitch. Taking his return pass and slotting low inside Harrison Male’s near upright to double the deficit.
Three minutes later though and Mo pulled a goal back with a maiden competitive strike.
Wills, on the right played forward to Pearce, who exchanged a neat one-two with Joel Colbran then located the smallest man on the pitch to glance home a header in off the back stick.
Mighty Mo almost had a helping hand in levelling matters shortly afterwards; receiving a touch inside from Colbran, who had shown wonderful control to take down Aarran Racine’s long, raking diagonal. Skipping past Chevron McClean, the galloping Gambian enabled Pearce to reach the byline and fire over a cross that went desperately close to the far post.
Beckles-Richards produced a carbon copy attempt despite Golding laying prostrate in the box still less than half-an-hour in.
That miss would prove critical a mere sixty seconds later, thanks to Colbran, once more, demonstrating instant accuracy to collect Wills’ long range spray, turning past Beckles-Richards and White aiding the cause with a delicate dink into the Cheshunt penalty area. Cal Kealy couldn’t quite get a shot away as he tried to bury it, before McLeod eventually did.
Barely pausing for breath, just when half-time food and drink queues were gathering momentum and home fans were settling for an all-square intermission, Mo Jammeh had other ideas !
The Ambers failed to track the run of Jammeh as he effortlessly yet emphatically bent Wills’ right wing flag-kick home first time – beating both ‘keeper Joe Rose and Flanagan on the line -for a stunning finish.
Golding might have squared the score early in the second period when, following an inadvertent fick off Racine, he broke clear in a central position, only to fire straight at Male.
Although not before McLeod had set Kealy free; the striker twisting and turning then delivering and seeing his cross take an unexpected diversion off Bill Cracknell’s head onto the bar.
Rye blocked another Golding effort and Pearce provided Jammeh with a chance to claim the matchball but he could only find the hands of Rose.
It fell to Beresford next to tee-up MJ for a possible treble, which looked promising after an initial touch allowed him to turn and fire goalwards. A goal-kick the less impressive outcome.
JB (Beresford) dragged wide of the target, pre-empting a period of sustained pressure that resulted in replacement Splatt and Wills unable to get a convincing contact on Kealy’s potential assist. The ball ultimately canonning off Sam Woods for McLeod to blaze waywardly wide from the edge of the penalty area.
His follow-up effort carried rather more finesse, drawing an excellent save out of Rose at the expense of a corner. The set-piece giving a great amount of grief to the guests rearguard, until it was eventually pulled the wrong side of the apparatus by Barker.
McLeod and Kealy combined to near devastating effect while Macca and Jammeh paired up for the latter to spread out to Splatt on the right and almost round off a brilliant move. He and Kealy coming within inches of putting the game to bed.
One final fling led to Beresford nestling a nudge into the grateful gloves of Rose but alas, three-two it finished to get that winless home monkey off the homesters backs.