A Jake Lovell hat-trick steered Colin Davis’s reserve side to a comprehensive victory over a Potters Bar Town side made up with a majority of first team players, a result that consequently took United back to the summit of the Capital League Western Division.
After Daniel Mehmet had fired wide for United from Will Joseph’s long ball, Potters Bar had a great chance when Alex Bolt was put through by Lewis Jones, but Simon Grant pulled off an excellent save to deny him.
Within a minute United took the lead as Lovell went through on goal and rounded keeper Billy Byford before rolling the ball into the empty net.
Play ebbed and flowed in a lively and even first half. Steve Perkins’s clearing header found Andre Costa on the left who advanced before laying the ball off to Henry Attu, his angled shot avoiding both the far post and the onrushing Joseph.
In the meantime, Potters Bar’s Aryan Taj sent over a corner which Matthew Mitchell flicked on presenting Bolt with the ball only a few yards out, but he was astounded when Grant pulled off an incredible save to deny him a certain goal.
Unfortunately for Grant, he was to concede soon afterwards, and he could do nothing to keep out Tony Burke’s terrific half volley which rose into the top corner.
United got back in front just before the break. Costa held off his marker before sliding the ball through to Mehmet. Mehmet unselfishly slid the ball across goal where a number of United players were waiting for a tap in, and it was Attu who obliged with the finish. Taj tested Grant with a low shot, but United’s keeper was to preserve his team’s half time lead.
The start of the second half saw United take control and stretch the game beyond Potters Bar with two quick goals. Debutant Brendan Gallen slid the ball forward to Mehmet whose shot was well blocked by Byford, but Attu was following up to finish smartly. Then Mohammed Dikuiza’s measured pass allowed Lovell to beat the offside trap and once again round Byford before finishing into the empty net.
Attu came close to a hat-trick when Lovell broke clear on the right and centred for him, but Byford bravely smothered his shot. Mehmet also went close heading Costa’s in swinging corner narrowly wide.
In the 64th minute, Lovell kept onside to break clear once again and completed his hat-trick with a spectacular finish into the top corner.
Ashley Harrison-Barker shot just past Grant’s post as the home side regained their composure but both Costa and Mehmet went close again for United, Costa after a mazy run shooting into the side netting and Mehmet with a speculative long range volley following a weak Byford goal kick.
A remarkable long range header by Potters Bar substitute Reece Wilson almost caught Grant out and Fred Dooling got on the end of Lewis Rolfe’s free kick but planted his header wide. Then after a fine run, Sean Shields hit a shot which fizzed across goal. However it seemed that there was no way back for Potters Bar.
Costa was again unlucky when his shot hit the post and the home side again missed out when Joe O’Brien went clean through only for Grant to save bravely at his feet and Shields to fire the rebound wide.
In stoppage time, substitute Ollie Fayed capped a fine team performance when he converted a low Costa centre with a shot which bounced down and looped up into the top corner.
Report by Nick Bell.
Website United Man of the Match: Jake Lovell.