Late goal denies Jammers against the high-fliers
By Lee Witney
13th Feb 2023 | Football
Hashtag United 2, Maldon & Tiptree 1,
Maldon & Tiptree suffered late heartbreak on a foggy Monday February evening as they were beaten 2-1 by an in form Hashtag United.
The Jammers travelled to the Len Salmon Stadium looking to put further daylight between ourselves and the rest of the bottom third of the league and showed 2 changes from the 0-0 draw against Bury Town on Saturday, with Danny Nesbitt and Sam Coombes coming in for the unavailable Toib Adeyemi and Kacy Parish respectively. Hashtag, meanwhile, were looking for a 15th consecutive win to go top of the league.
The travelling Maldon contingent were rewarded with the perfect start after just three minutes when a Harry Phillips freekick swung in from the left found George Smith on the penalty spot. Running onto the ball, he got a shot away on the turn, beating goalkeeper James Philp to his right.
The Tags settled after that early setback and started to see more of the ball, although they couldn't quite manage to create much of note as the Jammers were well organised and difficult to break down.
Just after the half hour mark, Maldon had a chance to give themselves some breathing room, when a freekick was worked to Finners out on the right hand side, his cross found Smith, but he couldn't get enough power on the header and Philp gathered.
On 35 minutes, Hashtag nearly equalised with their first effort of note when they found themselves with two free men at the back post, but a stunning last ditch tackle from ex Hashtag man, Billy Willis prevented an equaliser and the hosts had to make do with a corner.
With halftime approaching, it was Hashtag with most of the ball, but they were restricted to a long shot from Wyan Reid and a header from Max Cornhill, neither of which gave Tommy much to worry about.
Half time arrived with Maldon holding a deserved lead, but still with plenty of work to do.
The second half began with Hashtag taking the initiative and within a minute of the restart, Jermaine Francis had the ball in the net, but it was ruled out for offside.
Philp was again called into action on 50 minutes when Finneran connected with a corner, Philp touched the ball wide, but the referee gave a goal kick.
The hosts had their tails up and were knocking at the door. But rather than bearing chocolates and flowers, they were intent on ruining the Jammers' night. Francis released Toby Aromolaran, but his near post effort was smartly pushed wide by Tommy Dixon-Hodge..
We were dropping deeper as the half wore on, a Cornhill header went just wide on the 65th minute and 5 minutes later, the pressure finally proved too much. Francis flashed a ball across the box and Emmanuel Okunja was on the doorstep to tuck the equaliser home.
Worse was to come on 78 minutes as Hashtag completed the turnaround. A loose touch in the centre circle from Tags defender Greg Halford let Smith in, but he was unceremoniously brought down. The referee waved play on……the fog must've been in his eyes. A good save from TDH was followed by Teniola who tapped the ball home. The Boomtown Rats famously didn't like Mondays. I'm not sure why, but it probably involved football.
A late chance fell to Ronnie who had replaced the stricken Smith, but his header was glanced wide and the hosts were dealt a big let off. A great stop from Tommy to parry away a powerful strike from the edge of the box was the last of the action as Maldon were cruelly denied a point.