On a weekend where most Cougars matches were victims of the weather it was down to our eldest teams to fly the blue and white flag in their cup competitions and both put in sterling performances to progress. Chris Adams’ Under 15s continued their outstanding season as they played in the Mid Herts Under15’s premier league cup and the Cougars boss witnessed a stunning performance from Sid Arnold. The fixture, originally intended to be played at Buntingford was reversed with most of Buntingford under a layer of snow on Sunday morning.
The tie saw Adams introduce new signing Josh Bradfield in a game that started brightly for Buntingford. A first minute corner for Cougars was swung in by Owen Groves and the ball dropped to the feet of Archie Rhodes who made no mistake from 10 yards to put Buntingford one nil up. Adams was pleased to see his side continue to play well and create further openings with Rhodes heading over before having a point blank header brilliantly cleared off the line.
Although Buntingford had the lion’s share of the game it was Hertford buoyed by two new signings who started to get the upper hand just before half time and were rewarded with a super goal as the ball was driven between Cougars back 4 and the Hertford striker brought it down in the blink of an eye and shot home leaving Jay Caine no chance in the Buntingford goal.
After the interval Cougars reshuffled and despite a determined Hertford Liam Smith had an effort cleared off the line, debutante Josh Bradfield flashed a strike across goal, and Groves hit the bar before Sid Arnold with two moments of magic sealed the tie.
Firstly a free kick from the edge of the box was dispatched into the top corner and then 30 yards out spotting the keeper off the line Arnold lobbed the Hertford guardian to make the final score three-one to Cougars.
Chris Adams later told Sky Sports Gary Neville “Today we done the business, Josh Bradfield had a super debut for us playing a real box to box role. Simon Keogh moved into centre half and played with real assurance and calm, but the plaudits on the day have to go Sidney Arnold who was top drawer all game and produced two pieces of absolute quality to win the tie.”
Meanwhile in the Under16s League cup the other Buntingford match saw Sean Curran’s first division Cougars Blues face an away tie at Hitchin based FC Comets from the second division. True to form Cougars progressed with a two nil victory and are in the hat for the semi final draw along with Bishop Stortford, Sawbridgeworth Town and Letchworth.