Friday, 19 January 2018

Hosts Hambleden suffer penalty shoot-out heartache

HAMBLEDEN crashed out of the Maidenhead and Norfolkian Cup following a penalty shoot-out with visitors Eton Wick on Saturday.

HAMBLEDEN crashed out of the Maidenhead and Norfolkian Cup following a penalty shoot-out with visitors Eton Wick on Saturday.

In the opening exchanges both teams struggled to find any particular combination of play as Ben Chivers and Matt Cook toiled to break up any Eton Wick forward movement.

Adam Markwell was caught offside on more than one occasion but when he did eventually spring the trap after collecting a Ben Chivers pass, crossed well from the left to find Hathaway bearing down on goal, only a fine save from the Wick keeper at his near post preventing the opener.

Hambleden started to gain the upper hand, although Ozzy Dawson tackled strongly to deny Paul Jenkins in the Wick attack and Mark Butler had to be positive with his handling in the Hambleden goal when Jenkins shot from distance.

Good Hambleden approach play involving Chris Brunning and Adam North saw Ashley Dixon find himself at the far post but was unable to convert the crossfield ball that skipped off the surface.

North delivered a succession of well-flighted corners while Lakovic just failed when left free at the back post.

Markwell ran through on goal collecting a Chivers forward header before Hathaway collected a pass from the same player, but being clipped as he got a shot away when in behind the Eton Wick defence, the Wick keeper Murton touching the ball on to the bar to deny both goal and penalty as the referee saw fit to let the advantage play.

On 30 minutes Hathaway gained some retribution, timing his run in behind his defenders once more and chipping the ball over the advancing keeper into the goal to open the scoring for Hambleden.

Wick pressed but Hambleden’s Matt Cook went closest drifting his volley wide of the mark from distance just before the half-time whistle.

Eton Wick changed formation for the second period although the plan seemed to have backfired as after only five minutes of the restart and after Ben Chivers had sent another header forwards, Markwell nipped in between defender and keeper to guide the ball home.

Eton Wick threw caution to the wind and mounted concerted pressure. Almost directly from the restart a run from the visitors’ left side saw Oz Dawson mistime his challenge in the Hambleden defence allowing Pete Webb to cross for Jenkins to ram home from close range.

Buoyed, Eton Wick started to dominate and after 56 minutes a long ball was allowed to bounce deep into the Hambleden box with Jenkins reacting first, applying the touch that carried the ball home. After 58 minutes Webb touched in Jenkins’ strike that had returned off the post, after previously appearing to be in an offside position. The referee waved away the linesman and all appeals of interference. With Eton Wick now firmly in command Hambleden employed Deanrod Kemp from the bench withdrawing Lakovic in a tactical switch, but little stemmed the visitors’ forward movement.

Jenkins could have sown up the tie twice for Eton Wick as the game drifted into injury time and was made to pay, when Ben Chivers launched a forward pass that Hathaway collected at pace in behind before slotting home from inside the area to send the tie into the extra periods.

Hambleden dominated extra time proceedings but couldn’t find the vital goal. Kemp found himself in with the keeper to beat but dragged his placed effort wide of the mark and Hathaway again eluded the Wick back line but couldn’t find the net on two occasions.

Mark Butler still had to be alert, pushing a cross away from advancing strikers and again handling well when under pressure, but Chivers then could have put Hambleden through to the semi-finals after Markwell, Dixon and North combined on the right to fashion a pulled cross which found the midfielder three yards from goal unmarked, but somehow the ball ended up and over the bar.

Hathaway had the last chance in playing time with a well worked Hambleden delivery finding the striker close in but his shot was touched on to the crossbar by Eton Wick’s diving Murton.

As the light faded penalties decided the outcome of the fixture. Eton Wick dispatched the first four with aplomb giving Mark Butler no chance in the Hambleden goal. Similarly Dawson, Brunning and North found the back of the net for Hambleden. Ben Chivers was unfortunate to see his placed effort saved by Murton leaving Paul Jenkins to complete the win for Eton Wick.

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