HAMBLEDEN, playing their first match of the season, crashed out of the Berks and Bucks Cup at Bucks CC on Saturday.
Hambleden were without a number of first team players which allowed Tom Irving a chance to impress, being drafted in from the reserves for his first senior appearance.
The game started at a pace with both teams strongly contesting possession. This led to an array of strong tackles which resulted in Adam Markwell picking up a yellow card after seven minutes. Bucks striker Kolo also had his name put in the book soon after following a series of late challenges.
With both teams struggling to settle it was Bucks who came closest hitting the bar twice in five minutes halfway through the first period.
Powell worked tirelessly for Hambleden and forced himself in on goal after combining with Reading. Soon after Powell set up Reading directly who forced a save from the Bucks keeper.
With 30 minutes gone R Kemp and M Cook began to settle the game and forced a corner from which Reading rose highest at the far post but just failed to guide Adam North’s delivery into the back of the net.
Hambleden started the second half brightly although it was the visitors’ rearguard that had to be alert, Markwell thwarting a Bucks attack with a crucial block at the near post and then Ross Hathaway providing a number of quality saves as the game swung from end to end.
Hambleden’s fullback Dawson fed Adam North whose persistence saw him pass four opponents before forcing a fine save from the Bucks keeper. Dean Kemp combined with Reading but his goal-bound shot deflected and looped the wrong side of the bar.
With time running out Dean Powell saw his header flash over when R Kemp flighted a free kick into the six yard box.
Soon after Cook and R Kemp entered the book as did Bucks’ Johnston.
With extra time looming and eight minutes of normal time remaining Ross Hathaway turned a Bucks strike over the bar. From the corner Hambleden’s Dawson failed to distance his clearance and was caught on the back foot as a neat chip return found three Bucks players alone and onside in the Hambleden box. Hathaway had no chance as Bucks broke the deadlock.
Within minutes the tie was in no doubt as Markwell’s rash challenge saw him sent off for picking up his second yellow of the game.
Hambleden reorganised and still threatened, but deep in injury time the game was secured when with the visitors stretched James Froelich fired home from close range for the hosts.
Hambleden: R Hathaway, O Dawson, D Brian, A Markwell, T Irving, R Kemp, M Cook, D Kemp, A North, D Powell, P Reading.