Sunday, 05 December 2021

Kemp and Macllenan’s strikes cause blow for hosts

HAMBLEDEN overcame Wycombe Leisure in their Tom Hooker League Cup preliminary round clash on Saturday.

HAMBLEDEN overcame Wycombe Leisure in their Tom Hooker League Cup preliminary round clash on Saturday.

Playing up the slope at the Walton Park ground, Hambleden played neat football with Dean Kemp soon finding himself in on goal after Matt Cook found space to play. However, Kemp dragged his shot wide after outstripping the defence.

Kemp then did well with a harder opportunity, forcing Keri in the Leisure goal to turn over the striker’s shot from the edge of the box effort.

Hambleden forced Leisure deeper but struggled to find quality with the final ball. Leisure took the opportunity to break from deep forcing Tom Irving to stretch with a challenge inside the box to toe the ball to safety.

Dawson seemed content playing from Hambleden’s back line but was put under pressure after Irving’s clearance was not held upfield. The returned ball saw Powell turn Dawson on the edge of the area. With Hambleden’s Rodrigues set to clear, Dawson dragged back the striker, earning himself a yellow card for the foul. Powell confounded the defenders’ mistake crashing home the free kick with wall and keeper motionless.

With cup upset tension creeping into Hambleden’s game it wasn’t long before Powell had created a similar opportunity a few yards further out, this time sending his effort high and wide of the goal.

Hambleden’s Adam North opened the Leisure defence and cut the ball back for Chivers to crash shoot against the base of the near post. North delivered a cross from which Stuart Macllenan and Mike Wilkins had half a chance but Leisure were resolute for the remainder of the half.

In the second half, kicking down the hill, Hambleden soon found themselves encamped in the Leisure half.

Macllenan caused the Leisure defence to turn on their heels after Wilkins had fashioned the approach play, but the striker’s cross eluded Kemp and Ashley Dixon arriving at speed. Leisure contained the early half pressure and were starting to cause Hambleden’s midfield trio of Cook, Wilkins and Chivers some concern.

With 18 minutes remaining Hambleden’s patience paid off. Macllenan crafted an opening with North down the Hambleden left. Macllenan worked hard to centre for Dean Kemp to volley home from seven yards.

Irving was replaced with Garonne Lopez before Simon Hathaway replaced scorer Kemp who had dislocated his finger.

With Leisure’s Powell then withdrawn Hambleden pressed for the winner with Macllenan, Cook and Chivers all finding their way into the book. With less than five minutes remaining Wilkins sent the ball beyond the Leisure defence. Macllenan, central and inside the box, battled hard for the through ball and regained composure to guide the ball away from the Leisure keeper and into the corner of the net.

Leisure threw caution to the wind and gained a free kick high up the pitch to launch an aerial attack, from which Chivers did well to clear.

The hosts seized the initiative and forced Ross Hathaway to gather well in the Hambleden goal, but the keeper then stood helpless when another deep driven free kick fell kindly to a Liesure defender who headed wide from close in.

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