Wednesday, 23 January 2019

Winters wraps up scoring in five-star performance

Winters wraps up scoring in five-star performance

HOSTS AFC HENLEY HURRICANES U18s battled bravely but ultimately succumbed to last year’s champions and this season’s East Berks League Division 1 leaders WOKINGHAM AND EMMBROOK SUMAS U18s last Saturday.

Starting and ending the match with 10 men was always going to make it a tough task for the Hurricanes to match the full strength squad of the visiting team.

Having conceded two goals in the first 20 minutes, stand-in keeper Matthew Balchin was able to join the game and even up the numbers. The Hurricanes started to take a foothold and created a few chances before an unfortunate mistake at the back conceded a third goal and saw the game effectively over as a contest by half-time.

The home team began the second half with renewed endeavour but injury to Henry Hermer after five minutes meant they would have to see out the final 40 minutes with just 10 players once again. However, they held their own, strong in repelling the Wokingham attacks, restricting them to half-chances and shots from range.

Man-of-the-match Balchin in goal made several quality stops to keep the second half even and Jake Jones and Emil Rayfield in the middle of the park kept the ball well to set up a number of opportunities on the counter-attack.

One of these breaks resulted in Harry Roe getting one-on-one with the last defender before he was fouled when he was driving into the box to earn a penalty. Roe stepped up and sent the keeper the wrong way to make it 3-1.

Despite the final result, the home team could take great heart from the fact they never gave up and even won the second half, playing with 10 men.

In Division 5 AFC HENLEY HOTSPURS U18s went down to a 2-0 defeat at home against WOODLEY UNITED SPITFIRES U18s at their YMCA ground.

Despite Henley and Woodley being evenly matched, the hosts were unable to capitalise on their chances despite good efforts by Charlie O’Neil, Ben Harrison, Max Gaskin and Sam Jarvis.

AFC HENLEY HAWKS U12s secured a point from their 1-1 draw away at WHITEGROVE SAINTS U12s.

Following some changes in the divisions, the Hawks started the second half of the season second in the table with their first fixture against Whitegrove Saints who had come down from the division above.

The Saints started well and took the lead in the first minute as they played to the whistle to beat the offside trap.

Henley Hawks regained composure and as the first half progressed were the dominant side in terms of possession, corners and shots but none of these were converted to a goal. Chances fell to Conor Quinn, Lucas Wilson, Jenson Lea and George Acock who did well at finding space. Wilson had a good game and looked dangerous on the break while Acock and Lea worked well together and a joint assault on goal was thwarted by the Saints keeper. Quinn was also unlucky with a shot going over the cross bar.

In the second half the Hawks were out of the blocks and penetrating the Saints’ defence with a series of shots and three corners in the first two minutes. Acock was unlucky not to convert a curling shot in from Lea.

On 39 minutes Henley equalised when Lea intercepted a goal kick and took a shot on goal past the helpless keeper.

Lea was at the centre of the action again when man-of-the-match Louis Catlin played a ball up to him and he put it in the back of the net but the score was disallowed due to a linesman’s flag.

Ben Hemmings, who was in goal for most of the match for the Hawks, provided a safe pair of hands on the few occasions the Saints managed to penetrate the defence. This allowed regular keeper Max Messias to play outfield until the final quarter when he put on the gloves and pulled off a couple of solid saves.

The defensive team of Catlin, Mikey Dowling and Daniel Flowers worked well with little getting past them. Flowers controlled the high balls with ease and clearing back up to the waiting strikers. The defence rotated really well in terms of moving upfield for set plays and penetration and were supported by Vibhu Vadhoolan in centre midfield.

AFC HENLEY HURRICANES U12s ran out 5-2 winners away at BRACKNELL TOWN YOUTH U12s in their Division 1 clash.

In what was a scintillating second half performance the Hurricanes put in their best performance of the season to run out winners in a game played on the Bracknell 4G pitch. The first half was a tight affair and the deadlock was broken by the hosts with a sublime overhead kick as Bracknell went in 1-0 up at half-time.

At the start of the second half Tom Yeoman was fouled 20 yards from the opposition goal and Tom Atkinson drilled the ball home to level the scores up.

Bracknell hit straight back to go 2-1 up and the Hurricanes had to dig deep to come back for a second time. One of the men of the match, Ethan Holliday, took control of the centre midfield and this allowed the Hurricanes to dominate the match. Atkinson played in striker Sam Winters with a good through ball and Winters made no mistake from close range to level the scores up.

The Hurricanes were now playing some sublime football and tricky winger Sam Robinson took full advantage by going on a solo run down the left and scoring with a powerful shot to nudge the visitors in front for the first time.

The other man of the match, Finnbar Scott, was having one of his best games for the Hurricanes at centre back as he cut out any through balls and used his strength to out muscle the Bracknell forward line.

Daniel Tsoi was also defending well and helped Scott shut out the hosts for the rest of the game. Any attack that did get through was quickly stopped by Olly Saunders who was having a commanding game in between the sticks.

Oliver Colvin was also having a good game on the wing as his quick feet and assured touch set up another chance for Robinson as he made it 4-2. Joe Turner was next into the action as his vision from the back spotted Sam Winters making a forward run and Winters made no mistake to score his second and the Hurricanes’ fifth goal of the match.

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