Sunday, 21 October 2018

Looping header enough to give Stokenchurch bragging rights

HAMBLEDEN slipped to a narrow defeat away to local rivals Stokenchurch in the Senior Division of the Wycombe and District

HAMBLEDEN slipped to a narrow defeat away to local rivals Stokenchurch in the Senior Division of the Wycombe and District League on Saturday.

Hambleden had the majority of the opening play on a tight pitch, combining neatly in midfield holding possession and forcing Stokenchurch back deep into their own half.

Lewis Brown was at the forefront of Hambleden’s charge, although the visitors struggled to create any openings close to the opposition’s box.

After 18 minutes Hambleden’s centre back Dawson pulled a hamstring and was substituted for Brian.

As the game settled it was Stokenchurch with an effective breakaway running style of play that created the first shot, Hathaway in the Hambleden goal collecting confidently from an Anderson strike.

Thereafter followed a succession of Stokenchurch corners from which James Rodrigues had to be alert at the near post to turn a deflection away for another dead ball cross. Markwell was alert and at full stretch to take both ball and player to halt another Stokenchurch attack.

Ryan Kemp was trying to pull the strings for Hambleden from deep. His accurate cross field pass was collected by Brown who surged to the byline and crossed well, Dean Kemp and North failing to get the decisive touch.

Hambleden created a string of corners from which Ben Chivers headed wide when well placed.

As the game began to swing from end to end Stokenchurch’s Les Humphries’ shot from distance was the closest to breaking the deadlock but his strike whistled wide of the bar and post juncture.

Hambleden started the second half brightly but controlling most of the play still failed to find the elusive final ball.

Chivers and Kemp found space to both strike from distance but on each occasion were well wide of the mark.

Paul Anderson, the pacy Stokenchurch forward, breached the Hambleden rearguard and latched on to a slotted pass from Humphries, Markwell’s crafted tackle denying the forward a goal bound attempt. Anderson then found space in front of goal as Rodrigues failed to halt Pilches’ run and cross. Anderson, under pressure from Markwell, blazed his shot over the bar from close in, although proceedings were pulled back for an earlier offside.

With Hambleden pressing hard for the three points, Anderson again caused problems getting behind the Hambleden back line.

On 72 minutes Hambleden’s Hathaway raced from his goal and brought down a forward. The resultant free kick on the edge of the box was turned away for corner. Having faced more than a dozen set piece balls Hambleden were not unduly concerned as the ball was flighted perfectly into the heart of the area but this time Hathaway only glanced his fisted clearance which fell kindly to Ian Bradford at the far post. Bradford’s returning looped header dropped over Lewis Brown and into the back of the Hambleden net.

Markwell was replaced with Reading as Hambleden changed the emphasis to outright attack.

Adam North began to create down the Hambleden left side and from his pull back Reading did well but couldn’t get a clean shot away. Chivers blazed over from an angle after Wilkins set him up on the edge of the box. Brown made way for Tom Irving who immediately was sent scampering down the wing from a Ryan Kemp pass, Irving’s cross finding North who headed wide with still much to do.

Hambleden strode forward, North’s run ending with him rattling the side netting, Chivers again blazed over and as the time ran down Ryan Kemp’s well timed strike was the closest the visitors came to salvaging a point.

Hambleden: R Hathaway, C Brunning, A Markwell, O Dawson, J Rodrigues, B Chivers, R Kemp, M Wilkins, A North, D Kemp, L Brown. Subs: P Reading, D Brian, T Irving.

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