Da Silva’s hat-trick gives Rebels the bragging rights
MANUEL DA SILVA netted a hat-trick as Rotherfield came from behind to defeat local rivals AFC Henley Hurricanes
MANUEL DA SILVA netted a hat-trick as Rotherfield came from behind to defeat local rivals AFC Henley Hurricanes U13s in their East Berks Alliance League Division 2 clash last Saturday.
The first meeting between the two sides was due to take place at Henley’s YMCA ground but the fixture was moved to Bishopswood.
Rotherfield started by playing against the wind and quickly showed their dominance by keeping Henley penned in their own half.
The Rebels took the lead after nine minutes when a melee in the goalmouth saw the Henley keeper well off his goal line and striker Da Silva back-heeling the ball into the goal despite Hurricanes’ man-of-the-match Will Saunders making a valiant attempt in vain to get to it before it crossed the line.
Henley equalised when a ball over the top found the feet of Luke Freeman who cut in from the wing before scoring.
Gem McAlister was brought on from the Henley bench and soon made his mark, cutting down the left wing to send a ball with the wind behind it into the top right of the goal to give his side the lead.
Rotherfield equalised five minutes into the second half when the ball came back out to the edge of the Henley box to find the feet of Archie Baker who lobbed the ball over the top of the keeper for his first goal for the Rebels.
The Rebels’ front three of Joe Macdonald, Da Silva and Alfie Briggs started to break down the Henley defence with their relentless pace. Briggs then took a well-timed through ball from Da Silva to bury the ball in the back of the net to put the Rebels ahead.
Five minutes later Da Silva netted his second and the Rebels’ fourth of the game. Five minutes later Rowan Prince sent in a corner to find Da Silva who completed his hat-trick.
Henley were still working hard but found an offensive movement thwarted on the edge of the Rotherfield box by Charlie Wagstaff who then sliced through the middle taking the ball up the pitch past the Henley midfielders to thread it through to Briggs who beat the keeper in a one-on-one situation.
Moments later ex Henley Zodey Sabijan went close to extending the lead for the Rebels when his shot he clattered the woodwork following a pass from Rebels’ man-of-the-match Briggs.