After a month of no games due to school holidays, weather and rearranged fixtures, they were back in action, away to Abbey Diamonds. Although training keeps the football going, it isn’t the same as game time!! Not the nicest of days either, with the strong wind favouring one end of the pitch and drizzle….but it was good to see the lads back playing football again. James, Jacob and Nathan weren't available today (illness, injury, away respectively) so Callum stood in to help out at short notice. Abbey won the decision to pick ends for kick off and elected to play into the wind for the first half, possibly a key decision point of the game.
From the first whistle, Finch took the game to the home team. They pressed quickly, did well repeatedly winning the ball back and were getting numbers forward quickly as per the pre-match brief. Abbey were able to break too but the Hurricane's defence and midfield contained their strikers and wingers with pace, strength and skill. Jake was quick off his line to sweep up and confidently clear all the back passes. And in spite of the bobbly pitch, Finch were maintaining possession really well.
The Finch chances came quickly starting with Max's through-run which put him 1-on-1 with the keeper, who made himself big to make the save. Adam was also put 1-on-1 with the keeper from a cross but couldn’t get control of the bouncing ball quick enough to beat the keeper. And the Abbey keeper did well coming off his line quickly to smother or clear several threaded passes to the Finch on-rushing strikers, which normally would have created more 1-on-1 opportunities. 0-0 half time.
Abbey switched keepers at half time for a huge lad in yellow. With the Hurricanes now playing into the wind and some tiring legs, the game was a bit more even now. Both teams were battling across the pitch (which earned one of them a yellow card for a foul on Cam). Finch still had chances, their keeper clearing a corner and making a save from an Ollie shot. Abbey managed to get numbers up the pitch to apply their own pressure. Finch dealt with an Abbey attack in this period and were clearing their lines whilst maintaining possession when a tackle pinged the ball back into the Finch penalty box straight to the feet of their just-on-side striker. He reacted quickly and was able to take his chance 1-on-1 with Jake. And from memory, that was the only on-target chance Abbey had all game. Finch kept pressing for the equaliser but couldn’t create the right opening to beat the big lad in goal. Finch had shots on target, corners delivered exactly where we trained and counter attacks in numbers but couldn’t make it count. The pressure was forcing Abbey back deep into their half and making them clear the ball long at every opportunity. 1-0 final score.
The Hurricanes played the better football overall and were more in control of the game, they just couldn’t convert any of the chances they created. But the chances are there to win these games and have been in the last 3 games we’ve played against Badshot, Sharks and Abbey. So plenty of positives to take away. Thank you Andy for running the line and Callum for covering today.
In the league the Sharks got a 2-2 draw against Bourne, Badshot beat Burpham 2-1 to extend their lead at the top of the table and Haslemere continued their progress up the table into 3rd by beating Abbey Youth 6-2. The Hurricanes currently sit in 5th place after 11 games on 17 points, equal with 4th place Virginia Waters (11 played) and 6th place Burpham (12 played). Just 6 points separate the top 6 teams in the league. Looking forward to the remaining 5 fixtures, we have: