Sunday 8th December Finchampstead Hurricanes hosted Staines on Finchampstead FC Main Pitch for the first game in the second half of the season.
They played Staines in the season’s opener, drawing 2-2 in the end when they gave away a penalty in the last 5 minutes. It was a blowy day when they visited Staines and Finch was just the same with a strong cross-field breeze. A Staines win today would have put them in 2nd place in the league.
Report by Jason Gan
We were missing Harrington due to illness, Adam serving out the 2nd of his 3 match ban and James & Nathan due to injury. The lads are up for it as we started the warm up, although I did need to read a bit of the riot act in the warm up to get more focus and less mucking about!!
From the whistle, it was going to be a tough game with Staines playing their effective long ball and attacking at pace in numbers. Jake was in action early on, making a number of saves. Finch were not putting enough pressure on the ball further up the pitch and not making the same attacking runs when we had the chances. But it was Jacob who got the first goal against run of play, Lewis B picking out Ben M who slotted Jacob through to lob the keeper. 1-0
Staines responded straight away, a handball on the edge of the Hurricanes penalty box gave them a chance to bundle in a curling cross in at the back post. 1-1
Staines hit the underside of the cross bar from a close range shot, but Finch got a bit a luck as the ball bounced down for Jake to parry away. As the first half progressed, Finch were starting to get more control of the game and put Staines under more pressure with crosses and cut-back passes in the penalty box.
At half time we talked through making more positive attacking runs into the space behind their defenders, tighter marking and quicker pressing, not getting tackled with the ball and releasing the ball quicker.
Finch played with a steely determination in the second half and took the game to Staines. They were sharper and quicker to the ball, tighter on their marks and making the attacking runs in numbers. Our recent training drills were much more apparent as well. A lot more pass and move action!! And the rewards for the added pressure on Staines came as Lewis B had the awareness to take the early shot with their keeper out of position after he had had to sweep up a Finch through ball. 2-1
But Staines were still dangerous on the break and equalised from a long clearance which put their left forward into the penalty box…some quick footwork created the shooting opportunity and he didn’t miss. 2-2
Finch were now applying more sustained attacks, keeping the ball live around the Staines box. Jack was put through on a foot race with the keeper….Jack's pace beating the keeper with a delicate touch to take the ball away from him but was then flipped into the air in the follow through. Cam stepped up and slotted the penalty into the far corner, the keepers finger tips not able to stop the ball. 3-2
And then the icy driving rain turned up and we all got completely soaked in seconds. But for Finch this was the turning point in the game!!
Dan got crowded out in a goal mouth scramble from a Finch corner and shots from Lewis C, Lewis B, Jack and Jacob couldn’t beat the keeper. Aaron pinged a couple of free kicks into the back post but Finch couldn’t quite get on the end of them. Cam got the final goal of the game with some quick footwork of his own in a crowded box and he didn’t miss either. 4-2
And as the clock ran down there was some solid defending to keep Staines at bay from Dan, Alfie, Aaron and Ben M. Finch were still pushing for the next goal rather than keeping possession to manage the game out, but it was keeping the ball up the field and forcing Staines to drop players back to deal with our lads….attack can sometimes be the best form of defence. Staines doing just enough to stop Finch adding to the scoreline.
Final Score Hurricanes 4-2 Staines
A big win for the lads today with a depleted squad, great performances from the lads as a team showing resilience and determination through the 90 minutes against a strong team. With the league continuing to be very tight, this win has pushed the Hurricanes up 2 places to 5th, just 3 points behind 3rd Claygate and 4th Staines.