Sadly the Finch Hurricanes couldn’t get started with the league today due to both Elstead and themselves not having a home pitch. But as it happens Rushmoor (also Premier Elite) didn’t have a game either, so they got a friendly going. Burpham have folded already due to lack of players. Rushmoor were in the Premier Elite division last season, finishing in the bottom half when the league shutdown for Covid.
On the back of last weeks friendly we have worked hard at training on scanning, pressing and composure on the ball. And we carried that into the briefing today. No Cam (away), no Jacob (toe issues), no Adam (knee injury) giving us 13 players. It was great to see Adam at the pitch today and fingers crossed for his MRI scan tomorrow!!
Both teams went for it in the opening exchanges as the game got underway. Finch were quick to create the first opportunity from Harrington’s long ball through to Luke, but he got underneath his left footed shot. And Lewis B was setup for a long range shot when the ball was part cleared from a Finch corner.
But Rushmoor started to get control of the game with more composed possession than the Hurricanes. Alfie was dishing out some no non-sense defending. The home team first shot was only just over the bar and Jake was scrambling after a lofted cross to the back post. Jake was in action shortly after with a strong right hand at full stretch to deflect the ball out for a corner.
Although Rushmoor were putting the pressure on, Finch held a solid defensive shape with Harrington, Aaron, Dan and Nathan working hard as a unit. But we were still struggling to keep the ball. It was Alfie with a trade mark volley from Ben’s pin point corner which broke the deadlock in the last minute of the first half.
Rushmoor were quick to get going in the second half and quickly tested Jake with a snap shot which Jake parried away at full stretch. Rushmoor were award a penalty for handball (looked like it from my angle). Jake was up to the challenge again with a full stretch block and then was quick to smother the followup shot.
Whether it was this near miss penalty or Rushmoor starting to tire or the lads settling on the ball more (or all of the above), the Hurricanes started to get control of the game. Defending in numbers and dominating the midfield. Joe, Lewis B, Alfie and Marcus were breaking up the play and getting on the attach. Composure improved significantly and Finch started to fire on all cylinders.
Finch got the 2nd goal with a long range ball from Joe near the half way line which bounced over their keeper. Alfie couldn’t pull the trigger quick enough when Luke zipped in the ball from wide. Lewis C, Jack, Luke and Ben combined well to pressure the Rushmoor defence, but couldn’t quite break down Rushmoor’s strong defence.
As the game ran down, Marcus injured his foot (thanks Jo for looking after him) and Lewis B got dumped on his back (leaving me to run the line). Like last week, there were opportunities and good spells of play. We still need to continue work on our possession play under pressure and first touch control. But all of the lads had some excellent spells in the game….well done lads.
Thanks to Andy for refereeing again. And for the lads (Harrington, Dan, Marcus and Nathan) for running the line today. And it was great to meet Luke’s mum (Henrietta) to welcome her into our team.
Next week they kick off the season against Rushmoor but at Finch on the Large Leas.