Sunday 1st of November, The mighty Hurricanes took on Haslemere....
The Hurricanes were up against last years run-away league winners and this years Premier Elite table topper Haslemere. The last time we played them was back in the U16s in the final game of the season when Haslemere had already won the Premier before our game and we drew 1-1.
We were without Luke (injured), Nathan (Covid self isolating) and Joe (away). Dan was originally going to miss this game due to last weeks ankle injury, but he wanted to be involved in case this was our final game for a while. Harrington took on the captain role. In the briefing before the game, my final message was to go out and enjoy the football and leave it all on the pitch!!
Finch were straight at the visitors from the start, pressing high and quickly. But a lapse in concentration allowed Haslemere’s striker the time and space to get a shot away, catching Jake off his line. But our lads got straight back at it, working really hard. And this earned them some chances to level things up. Lewis C corner picking unmarked Marcus out in the crowded box, his header going wide. Cam pulled his left footed trigger, his shot just over the target. Jacob's wide cross found Lewis C but couldn’t get his shot on target.
Both teams were playing 4-3-3 and it was all about which wing backs could pile on the pressure more. Haslemere started off on the offensive, but gradually Finch worked it out and soon were matching Haslemere across the park and especially in midfield with Matt, Cam and Marcus. Ben, Alfie and Dan were getting high up the pitch. Finch’s 1-touch quick football was causing Haslemere lots of trouble. Lewis B played Matt through into space and his drilled ground shot from range beat the keeper at full stretch to level the scoreline. Haslemere were making mistakes under the home team’s pressing.
Haslemere stepped up their pressure and Jake had to pull out a couple of big saves. A point blank header was pawed away and cleared by Aaron. And a long range shot parried wide on the dive. Haslemere corners were another challenge, but the organisation and commitment was there to deal with all of them.
1-1 half time. The jelly babies were out in force at half time, the lads were knackered with only 45 minutes played. But they listened and recognised the effort they needed to put in.
Haslemere came out all guns blazing in the second half and the Hurricanes found themselves defending in numbers. The wind was playing to their pace. But as Haslemere dropped off a little, Finch were able to get back on the offensive themselves. Cam burst through in to their penalty box but was brought down from behind for the penalty….which he calmly drilled down the middle past the diving keeper. And Jack was working his socks off chasing down the through balls, just couldn’t quite get clear of the last defender each time.
Haslemere stepped it up another notch as they found themselves in an unfamiliar situation of being behind in a game with the clock running down. Again Finch soaked up the pressure and some desperate defending from Harrington, Aaron, Alfie, Dan and Ben kept Haslemere at bay. Jake beat away another long range shot and was sweeping up behind the back line. But the continued attacks finally worked for Haslemere with a left sided cross just out of Jake’s diving reach was volleyed….for a moment I thought it had bounced out of the goal from under the cross bar, but it just span back in. 2-2
The game was end to end now, both teams chasing the winner but both teams tired. The frustration got the better of one of the Haslemere players, sent off for dissent with 8 minutes left. Finch now piled on more attacking pressure, keeping the ball alive around the box but not able to find a way through Haslemere’s packed out defence. All Haslemere could do was clear long and wait for the next attack!!
2-2 the final score. I asked them to leave it all on the pitch and they did just that for each other. Couldn’t ask any more of them today. All of the lads played their roles really well today. To come away from today a split second/millimetres from winning against the team thats beaten everyone else in the league is quite something!! We should all be very proud of this great bunch of lads for how they go about their football as a team.