March 1, 2021, 7:54 a.m.
Saturday, 24th October 2020, 3PM, at PLAYING FIELD HEMPNALL
Home Match, Central and South Norfolk League Division 2 - 2020 - 2021
Loss, 1 - 4
Hempnall Reserves welcomed Longham Reserves to Hempnall for the return league fixture but their third encounter of the season so far (one being a Cup match).
Hempnall won the previous two tight encounters, each ending 3-4, so we were looking for another high scoring game and another decent performance from this new Hempnall side with it’s balance of youth and experience.
Hempnall welcomed back Jack Thompson from the first team, to resume his centre back partnership with Nick Talbot, and Tom Griffiths was also available, so played as striker with the fast running Turner.
We could see from the off why the previous games were tight, the sides seemed evenly matched, and whilst Hempnall moved forward playing good football, the opposition were looking to break quickly and themselves looked dangerous.
It was a windy day, fortunately not as windy as forecast, and the rain held off too, but as is often the case at Hempnall, the wind was end to end, and Hempnall had the advantage in the first half.
Both teams had a number of half chances, none of which were finished, and a good free kick from James Bennett was pushed over in the swirling wind, and the keeper was again called into action to prevent another Hempnall chance.
The opposition’s main threat looked to be their number 11, Thompson having to be very careful with his excellent sliding tackle to thwart him, but the same player drew a clumsy challenge from Talbot which the referee saw as a penalty, which was despatched for 0-1.
Immediately though, Anderson was stopped by a good tackle, then Jamie Bennett, who looked good all match, crossed well, inviting the strikers but it just evaded them. Griffiths too was looking threatening, so we thought Hempnall could get back into it.
A Thompson free kick was parried by the keeper, but Anderson reached it but could only hit the post, so very unlucky.
Still Hempnall pressurised the opposition defence, again their keeper was brought into action to thwart substitute Daniel Craske.
Another few half chances, but no breakthrough and 0-1 at half time.
Cooke came on, and immediately looked threatening, Craske was causing a few issues with his running on the left wing, hitting one good cross then hitting a shot against the keeper – had that gone in, it would have been game on.
Hempnall were a little generous to give Longham a chance which was despatched, then another but still Hempnall didn’t look out of it; when Bennett’s excellent finish was ruled out for offside, though, the writing was definitely on the wall.
Add to this the fact that Cooke and Day both hit the woodwork, this was clearly not Hempnall’s day.
The final nail in the coffin was when Longham hit a long ball which the Hempnall defenders left to each other, the problem being none of them reacted, and the Longham player slipped in to score their fourth.
Hempnall saw what they were missing all game when Cooke finally despatched an excellent finish to ensure the opposition conceded – only the one, though it should have been more but for the post, bar and perhaps bad luck.
Good performances by a number of Hempnall players; Wharton is increasing in confidence at left back, and the other young players are starting to adapt to their first taste of mens’ football.
The ‘more mature’ players, including Talbot and Cranmer, are working hard and showing their immense value to the team, but my man of the match (by a country mile this week) was Jack Thompson.
Rookie Manager Docherty was generally pleased with his team’s performance, he felt the the 1-4 scoreline totally unjustified.