April 22, 2021, 3:25 a.m.
Saturday, 19th September 2020, 3PM, at None
Home Match, Central and South Norfolk League Division 2 - 2020 - 2021
Draw, 1 - 1
With James Bennett and Aaron Bunn doing an incredible job to assemble a new Reserves squad in just a week, we were not expecting miracles as the lads on duty had never played or even trained together. Mick Leggett was on the line for his first game managing the reserves.
First team player Jack Thompson was back from suspension, and to gain fitness he joined the squad to add a bit more quality in midfield, and it was good to see Lewis Bailey back in goal, plus other former favourites back at Hempnall too – Nick Talbot, Andy Cranmer, James and Jamie Bennett, and Daniel Craske.
We went into the game with the manager not really knowing the best team or formation, so we were interested to see whether we could be competitive. The answer was ‘yes’, and from the off, the lads seemed to gel pretty well, with a mix of experience and youth. The wind was on their backs, the pitch in decent but rather bouncy condition – we need some rain!
From the off, the teams looked evenly matched, a surprise when considering our lads had not kicked a football together before this game.
There were a number of half chances, and with the forwards mainly young, not long out of youth football, they now realise they need to shoot maybe a little quicker, so chances were snuffed out quite easily in the first half.
However, the more mature lads at the back (Cranmer and Talbot) were holding the defence together well, and when breached, the excellent Bailey was there – he didn’t have many saves to make but one was fantastic, another was excellent, and several interceptions helped keep the score level.
The second half saw Hempnall increasing in intensity and in the main, were controlling the game, good passing and movement saw a couple of good attacks just fail at the shooting stage. Thompson did manage one teriffic effort that the Tacolneston keeper managed to save. Hempnall did get the breakthrough but it was courtesy of an own goal.
We thought the game was over but the referee played quite a bit of added time, and Tacolneston managed to score in the fifth of them.
All in all, a draw was a fair result in a competitive but always fair game.
I’m afraid I don’t know a number of the lads who played, but I’d like to say they fitted in to the team really well, and we hope they will enjoy their time at the club.
The stand out performance for me today was Lewis Bailey who is my MOM.