April 22, 2021, 4:04 a.m.
Saturday, 12th September 2020, 2:30PM, at Hempnall #1
Home Match, Anglian Combination Division 3 - 2020 - 2021
Win, 5 - 2
Hempnall were pleased to return to their Covid safe football, made so difficult by the restrictions imposed. The players were pleased to see a limited number of spectators, including most the of BRF.
Hempnall were up against a decent looking Attleborough Reserves side, and from the off, we could see this would be a close game with both sides looking good going forward, and both vulnerable to a quick counter attack.
Hempnall looked fairly strong in the early stages, and had two or three good looking attacks but were unable to finish them off, the closest they came was Blake harrassing the defence causing the ball to deflect onto the post and out.
As is customary, Hempnall decided to switch off for a while, and the outcome was two well finished goals from Attleborough, and it looked as if we might slip into negativity, but with the good moves continuing, it seemed only a matter of time before Hempnall would get one back.
A diving header from the excellent Dowling went over, then Hempnall started to dominate; a free-kick from Miller just cleared the post, Womack was causing his usual havoc with strong running, and a good move led Miller to take the opportunity of finishing well to get Hempnall back into the game.
The hardworking Watts then had a close effort, Hartle another, then a Womack shot just cleared the upright, so we went into half time 2-1 down.
The second half started with Hempnall on top, there were some good performances on show, but with legs tiring, Hempnall were able to bring on Edwards and Billy Kelly; Kelly for his first game in the Anglian Combination in two seasons following his serious injury and knee re-build – welcome back Billy, and Edwards still nursing an ankle injury.
Well, it worked, and a superb move involving a number of players led to Dowling just unable to stretch sufficiently to equalise, but we were feeling confident.
With Shaun Kelly and Ricky Way partnering well in central defence, Hempnall were starting to look the part again, with Mortimer in goal quick off his line to snuff out a few breaks, and Kelly backing him up well when he was caught out, Hempnall didn’t really look like conceding, though an offside goal had us concerned until the referee pulled the play back after discussions with the Hempnall assistant.
Dowling put a header over the bar, then the defence made a few last ditch tackles, brave headers and interceptions to keep Attleborough out, before Womack latched on to a Billy Kelly pass, he controlled on the outside of the foot, clipped thel over a defender and from the edge of the 18 yard box smashed in a left foot volley for the best goal seen at Hempnall in a long time. If it was De Bruyne, the BBC would have been on about for months. That made us happy!
A short time later, a corner to Hempnall saw Dowling finish beautifully to put the home team to 3-2.
Hempnall’s fourth came from more good work from Billy Kelly, his pass saw Womack finish easily for his second.
A disappointing sending off for deliberately kicking the ball at an opponent saw Attleborough down to 10 men.
At the other end, a great intervention saw Hempnall break, with Billy Kelly able to cross the ball but it just eluded Womack. Hempnall had their tails up now, and shortly before the final whistle, Blake’s shot was saved and fell kindly to Womack for a tap in to make it 5-2 to Hempnall.
After a lacklustre first third of the game, Hempnall started to play some really good football, and despite the players being substituted not playing at all badly, the substitutions brought on fresh legs and fresh impetus and Hempnall, in the end, deserved the victory.
I thought there were a number of decent perfomances today, my stand out players though were Shaun Kelly, David Dowling and Justin Womack, but for bagging a hat trick, Womack gets my vote.