April 20, 2019, 1:13 p.m.
Saturday, 24th November 2018, 2PM, at Hempnall #1
Home Match, Hadley & Ottaway Anglian Combination Division 3 - 2018 - 2019
Win, 4 - 0
Hempnall were, after a morale boosting victory at Aylsham the week before, at home to bottom of the table Hemsby, content that whilst they could not muster a full squad – with 8 of the squad missing through injuries, work commitments and suspensions, a decent looking team was assembled by stand in manager Billy Kelly, with the joint manager back after a couple of games absence and able now to input and be the only substitute. Thaks to Billy for stepping in in the absence of the joint managers.
It was important for the Club to act as a Club and also not decimate the Reserves, who are still on a good run and were playing their quarter final match away, so reserve call ups were avoided.
So, we welcomed a new stand-in keeper, Connor Mayes, and back from a long absence, Ryan Mortimer.
With the injured and stand in first team manager Billy Kelly on the line, we were sure of plenty of technical support.
The team didn’t really start too well, but wth the multitude of changes, that was only to be expected really, and Hemsby did start quite well, though the Hempnall defence of Miller (who took the captain’s arm-band), Shaun Kelly, Richard Leather and Aaron Clarke, soaked up the early pressure.
Hempnall though looked good on the break, with Etherington, Howard, Womack and Adam Clarke latching on to the excellent midfield passing of Watts and Mortimer.
The first scare though was at the Hempnall end, Mayes having to adjust his feet quickly to push one past the post, but from there, it was largely Hempnall who looked the better team overall.
One word of praise for the opposition assistant referee, who made an early mistake on an offside but held his hand up and apologised – good to see.
Womack was looking particularly snappy up front, his cross led to Watts blazing over, then Miller’s shot had the keeper flapping and just cleared the crossbar.
Hemsby though had a couple of chances themselves, but decent defending and a wayward shot kept the score at 0-0.
Hempnall looked the more dangerous overall, the keeper just beating Womack to the ball, then Clarke and Mayes were almost there when the keeper again bravely collected the ball.
Hempnall were looking very likely to score, Etherington sailing down the wing giving the defenders a hard time, but then a surprise break saw Hempnall struggling, but the keeper came to the rescue with a fine diving save.
Hempnall continued to attack, Watts and Mortimer competing well in midfield, then came a shot from Howard, bringing a save from the Hemsby keeper.
We thought it might be one of those days when again, the final ball was not quite right for Howard to latch on to, then Watts, Womack and Etherington all had efforts wide or saved, and Leather leathered one just over.
Hempnall were looking very dangerous, Watts put another just over, Hayes fizzed one across the goal, Miller had a free kick saved, Kelly had a try, Miller hit another over, and half time came in frustrating crcumstances. At least Norwich were 3 up at Swansea though the stand in manager was disappointed on two counts, he supports Ipswich!
The second half started as the first left off, with Watts, looking good, slipping at the vital moment to sail his shot over, Etherington looked almost certain to score but couldn’t quite get the ball under control quickly enough, then had a good shot bundled away.
The Hemsby defence was under more and more pressure, shots raining in from Womack, Howard, Etherington, Clarke and the inevtiable happened – Hemsby broke away, looked likely to score but for the timely intervention of the Hempnall keeper, quick off his line again.
Hempnall kept attacking and a free kick from the right was whipped in to surprise the keeper at the near post, the ball rebounded to Watts to smash the ball into the corner. 1-0 at last.
Hempnall were very much on top, the forwards giving the keeper a very hard time, Clarke fizzed the ball in for the keeper to parry, but again, Hemsby broke and again, the Hempnall keeper reacted.
Then the move of the match, with super sub Bunn with, in his own words, a world class back heel, a flowing move involving several players, a beautiful cross, and there was Clarke to head home. 2-0, game over.
Hemsby down to 10 men still competed, and the Hempnall keeper had to punch away.
Hempnall though kept attacking, Kelly almost getting the goal his play deserved, two or three more close calls that the Hemsby keeper was glad to see go over or saved, then Bunn with another assist (so he told me), and an excellent header by Womack saw Hempnall lead by three.
Bunn himself had a couple of efforts, then Womack was fouled just outside the box, Miller again couldn’t trouble the keeper, but at the death, Womack finished superbly for 4-0.
A vital game played in a really good spirit, excellently refereed by Mark Riches.
It is difficult to pick a MOM, with some good performances, notably by Womack, Miller, Kelly, and keeper, Mayes, but to be fair, there were no dodgy perfomances today.
However, for his general industry, effort, skill and his goal, my MOM goes to George ‘The Powerhouse’ Watts.