April 20, 2019, 1:32 p.m.
Saturday, 29th September 2018, 2PM, at Hempnall #1
Home Match, Hadley & Ottaway Anglian Combination Division 3 - 2018 - 2019
Loss, 0 - 5
Hempnall welcomed Holt, who top the second division, to this Cup match at Bungay Road.
We were expecting a very tough fixture, and it was, but the scoreline does not reflect what was, for the most part, an even match, full of decent football, and we went away wondering how we managed a 0-5 result.
We welcomed back former favourite, Charlie Lambe, to Hempnall, for the first time in a couple of seasons – thanks to Diss Town for allowing the dual registration without 7 day notice.
Hempnall were missing Hartle and Griffiths, both suspended, and Davis in goal, so the joint manager, Bunn, took his place between the sticks.
Hempnall welcomed another player, Justin Womack, signed on the day, he fitted straight into the team.
Etherington was also out still injured, but stood on the line prepared to take part if absolutely necessary and George Watts, who couldn’t play the week before, also stood on the line.
Both teams started brightly, Hempnall probably had the best of the early chances, Billy Kelly looking particularly sharp and determined, but Holt were working themselves well into the game, and they had a couple of chances, Kelly making a last ditch interception to keep Holt at bay.
His brother Billy then had a fine run, his shot not quite on target, a couple of minutes later almost a carbon copy run, this time the shot was on target, the keeper saving comfortably.
Collins was having a great game in midfield, his range of passing is superb, Jamie Miller too was adding weight to the attacks with his excellent passing, so it was all looking promising.
Unfortunately, the Hempnall trait of conceding sloppy goals continued, being caught out a little too easily, the skillful Holt forward netted twice in a matter of minutes, and a third came only five minutes later. To be honest, none of the goals were great moves, one defelcted in, the other Hempnall were unlucky not to clear.
A lesser team or the one from last season may have capitulated, but to their credit, they didn’t – I think they wondered how the heck they were three goals down after largely matching Holt for skill and endeavour.
Lambe was positive, and came close to scoring, and after that was the recipient of a couple of debatable decisions, one that was a serious foul against him but the decision went the other way, another foul which the ref missed; when it goes against you it goes against you, and there is little you can do about it but soldier on feeling aggrieved.
Hempnall were awarded a corner, the ball hit the Holt player’s arm in the box but it was clearly ball to hand nad nothing was given (rightly in my view).
The excellent Miller had a long range shot which came closer than the keeper expected,
Womack was looking lively up front, he too came close on a couple of occasions, one from a corner which looked certain to go in but didn’t. Another saw Collins, who had a fine game, just not get to a cross when he looked almost certain to score.
Kelly had another try which the keeper saved, whilst at the other end, Holt missed a golden chance.
We went into half time 0-3 down, somewhat unjust to say the least. With Lambe in the sin-bin for 10 minutes (let’s not go into the dubious decision, I’ll get into trouble), Hempnall managed to largely contain the opposition, though the Lambe decision of a foul against him (?) rather than for him saw Hempnall concede from the free kick.
The second half saw Hempnall really take the game to Holt, with Lambe, Kelly and Womack making all of the running, Collins spraying the ball around with aplomb, and the defence looking fairly secure.
Womack hit the post, Kelly was running them ragged and himself missed a chance he would normally put away, Collins had a shot the keeper parried, and another he somehow managed to put past the post after beating the keeper with ease, and I think we knew it was not going to be Hempnall’s day.
Substitute Watts came close, Lambe just couldn’t convert, the ball going over, sub Clarke also added strength to the back four and going forward, but still, despite dominating much of the second hald, Hempnall managed to concede a couple of late goals, making the scoreline all the more remarkable.
I think it is fair to say that Holt deserved their win, but given that Hempnall hit the post a couple of times, and our usually reliable scorers missed, or were too late to, a hatful of chances, we felt somewhat aggrieved.
There were a number of good performances, Collins, Billy Kelly and Jamie MIller were the three that caught my eye, but despite his first half blemishes, largely due to attempting a ‘Beckenbauer’ when a ‘John Terry’ would have been more appropriate, Shaun Kelly was immense and my MOM.