Dec. 8, 2021, 7:38 p.m.

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Hempnall First Team v Long Stratton Res

Trevor Shurmer (Club Secretary)
Report By Trevor Shurmer (Club Secretary)

Tuesday, 20th April 2021, 6:30PM, at

Home Match, Anglian Combination Division 3 - 2020 - 2021

Offside Trust Return to Football Cup,

Win, 2 - 1

After a winter of lockdown and a match at Gt. Yarmouth, it was back to football at Hempnall for the first team. We had been treated to the Reserves in a Cup match the week before at Bungay Road, and for the first Cup match in Hempnall, we welcomed Long Stratton Reserves, who always bring along a good support, and it was good to see so many again at Bungay Road.

The team had a slightly different feel about it and we welcomed Ryan Cullabine and Zach Stevenson, Jamie Bennett and Tom Radford back to Hempnall.

Lewis Bailey was called on for his occasional game in the claret and blue.

From the off, the game looked as though it was going to be tight, and it was apparent that goals were going to be hard to come by. 

The back four of (Shaun) Kelly, Way, Edwards and Miller started as they meant to go on, and on the whole, were snuffing out the Stratton attack, winning most of the headers.

With Watts, Stevenson and Blake feeding (Billy) Kelly, and the very speedy Cullabine and Womack, it was looking very

promising.

The first real attack from Hempnall saw Billy Kelly fizz a shot cross which cleared the far post, then Womack had a try which didn’t really trouble the keeper. Way went up for a free kick and caused a few difficulties but Stratton cleared, Blake also had a shot, and Edwards hit a stunner, how it didn’t end up in the net is anybody’s guess, and then Stevenson got in on the act too but his shot was cleared.

It looked as though Hempnall were well up for their task of beating their bogey team of the past couple of seasons, and we were witnessing some very enjoyable football; Watts was having his usual all action game, but all of the midfield were working hard, and releasing the front three regularly.

As is customary, the team decided to keep it tense for us on the sidelines by, from a corner, allowing Stratton to score first; they like to keep us on our toes.

After that, though, a similar pattern emerged, with end to end football, though the Hempnall defence were looking secure and were particularly dominant in the air.

A corner to Hempnall saw Way causing problems, he managed to push the ball forward, it was beaten out only for Womack to react and rifle the ball into the back of the net for 1-1.

For the most part, the defences were holding on quite comfortably, Bailey though had to make a quick move off his line to clear the ball with a well timed sliding tackle, then Cullabine, Miller and Womack all had decent efforts on goal, before the ref blew the half time whistle.

The second half continued much like the first, though Hempnall were looking the more dominant team, Edwards was looking particularly strong in the air, and the front three were causing the Stratton defence plenty of problems.

One of the moments of the match came with Cullabine’s running with the ball leaving the defence in his wake, his initial shot was saved by the keeper, but retrieving the rebound, Cullabine hooked the ball over his shoulder into the net, surprising all with his excellent finish, for 2-1.

Stratton weren’t finished and brought out a good save from Bailey, before Billy Kelly showed good skills but his shooting boots were a little weak, his efforts not really troubling the keeper.

Shaun Kelly tried to show him how it should be done, with some surging runs forward, but the third goal would not come.

Cullabine then had an effort snuffed out, and Womack hit the post, the ball sailing back into a grateful keeper’s arms.

Hempnall were awarded a free kick just outside the penalty box, Edwards set up Miller whose chipped shot just cleared the upright.

Another Miller corner almost resulted in a goal, then Shaun Kelly continued with another marauding run, just unable to beat the keeper to it, his brother had another effort saved, and the referee blew the final whistle with the light severely failing.

All in all, a very well deserved win, Hempnall lookd very balanced today, they got their just rewards.

There were a number of good performances, I could probably make a case for at least 5 to be MOM, but given it was his first game for the first team, fitting in well, he looked very good from start to finish, my MOM (also voted for by Billy Kelly) is Zach Anderson.

Thanks to Susan Davis who came along to supervise our ‘through the window’ cafe, we are very lucky to have Susan to supervise our hospitality even when her lad, Taylor, our regular keeper, is working.