Dec. 13, 2018, 3:20 p.m.
Saturday, 08th September 2018, 2PM, at Hempnall #1
Home Match, Hadley & Ottaway Anglian Combination Division 3 - 2018 - 2019
Draw, 1 - 1
Hempall welcomed second division Martham and previous manager, Greg Dimsey, to Bungay Road for the Cup match. The only disappointment was the absence of the Hempnall Hunnies, (Mrs. Dimsey, Mrs. Everard and company) despite the writer being assured they would make an appearance.
Hempnall were without recent star performer Etherington, and the suspended Tom Griffiths, who the week before pulled off a world class save, regrettably though from the centre half position, earning himself an early bath and a week off.
Martham included a few former Hempnall players in their team but Hempnall, after their promising start to the season, were in bouyant mood and confident that a good performance was beckoning.
Hempnall certainly started well, with Billy Kelly driving on to unsettle the Martham defence. Hempnall had the best of the early chances, looking the more likely to score.
Kelly was the first to show, hitting a shot that troubled the keeper and the post but didn’t go in. Kelly then hit a cross shot that Hartle couldn’t quite convert. Kelly then troubled the keeper after a magnificent pass from the excellent captain for the day, Collins.
The former Hempnall keeper Hemmings was busy on several occasions, Shaun Kelly unable to convert a header, then forcing a decent punch from a corner.
Hempnall were largely untroubled but quick breaks from Martham did look dangerous, and the Hempnall keeper, Taylor Davies, had to be alert.
Collins in midfield was winning almost everything he challenged for, and to my mind was looking the difference, though all were looking to keep the pressure on Martham, and we were treated to a very even first half, devoid of goals despite a number of near misses.
Kelly went closest near to half time, drawing a save from Hemmings.
The Hempnall back four of Kelly, Radford, Leather and Miller were looking strong, but the mobility of a couple of Martham players was causing a few issues but Hempnall were looking, overall, the better side.
The combative nature of Collin’s play caused the Martham keeper to retaliate when Collins went for the ball (fairly in the view of the referee and the Hempnall contingent), but Hemmings didn’t see it that way and was sent off for violent behaviour.
We thought perhaps Hempnall would then run away with it, but it was not to be, and Martham stepped up a gear, the use of their substitutes being well thought through, giving tired legs a well earned rest.
There were a few further half chances but the sides went into the break scoreless.
The second half saw Martham start better, and a scare or two culminated in a goal for Martham.
Hempnall though were determined to make amends, and Collins could not quite reach a cross from Kelly, a similar stretch saw him just miss again.
End to end play saw Davis again in action, then the Martham end was under great pressure, and Billy Kelly finally broke through to drive a ball into the near post area for 1-1.
Hempnall continued to have the majority of the chances and half chances, though Taylor was called into action with a first class save to deny Martham.
On came Edwards to add fresh legs and impetus after a terrific shift again from Hartle.
So, into extra time we went, Hempnall were still looking the more likely overall, but Martham were showing their fitness. Hempnall went closest through Kelly after substitute and new signing, Alex Chapman, crossed for him to head into the keeper’s arms.
On to penalties; all the Hempnall penalties were converted in good fashion, whilst Davis in the Hempnall goal pulled off one great save, and a Martham player then hit the post, so Hempnall went through on penalties to delight to Manager and fans.
A good game of football, Hempnall played well against 11 men, but found it just as difficult against 10 men, so great praise to Martham for sticking at it until the end.
It is difficult to pick a man of the match this week, superb performances from almost all the players, my pick though were Billy Kelly and Wayne Collins, this week’s joint MOM’s.