Feb. 23, 2020, 2:31 a.m.
Saturday, 31st August 2019, 2:30PM, at Hempnall #1
Home Match, Hadley & Ottaway Anglian Combination Division 3 - 2019 - 2020
Win, 2 - 1
Hempnall entertained CEYMS Reserves in a must win match, given both teams had started the season without a win.
Still with a few players to return to the squad, Bunn and Trett were still able to field a strong 14, hoping that the team would finally gel and give us the football they are clearly capable of.
Griffiths was welcomed back into the squad, and Leather returned from holiday but the managers went with the back four of Kelly, Way, Docherty and Edwards, in front of regular keeper Taylor. The midfield five of Thompson, Watts, Clarke, Drake and Etherington supported the combative Womack up front.
It didn’t really start that well, decent play seemed to result in the wrong final ball or mis-read run, and after Etherington could not quite reach a chance before the keeper snuffed it out, CEYMS took the lead largely through Hempnall’s lack of cohesion.
From then on, though, Hempnall looked the equal of the opposition, Edwards and Way in particular looked exceptionally strong in the air, and going forwards, Way was very strong in the opposition penalty area when latching on to corners or, in particular, Edward’s fine long throw ins.
That’s just to pick out one of Hempnall’s strengths, but there were plenty.
Kelly and Docherty were also excellent at the back, Kelly particularly mobile, and did Edwards or May miss a header? I don’t think so; young Thompson was showing his potential with a couple of crucial tackles to keep CEYMS at bay.
Both of the wide men, Etherington and Drake, were coming into it, Hempnall were guilty of just over-running the ball now and again.
Near misses at both ends of the pitch, Kelly, Thompson, Etherington, all had half chances and Clarke was supporting and creating in his usual hard working fashion.
As usual, Womack was doing the work of two, with Clarke close behind, until he was injured and had to withdraw. Watts was having a good game showing how important he is to the side.
The breakthrough for Hempnall came when Kelly shot, the ball was parried and Womack gobbled up the chance. 1-1 and game on.
The second half was similarly end to end, Richard King on the line assessing the ref, Ryan Starkey, (who I thought was excellent today) told me at one point each team had exceeded 20 corners.
Both teams looked perfectly capable of scoring, and the game was decided by an excellent strike by Thompson. A few more chances from Way and Griffiths in particular, plus CEYMS hit the post, but no further goals in what was a very decent encounter on a rock hard pitch.
I thought it was a much improved second half team performance, and CEYMS certainly did not look like a bottom of the table side. Another week it would have been a draw, and I’m sure CEYMS will consider themselves a little unfortunate not to come away without a point.
We hope, now that players have returned from holidays and other commitments, that we can look forward to a more settled squad.
There were a number of good performances, I couldn't pick out one, so well done to the entire team..