May 28, 2020, 9:20 p.m.
Saturday, 08th February 2020, 2PM, at PLAYING FIELD HEMPNALL
Home Match, Central & South Norfolk League Division 3 - 2019 - 2020
Win, 2 - 1
Hempnall Reserves were at home to FC Viking in the Cup, fully expecting to easily beat a team languishing fourth from bottom of the fourth division.
It didn’t turn out like that, and for the first half, Hempnall stayed in the dressiing room and allowed Viking to play all the football and race into a two goal lead.
If it was poor on the pitch, it wasn’t better watching from the sidelines to be honest, as we were wondering which of the two teams were higher in the league. One of those days, we thought.
Even the normally dependable Cullabine shot over from under the sticks, most unlike him, so yes, we were witnessing one of those days.
Then half time came, and with those of us not involved in the team ‘discussions’ having a well earned cup of tea, we hoped Hempnall might return to some sort of form and at least make a fight of it.
That is exactly what happened, the team looked as though 11 new players had entered the fray, winning the second balls they lost in the first half, and now playing the football they are capable. of
With Stride pulling the midfield strings, far fewer Viking forays were allowed, and when they were, the back four were there to mop up.
Herbert and Cullabine in particular were showing the Viking defence a clean pair of heels, and it was only a few minutes in when Cullabine looped a lovely finish over the keeper for 2-1, and under a minute later, Herbert had a good run, and shot an unstoppable effort past the keeper for 2-2.
Game on. In fact, from that point, Hempnall never looked back, always looked the more likely to score, and did so when Tom Radford finished after a strong free kick was spilled by the keeper in the awkward sun (Tom’s first goal for Hempnall he tells me).
That was more or less it – plenty of further forward runs by the mobile front three, good midfield play by Orford, Stride and Mann, and solid defence from Batterham, Cullabine, Radford and Amini was a bit more like it.
On to the semi-final of two Cups now, the lads are progressing well.
MOM – there were a couple of contenders today, mostly for their second half effort, but for his general level during the entire game, my MOM is Nick Stride.