Sunday 11th September 2011
Abingdon Youth v Harwell & Hendred
Team Sheet: Calum Sykes (Capt), Paddy Maddock (GK), Maili Nugent, Harvey Dunsdon, Tom Cooper, Ricky Mullins, Scott Webb, Samuel Barham, Josh Legge, Esmond Martin, James McFarland.
Jack Cooper (sub), George Broom (sub), Cody Mitchell (sub)
Harwell and Hendred welcomed three new players to their squad for this opening league match of the season. Paddy, who had already shown his worth during the summer tournaments, took over the goalkeeper role. Josh and James, who had consistently attended recent training sessions completed the new contingent.
Bill and Martin had worked hard to get the players prepared for this introduction to the 11-a-side game, the new positional set-up, extended playing period and offside rule. Supporters were out in large numbers for this initial league match at this level. A prospect of a successful season clearly in everyone's minds as the game commenced, although that feeling possibly tempered with a degree of anxiety. What actually followed was beyond anyone's expectations!
Abingdon made an almost immediate impact, when after just only two minutes a hesitant H&H defence provided an opportunity for the home side to open the scoring (1-0). Abingdon follwed up with another shot which just went past the post. The visitors were attempting to go forward but were unable to make inroads against an effective home rearguard in the early stages. Esmond did find the net but was ruled offside. Scott found himself in the clear but shot straight at the keeper. H&H were beginning to put some pressure on Abindon's defence with some clever interplay between Calum and Samuel. Calum found Tom in space, but the ball just broke away before Tom could produce an effective strike. Shortly afterwards, however, Tom's movement saw him break clear to hit a powerful shot from distance. A superb effort which gave the keeper no chance. With 10 minutes gone, the scores were level (1-1).
H&H continued to press. A fine through ball by Scott almost found Tom, but the Abingdon keeper managed to get possession. The home side were also looking dangerous at times, and it was from a long, high, loping effort from a left wing position that they restored their lead (2-1). Within a short time, they went further ahead. The visitors failed to clear when under pressure, the ball falling to an Abingdon forward, who made no mistake from close in (3-1).
Abingdon continued to have most of the play at this stage. They forced two corners in succession, both cleared away successfully. H&H were beginning to organise themselves in defence. Maili, as always, very resolute, supported ably by the combative Ricky and Harvey, together with Josh and James. Up front, Calum and Scott were combining well. Tom's throw-in was met by Calum, who made room for himself to lay a perfect ball into the path of Scott. The latter found the net with a great strike, reducing the arrears. (3-2).
Within a minute, the scores were level. Scott's speed and direct approach such an asset to this H&H side. He'd quickly latched on to a defensive clearance outpaced the home defenders and then finished his move with an unstoppable shot (3-3).
The visitors had fought back well after a bad start, but Abingdon were looking to regain the initiative. With less than ten minutes to go to half-time, the home side went back into the lead. As Abingdon advanced, the ball broke kindly for one of their forwards, who acted quickly to hit a fierce shot which gave Paddy little chance. (4-3).
H&H were battling hard with Scott and Calum much in evidence. Calum received a knock, but was able to continue. This amazing game took another twist when, following good work by Esmond and then by the talented Calum, the ball reached the eagerly waiting Scott, who again found the net with a fine strke and thereby achieve his hat-trick. Scores were level again (4-4).
Both defences, to say the least, had been very suspect at times during the first half. It was clear that H&H were now more in control at the back than they had been earlier with notable performances by James and Josh. Abingdon, however, were certainly having problems coping with the increasingly committed approach towards goal by the visitors. Esmond and Calum again combining wellto create an opening for Samuel, but his attempt went straight at the keeper. Maili's pass to Scott gave him the opportunity to again torment the home defenders. Abingdon's keeper desperately pushed away Scott's effort. He then had to deal with a follow-up shot by Calum. Although he managed to keep both attempts out, he could not get possession of the ball. Calum was quick to take advantage of the confusion and the visitors were ahead for the first time in the match (4-5).
H&H continued to dominate as half-time approached. Samuel had a fine effort cleared off theline before the visitors scored yet again. The Abingdon keeper failed to collect the ball cleanly when he went to deal with a cross from Tom. The ball went loose and although the keeper pushed away several attempts, he could not prevent Calum from finding the net for the second time. (4-6).
An injury occurred to an Abingdon player as the first half reached its closing stages. After a short delay for treatment, he was able to continue.
Half time: Abingdon Youth 4: Harwell & Hendred 6
The second half commenced with several changes to the H&H line up. Jack, Cody and George replaced Esmond, Tom and Harvey. It was also noticeable that Abingdon had changed their keeper.
Early exhanges saw Calum directing play, linking with Scott, whose aggressive running was sometimes difficult for Abingdon to cope with. H&H were now showing much more confidence in their play, Ricky prominent with his quick and decisive tackling. Scott found Cody in space, but the home keeper managed to get possession and clear. A great ball from Scott found Calum in space on the left wing. Calum advanced towards goal, cleverly went round a defender and then hit an outstanding shot from distance. The keeper was well beaten (4-7). Calum now joined Scott in completing a well deserved hat-trick.
Abingdon were just not able to repeat their early first half display. The visitors were so commanding that it was just a matter of time before they increased their lead further. Scott's acceleration and control saw him score twice in less than two minutes. He initially picked up a clearance from George to fire past the keeper (4-, and then collected a through ball from Calum before despatching it in a similar fashion (4-9). The home side were just not able to get into the game. There was so much desire for the ball by the visitors. Some great play by Josh, James and Ricky as they dealt with any kind of movement forward by Abingdon. Cody, looking very lively, almost scored but the home keeper just managed to get to the ball first. Soon afterwards, a high bouncing ball, hoisted into the goal area by Scott, completely deceived the keeper and there was Cody to ram it home (4-10). H&H still went in search of more goals. Scott released another tremendous effort which just went past the post and then Ricky's long, high ball into the goal area, found its way into the net after being completely misjudged by the Abingdon keeper (4-11).
With just about 12 minutes left to play, the home side experienced their first serious attack of the second half. Paddy, who had not been troubled form some time, made a fine save, pushing a superb effort away for a corner. From the resulting corner, Abingdon were able to reduce the arrears (5-11).
Esmond replaced Calum as the half proceeded. H&H so much in control. George having a fine match, quick to clear at times and Jack attempting to go forward at every opportunity. Maili, as strong as ever. Ricky, an asset in midfield. Samuel's free-kick punched clear by the keeper. Samuel followed up with some clever play, beating three defenders, but just not able to get a shot away. H&H made more changes as the game reached it's closing stages, Josh being replaced by Harvey, and Tom taking over from Samuel.
Scott and Ricky combined well to create an opening for Cody. A quick challenge on Cody led to a corner. A second corner followed which fell directly in the path of Cody, he made no mistake from close in. (5-12).
Abingdon hit the post in a late attack, and at the other end, a series of passes between Cody, Tom and Esmond reached Scott, who just shot over.
Full-time: Abingdon Youth 5: Harwell & Hendred 12.
Scorers: Abingdon Youth: Billy Wilson (2), Jack Sewell (2), Nial Campbell.
Harwell & Hendred: Scott Webb (5), Calum Sykes (3), Cody Mitchell (2),
Tom Cooper, Ricky Mullins.
An absolutely incredible game. From a terrible start, Harwell & Hendred fought back to prodcue a fantastic performance, great goals, and a commitment and desire that Abingdon just could not match. Such an accomplished display augurs well for the future. Player of the week deservedly to Calum
Harwell and Hendred vs. North Leigh (League match)
Result: North Leigh 2: 2 Harwell and Hendred
Team sheet: Thomas Badger (GK), Liam Kay, Thomas Carter, Harry Page, Joe Lilley, Tyler Parsons, Grant Rutherford, Harry Snoswell, Jack Badger, Nathan Baker, James Barnett (Subs. –Jacob Rackley, Tom Craig, Harry O’Higgins)
The lads made the journey to West Oxfordshire knowing they were in for a tough match against a well organised side.
Harwell and Hendred made a bright start and were close to being a goal up in the first two minutes from a free kick into the area. The rest of the half was a close affair with no team dominating possession. The home team opened the scoring as they took an advantage of a poor clearance. Within two minutes the lads were on level terms. A great free kick in from Nathan to the front post saw Tyler meet the ball superbly and head the ball in.
The second half was a patchier affair for the visitors. Few chances were created that worried the home team though the lads always looked dangerous from set pieces. All the subs made an appearance in the second half. The home team looked far more threatening and it was a great through ball that split the defence that saw North Leigh take the lead again. A second defeat looked the likely outcome, however, in the final minute a free kick in by Joe caused panic in the North Leigh defence. It was only half cleared. Thomas Carter (that well known Striker!) was on hand to volley the ball into the top corner of the net and level the match. There was only just time for the restart before the end of the match.
Lot’s to work on still, but the late goal was a great morale boost to the lads and hopefully will provide a platform for next week.
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Harwell and Hendred vs. Crowmarsh (League match)
Result: Harwell and Hendred 0:3 Crowmarsh
Team sheet: Thomas Badger (GK), Liam Kay, Thomas Carter, Harry Page, Joe Lilley, Tom Craig, Harry O’Higgins, Grant Rutherford, Harry Snoswell, Nathan Baker, Callum Rowe (Subs. – Jacob Rackley, Tyler Parsons, James Barnett and Jack Badger)
The season began on a bright, but breezy day, though the wind blew across the pitch favouring no one.
The match started at a fast pace with both sides showing some good touches. Joe had a couple of early chances, but Crowmarsh always looked dangerous and on the break. This proved to be the source of their first goal with a well worked move on the right side of the pitch and cross in being met with a strong shot. Tom made a great effort, but the ball crept over the line.
The lads dominated large parts of the first half, but despite this possession only a couple of chances were created. All the subs made an appearance towards the end of the first half. Nathan delivered a great free kick from wide, but alas the well placed kick was not met by a blue shirt.
The second half was a scrappier affair, though Crowmarsh were more and more competitive as the second half progressed. The home team put together a couple of good moves one resulting in a narrow miss from Jack. The ball went straight up the other end of the pitch and a penalty was conceded. The ball was fiercely struck, but straight at the keeper who made no mistake gathering it well. Hopes that this was to be a springboard to get back in the match were unfounded as the passing game fell rather flat and directionless. A controversial, but extremely well taken goal from Crowmarsh saw the lads two down and in the last couple of minutes another penalty was conceded. This time it was well struck and well directed giving Tom no chance.
There were many positives from this match, but a lot to work on.
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