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Match Report - Hook Norton vs U13s

posted 24 Sept 2014, 02:37 by Dave Tyrrell   [ updated 24 Sept 2014, 02:37 by Graham Keeble ]
Each year since the club has been running, a number of the boys fathers disappear for a weekend about this time of year to compete in a top-level(!) international(!) football tournament. This year it was the turn of Bratislava to host the Bure Park Old Boys, and therefore tradition dictates that those not able to travel (or take a penalty) remain to take charge of the boys for a match. This year it was the turn of Richard H. and Derek, who ably stepped up to fill the void. As luck would have it, the match was delayed in the end by an hour and a half, kicking off at 3.30pm, giving time for some of the returning Bratislavans to get to the game. This meant that Ian and Johnny had the unusual treat of watching from the stands instead of from the dugout.

Although the sun was out, it was evident that the warm September we have been enjoying had come to an end, and the unprepared crowd stood slightly shivering as the two teams took to the field. There is a slight slope on the Hook Norton pitch, and Bure Park found themselves facing up it as the first half got underway.

The first chance of the match came to Zac in the 5th minute, who was played in after a clearance from Calum, but Zac's shot drifted left of the goal.

Calum was involved again a moment later, playing in Aiden whose shot went past the right hand post.

Hook Norton were posing their own problems however, narrowly missing a goal attempt in the 7th minute, and in the 14th minute Oscar made a great defensive interception to prevent Hooky from scoring.

On the 16th minute, Bure Park were awarded a free-kick following a hand-ball. This was in Tommy Mansley range. It had the right height and power, but drifted wide of the right-hand post.

The deadlock was finally broken by Zac, who slotted under the oncoming keeper after great work from the Bure Park midfield. One nil.

A moment after the restart, and it was a great defensive cover from Lochlan who suddenly appeared at left back to intercept and tidy up a Hook Norton threat. Moments later and Zac seemed to sprint the length of the pitch to provide defensive cover and snuff out another attack. Lucas was also in action, making another defensive block.

Bure Park then doubled their lead from a Tommy Mansley corner. Joe Mimpress picked up the loose ball, took two touches and managed somehow to find a gap at the near post. Two-nil.

A few moments later, and it looked as though Bure Park were going to take complete control of the game, as Zac battled hard to get a shot off but he hit the far post.

With five minutes to go before the end of the first half you felt that Bure Park had defended solidly enough to go into the break with a lead, but things were about to change. Tommy Mansley had come across to clear a loose ball on the six yard line, and intended to clear his lines, but his clearance hit Lucas on the head at close range and the ball rebounded into the net. This was extremely unlucky, and neither Tommy, Lucas or Sam could have done anything about it.

Two minutes later and the score was level. A high ball launched into the Bure Park half was met with a defensive header, however with the defender stretching backwards to meet it, you did wonder in which direction it would fall. The answer was backwards, and into the path of a Hook Norton attacker who finished very well by lobbing Sam.

The action in the first half finished after a final Bure Park attack which resulted in an amazing sequence of play which had the crowd gasping. Zac found himself in possession on the edge of the 18 yard box with a couple of defenders in front of him. Zac's first shot was blocked but it came back to him, he shot a second time and again it was blocked. The ball still came back to him but this time it seemed to be hanging in the air. Worried that if he let the ball bounce it would simply be cleared, Zac improvised a scissor-kick to enable him to get a third shot off more quickly. Again this was blocked by the Hook Norton defence, but was great instinctive thinking from Zac.

The half ended at 2-2, which after all the excellent defensive work by Bure Park seemed like scant reward.

The second half started with an enforced change. Zac was forced to retire from an out-field position due to an injury, so swapped with Sam and went between the sticks. Sam played on the left wing, while Joe moved into a central attacking position.

The second half started with Bure Park struggling to find their rhythm and shape. Hook Norton restarted more brightly, and from their first attack, shot narrowly wide in the first minute of the half. For the next ten minutes it was all one-way traffic, with Bure Park clearing balls long instead of finding another team mate.

It was against this run of play that Bure Park took the lead again. Aiden had picked up the ball and found himself on the touchline. He drove around a defender toward the goal and laid back to Ethan who calmly finished with a great first touch. 3-2 Bure.

A few minutes later and  Bure Park were again making chances. This time the Bure Park midfield played the ball over the Hook defence into space and Aiden was quickest to react. He had a 1 on 1 with the keeper, who saved well from Aiden's first shot, the ball rebounded and Aiden shot again but this time it went wide.

A couple of moments later and Aiden was again causing problems, this time he was hauled down as he drove toward the goal and a penalty was awarded. Up stepped Tommy Mansley and the ball was duly dispatched home. 4-2 Bure.

Credit to Hook Norton, they kept battling. Four minutes later and this time a penalty at the other end, which was well taken by Hook Norton, low and to the right giving Zac little chance. 4-3 Bure.

A few moments later however, and the two goal lead was retained. A lovely passage of play saw Aiden receive the ball from the Bure Park midfield, he then played in Ethan who found Joe Mimpress. Joe lobbed the oncoming keeper and the game was now starting to look safe, 5-3 Bure.

At the other end, Zac had been doing a great job as goalkeeping replacement, and the Hook Norton attackers were certainly keeping his hands warm for him. Each time the ball came in, Zac stood solid and held the ball very well.

On the 60th minute Calum took a free kick which had been won by Aiden, but his shot drifted just over the bar. Calum was again in action a few minutes later when he got himself on the end of a Tommy Mansley free kick, and finished very well, heading into the back of the Hook Norton net. 6-3 Bure.

Hook Norton kept battling however, and with a few moments to go William blocked what looked like a certain goal attempt. However, this attacking intent did leave gaps at the back and Bure Park tried to exploit them. Aiden, Ethan and Joe found themselves in a 3-on-2 situation heading towards goal. Ethan shot from 22 yards out, which just cleared the bar.

The final action of the game was a mazy run from Calum, who went past several defenders on his way from midfield towards the goal, but the keeper saved his shot.

Final score: 6-3 Bure Park.
Man of the match was awarded to the whole team, for an excellent all-round performance, with defence, midfield and attack all playing their part.