Great Linford Warriors 3 – 6 WWFC Hurricanes
Scorers: Tao (2), Harry (2), Josh, Francis
H/T Score: 1 – 3
Team: Evan; Freddie, Orlando, Ryan; Charles, Francis, Harry, Josh, Rocco(c); Tao
MotM: The Team
WARRIORS HIT FOR SIX BY HURRICANES
Following last week’s hard-fought draw against Moretonville Juniors Tornadoes, the Hurricanes enjoyed a diversion from the league with their 1st Round Cup match at Great Linford. Luke was still supporting from the sidelines and with Asante away, the substitutes’ bench was occupied only by Charles, who was also not fully fit. The patched-up Hurricanes were going to have to do things the hard way, and one thing was for sure – the large goals were going to see a great deal of action.
Hurricanes started well, forcing a corner but yet again there was an early goal – unfortunately it went to the Warriors. A free kick in their half was punted forward, and as the bounce evaded our defence, their centre forward ran through and slotted the ball home. 1-0 to the home team. The Warriors’ tails were up, and they surged forwards looking to extend their advantage. A smart stop by Evan from their tricky right-winger and a block by Orlando on the edge of the penalty box kept them at bay; slowly the Hurricanes regained their composure and started to play the ball about. 12 minutes in, and they got their reward – a fine individual goal by Tao, picking the ball up midway in the Warriors’ half, outpacing the defender and coolly slotting the ball past their keeper. 1-1, and the game was hotting up even if the weather took a turn for the worse.
Straight away the wounded Warriors broke upfield, a good cross from the right was acrobatically struck by the forward, but Evan pulled off another fine save. A minute later it was Hurricanes’ turn to break and Francis went clear, rounded the keeper and pulled the trigger – alas, the Warriors’ defender blocked the effort and it went for a corner.
More chances followed for both teams then on 22 minutes the deadlock was broken – a throw-in by Francis found Tao, who ran down the line and slid the ball across to Harry in the penalty box. Harry controlled the ball well, took a touch to get it away from the Warriors defender, and placed his shot away from the keeper’s hands. 2-1, the game turned on its head. Hurricanes knew that this was their chance to put some daylight between them and their opponents, and the whole team stepped up a gear. The pressure told, and soon after Josh‘s header from a corner had gone just wide, the Hurricanes had their reward. Josh won a header in midfield, Tao collected the ball and passed to Harry who hit an unstoppable shot from fully 25 yards out past the keeper’s despairing dive. 3-1, and the Hurricanes were in full control. The lead was nearly extended further as Freddie set Francis clear down the right and his cross just went wide. Josh then had his shot blocked across the goal by the Warriors’ beleagured defence, so the Hurricanes went into half-time with a richly-deserved two goal lead.
Leon and Andy’s team talk would be simple – keep on keeping on. Evan was looking solid in goal, Ryan was calling out the defensive line, Orlando was stepping out and breaking up play through the middle whilst Freddie was using his pace to good effect to seal up the right side and put us back in possession. Rocco and Josh, in a new partnership, were running the midfield and setting Harry and Francis free down the wings, with Tao leading the line superbly up front.
The Hurricanes would have been pleased with their efforts so far, but the start of the second half brought them back down to earth with a jolt. An early free kick for the Warriors was taken quickly, and neither the defence nor Evan were able to react when the ball bounced off the wet turf and skidded straight into the corner of the goal. 3-2, and suddenly the Hurricanes were under pressure again. Further attacks followed and it took strong defensive work from Orlando and Ryan to block several goal-bound efforts. Evan was then called upon, saving from 2 yards to keep the Hurricanes’ noses in front. The Hurricanes regrouped, and as Warriors pushed up, counter-attacked at speed. Harry’s ball set Josh clean through – he sped forward, rounded the keeper and calmly rolled the ball into the gaping net. 4-2, once again daylight between the teams.
After another good chance from Josh was cleared off the line, it looked as if Tao had got his second as he sprinted forward and finished with aplomb, but the home linesman’s flag was raised for offside. Confidence was flowing, and Orlando’s backpass was cleared by Evan with some great control. Francis was also turning on the style beating his man time and time again, and with 8 minutes left his corner found Josh in the box whose shot was saved, but Tao lashed home the rebound with his left foot to get his thoroughly deserved second. 5-2.
Lesser teams would have folded but the Warriors once again poured forward, and with 5 minutes left they scored from a corner to make it 5-3. However, direct from the restart the ball was passed to Ryan, who calmly played it to Harry. His early ball found Josh, who spread the play to Francis down the right. He angled in on goal, took aim and unleashed a fizzer into the near corner, not 15 seconds after the previous goal! 6-3, and after a goal-line clearance from Freddie (who will be sporting a shiner in the morning following an accidental clash), and a tip over the bar from Evan, the Hurricanes were through!
Credit to the Warriors for sticking to the task, no doubt they will be looking for revenge in our league game in December but for now, the Hurricanes’ Cup dream is still alive. Next up, a league visit to Tattenhoe Youth Tigers in a fortnight. Bring it on!