A trip to Flitwick Eagles, who it has to be said have proved a bit of bogey team for the Hurricanes for the past two seasons.
Kicking off 15 minutes earlier than scheduled, due to pressure on pitches, Hurricanes set the early pace, dominating possession and creating chances, Louie, Joseph both going close on a few occasions, blocks on the line and brave goal keeping stopping the Hurricanes being three or four up in the opening ten minutes. Joseph should have been awarded a penalty, his quick feet bamboozling the Flitwick defence, with the response being to wipe his feet out, the stand in Referee waving play on. Flitwick we know have one way of playing, a long ball through the centre of the pitch to one of their pacy strikers. This tactic is somewhat of an Achilies heel for the away team, they seem to always struggle against it, and again they didn’t look too comfortable, but just about got away with it in the early stages. Finally the ‘official’ Referee turned up, his first decision should have been to award Joseph a penalty after being poll axed from behind in the box, however he again followed the earlier pattern, and waved play on. In truth the away side could well have been 3 or 4 goals to the good, however this is Flitwick and they do what the always do, a long ball over the top went over the centre backs head’s, on to it raced the Flitwick striker and he calmly slotted past Hayden 1-0.
It was a kick in teeth for the Hurricanes, they responded in the right way, attacking the opposition box, Jordan bursting through had his shot cleared off the line, cleared with an outstretched hand which didn’t belong to the ‘Keeper, again missed by the Referee. Louie blasted over with an attempted half volley, Joseph & Benji both pulled a shot just wide. With all the pressure at one end of the pitch, again Flitwick delivered the next blow, again a long ball, flight misjudged, resulted in a defensive flicked backwards header, with no other defenders again offering any cover, the Striker was in behind unchallenged and under no pressure, he smashed past the helpless Hayden 2-0. It soon got a lot worse, playing out from the back a mis-placed pass, straight to a Fliwick player, edge of the box, he took a touch and launched a powerful shot, Hayden diving away to his left got hand to it, but the ball bounced to the floor and the spin took it over the line 3-0. Frustrations set in place, with the attacking players for the away side, now trying to do much on the ball making it easy for the Fliwick defence to get compact, and deny any opportunities for the Hurricanes to pull a goal back before half time.
A full and frank assessment of the first half was delivered to the Hurricanes, in both boxes the performance, commitment and decision making was nowhere near the levels we set ourselves, sent out for the second half with a demand to put that right.
Again it was the Hurricanes who set the early pressure, Jake sending an early strike which the ‘keeper gathered comfortably. Donny a powerhouse down the right had the beating of his man every time, he delivered a couple of good crosses which just evaded the oncoming attackers. Flitwick couldn’t get out of their half, the energy expended in the first half starting to show in the legs. However Hayden was called in to action again a long ball, and then a second ball picked up, but Hayden was more than equal to the task with a good blocking save. Hurricanes pushed forward and pushed forward, every time they created an opportunity the ball just seemed to hit the Flitwick ‘Keeper, however he pulled off a fine save diving to his left to keep out an effort from Louie after a fine run and cross from Donny. Twenty minutes left and finally the breakthrough came, Jake driving through midfield slid it in to Louie, who poked it past the advancing ‘Keeper and went around him and tapped home 3-1. The goal sparked an instant belief that the away side could get something out of this game. Flitwick after spending 90% of the game chasing the ball around, looked dead on their feet. Hurricanes piled forward almost at will, and for ten minutes or so they tried in vain to add a second, then they finally got their reward, Emmanuel launched a ball in the box Louie jumped and challenged the combination of two defender’s and ‘Keeper, the ball bounced the floor the attempted clearance was smashed in to the ‘keeper who was flailing around on the floor, the rebound fell to Louie. back to goal, he showed great composure to calmly back heel the ball in to the unguarded net 3-2. Just seven minutes remained, they couldn’t pull off the impossible could they?….
Flitwick were on the ropes and the Hurricanes looked in no mood to let them off the hook. Jordan after a rest on the subs bench was buzzing around with tonnes of energy, both he and Benji were causing havoc down the left flank, Benji on the end of a brutal challenge after he dance passed the last defender, Referee just thinking a ticking off would do instead of a caution. Louie had a good opportunity to pull the scores back to level, but fired in to the side netting from a tight’ish angle. Just three minutes now left on the clock, Benji and Jordan combined, with the latter bursting in the box, 12 yards out, left hand side, he hit the ball low and hard past the advancing ‘Keeper, with Louie bearing down on goal, a covering defender tried to stop it going in, but could only divert in to the net with an outstretched leg 3-3. Flitwick did the sensible thing at this stage, and hoofed the ball up as far up the pitch as possible, just seconds remained. Hurricanes picked it up in the left central defensive position, Oscar played the ball to Benji, who traveled up the pitch, ghosted past a tiring midfielder, Jordan made forward run in the inside channel, picked the ball up, and cleverly saw Louie’s run inside the box, Louie took one touch out his feet and his second touch fired across the goal in to the bottom right hand corner, and then set off to the corner flag where his team mates joined him in an ecstatic celebration 3-4. There was just enough time left for Flitwick to kick off before the Referee blew his final whistle.
Scorers: Louie (3), Jordan.
P.O.T.M: Louie – as guilty as most in the first half, but like the entire squad, showed effort, determination in the second half, his three composed finishes earning him this weeks award.