It was a cold afternoon in Kempston but thankfully after out last visit to ‘Hillgrounds’ the rain held off. We were expecting perhaps a quagmire of a pitch, but the pre-match inspection, carried out by our chief pitch inspector – Benji, declared the pitch was “actually quite good”.
The game kicked off and it was immediately apparent that in terms of the scoreline, the home side were on a ‘damage limitation’ exercise with 6 in defence and a striker who wanted to operate it seemed as a holding midfield player. It allowed the Hurricanes plenty of space in midfield, and no pressure on possession at the back, quite unusually Kempston also employed two wingers, who hugged the touchline, the tactic seemed to be to get it to the wingers, to then hit a 40 yard ball behind the Hurricanes defence to a striker who was 50 yards behind the ball? As bemusing as it was from the touchline, on the pitch it seemed to confuse the away side, who were enjoying lots of possession but failing in the final third as they came up against the walled defence. Louie should have broken the deadlock, a low cross from Alex on the right found him in front of goal, but he stretched with his right foot, instead of letting the ball come across his body and poked it wide. Joe then had great opportunity, he cleverly beat a player in the box and went towards goal, with bodies waiting for the pull back he tried to squeeze in at the near post and hit the side netting. It was a frustrating opening 10 minutes, with the away side threatening to run riot, but just lacking a little bit of composure and quality in and around the box.Finally they broke the deadlock, Louie on target from a cross from Alex, 0-1.
With the opening goal settling some nerves, they quickly doubled their lead, Aaron joining in the attack from full back, neatly slotting Joe in behind the packed home defence, he rifled across the ‘keeper, 0-2. It had the effect of forcing the home team to open up a little, and they got a reward, perhaps a little complacency allowed too much time and space to shoot and it nestled in the bottom left hand corner, out of Hayden’s reach, 1-2. At the other end the Kempston keeper was performing heroics, twice pulling off fine saves from Louie. Kian introduced at the back with instructions to wherever possible play as an additional midfielder, then produced the pass of the game, a diagonal ball a full 40 yards over the top of the defence which Alex latched on to, and second bounce he flicked high over the advancing ‘keeper and in, a fine finish from an even finer pass 1-3.
Kempston, probably realised that they needed a goal now to get back in to the game, started to commit a body or two forward, Marley did extremely well to sweep across from right to left to nick it off the toes of an attacker bearing down on goal. Hurricanes then added a fourth, Kian flicking on a corner from the left, for Joe to smartly finish 1-4.
We were a little disappointed at half time, the opposition were packing the centre of the pitch, and we hadn’t taken enough advantage of the space out wide. This was an area we need to exploit in the second half.
Kempston showed their intent early in the second half a robust challenge on Benji producing a very well deserved yellow card. Alex floated the resulting free kick in to the box, for Louie to nip in behind the defence and glance a header past a hesitant goalkeeper 1-5. He then made amends when tipping a dipping shot from Alex over the bar. The move of the game next with Luca passing to Benji, who played a clever reverse ball through the defence for Oscar to the square it back to Luca to side foot home, after failing to find the net in 2016, that’s now 3 in successive games in 2017! 1-6. Kempston then scored a great goal with a shot from a full 25 yards, flying past Hayden who could do nothing about it 2-6. Despite the goal, unfortunately Kempston weren’t taking too well to being completely outplayed, and an excessive late challenge on Benji led to the Referee producing a red card. Hurricanes had a strangle hold on the game and weren’t about to let go, Ethan sped down the right and whipped over a perfectly weighted ball, to the back post where Oscar arrived, and showed superb control and technique to volley back across the goal, in to the opposite bottom corner, it was met with whoops of delight from his resident fan club on the sidelines 7-1. OTOFC (Oscar Tansley Official Fan Club) having barely got themselves back to together from his goal exploits, were almost sent in to complete euphoria, as moments later, he arrived at the same back post, this time a pin point cross from Louie, was met with a bullet header, which smacked a covering defender straight in the face, denying a certain goal.
Joe and Ethan then both somehow missed glaring opportunities. With the final kick of the game they were shown the way to goal by our emergency striker, Jack E, a slide rule pass by Kian, released him in behind the defence, to be totally honest time seemed to slow down as he appeared to take an age to advance towards goal, everyone’s hearts were in their mouths, as our leader, our captain fantastic, advanced in slow motion toward the goal…… had he taken it too close to the ‘keeper? Bang! he smashed it with venom and the keeper could just palm it in the roof of the net! His smile lit up the pitch, the laughter from the sidelines only added to his enjoyment of the moment.
Scorers: Louie (2), Joe (2), Alex, Luca, Oscar, Jack E
Summary: A pretty routine win, we probably weren’t quite in top gear in the first half but still managed four goals. Second half we created numerous opportunities, the keeper was on top form and we missed some glaring opportunities, but our overall play was much more fluent.
M.O.T.M: Lots of very good performances today, to single out a couple, Kian really listened to his coaching instructions and as a result got 3 assists from central defence. Oscar had real impact in the second half, this weeks award goes to Marley, who was impeccable in defence, he continues to grow in confidence and his performances are improving as a result.