The final league game of the season for the Hurricanes, needing a win to secure the Divisional Title. The sun shone at Sandy for the start of the league campaign and it was fitting after a grey start to the day it returned in the afternoon to Bow Brickhill.
After being on the end of a thumping in the first game, Ampthill’s approach to the game was one of caution, not throwing bodies forward, packing the defence and midfield, trying to the close the space and make themselves as compact as possible. Hurricanes were enjoying 80% of the possession but just couldn’t find a way through. Ten minutes in, Benji fed Louie just inside the right hand side of the box, one touch out of his feet and then a sublime left foot angled strike which nestled in the top right hand corner 1-0. Nerves settled the home team wanting to put the game to bed, Louie again in the thick of the action, a shot came back off the keeper, hit his knee, rebounded off the inside of the right hand post and trickled across the line. He then punched a header inches wide, skewed a couple of efforts wide of the mark, we have been so used to the net bustling this season with almost every strike, it was a frustrating afternoon for the striker. Alex then sent a cross in, slightly over hit, it thumped off the top of the bar. Finally a second came, Luca’s shot was just going wide, but Louie managed to get an outstretched toe, to poke past the ‘Keeper 2-0. Hurricanes huffed and puffed with lots of possesion but a lack of quality and width in the last third, they were unable to add to the score, at the other end Hayden was a bystander, not an effort to save.
A bit of a dressing down at half time, we spoke at the beginning of the game about how width was important and we hadn’t offered it enough, we were being to hungry to score goals and not concentrated on the basic play to enable us to create space and thus goal scoring opportunities.
Second half got underway, the pattern of the first half continued, Ampthill in damage limitation mode, not wanting to offer any attacking threat and open the game up. The home side were finally playing with some width and as a consequence, were creating lots of chances, regretfully it seemed the whole team were misfiring as chance after chance went begging. It was pointed out from the touchline, that it was the white thing in the middle they should be aiming for, as most seemed to have forgotten! Finally a third was added, Louie breaking down the right and playing inside for Ethan, his first strike hit a defender, the broke again and then second hit the keeper, ricocheted off a covering defender, Ethan followed up and a scramble on the line saw the ball hit the roof of the net, who knows who got the last touch, but Ethan claimed it 3-0.
Benji was sent on from the subs bench, with a message to bring in some quality and end product to a messy game. A couple of minutes of being on the pitch, Joe pushed a ball through for him to advance towards goal, centre of the pitch just outside the box, he launched a powerful shot in to the top right hand corner 4-0. With just 5 or 6 minutes left Amtphill decided to try and go forward, they put two strikers upfront and got a reward with a corner, it was the first time in the game they had even got in the last third of the pitch, the corner came in, half clearance a bounce of the ball hit a waving Hurricanes hand, and the referee rightly pointed to the spot. Ampthills player stepped up and nonchalantly despatched the penalty giving Hayden no chance 4-1. The game then just drifted to a close, the final whistle brought a roar from the home support as the league title was secured.
Scorers: Louie (2), Ethan, Benji
Summary: It wasn’t our best performance of the season, and one really the team expected to win comfortably, it was just one of the games we needed to get through and secure the win we needed. I felt we were a little arrogant in the first half, almost expecting to win, we created lots of chances and on another day would have double figures, hopefully we are saving them all for next week!
M.O.T.M: Difficult one today, no-one really played particularly well or badly just lots of average perfomances, and in the most we coasted through the game, this weeks award goes to Luca, who was his usual industrial self in midfield, played simply and just kept the ball moving.