We welcomed Bedford Town Eagles to Bow Brickhill after they had hosted us the week before for the Hurricanes final game of 2016.
After a convincing win in the first fixture the home side expected the opposition to come out of the blocks quickly, the first five or so minutes of the game, were largely played out in midfield with both defences looking in a mean and resolute mood. It was the home side who carved out the first shot on goal, Louie finding some space in the box and from a tight angle forcing the ‘keeper in to an early save. A minute later again Louie, fed by Benji found space behind the defence, drove in to the box from the left and squared to Luca, who centre of goal shot over. Bedford’s real strength is their pace upfront and wide, but both Aaron and Andrew operating as full backs were proving more than equal to their counter parts.
With just over ten minutes gone, Alex played a superb ball in behind the defence, Louie leapt in the air and took the ball down with an outstretched foot, a sublime piece of skill and athleticism, which was matched by his cool right foot finish, low to the bottom corner 1-0. It lifted the confidence of the home side and they were now the dominant force, Louie combined with Benji down the left, he drove in to the box, danced passed one hapless defender and was upended as he went past a second, the Referee immediately pointed to the spot. Benji picked himself up and calmly despatched the penalty beyond the ‘keepers reach 2-0. Bedford to their credit are a spirited side, who like to play some football, and they made a game of it for next period of the game, they had a few long shots fired wide, with the home defence largely keeping them at arm’s length. Alex curled in a free kick which bounced off the bar and was scrambled clear.
Kian, enjoying the midfield battle, happy to put his foot in and move the ball when in possession, played a 40 metre diagnal ball for Joe to exploit the space down the right, his first touch took him towards goal, and his second was fine strike in to the bottom left hand corner 3-0. The Hurricanes were now forcing the tempo of the game, Louie making the ‘keeper make a fine save when the ball seemed destined for the bottom corner. Unusually for Benji, he couldn’t quite get the flight of the delivery as a series of corners were hit to the near post, he changed tact and played a short one to Aaron who slotted a ball through to him in the box, his shot rebounded off the post, for Louie to react the quickest and smash home six yards out and centre of the goal 4-0. The half time whistle came, with the home team looking hungry for more.
Half time team talk was a simple, just keep playing the same way, perhaps we could move the ball quicker through midfield, but everything else to our game looked good.
The second half got under way and much like the first, Bedford made a reasonable start, but their resistance was soon broken, Louie picking the ball up just outside the box and playing a perfectly weighted ball for Benji to drift in between two defenders and slot the ball past the stranded ‘keeper 5-0. Ethan was enjoying much more space in the second half, a constant threat down the right, being fed by Alex and Nathan in midfield, his final ball was just missing to take advantage, he did produce a good cross for Louie to send a header high and wide. Oscar on as a substitute played a threaded pass on to Benji’s run in to the box and a clumsy challenge as he was about to shoot led to the Referee awarding a second penalty of the game. Alex took command by immediately grabbing the ball he stepped up and rifled his strike high in to the roof of the net 6-0. Again Bedford rallied themselves, a driving run from midfield in to the box forced Hayden in to his first real action of the game. Another break from the same midfielder this time resulted in a corner as Kian made the interception. The corner was swung in and with a few changes at the back, the opposition’s centre back was left unmarked to head home 6-1.
Oscar enjoying a good impact on the game, made a great run on the outside of the full back, it was spotted by Benji, who played him in with a ball inside the defender, Oscar advanced on, inside the left hand side of the penalty area, such was the quality of the pass, he hit it first time across the ‘keeper in to the bottom right hand corner, great technique and a sweet connection 7-1. Bedford refused to give up and to their credit still pushed forward to score goals, again they forced another corner, and again the centre back was left with the freedom of the six yard box to stab home from close range 7-2. The home side responded to this with Ethan and Alex combining for the latter to find a pass in to Louie, to take the ball centre of goal, free of any defensive cover he had the time to take a touch and advance towards goal, sending the ‘keeper the wrong way with a side foot finish, to complete his hatrick 8-2. Luca came back on as striker for the last five minutes and had a shot just go wide, Alex hit another just over. The Referee blew the final whistle, with the win sending the home team to the top of the table, for the first time this season.
Scorers: Louie (3), Benji (2, 1 P), Joe, Alex (P), Oscar
Summary: It was another good controlled performance, particularly pleased with our first half defensive display, the opposition had caused us a few problems the previous week, with their pace upfront, but we learned the lesson and denied the space in behind. Again we were very creative and clinical in front of goal. Only negative was conceding two similar goals from corners, we need to be a little more organised in this aspect of our game.
M.O.T.M: A lot of players had very good performances this week, Benji was a real handful, Kian looking more comfortable with every game, Jack E, Aaron and in particular Kieron looked assured and authoritative in defence. This week’s award goes to Andrew, we were convinced we could turn him in to a left back, and today he showed all the qualities we knew he had, certainly his best performance in claret & blue.