WWFC Hurricanes 0 – 1 Moretonville Jrs Tornadoes
H/T Score: 0 – 0
Team: Francis, Luke; Charles, Freddie, Orlando, Rocco (c); Asante, Joe; Tao
GOALKEEPING FORCE-FIELD DENIES HURRICANES
Now that the Easter break was behind them, Woburn Lions Hurricanes returned to action aiming to sweep away memories of the defeat to Bletchley Juniors Vipers. Their opponents, Moretonville Juniors Tornadoes, were propping up the table but looked confident in their warm-up and would surely be a good test for the home team.
Leon and Andy had to do without Evan and Ryan for the match, and were dealt a further blow when poorly Harry failed a late fitness test and was unable to play. Credit to Harry though for making the effort to come down and try to get involved even though he was not 100%. In the end, the teams would be evenly matched as the Tornadoes also only had 9 players. Woburn started with Francis in goal and Orlando, Charles and Freddie in front of him. Rocco captained the team in a less familiar midfield position alongside Luke, with Joe and Asante on the flanks and Tao leading the line.
Moretonville started brightly, forcing an early corner which was cleared by Luke. Soon after, Francis’ goal kick was chased by Rocco who won a corner – Joe’s delivery was inch-perfect and Tao’s header was just over the bar. Rocco then saw a speculative cross hit the outside of the post – the Lions were getting closer. However, down the other end a Tornadoes attack had to be headed behind by Freddie for a corner which was well defended by the Lions back line.
Midway through the first half and Charles played a measured pass to Asante whose jinking run saw him wriggle through on goal, but his shot was just wide. A minute later and Woburn poured forward again. Charles, marshalling his troops in the centre of defence, passed to Rocco. His deep cross evaded everyone but Tao collected the loose ball, fed it to Asante but his deft chip shot sailed inches over the bar. The pressure continued, with a Francis goal kick won again by Tao who really had the measure of the Tornadoes defence. He took the ball to the byline and won a corner, but the Moretonville goalkeeper gathered, not for the first or last time of the match. Tao then had another shot just wide from Luke’s throw-in before a rare Tornadoes break saw 3 v 2 – fortunately Francis was off his line quickly to save.
More pressure from the Lions as Freddie’s clever lob set found Asante, then Joe teed up Tao but once again the keeper was equal. With time ticking down before the break, he got even more practice firstly from Joe, then from Rocco, and the first half somehow ended goalless, not through lack of effort, that’s for sure!
During the break Luke replaced Francis in goal, and Leon and Andy might have been justified in checking the goals for any invisible force-fields stopping the ball going in…
The second half started quietly, but the stalemate was nearly broken several minutes in as Orlando won the ball in a central position, slid it to Asante but the force-field was still intact and the shot went wide. Tao then had a first-time shot from distance following great work by Orlando and Rocco, but he cleared the bar from fully 25 yards. The Tornadoes keeper continued his fine display and was beginning to look like the proverbial immovable object – even when he did spill a shot from Rocco the rebound from Tao wouldn’t go in. More attempts followed, and another pinpoint corner from Joe was put wide at the back post. A Moretonville unforced error nearly saw Joe score but the ensuing goalmouth scramble ended without the all-important breakthrough.
Just as it seemed that the Lions were heading for their first goalless draw of the campaign, the sucker-punch – Luke’s goal kick got charged down on the halfway line, sent through the Woburn back line and slotted home by the Moretonville forward. 0-1, and somehow the Hurricanes were behind despite enjoying the lions’ share of the game (pardon the pun).
Taking the lead seemed to energise the Tornadoes, and they very nearly doubled it when clean through again. This time, Luke could only parry the first effort and with the ball feet away from the line and a Moretonville forward about to tap it in Orlando launched himself goalwards for a quite superb block, Luke throwing himself on the loose ball. Inspired defending all round (or was it the force-field?), and still 10 minutes to find an equaliser.
Woburn were now really going for it – Rocco and Charles pushed forward at every opportunity to support the attacks, and both went close to levelling. Rocco’s long ball forward was deflected behind and Francis’ corner was saved not once but twice from Charles’ goalbound efforts. Francis and Charles went close minutes later, just after Joe had put a piledriver inches wide of the unforgiving woodwork. The onslaught continued and both Tao and Francis were unable to penetrate the force-field, until finally the whistle blew and the game was up.
Huge credit must go to Moretonville Juniors Tornadoes in particular their goalkeeper for a matchwinning display, whilst the Lions will be licking their wounds. Fortunately the next game is only a week away, at the other Tornadoes team in Bletchley. Will we see a reaction from wounded Woburn? Time will tell…