WWFC Hurricanes 2 – 2 Stewkley
Scorers: Freddie, Harry
H/T Score: 2-1
Team: Evan, Luke; Charles, Freddie, Orlando, Rocco(c), Ryan; Asante, Francis, Harry, Josh; Tao
HURRICANES HOLD ON AGAINST STEWKLEY
Following the Cup defeat against Wing Raiders Spartans two weeks ago, Hurricanes returned to League action against Stewkley. Although the visitors were propping up the table in Division Three they have a tremendous goal-scoring record, so Leon and Andy knew that this would be a tough test. Fortunately they were able to call upon a full squad again and with Luke now fully recovered from his injury earlier in the season he pulled on the keeper’s jersey for the first half.
Stewkley started the game strongly, and Orlando had to be alert to guide the ball out of defence. Charles then produced a strong tackle to block Stewkley breaking through. Hurricanes started to find their feet, with Tao breaking down the left but his cross was cut out before it could reach the goalmouth. Harry then shook off his marker and raced clear but was pulled back, with Francis’ free kick deflected into the keeper’s grateful arms. Soon after, Luke was called into action as Stewkley attacked down the right and he blocked the goal-bound effort. Stewkley then had a succession of corners, and another shot from close range was well saved by the athletic stopper. There was a short stoppage as Rocco was attended to following a late challenge, but fortunately he was able to continue. The stoppage seemed to galvanise the Hurricanes as they regrouped and poured forward, looking to assert their home advantage in front of the big crowd of 27.
Midway through the first half Francis took a corner which reached Charles, whose shot was just wide. Shortly after, a Stewkley goal kick was blocked by Francis. He controlled the ball, passed to Tao on the edge of the box who drove forward. Just as it looked as if he was going to shoot, he played in Freddie who took a touch then calmly rolled the ball into the corner of the net past the despairing dive of the Stewkley keeper. 1-0, and Freddie’s first goal for the Hurricanes! The scorer was soon deluged under the weight of his teammates jumping on to him, congratulating him for breaking the deadlock.
This provoked a fierce response from Stewkley, who drove forward from the kick-off and lashed a shot just wide. Orlando then made a crunching tackle to deny another attack, and the tricky no.4 saw his shot cleared off of the line by Francis. The pressure was relieved however by the second goal – a ball from the right found Harry about 20 yards from goal. His first-time shot soared upwards and goalwards and was past the keeper before he had a chance to set himself. 2-0, and another great goal for the winger. With half-time approaching however, Stewkley pulled one back following a great break and their striker showed real composure to play in his team-mate for a tap-in. 2-1, game on again. Straight away from the kick-off, Francis picked out Tao who slid a good pass to Freddie. His pass found Asante who raced forward but his shot was well-saved. The resulting corner was also gathered by the fearless keeper, and that signalled half-time.
At the restart Luke, who had been replaced in goal by Evan, took up a berth in midfield alongside Josh. Several times Luke played in Asante but his efforts were cleared, and the game settled into a pattern of Stewkley attacks with Woburn countering. Evan was forced into a series of saves, and had to be quick off of his line to clear the danger. The increasingly influential yellow no. 4 was pushing forward and causing the Lions defence problems – 7 minutes in and he was played through but put his shot wide. Soon the pressure told, and the scores were level – a cross from the right evaded the home defence and the Stewkley player tapped in at the back post. 2-2, and Stewkley were swarming all over the pitch.
The Hurricanes were looking rattled and the momentum had swung away from them. Wave after wave of attacks were being repelled by the defence, led as ever by Rocco who was everywhere. Stewkley put 3 shots past the same post in as many minutes, and it seemed inevitable that the away team would take the lead. This feeling was compounded when Rocco was forced off following another heavy challenge. However, there were flickers of life from Woburn as Ryan, who had replaced Rocco, played the ball through to win a corner and provide some relief for the back line. The corner just evaded Tao and Freddie, soon after Harry was flagged for a marginal offside decision, and that was that – the final whistle blew, and the tired players trooped off of the saturated pitch for a well-earned rest.
Credit to Hurricanes for digging deep and grinding out a result despite not being at their best, and well played to Stewkley who belied their lowly league position with some good play. Next up is the final league game of the season away to Great Linford Warriors, who will no doubt be looking for revenge following the 9-goal thriller in the Cup in September. Winner takes 3rd position, can the Hurricanes clinch it? Find out on 13th December…!