Two Mile Ash Dragons 2 – 4 WWFC Hurricanes
Scorers: Harry, Asante (2), Tao
H/T Score: 1 – 2
Team: Evan, Francis; Charles, Freddie, Orlando, Rocco(c), Ryan; Asante, Harry, Josh, Luke; Tao
DRAGONS TAMED BY HURRICANES
Fresh from last week’s victory against Bletchley Juniors, the Hurricanes travelled to Loughton looking to improve upon August’s 5-3 friendly defeat against Two Mile Ash Dragons. For the first time this season Leon and Andy had the headache/luxury of the whole squad being available for selection, and so Francis started in goal with Rocco dropping into defence and Luke reclaiming his midfield spot. As the closest weekend fixture to Remembrance Day, a minute’s silence was impeccably observed by players and supporters, and the Hurricanes wore their poppies on their shirts with pride.
After a steady start for both teams Two Mile Ash started to gain the upper hand, with a corner which was comfortably dealt with, then a shot from the edge of the box. Soon the pressure told, and following a cross from the left, their skilful no. 9 controlled the ball, turned and shot past Francis into the corner. 1-0. Woburn almost responded immediately – Luke passed to Tao who played in Asante, but his shot was deflected over. From the corner, Luke’s cross was met by Josh but his header fizzed past the post. Down the other end, Two Mile Ash raced through onto a good through ball, and Francis had to be quick off his line to clear the danger. Harry had an attempt from a long Luke throw, then the equaliser came – great work from Asante pressured his opponent into a mistake, so he took the ball past him and shot. The keeper parried the ball but it fell to Harry who scored the rebound. 1-1, and just reward for persistence.
However, the best move of the game was to come. Josh, playing in his favoured midfield role, found Asante on the right. He took the ball forward, then passed to Luke who picked out Tao who turned and shot but the Dragons’ keeper made a fine save. Indeed he had been one of the better players for them but just before half time he blotted his copybook as Asante’s looping shot from the edge of the box bounced underneath him and into the net. 1-2, and the distraught keeper was left to rue his mistake as the whistle blew.
As the second half started, Hurricanes could perhaps count themselves lucky to go in ahead, but they were determined to increase their advantage. Asante drove forward again and stung the palms of the keeper, who had recovered well from his mistake. Rocco was now moving forward at will and played a delightful ball through to Tao who jinked past his defender and lashed a shot just wide. Harry then got in on the act, taking the ball down the line, cutting in and drawing another fine save.
By now, Evan had replaced Francis in goal, and Leon and Andy were able to rotate the defence. Freddie, who had looked rock solid at right-back, made way for Orlando, and Charles and Ryan (who had made several important blocks in the first half) swapped places as well. Hurricanes drive forward again and again, and midway through the half Josh passed to Francis who found Harry in space. His shot was parried and the ever-willing Tao snapped up the rebound. 1-3, and the rampant Hurricanes were good value for the lead.
Two Mile Ash hit back, attacking down the right but their shot was safely gathered by Evan. Tao went close when a free ball in the Dragons’ box was just reached by the keeper, then suddenly the deficit was halved – from the kick, Two Mile Ash’s no. 8 went through the middle, took the ball around the advancing Evan, and slotted home. 2-3, and 10 minutes left. Soon after, Evan’s long goal-kick was helped on by Harry and Francis to Tao whose shot was saved. The Dragons then went close as they broke through, but Evan was smartly out to claim.
With time running out, Two Mile Ash decided to throw the kitchen sink at Woburn. They broke forward, but the ball was stolen by Rocco who found Francis on the right. He raced forward but his shot was saved twice. However, the ball still at his feet, Francis rolled it across goal past the despairing arms of the keeper, for Asante to tap in at the far post. 2-4, and the final whistle seconds later signalled game over.
A fine win for the Hurricanes against a skilful and determined opponent, the performance showing that with a full squad to choose from, Woburn have strength all over the pitch. Next week sees the Hurricanes back in Cup action against Wing Raiders Spartans, flying high in Division 1, and possibly the toughest test of the season so far.