WWFC Hurricanes 1 – 1 Two Mile Ash Dragons
H/T Score: 0 – 0
Team: Evan; Charles, Freddie, Orlando, Rocco (c); Asante, Francis, Harry, Joe, Luke; Tao
HURRICANES ENTERTAIN THE DRAGONS
Hurricanes went into the last league game of the season knowing that a point would secure their 4th place position in the final standings. This was by no means an easy task – the previous league match had seen the boys overcome by Stony Stratford, and last week they had suffered a heavy defeat in the training match against Division Two team Tattenhoe Youth Tigers. Combined with that, Two Mile Ash needed a win for promotion so were sure to be up for it.
Leon and Andy were able to call upon all but one of the squad – poor Ryan was unable to play as he had badly hurt his hand, but in true Woburn style he still made it along to the game to cheer on his team-mates.
The Hurricanes took to the pitch with Evan in goal, Freddie, Rocco and Charles at the back, Joe and Luke in the middle, Francis and Asante wide and Tao up front.
Two Mile Ash started strongly and had a couple of early corners, but these were stoutly defended by Freddie and Joe. Francis then combined with Luke and Joe, who picked out Asante but the ball went behind for a goal kick. Luke and Joe were in the thick of the action and following a headed clearance from a Dragons free kick by Luke, Tao teed up Joe but his shot was saved. The game settled into a pattern with both teams looking to get forward quickly on the counter, and Charles had to be strong to block another attack. Soon after Luke found Asante whose inviting cross was plucked from the air before the onrushing Tao could reach it.
Woburn then won a free kick for handball. Joe, feeling confident following recent efforts, rifled the ball towards goal and the keeper spilled it, but Tao could only push the loose ball agonisingly wide of the post. Minutes later Asante showed great strength and pace with a 40 yard run and cross but although the Lions could not profit, they were getting closer. However, within a minute the Dragons roared back and hit the crossbar from a free kick! Seconds later they were clean through and only a trademark Rocco tackle could halt the advancing away hordes, with Evan saving the resulting corner. Two Mile Ash were now in the ascendancy, and another attack was dealt with by Charles. From that corner Woburn seized the chance to break. Asante crossed, the keeper was unable to gather, and the ball fell to Francis but his shot was saved by the grateful stopper.
Midway through the half and Evan was called into action again racing off his line to make a clearance. Defensively the Lions were looking strong, despite the frequent Dragons raids. Freddie put in a great tackle to thwart a Two Mile Ash attack, and on the one occasion that Evan was unable to gather the ball cleanly, Charles cleared the danger.
The enthralling first half came to a close with no goals, and both teams had a well-earned rest before the game restarted in the same end-to-end fashion. Once again the Hurricanes midfield were looking to dominate, and both Joe and Luke had early shots saved. Six minutes in, and the breakthrough nearly came, at the other end! The Dragons striker broke through the Woburn defensive line, and as Evan narrowed the angle the shot came in and skirted just past the post. A real let-off for the Lions, who promptly had several attacks of their own – end-to-end indeed.
With nine minutes on the clock Hurricanes forced a corner, which Joe looped into the box. The ball evaded all of the defenders and Luke popped up at the back post with a neat finish from close-range. 1-0, and the stalemate had been broken. Could the Lions hold on for the remaining twenty minutes? Sadly not, as straight from the kick-off Two Mile Ash raced upfield and rifled a shot past Evan’s despairing dive. 1-1, parity restored, and the lead had lasted approximately 15 seconds! Leon threw Harry into the fray to bolster the attack, and immediately he was in the thick of the action, with his trademark jinking runs and good link-up play with Tao and the other midfielders. Woburn had not been rattled by the quick Dragons comeback but re-doubled their efforts with further attacks. In one, Asante glided past several defenders but was unlucky not to get his shot on target, in another Luke tried a speculative 30 yard effort which the keeper had to parry before catching at the second attempt. Similarly, Two Mile Ash were now surging forward at every opportunity, and put a shot into the side netting. Orlando came on to steady the defence, and both he and Harry teamed up well on several occasions to cover the left flank.
With ten minutes remaining, the thrilling game could still go either way. Joe had a shot just wide of the post from an Evan clearance, whilst at the other end Evan made a great save with Harry clearing the danger. The Woburn stopper was once again called into action from a Two Mile Ash free kick with a great block, and the ensuing corner was put wide. The final whistle blew, and the two tired teams shook hands knowing that they had been involved in a battle royale.
Well played Two Mile Ash Dragons, who showed tenacity and skill – it is easy to see why they have finished near the top of the Division. Woburn can be very pleased with the result, pushing a very good team all the way (indeed, only the second game all season that the Dragons dropped points), in front of the biggest attendance of the season (40). The team can now concentrate on the summer tournaments and will go forward to Parklands near Northampton in good spirits. Forza Woburn!