Heavy rain during the week, made our usual home pitch at Bow Brickhill unplayable, so a change of venue to Aspley Guise Common, for the first round of the League Cup. We were welcomed prior to the game, to a couple of very heavy downpours, and then a hail storm. Fortunately the wind blew it over fairly quickly, and the game kicked off under cloudy grey skies, with the occasional beam of sunshine.
Our opponents, had seen twenty goals past them in our two previous league games, so were understandably very cautious, playing five at the back and two holding midfielders, a wall of orange in and around their penalty area. Hurricanes were enjoying lots of possession, the majority of which in the opposition half. However finding space on a slightly narrower pitch than they are accustomed too, was proving difficult. The away side offered no threat whatsoever, their tactic to launch long balls to the speedy striker, was exactly what the home side expected, so they defended a low line and denied any space in behind. A lovely move down the right with Louie laying off to Alex, Alex then played down the side to Ethan who whipped a low cross level with the six yard box, Joe arrived with perfect timing to side foot the ball towards goal, but unfortunately it thumped off the post and rebounded to safety. A couple of minutes later, the same pair combined down the right, this time Alex delivered, the ball fizzed across the box, just evading Louie and Joe.
It had been a frustrating first half an hour for the home side, plenty of possession, but lacking the penetration to create too many clear cut chances, finally they broke the deadlock, the combination of Ethan & Alex had been the most productive down the right, Ethan rescuing what seemed like a lost cause, laying back to Alex who whipped a cross in the box for Louie, to side foot past the ‘keeper from 4 yards out 1-0. They quickly double their lead, this time created from the opposite side, Benji playing in Louie on the edge of the box, he skipped past one defender and released a shot, striking another defender on the back, looped up in the air, Louie reacted the quickest, smashing in on the half volley 2-0. To be fair to the away side, up until that point, they had fought for every ball and defended stoutly, but two goals behind, playing with effectively one up front, finding a way back in to the game looked an impossible task.
Fairly positive half time team talk, with the opposition playing effectively seven at the back, we need our wide players to stay wide and drag them out, most of our success had come from wide areas, so we needed to exploit this.
Second half and despite being two goals down, the away side set up the same way, damage limitation seemed to be the order of the day. Unfortunately it fell apart early with Alex slotting in Louie to complete his hat trick, his eighth of the season 3-0. The away side had retreated a little, the striker now dropping much deeper, even taking the goal kick’s, which allowed the full back’s to get forward, Kieron in particular happy to push on, allowing Oscar to stay wide and stretch the defence, Louie broke down the right, crossed to the back post for Oscar at the back post, who connected well, just to see his shot hit the ‘keeper on the back and role across the line, a covering defender hacked clear. It didn’t matter too much as the next phase of play, Benji played Louie through and he shot across the ‘keeper who got a hand to it, but it had too much power and nestled in the bottom corner 4-0.
Benji was then desperately unlucky, his looping shot somehow tipped on to the bar by the ‘keeper. Louie then added his and the team fifth, Jack F squaring to him to score 5-0. The away team now decided to throw a little bit of caution to the wind went to four at the back, pushed a couple of midfielders forward and for the first time in the game with just ten minutes left offered a real attacking threat. They got their rewards, the dangerous striker, not being closed down quickly enough, but credit where it is due, he curled a 20 yard shot in to the top corner 5-1. It hurt the home team as they really wanted a clean sheet today, unfortunately not enough, as a couple of minutes later, the same striker was allowed as much time and space as he wanted and a full 25 yards from goal, he unleashed a shot albeit aided by the wind, sailing in to the top corner 5-2. The scoring wasn’t finished, the home team got a corner on the left, Oscar played it short to Alex, just outside the box, he shifted it right and smashed a shot across the goal in the left hand top corner 6-2. The referee then blew up to end, what was a frantic finish to the game.
Scorers: Louie (5), Alex
Summary: A comfortable enough game, the opposition made it hard for us, we will need to expect this more in the future, and be a little more clever within games to find a way through packed defences. Effort and team work was improved from the previous week, but still not quite where it should be, but progress at least.
Some good individual performances this week, Louie took his chances well, Jack E was calm and assured at the back, Alex & Ethan combined well. This weeks award goes to Kieron, excellent in his defensive work and was willing to push to allow forward players to get in and behind the defenders.