On Saturday 24th February the U10 Henley Hotspurs travelled to Sandhurst to play a rescheduled match that was postponed in January because of a frozen pitch.
It was an early start and was a cold, wet, miserable day for the players and their legion of fans, not helped by the 2 mile yomp to actually find the pitch.
It became quite clear early doors that it was going to be a tough game as both teams probed and tested each other’s defences. Jake Williams played some great football but just couldn’t get that final pass or shot to come off. Captain Jack Scanlon aided by Charlie Hunt were solid at the back, and the ever reliable goalkeeper Ben Palmer made some fine saves to keep the score level at 0-0.
The game remained at a stalemate until about 7 minutes into the second quarter when Stanley Massie stunned everyone with a goal completely out of the blue that Sir David Beckham would have been proud of. The Hotspurs had an attack down the right wing with some neat football from Tom Francis. Stanley received a pass that sat up nicely for him and he took a shot (or was it a cross?) from the sideline. The half volley, half Kung Fu Panda style karate kick, looped over their defence, caught the Sandhurst keeper off his line and dropped nicely into the back of the net giving our troops a lucky skillful 1-0 lead.
Sandhurst, still in shell shock from the ‘wonder goal’, came out in the second half with all guns blazing but some steadfast defending from Dexter Harris and Oscar Thomas kept the score at a perilous 1-0 lead.
The Hotspurs seemed to up the pace in the fourth quarter, maybe due to the team talk from the General’s Neil Harris & Jon Francis? or maybe more down to the thought of a bacon sandwich and a packet of Haribos after the match?
The second goal came from a counter attack from the halfway line. Freddie Piasecki out-manouvered his opposition to regain possession and, with quick thinking, passed down the wing to Jack Scanlon (who had been tactfully switched from defender to striker). Scanlon took on the defender and crossed the ball to the feet of Daniel (Ronaldo) Hoi and, with a neat little turn, Daniel rounded the goalkeeper and buried the shot into the back of the net and double the lead with just 2 minutes to go.
The well fought match ended as a 2-0 victory for the Hotspurs who now remain undefeated in East Berks Division E with just 3 games left to play.