Saunders Puts Knights to the Sword

The Under 10 AFC Henley Hurricanes bounced back to form in stunning fashion away at the Whitegrove Knights with a 5-1 league victory.

After 2 Cup defeats the Hurricanes were looking to get their campaign back on track and it was Olly Saunders who rode to the rescue. Man of the Match Saunders assisted in 2 goals and proved to be the driving force in midfield as he powered the Hurricanes forward.

The Hurricanes started unusually brightly as they took the lead with the first attack of the game. It was the ever impressive Saunders who slipped a penetrating through ball to Tom Bonser who finished with aplomb to open the scoring. Luca Thomson also pressed forward in the opening stages looking to add to the scoreline.

However, it was not long before Whitegrove hit back as a defensive slip let the Knights back in to the game as the first quarter ended 1-1.

The second quarter was a tight affair and Joe Turner gave a very disciplined, intelligent performance in the centre of midfield that gave the Hurricanes the platform to build their attacks from. His play helped free up Saunders to drive forward and it was him again who found the key to unlocking the Knights defence. He spotted the run of Tom Atkinson who battled past two defenders before finishing skilfully inside the near post to give the Hurricanes a 2 1 lead at half time.

There was little between the sides in the third quarter as Captain Sam Winters not only marshalled the defence well but also broke forward quickly with the ball when the opportunity presented itself. Ben Horner, in the Hurricanes’ goal, made a crucial save at the end of the quarter sprinting off his line to snub out a Knights’ counter attack that had left him exposed to keep the score at 2-1.

It was in the fourth quarter that Henley really dominated and put the game to bed. Tom Bonser, who had played with all his usual enthusiasm, won himself a penalty with his quick feet. He duly stepped up to take the spot kick and although his initial effort was well saved he was the quickest to react and buried the rebound.

The fourth goal of the game was an example of the free flowing football that the Hurricanes are capable of playing. Tom Atkinson picked up the ball wide on the right and played an exquisite cross field pass to Tom Bonser who was on the left of the penalty box. He played a first time ball to Tom Yeoman who took a touch before hitting an unstoppable shot into the bottom corner of the goal.

In the dying minutes of the game Finnbar Scott cut in from the left before going on a Ricky Villa style run and thumping the ball past the keeper.

Managers Turner and Atkinson were said to be delighted by the performance and the bouncebackability that the team had shown after their two recent Cup defeats.

If any boy or girl in the Under 10 age group would like to play for AFC Henley then please come down to Dry Leas (at Henley Rugby Club) on Friday nights at 6pm or contact Trevor Howell whose details are on the AFC Henley website.