On a cold but sunny December morning, the Henley Hurricanes approached the game feeling pressure to win their last match of the year and secure a place in the quarter finals of the cup.
A strong start from the home team saw an early midfield run from Lorenzo Nicoletti-Dowd, passing on to Corben Galloway for a shot to go just wide of the post.
Binfield countered with some strong defence, marking the Henley players tightly. This pushed the hurricanes to make some good passing play as Harry Biggs connected well with Leo Palmer, Corben and Lorenzo to produce a number of opportunities on goal. Unfortunately they were unable to find a break through and the quarter ended goalless.
Into the second quarter Binfield mounted their own attack, which was professionally defended by Freddy Estornel. This was followed by a good run upfield and passed on to Corben, then to Josh Ashford for a one two and a well placed chip shot from Corben over the goalie. The keeper just got a hand to it but couldn’t save it from going into the Eagles goal taking the score to 1-0 for the Hurricanes.
With renewed vigour, Binfield made an attack on goal, but further good defending from Freddy, and some quality saves from George Beesley kept the threat at bay.
Josh won a free kick near the end of the first half which was taken well, but unfortunately went just wide into the side of the net. At the end of first half, the score remained at 1-0.
With a change of ends and all still to play for, Binfield kicked off and managed a shot on goal which was well saved by George. The ball went out to Leo on the right, taken nicely down the wing and passed on to Harry Biggs to display some great midfield work, passing on to Lorenzo with some lovely footwork, who made a nice turn to take a shot on goal, which went just wide.
Shortly after, a run from Corben down left hand side through the defence was crossed in to Isaac who collected the ball well, turned and scored with a good shot taking the score to 2-0.
Binfield made a good breaking run, but Harry sprinted back with some great supporting defensive work to prevent the Eagles from having a clear shot on goal.
Harry continued to show good skill down the left side as he turned smoothly in past a defender, passed the ball on to Corben who put in a lovely cross into the box. Isaac Walmsley received and neatly flicked the ball up then turned and volleyed it into the net for a fantastic goal, raising the score to 3-0 for Henley. The rest of the quarter witnessed some lovely passing between the Hurricanes with the ball travelling comfortably between each of the players, but Binfield stepped up their defensive play and kept the home team from scoring any further goals.
The fourth quarter saw an early attack from Henley with Josh crossing in to Archie Butlin for a shot and Freddy also firing on goal, this led to a succession of corners, but the Eagles managed to defend the onslaught. The away team followed up with a break of their own, but again this was well saved by George.
Back in possession Henley mounted increasing pressure on the Binfield area and a tough tackle on Freddy resulted in a penalty being awarded. Freddy then stepped up and confidently put the ball to the left of the keeper for goal number four.
Charlie Cooper displayed great skill defending well and pushing the ball back up to Archie with some good midfield play, working hard to keep the pressure on the visitors.
More super defending from Charlie who then dribbled past the Binfield midfield delivering the ball on to Freddy and Isaac in the Eagles area, but their strong defending neutralised the attack.
As the end of the game approached, Binfield doubled their determination to get back into the game which eventually paid off as they broke through the defence and scored a worthy consolation goal.
Henley fought back with some further attacking play, but couldn’t quite manage to convert any chances in the remaining time leaving the final score at 4-1 to the home side.
This match marks the final game of 2018 for the Henley Hurricanes under 9’s, having not previously played together as a team they have exceeded all expectations. Superbly guided by manager Mark Cooper and coach Ryan Nicoletti-Dowd they have scored 84 goals and won 13 consecutive matches (all nine of their league games and all four group cup matches) they can be proud of their outstanding team performance and look forward to a bright future going forward.