On Saturday, the Henley Hurricanes U9s played their rearranged cup quarter final against Ascot United Athletic at Jubilee Park. In contrast to the previous week’s cancellations, a full programme of matches was underway. Athletic started the game very strongly and had the Hurricanes under significant pressure. Despite this, the Hurricanes scored against the run of play. From this base they were able to grow and at times control the game from midfield.
Hurricanes under Pressure
On an overcast but thankfully dry morning, it was Athletic who seized the initiative. Their sharp passing and determination but the Hurricanes on the back foot from the outset. The Hurricanes were awarded a free kick in midfield. A great ball from Oscar Robinson down the pitch fell perfectly to striker Will Goulden, who put the ball past the keeper. Despite this setback, Athletic continued to press the Hurricanes hard and held the upper hand. It took a smart nudge from Will Goulden to captain Will Lindsay who passed downfield. Oscar Robinson found the pass and worked hard to pass the defence and score from a narrow angle.
Despite finding a second goal, the Hurricanes were still being forced to defend by Athletic. Will Lindsay and Dominic Ellis both making important blocks to cut off dangerous attacks. At the end of the quarter, the Hurricanes scored their third goal, a well-taken corner from Will Goulden being unfortunately turned into the Athletic goal by the keeper.
Pressing home the Advantage
The second quarter saw the sun break through the clouds, and the Hurricanes followed suit with an early break of their own. An early chance fell to Oscar Robinson who made no mistake with a shot from distance. The Hurricanes were much brighter than in the first quarter, attacking the Athletic goal relentlessly. Oscar Robinson came close with an audacious overhead kick, the ball flying narrowly wide. In midfield Shiva Vadhoolan was working well with Will Goulden who was now in defence, whilst Jack Tookey was cool and collected in goal. The pressure finally led to a goal for Jack Callaway with a crisp shot from outside the area. A feature of the Hurricanes’ play was the great understanding between Oscar Robinson, Luca Currie and Jack Callaway up front. It was some smart passing between these three which led to a goal for Luca Currie, deftly touched past the keeper from close range.
Hard Work Brings Rewards
The third quarter started brightly with both teams looking to attack. As the quarter progressed, the Hurricanes gradually took the upper hand, Luca Currie in good touch, Jack Callaway working very hard and Jake Thatcher and Nicholas Hernandez St Clair linking together effectively in midfield. The pressure led to an opportunity for Will Lindsay, whose shot was narrowly over the bar. At the other end Dominic Ellis was in action to snuff out another Athletic attack. He found Luca Currie nicely with his pass, which led to a goal for Nicholas Hernandez St Clair. His calm shot when in sight of goal left the keeper no chance.
The final quarter was also played in a lively spirit. To their great credit, Athletic kept working and looking to attack the Hurricanes goal. However, the Hurricanes were working well as a team, at times being all back to defend and keep their clean sheet. One memorable run down the left by man-of-the-match Dominic Ellis took him past several defenders and in sight of goal. Nicholas Hernandez St Clair and Shiva Vadhoolan were in control in midfield and Oscar Robinson and Will Goulden were threatening up front. The game ended with two more corners for the Hurricanes which Athletic defended calmly to avoid further alarms.