The latest AFC Henley Hurricanes U11s match took place against the Spencer’s Wood Vipers, and was an away fixture at their Ryeish Green ground. The early rain had cleared, to the relief of the spectators, and the claret and blue of the Vipers lined up against the Hurricanes’ familiar red and black kit.
The Hurricanes were soon passing the ball around well. Captain Luca passed the ball downfield to Jack C, then an effective 1-2 with Oscar led to a cross to Will L whose shot was just wide. Before much longer, an impeccably timed through ball from Dominic found Oscar upfront. He rounded the defence and shot calmly and accurately into the far side of the net.
The Vipers had chances of their own . Dominic made a block to cut off one run, whilst goalkeeper Harrison was decisive in coming out to claim the ball in another. However, the Hurricanes had most of the possession and chances came, for Shiva and for Oscar.
Just before the half-time break, the momentum changed and the Vipers were attacking. The Hurricanes absorbed the pressure well in midfield, but the Vipers attacked in numbers and overwhelmed the Hurricanes defence.
The second half picked up in a similar fashion, with more Vipers pressure leading to the same outcome. Both teams were trying to exert their influence on the game and seize the advantage. There were few chances at this stage, the battle being fought in midfield. A corner for the Vipers proved to be profitable, the ball right across the box being well struck into the goal. The Vipers had their tails up, and attacked hard, forcing two excellent saves in quick succession from man-of-the-match Harrison.
The Hurricanes did find a way through towards the end of the game. A cross from the left found Oscar, whose shot was blocked by the Vipers’ keeper, but the rebound was bundled in.
The last few minutes were played at a frenetic pace as both teams looked to take control. The Hurricanes had chances through Shiva and Will L, whilst at the other end Jack T made an important tackle, and the Vipers hit the crossbar and had a goal disallowed.
Overall, this was a competitive game between two well-matched teams which was a pleasure to watch. Both teams had the upper hand at different times, and both showed character to come back from conceding goals.