The U15 AFC Henley Hurricanes stormed to a 2-1 home victory against Rotherfield in this fiercely contested local derby.
The hosts got off to the worse possible start though as a horrific defensive blunder let the opposition ghost into the penalty box and take an early 1 0 lead.
This spooked Henley as they struggled to find their rhythm and gain a foothold in the game. Joe Hybert, playing in goal, had to be at his very best to keep out a stinging effort as Rotherfield looked for a second.
Tom Yeoman, playing in the centre of midfield, was instrumental in getting the Hurricanes back in the game however as his tough tackling and incisive runs forward helped them get back on the front foot.
He was aided in the centre of the park by Jack Johnson whose clever use of the ball and exploitation of the space behind the opposition defence was starting to prove crucial.
Alfie Algar, playing in the holding midfield role, started the move that was to get the hosts back in the game. Having slipped past a Rotherfield player he played the ball to Tom Atkinson who cleverly flicked it on into space for Josh Livesey to run onto. Livesey didn’t need asking twice to use his searing pace to get to the ball before the Rotherfield keeper and he finished with great aplomb to draw the hosts level.
Finnbar Scott was having a terrific game at left back and he delivered a stream of consistent crosses from that side of the pitch that caused persistent trouble for the visitors.
Mickael Vaisset was having an equally good game on the right side of defence and was proving especially effective in the air as his heading prowess meant that Rotherfield were winning nothing via the aerial route as the teams went in at 1 1 at the interval.
The hosts started the second half strongly as Max Stokes went on a lung bursting 40 yard run down the left before cutting inside and firing a vicious shot that went inches wide of the far post.
Joe Turner was having a game Jordan Henderson would have been proud of as he dominated the midfield, breaking up any opposition attacks whilst getting the Hurricanes moving forward with his shrewd passing.
Agar then rattled the crossbar with a fierce shot that bounced down onto the line but not over it as the hosts looked for a second goal.
It was Atkinson however that proved provider again as his perfectly weighted ball found Christian Rowbotham in space. Rowbotham still had much to do though as he cut in from the right and burst into the opposition box before unleashing a power packed shot that bewitched the Rotherfield keeper as it nestled in the far corner of the net.
As the game wore on however the home side began to drop deeper and deeper as they looked to hang onto their first league win of the season. This is when centre back pairing of Luca Thomson and Oliver Saunders really shone as they refused to let the opposition through. Set piece after set piece came raining in on the host’s goal but the 2 defenders were magnificent in the cauldron of the dying minutes as they stood firm and secured the 2 1 victory for the Hurricanes.