An extremely cold morning, with a chilling wind and the tail-end of Storm Arwen, formed the backdrop to AFC Henley Hurricanes U11s’ friendly game against Wokingham and Emmbrook Sumas. The Hurricanes were still acclimatising whilst the Sumas seized the initiative. Their forwards surged towards the Hurricanes’ goal and a headed opportunity gave them the early lead. The momentum was all with the Sumas, with the Hurricanes on the back foot.
Gradually, the Hurricanes found a way back into the game. Oscar made the first of many runs down the left wing. Much of the action was in midfield, and the Sumas posed a challenge with their fast attack. At the other end, Will G was on the scoresheet with a fine left-footed shot after dribbling the ball through several defenders.
The game opened up with more end-to-end play. Luca’s pass freed Oscar to attack on the left again. The forwards were passing the ball well. In defence, captain Dominic, Jack T and Nicolas were committed in their tackling to keep the Sumas at bay.
The second half started with another chance for the Sumas. Jack T was on hand to snuff out the danger of one opportunity, and Harrison made a calm save to another. It was a cold morning to be a goalkeeper.
The Hurricanes were again moving the ball around effectively. Jack C, Oscar, Will L and Luca were creating chances. Jack C finished one move with a shot from the edge of the box.
The Sumas continually asked questions of the Hurricanes with fast attacks. They swooped on goal with one break, whilst strong tackling by Josh won the ball several times. The Hurricanes were all committed, with five or six players running back on one occasion to support the defence.
The commitment was also evident up front with attackers swarming forward in numbers. Josh’s speed took him from the halfway line to within sight of goal. Luca finished one move sweetly from the edge of the box, whilst man-of-the-match Oscar made no mistake following his solo run.
By the end of the game the cold had set in for the spectators, the officials and also the players, especially those who had been substitutes. The Hurricanes were pushed hard by a strong team with penetrative attackers and a strong goalkeeper. Their next game sees them return to league action at Jubilee Park.