AFC Henley Hurricanes U11s started the year with a tough encounter: a rematch with the Old Windsor Tigers in a friendly match at Jubilee Park.
A cold, wet morning greeted players, officials and spectators for AFC Henley Hurricanes U11s first game of the new year. During the teams’ warm-ups a constant drizzle fell, but the start of the game seemed to provoke a more intense rainfall which fell steadily throughout the game.
The Tigers, wearing red shirts, had much the better of the opening exchanges, whilst the Hurricanes, in yellow, were immediately on the defensive. Dominic set the tone with a goal-line clearance but the Tigers had soon made their early dominance count, rounding the defence to slot the ball home.
Whilst the early momentum was with the Tigers, the Hurricanes found some confidence and started to win the ball in midfield and pass it more accurately. The Tigers still posed a threat. Harrison saved a well-struck free kick. At the other end Oscar typically committed going forwards. His through ball found Will G, whose shot was well saved by the Tigers’ keeper, but not Oscar’s chipped follow-up.
Both teams were scrapping hard to win the ball and create opportunities, despite the wet and slippery conditions. Jack C, Will G and Oscar were surging forward, whilst Shiva and Will L combined well on the left. At the other end Harrison made three sharp saves in a row to keep the Tigers at bay, whilst Jack T and Dominic tackled hard.
For a time, the Hurricanes had the upper hand and the game was played in her Tigers’ half. However, the momentum soon shifted and at the break the teams were on even terms.
The second half began with the Hurricanes defending once again. However, they were able to break. New signing Zico made an immediate impression with his pace and perseverance. Man-of-the-match Shiva’s resulting shot was well saved by the Tigers’ keeper.
The game continued to ebb and flow. There were more opportunities for Shiva to score, but he was also required to get back and join Will G, Will L and Dominic in defence. Harrison made a string of fine saves. Nicolas won the ball in midfield. All through this the rain kept falling.
At the other end, the Tigers keeper made a brave save to deny Oscar. However, this time it was Will G who was in the right place to collect the rebound.
The game ended with two very wet but determined teams pushing hard for the advantage, right up to the final whistle. The next game sees the Hurricanes make their division one debut away from home.