The AFC Henley Hurricanes team welcomed Rotherfield United to play a derby fixture at Jubilee Park.
After recent cold, windy and wet fixtures, it was a relief to be greeted by a sunny winter morning. Rotherfield United, in their yellow and black stripes, faced the red shirts of the Hurricanes. As with all derby games, this match had extra meaning. There were classmates on both sides, and Monday morning bragging rights were up for grabs.
The Hurricanes made their mark on the game first. Oscar and Shiva were working well on the left. Jack C put a great ball into the box from an early corner, but the Rotherfield defence was up to the task and defended it well.
Rotherfield also showed their attacking pedigree, coming forward quickly and forcing the Hurricanes to defend in numbers. It took a really good move from the Hurricanes to break the deadlock. Nicolas’ pass to Jack C took the ball down the right wing, and Oscar’s accurate cross allowed Shiva to tap home calmly.
The game became more open, with both teams looking for opportunities and both defences working hard. Jack T made some typically committed blocks in defence, Dominic’s long throw-ins helped the team push forward and Luca used his skill to penetrate the Rotherfield defence. A quick break from the Rotherfield strikers led to a powerful shot. Goalkeeper Harrison parried that, but even Dominic’s attempted goalmouth clearance couldn’t keep the follow-up out.
The end-to-end play continued. Jack T saw his shot saved by the Rotherfield keeper, but was immediately back to make some important tackles in defence. The half ended with the Hurricanes swarming forward in search of goal.
The second half began with a change of personnel. New goalkeeper Adam joined Ethan at the back, whilst regular goalkeeper Harrison had a rare opportunity as striker. The game continued to be end-to-end. Dominic and Ethan both made important tackles, defending a string of corners. At the other end, Rotherfield were also defending well, leaving the Hurricanes no way through. Oscar had several shots saved, and saw a long shot just over the bar. Adam was also making saves at the other end, and was well supported by Ethan, Oscar, Dominic and man-of-the-match Jack T, who all made important tackles.
The game saw wholehearted performances from both teams, looking to create opportunities until the final whistle. Next week sees the Hurricanes hit the road for another league match.