AFC Henley Hurricanes U11s faced a tricky away fixture at Cookham Dean.
Another sunny morning was the setting for AFC Henley Hurricanes’ latest match, a league fixture against Cookham Dean Youth. The Hurricanes had not faced Cookham Dean before, and finding the ground presented a few navigational challenges. The pitch sloped from one side to the other, and trains on the Bourne End branch line ran a few metres beyond.
The game kicked off in bright sunshine; Cookham Dean in green and black and the Hurricanes in their red-and-black shirts. The Hurricanes started brightly, Jack C and Oscar passing the ball well. Jack C put a tantalising ball in from a corner, but it could not be converted.
At the other end, a Cookham Dean free kick resulted in a great ball across the Hurricanes’ goal. After a lot of chaos in the box, the ball was eventually bundled over the line.
To their credit, the Hurricanes kept working hard despite going behind. Luca was pressing on the edge of the box, and Oscar’s long shot found the side netting. Cookham Dean proved to be very capable of breaking strongly, and both defenders Jack T and Dominic had to be alert. Nicholas worked hard to win the ball in midfield. Much of the game was played at the side of the pitch at the bottom of the slope, with both teams moving it along that line. The game moved more freely when the ball was closer to the middle of the pitch.
The Hurricanes began the second half pushing forward. Oscar’s shot was saved by the Cookham Dean keeper. The game had become quite end-to-end and the Hurricanes had to defend well. Captain Jack T and Dominic have developed a strong understanding with goalkeeper Harrison, and the three worked well as a team. Cookham Dean were strong and quick going forward, but the Hurricanes were matching them, red shirts streaming forward. Jack C and Oscar again passed the ball well, and another Jack C corner found Jack T in the box, who kept a cool head to put the ball past the keeper. A train came past at that exact moment, as if to join the celebrations.
The Hurricanes were buoyed by their goal, but quickly found themselves in defensive mode again. One Cookham Dean attack drew three blocks from Dominic and two sharp reaction saves from Harrison before it was snuffed out.
The pace and intensity of the game increased at the end of the game, as both teams searched for goals. Dominic’s long throw-in found Will L in the box, but his powerful volley was narrowly wide. Oscar and Shiva combined in attack, but Shiva’s goal was saved. Cookham Dean posed a constant threat, man-of-the-match Harrison making a string of high class saves.
Next weekend sees the Hurricanes continue their travels with another away fixture in the league.