On a warm spring morning, AFC Henley Hurricanes U11s travelled across Reading to take on Procision Copas U11s.
AFC Henley Hurricanes U11s’ final match of the season was played on the 4G pitch at Wren School against the academy side Procision Copas. The sun shone brightly, making the Copas’ red shirts and the yellow of the Hurricanes’ away kit stand out against the green background. Unlike recent matches, no trains could be seen, but double decker buses passed regularly on the Bath Road.
The game started brightly, too. If the Hurricanes had marginally the better of the first few minutes, it was the Copas who had the first shot. Goalkeeper Harrison snuffed out the loose ball to avert any problems.
The Hurricanes worked hard to get the ball down the pitch to create an opportunity. Luca and Jack C won the ball in midfield, and captain Dominic’s long throw-ins proved effective too. The Copas were also looking to create opportunities, and were well organised in attack, showing good discipline in the box . Jack T had to make a string of tackles to keep them at bay. The Copas had the first clear shot, but a glancing header was wide of the target.
The teams were evenly matched which, coupled with the large playing area and bouncy surface made for a competitive game. The Copas had more shots on goal, whilst the Hurricanes were starting to pass the ball well. One sophisticated move involved five players, Nicholas, Will L, Will G, Oscar and Luca, and took the ball from defence to the goalmouth.
The first attack of the second half also fell to the Copas, but was cleared by Jack T. The Hurricanes won a corner, but once the Copas won the ball the yellow shirts streamed back into defence.
The game had become more open now. The Hurricanes had their first chances: Ed had a shot blocked, and Will L’s shot at a very tight angle was saved by the keeper. The Copas were also creating chances. Their striker had a marvellous solo run past several defenders.
The Hurricanes won a free kick just outside the box, Will L scoring directly with a sweetly-struck shot into the top corner of the goal.
The pace of the game increased markedly, with the Copas looking for an equaliser whilst the Hurricanes wanted to cement their advantage. Jack T made more important tackles, and Harrison a couple of confident saves, collecting the ball with the minimum of fuss.
Both teams were now creating chances. Oscar and Will G were in the box, but it was Ed who was finally able to get a shot away from close range. The play quickly moved to the other end, where the Copas were rushing forward in numbers. Their clean passing allowed them to get a shot away, under pressure from man-of-the-match Jack T. For the Hurricanes, Oscar showed great skill to win the ball on the right, finding Will G up front. The game ended with Will G bearing down on goal, hotly pursued by three defenders.
This was the final game of the regular season for the Hurricanes. Thoughts now turn to upcoming tournaments, and a summer league competition.