A quirk of scheduling leads AFC Henley Hurricanes U11s to play the same opposition for two consecutive weeks.
Another bright summer morning at Cintra Park in Reading found the Hurricanes pitted against Whiteknights U11 White Foxes for the second week in a row, this time in a friendly fixture.
Despite some rain during the week, the pitch remained very hard, especially in the goalmouths where there was little grass.
Almost as if picking up from last week, the game began at a lively tempo. For the Hurricanes, Ed had an early chance, but seconds later the Foxes hit the post. Oscar was looking dangerous on the right, winning the ball and firing the ball towards the goal.
A loose ball was won by Jack T, who found his namesake on the right wing. Jack C’s cross in found Ed, who calmly slotted the ball home. For the next few minutes the Hurricanes had the upper hand. Oscar’s shot was well saved by the Foxes’ keeper.
The Foxes’ forwards were also quick and able to pass the ball effectively. They broke down the left, and rounded the Hurricanes’ defence to score from the most acute of angles.
It was the Hurricanes’ turn to be in defensive mode, and they had to be on guard against the Foxes’ attack. Casper and Dominic both made important tackles. Goalkeeper Adam had to be alert to the high bounce of the ball.
The Hurricanes were trying hard to get the ball out of their area. One move found Luca, who played the sweetest-timed ball through to Oscar. Oscar pushed determinedly through the back line of defenders, as he has done so many times for the Hurricanes, and shot past the keeper. The pendulum had swung again, and the Hurricanes ended the half on top.
The second half began with the Foxes on the attack. However, the Hurricanes were soon pushing forward. Dominic’s long throw-in found Oscar, who headed on to Casper but his volley was saved. Luca’s shot across goal was narrowly wide.
At the other end, the Foxes won a corner. The first ball in was repelled by the Hurricanes’ defence, but the second bobbled for what seemed like a long time in the box before a blue shirt put it into the goal.
The pendulum started oscillating wildly. The Hurricanes’ passing had clicked. Gabriel’s powerful looping shot was only slightly wide, but it still took a while to find the ball in the hedge behind the goal. The Foxes came thundering forward again. Some good defensive work by Ethan drew the sting, and Adam caught the shot comfortably.
Typically, the play was immediately back in the Foxes’ half. Will L had the ball on the left. Rather than work the ball onto his stronger left foot, he lofted the ball with his right into the goal at the near post.
Both teams were lively in the closing minutes. Shiva was busy in midfield, whilst Ed and Oscar were still looking for goal scoring opportunities. The Foxes maintained the pace too. Dominic, Will L and man-of-the-match Jack T were all in the action in defence.
Next week sees the Hurricanes back at Cintra Park for the next instalment of the summer league.