The U16 AFC Henley Hurricanes ran out 4-1 winners at home against Ascot Athletic in this East Berks Division 1 game.
The Hurricanes only had 11 men which made their performance all the more heroic.
The hosts, as has become the norm for them, were slowly into their stride and it came as no surprise when Ascot took the lead. With little pressure on the ball Ascot were able to hit a 20 yard strike that gave Joe Hybert in goal no chance as the visitors went 1-0 up.
Going a goal down seemed to galvanise the Hurricanes into action though and it was the centre back pairing of Luca Thomson and Oliver Saunders who set the tone for the rest of the team. Their tough tackling and strong vocal leadership were key in getting the hosts back in the game.
Lawrence Wilks drove down the left and hit a powerful shot that was defected onto the post and out for a corner. Tom Atkinson delivered the corner with the accuracy of an Exocet missile as it curled viciously into the top far corner of the net to bring the sides level.
Joe Winpenny had to make a vital interception just before the break to ensure the sides went in at the interval at one goal apiece.
The Hurricanes started the second half well as they scored one of the goals of the season. Jack Johnson played a sumptuous 1-2 with Alfie Agar before Agar hit a first time left footed shot into the top right corner of the Ascot goal to send the home fans into raptures.
The game was now getting stretched as Ascot went in search of the equaliser. Man of the Match Max Stokes, who was playing in a very unfamiliar right back role, had to use all of his pace and footballing acumen to keep the Ascot attacks to a minimum.
Hybert had to claw away a rare Ascot attack when the ball was heading towards the top corner and from the resulting corner Johnson had to be at his best to clear the ball from danger when under heavy Ascot pressure.
The Hurricanes were seeking a third however and it came via the classic Turner Atkinson combination. Harvey Herbert, who had earlier suffered a bloody nose in the game, threaded an inch perfect through ball to Joe Turner. Turner, showing all the attributes of his old man, accelerated determinedly past 2 Ascot defenders before hitting a vicious shot that the opposition keeper could only parry. First to react was Atkinson as he pounced on the loose ball to smack it past the strewn keeper and put the hosts 3-1 up.
The Hurricanes were now dominant and it was Turner who put the icing on the cake. The Hurricanes’ number 10 made a great run down the inside right channel and was found by Agar. Turner again used his pace and strength to outmuscle the Ascot backline before hitting an unstoppable shot into the bottom left corner of the net and make it 4-1 to the home side.
Managers Turner and Atkinson were said to be delighted by the performance and the spirit the eleven men had shown to win in such convincing fashion especially having fallen behind early doors that sent them up to 4th in the table.
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