Hurricanes Blow Away Opposition in Cup Final!

The U17 AFC Henley Hurricanes ran out 8-2 winners against Eynsham U18s in the Oxfordshire FA Joe Roughton U18 Youth Cup Final.

Played at Yarnton Road, the home of Kidlington FC, the Hurricanes had battled through 5 rounds before reaching this prestigious final. They arrived in excellent spirits having been on a tour of Belgium the previous week which included a very competitive game against the Standard Liege academy.

Buoyed by new investment from top notch sponsor, TRANSLUX, world class provider ofiInternational location facility equipment, the Hurricanes were keen to repay the faith shown in them by the management team and they did that in spades throughout the course of the final.

In what was a scintillating first half performance the Hurricanes put in their best performance of the season to run out worthy winners. Buoyed by a large Henley support led by Gavin Crowe in the Mike Gradwell Stand behind the goal the Hurricanes wasted no time in stamping their authority on the Cup Final.

Finnbar Scott was showing all his trademark tricks on the left side of the pitch and whipped in a pinpoint accurate cross for Alfie Agar. Agar pivoted on a five pence and flicked in a header from 10 yards out which looped in over the opposition keeper to send the Hurricane fans into raptures.

George Crowe was having an imposing game in midfield and burst through two tackles before sliding an inch perfect pass through to Lawrence Wilks. Wilks found himself 15 yards out on the left side of the area and still with a lot to do but he was calmness personified as he fired the ball past the keeper into the opposite corner of the net to make it 2-0.

The ever-dangerous Joe Turner was next into action as he received a throw on the left from Scott and Turner drove to the by line before finding Crowe on the edge of the area. Crowe then played in Sam Puddephatt who had made a very intelligent overlapping run on the right. Puddephatt then played a brilliant ball across the six-yard area and there was Agar to slot home from close range to make it 3 0.

Eynsham to their credit still looked dangerous on the counterattack especially in the air but Captain Ed Hanman-Killick and centre back partner Luca Thomson were formidable at the back cutting out everything and laying their bodies on the line to protect the goal.

The Hurricanes weren’t done before half time though and next was probably the goal of the game. The Steven Gerrard like Jack Johnson received the ball deep in his own half and found Wilks who played a lovely 1-2 with Johnson himself that sent Johnson away into the opposition half. Johnson found Agar and Agar then pinged the ball to the pacey Harvey Herbert. Herbert was covering ground like a gazelle on the right side of the pitch and in turn found Agar. Agar then spun a Eynsham defender dropped his shoulder and fired past the keeper to notch a first half hattrick that Jimmy Greaves would have been proud of.

Just before half time the Hurricanes added another to put one hand on the trophy as Wilks soared down the right before finding Crowe who fed Agar in the box and the attacking midfielder needed no second invitation to notch his fourth as the Hurricanes went into the interval 5-0 ahead.

Just after the break Crowe broke down the right and had a shot that the keeper spilled. On hand to smash the ball into the back of the net was top class finisher Leo Santamarina Muka. Santamarina Muka has had dreadful luck with injuries but proved his class and timing here with a very well-deserved goal.

Keeper Szymon “Shimmy” Koscielniak was patrolling his area like a guard dog and was winning all the aerial balls that were coming into the box as he demonstrated why he had won the richly deserved “Player of the Year” award.

Full back Max Stokes was impressing with his tough tackling and set up the Hurricanes next goal as he fed Herbert on the left. Herbert was away in a flash before finding Turner 25 yards out. Just like his old man Turner needed no second invitation to shoot and from outside the area he found the bottom corner with a deadly strike.

Jack Slattery was proving rock solid at the back with his well-timed interceptions and his strength in the tackle was vital in stopping a rare Enysham counterattack.

Eynsham would not lie down however and came back into the game with a well won penalty as their number 9 got the wrong side of the Hurricanes defence for the only time in the game. It brought a rash challenge from the Hurricanes defence and the awarding of the spot kick from which they made no mistake.

They quickly it made two as they smashed in a free kick from the edge of the box.

The Hurricanes were in no mood not to “win” both halves though and Tom “Bob” Atkinson was at his creative best as he scooped a ball forward to Herbert on the right flank taking out the whole of the Eynsham defence in the process. Herbert was at his cool best as he slid the ball across to fox in the box Josh Livesey and Livesey showed why he is so deadly from 6 yards out as he made no mistake to make it 8-2 and secure the Oxfordshire FA Cup for the mighty Hurricanes.

The Hurricanes management boot room team of Turner, Atkinson & Johnson were said to be over the moon with the team’s performance and felt that the silverware was a just reward for a tremendous season. They added that no stone would be left unturned as they looked to strengthen the squad in the close season having had a tremendous transfer window the previous Summer.

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