Feb. 18, 2020, 11:16 p.m.
Saturday, 04th January 2020, 1:30PM, at
Home Match, Hadley & Ottaway Anglian Combination Division 3 - 2019 - 2020
Draw, 1 - 1
Hempnall welcomed third place Castle Acre Swifts in their first game back after the Christmas break.
Hempnall were missing their mobile striker, Justin Womack, but introduced two reserve players, Ryan Cullabine and Jack Herbert, both of whom slotted in well up front. Manager Bunn had to take his place between the sticks due to Davis having to work.
On a very heavy pitch which cut up badly, both teams were finding it difficult, on occasions, to keep their feet, but even so, decent football was possible.
The game started well enough for Hempnall who were looking evenly matched with a team 12 places above them, with Cullabine and Herbert giving the defence something to think about, and an early shot from Cullabine needed a decent save from the opposition keeper.
Soon after, a corner was headed toward goal by the (until he was injured) excellent Aaron Clarke, but it was comfortable for the keeper.
The Hempnall back four of Way, Kelly, Leather and Clarke were generally coping well enough, and any efforts on goal were being well dealt with by the dependable Bunn.
Adam Clarke was having his usual high-effort match, and Watts and Hartle, his midfield partners, were as competitive and combative as ever.
Hartle, thriving in his midfield role, was pinging some sweet balls and himself had a decent effort at goal, and with Edwards also coming forward at every opportunity, Hempnall were well in the game.
End to end play saw Herbert have a good shot on goal though it passed the near post, but then a lapse saw the oppostion number 9 sneak in to power a shot past Bunn for 0-1.
Hempnall were still well in the game, Herbert and Cullabine causing real problems, but at the other end, Bunn had to pull off a very good save.
Just before half time, a good move saw Cullabine finish with aplomb after an excellent run from left back Shaun Kelly (the photographer apologises for missing the goal, his battery failed at the wrong moment).
Honours even at half time, Hempnall came out determined to secure the victory, and again, we were entertained with some end to end football, both teams going close, though Bunn in particular had to again keep Hempnall even with two very good saves, the opposition keeper having to deal more with less testing shots. Herbert should probably have done a bit better when he was clear of the defence but his tame shot didn’t trouble the keeper, and Hempnall’s new player, Docherty, was playing his part at both ends of the pitch and coming more and more into the game.
On came Thompson, he had a shot, then the keeper intercepted bravely when Herbert looked odds on to score.
Herbert and Cullabine went close, as did Way from a free kick, but in the end, both teams managed to avoid the second goal, and we felt a draw was a fair result on the day.
In a good game on a difficult surface, it was difficult to pick a MOM – all players performed, the two Reserves players were very good. Other players caught the eye, Way, Kelly and Bunn in particular, but I think for another outstanding shift, my MOM is Watts.