May 27, 2018, 6:56 p.m.
Saturday, 20th January 2018, 2PM, at Hempnall #1
Home Match, Anglian Combination Division 3 - 2017 - 2018
Draw, 1 - 1
Hempnall entertained Earsham at Bungay Road knowing that they would have to perform 100% better than the disastrous effort at Long Stratton the week before, and after advice from the managers, did just that.
The team showed a few changes to that of the previous week, Melton coming in to add height up front, playing as the lone striker, with King and Clarke both starting from the off. Hempnall were without the injured and important Shaun Kelly who came along to add vocal support.
The game started on a flat, nice looking pitch, which after half time turned into a mud bath due to the incessant rain, credit to all the players for giving us such a good end to end game enjoyed, I am sure, by all. It should be fun trying to put the pitch back together again, though.
Both teams started brightly, and it looked from the off as though it might be close.
The Hempnall defence looked a bit more secure, with early tackles and good decision making, and with Watts and Bellingham tigerish in midfield, it was boding well.
Kelly had an early run and possibly made the wrong, but generous, decision to try and play in Melton when he could have shot, and a few minutes later had a shot which the Earsham keeper collected comfortably.
Then, from a driven Kelly corner, Bellingham was in the right place to head home for Hempnall’s only goal of the game.
Still though, the game was close, both teams looking as though they could score, and last ditch tackles and clearances from Talbot, King, Clarke (Aaron) and Bennett, plus good goalkeeping from the confident Davis, saw Hempnall maintain their lead until a breakaway wasn’t dealt with, Hempnall failed to clear, and it was 1-1 at half time.
Both keepers were frequently called into action, Davis in the Hempnall goal making the better saves as Earsham came closer to finishing their chances, whereas Hempnall’s were more half chances that either sailed over or past, or into the keeper’s hands.
Up front though, Melton, Adam Clarke and Kelly were making themselves a nuisance, and Hempnall’s confidence grew.
The second half saw early efforts from Bennett which sailed past the post, and in another attack, the Earsham Defender hit his own bar but the ball bounced kindly for the keeper to collect.
Earsham then forced a superb goal line clearance by Aaron Clarke, but Hempnall responded with attacks creating corners and near misses.
There was very little in the teams, and a draw was probably a fair result. Thanks to the Earsham players, officials and supporters for staying after to enjoy the hospitality.
Picking a MOM this week is very difficult, several players are in with a shout, the Secretary’s shortlist is Taylor Davis, George Watts, Billy Kelly, Aaron Clarke, (though about 6 others could argue their cases). Let’s leave it at that this week!
The referee this week, Mark Swaby, was excellent.