May 27, 2018, 6:54 p.m.
Saturday, 04th November 2017, 2PM, at Hempnall #1
Home Match, Anglian Combination Division 3 - 2017 - 2018
Win, 2 - 1
Hempnall came into the match today on the back of a couple of defeats, though the manager thought that today would be close as the teams looked to be more equally matched.
We welcomed back a couple of players from last season, Everard and Shepherd, now performing for South Walsham, though the Secretary was sad to see that the Hunnies didn’t accompany them on this occasion.
The game started brightly enough with Hempall threatening, the first shot came from Germaine who could only hit his effort at the keeper, frankly a season long failing for the team, getting into good positions but failing to finish.
Tom Griffiths was looking very mobile and along with Billy Kelly looked the players most likely to cause the opposition problems down the flanks, but their runs didn’t quite have the end product.
Another failing, hesitency and not attacking the ball, was again highlighted, the opposition taking advantage of the bouncing ball and winning most second balls.
It was this that allowed South Walsham to grow into the game and look the more dangerous for much of the first half.
It seemed that the Hempnall players were, perhaps, lacking a bit of confidence after their difficult recent games against the top teams.
It was a defensive lapse leading to the opposition being awarded what looked to us a rather harsh penalty, the defender seemed to have his back to the ball when it hit his arm. Still, it was given, and South Walsham went 1-0 up.
Fortunately, Taylor Davis was again in good form, looking confident between the posts, and prevented further goals.
Billy Kelly had one excellent run which almost, and probably should have, resulted in a goal but his finish hit the keeper and stayed out.
Hempnall, even though they weren’t at their best, still looked capable of getting back into the match, and we went into half time with a few strong words from the manager.
The second half started better, Billy Kelly tore the defence apart again, and crossed though the ball wasn’t put away.
It didn’t seem to be going for Hempnall, second balls landing at the feet of the South Walsham players, but it was definitely looking more promising.
Another cross from Kelly and a clear handball wasn’t given, the referee must have been unsighted, so Hempnall were again frustrated.
Several half chances came and went either end but with Hempnall far more confident, Bennett and Clarke went close, allied to some great last ditch defending notably from Jamie Miller, saw Hempnall looking far more likely to open their account.
Forbes missed a chance he would normally bury with ease, and still Hempnall were frustrated.
Just a bit of luck needed, and it was gained with what may have been another slightly harsh penalty, though we were glad it was given. Bennett slotted it into the net beautifully, 1-1 and game on.
South Walsham never gave up and themselves looked dangerous, with Davis brought into action on a few occasions.
The manager then brought on young Jamie Bennett for the last 20 minutes, and he made a difference, fresh legs causing the defence problems with his runs down the line, and it was one of these that saw him shoot from the angle, the ball flying across the goal, missing the far post. A terrific effort, it was only a matter of time.
Several corners later, and a run by the excellent Billy Kelly, saw him crash a superb shot into the back of the net for 2-1.
Hempnall had to hold out for the last 10 minutes, but did so with an excellent rearguard action, and they gained a vital win to boost confidence.
In fairrness, not their best performance, but full of effort, and the Secretary’s MOM today is Billy Kelly.