On Friday night the men lifted their first trophy in 5 years after a 3-2 victory over Hempnall Reserves.
The squad had been dealt several blows over the run-up to the game with bans for Vice Captain Declan Moore and Left Back Ryan Stannard, the unavailability of several of our active service squad members Reece Westwood, Michael Cook, and Ed Leviseur, and the ineligibility of Ben Cordle and Brandon Njoya.
Squad, GK Jamie Emerson, LB Luke Williams, RB, Peter Turnbull, CBs Tom Stones and Bradley Cannell. CMs Louis Stimpson, Bradley Jackson and Callum Cockram (c), CAMs Marcus Clark and Josh Haycox, CF Jamie Keen.
Nonetheless, we went in full of confidence and well-rested after a three-week break since our last league fixture. Preparations were good, some of the lads had a massage before the game and a well-organised warm-up made sure cramps were going to be reduced.
Hempnall started the far better of the two sides pinning us in with balls into their forwards. Captain Callum Cockram was soon in the book after making a tactical foul just outside the area to stop such an attack. Hempnall did take the lead after the Hockering defence stopped assuming they had been given an offside decision. Manager Derrick Johnson was livid with the positioning of the back four with both full-backs far too disconnected from their centre-backs. The game and Hockering then settled with both teams exchanging chances before Josh Haycox grabbed the goal that got us back into the game. HT 1-1
We planned to make changes about 10 minutes into the second half and as it happened Hempnall scored just before we made those changes. We didn’t let this affect the way we played and still tried to get the ball into the number 9 position and allow runners to break from there. Jamie Dugdale replaced Pete Turnbull at right back, at this point, the opposition were starting to tire pulling up with cramp and general fatigue. Liam Plunkett replaced Marcus Clark and was soon involved, forcing the Hempnall keeper into a fingertip save around the post. The link-up with our refreshed right-hand side kept paying dividends isolating the Hempnall left back in a 2 on 1 over and over. This allowed our centre-backs to push higher and press Hempnall higher up the field. Possession was now much easier to keep and all we needed to do was force an opening, and up stepped Jamie Keen! Picking the all up 25 yards out before smashing it past the Hempnall keeper. 2-2 and the game is very much on. Louis Rutherford now replaced Captain Callum Cockram in midfield and instantly set about getting us forward quickly, a nice interchange with right back Jamie Dugdale and Forward Liam Plunkett set us off into an attack which was then switched across the pitch and cleared by the Hempnall defence, Dugdale tracked the attacker back and the covering Bradley Cannell came away with the ball, striding forward 15 yards before making a pinpoint pass into Keens feet, The Striker turned and smashed the ball high into the net.
Que the celebrations and the technical area and pitched emptied out into the corner where a large group of fans were stationed. With just 8 minutes to go and Hempnall now looking extremely tired and deflated Hockering passed their way to fulltime and a 3-2 win. MotM Bradley Cannell. Goals Haycox and Keen x2.