Hempnall battle to well-earned draw
Hempnall, who next host Loddon, returned from a tough visit to title-chasing Acle United with a well-earned 1-1 draw.The squad was strengthened by the return of Tom Halliwell and Jamie Pretty and also the long-awaited return of the mercurial Barry Allard following his 18-month lay-off through cruciate damage.
Hempnall, who next host Loddon, returned from a tough visit to title-chasing Acle United with a well-earned 1-1 draw.
The squad was strengthened by the return of Tom Halliwell and Jamie Pretty and also the long-awaited return of the mercurial Barry Allard following his 18-month lay-off through cruciate damage.
Having suffered defeat in the home fixture when the team completely lost the centre of midfield, they sought to learn from that mistake and went like-for-like with Acle's three-man midfield, plus man-to-man marking on their dangerous three-pronged strike force. The outcome was, as planned, a game of few chances as Hempnall stifled Acle's free-flowing play and tried to gain advantage by going long on a heavy pitch.
For 47 minutes this paid good dividends as an enthralling tactical battle, if not wildly entertaining game, unfolded. However, on 48 minutes all Hempnall's good work came unstuck following a harsh free-kick and some careless defending, which allowed Acle's Warren Nichols to glance home a free header.
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Hempnall's best chance had come shortly before when Tom Halliwell found room in the box, but failed to get off a shot.
The second half failed to produce many chances at either end until a home striker burst through and looked to have slotted his shot into the corner before the outstretched Ben Cudden just got enough to the ball to stop it.
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Halliwell limped off with a pulled hamstring to be replaced by Barry Allard, who was quick to remind all of his silky skills.
Flint and Wenham then came on, and little by little Hempnall got a larger share of possession. It looked as if all Hempnall's efforts were to remain unrewarded until the 90th minute, when a cross was headed goalwards on to the bar and Simon Jackson headed the rebound on to the underside of the bar and it crossed the line.
MoM: Iain Mills, top-class display.