Hempnall's knockout finale
IT was a fantastic night as Hempnall's good season turned into an historic one with the hard-fought 1-0 victory over a good Watton team in the Senior Knock-Out Cup final at Wroxham FC.
ITwas a fantastic night as Hempnall's good season turned into an historic one with the hard-fought 1-0 victory over a good Watton team in the Senior Knock-Out Cup final at Wroxham FC.
Add this to their third place finish in the league and it's a season beyond Hempnall's expectations.
The game itself wasn't a spectacle as two evenly matched sides cancelled each other out.
Both teams played a 3-5-2 formation, resulting in a congested midfield and fought hard for possession, and the game became one of cat and mouse, patience and determination.
It looked like one mistake or piece of quality would win the game, fortunately it was the latter when Sam Wenham somehow found enough space to deliver a perfect cross for Tom Halliwell to head home.
The starting line-up threw up a few surprises as Marty Addison picked up an injury over the weekend, midfielder Adam Solley filled in at centre-half. Tim Downs dropped into the holding role and Frankie went back up front for the first time in four games.
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The first 10 minutes of the game definitely belonged to Watton as they came out the sharper, picking up most of the loose balls and forced several corners or free-kicks but Hempnall defended stoutly.
Adam Solley found his way into the book for a strong challenge and Cudden had to smother a striker's shot as Hempnall failed to execute the offside trap correctly, this resulted in him being free inside the six-yard box but the big keeper made a smart save.
Hempnall slowly forced their way into the game and caused some desperate defending in a goalmouth scramble.
Browney and Frankie started to come into the game, the latter having done well to even make the starting line up, having been ill with a sickness bug.
There were some half-hearted cries for a penalty on Franklin but the game remained goalless at the half-time whistle, with Watton just shading things.
The second half started brighter with Barnes and Player starting to make their physical presence tell, the former enjoying the battle and banter with his former team.
Man-of-the-match Whitmore and Solley got to grips with Bloomfield and Nichols respectively, resulting in the game becoming very tense as both side sought dominance but didn't want to risk losing the cup.
With 10 minutes to go the goal came and it was a peach, one which all at the club and particularly Tom will remember for a long time.
Watton made substitutions to try and find the equaliser but Hempnall held firm.
The tiring Barnes and Franklin were replaced by Lydka and Way as we ran down the clock in a very professional and disciplined way.
The final whistle came and scenes of jubilation followed as 10 months of hard work came to a very rewarding and enjoyable end.