POSTED: January 04 2020 13:39:01. By Ben Robinson - Topsy-turvy, end-to-end win in 13-goal thriller!

U11 Hurricanes (Home) v Parkwyddn Juniors U11's Predators
Saturday 4th January 2020 (10.15am KO)
Brookhouse Playing Fields, Buckthorne Lane, Salford, M30 7QD
Referee: Bradley Pearl

Won: 7-6 (HT 3-3)
Goals: Henry Errington (2), Reece Cartwright (2), Amaan Khan, Thomas Robinson Joshua Whitehead.
MotM: Thomas Robinson

In their first game of the New Year, the Beechfield Under-11 Hurricanes played host to unfamiliar opposition at their new ‘home’ ground on a cold, damp early morning. The home side were without Enzo Barbosa (who had not yet returned from a Christmas break in the sun) and Oliver Hall (who was struck down by a sickness bug). However they were pleased to welcome Reece Cartwright and Tom Robinson who were both making their debuts, following their recent transfers from the former Beechfield Tornadoes side. The Parkwyddn side that they faced were an unknown quantity as this was the first game between the two teams, so no-one really knew what to expect.

The Hurricanes started brightly and had the better of the opening exchanges but seemed to take a while to get into their stride on a bobbly, uneven pitch and especially after three weeks without a game. However, it didn’t take too long before Henry Errington shot out of midfield on a solo run into the opposition half, before coolly slotting home into the far bottom corner, beyond the dive of the visiting ‘keeper.

This seemed to spark the visitors into life though, as they struck back almost immediately with a quick counter-attack down the left that led to confusion in the Hurricanes’ penalty area and tap in for the opposition striker. This really seemed to unnerve the Beechfield defence, who then let another goal in just minutes later as the ball wriggled under the home ‘keeper from a speculative shot from distance (although there seemed to be at least two attacking players who were a long way offside in the build-up?!)

Thankfully, the referee’s relaxed approach to the offside rule worked in the Hurricanes’ favour just moments later as the decisions were evened out very quickly, and Reece Cartwright was able to capitalise and slot-home an excellent equaliser on his debut. His new team-mates were all delighted for him, and ran to congratulate him on his goal, which seemed to give them whole team a real lift.

Unfortunately their confidence took another hit shortly afterwards as a corner that was driven in low and hard from the opposition team ricocheted into the home net for an own goal that gave Parkwyddn a lead that they really didn’t deserve. Thankfully it wasn’t long before the Hurricanes drew level again with another great strike from Henry Errington. His second goal of the game (and tenth in his last three matches?!) also had a hint of offside about it in the build-up but it was no more than the home team deserved.

That ended the scoring for the first half as the teams went in level, and Ben Robinson and Glenn Whitehead began their half time team talk to ensure that their players got the result that they deserved in the second half. Their words of wisdom certainly seemed to pay off as the home team made a strong start after the break, passing the ball better and putting together some excellent footballing moves.

It wasn’t long before Amaan Khan broke down the right and fired home a powerful shot to give the Hurricanes a deserved lead, after some great, flowing football. This really lifted the team and Jamie Maher was desperately unlucky not to score as well, as his powerful right footed effort from distance curled just wide of the top corner, for what would’ve been the goal of the game.

However, it wasn’t long before the away ‘keeper was picking the ball out of his net again, as Reece Cartwright managed to bury a chance from inside the box that just squeeze under the goalie and over the line. This two-goal cushion should have been enough to ensure a home victory but another slice of bad luck hit shortly afterwards, as the Hurricanes conceded a second own goal, again from an opposition corner?!

This left the home team 5-4 in front with around 15 minutes left to play and, despite some resolute defending from Dillan Caldwell, Fabio Figueiredo and Oliver Williams at the back, the Predators side were beginning to press for an equaliser. Home ‘keeper Oliver Dalton-Bunker made an important save from point-blank range but that was only enough to delay the inevitable, as another blatant offside was ignored by the referee, and the visitors took advantage to score their fifth goal of the game.

Momentum was really in Parkwyddn’s favour now and the Hurricanes were struggling to get back on top, despite some tough tackling and determined runs forward from the midfield duo of Alfie Rostron and Joshua Whitehead. The visitors then scored a scrappy goal that looked like it would give them an unlikely victory, which would’ve been incredibly harsh on the home team.

However, after an impressive display in defence on his debut, Thomas Robinson decided to push a little further forward to help his team in their search for an equaliser. He won the ball cleverly on the right and, as team-mates and supporters all called for him to whip a cross into the box, he decided to take matters into his own hands and fired an absolute rocket of a shot over the ‘keepers’ head and into the roof of the net from at least 30 yards out! It was a goal that deserved to win the game, although it looked like it would actually only secure a draw for the home team.

Joshua Robinson had other ideas though. As Alfie Rostron went on a jinking run down the right, beating 3 opposition defenders, Beechfield players piled into the penalty area hoping to get on the end of a cross. However, the ball broke to the edge of the area, where Joshua was waiting to blast home a shot that flew past the goalkeeper and almost burst the back of the net!

The home side were elated at going a goal in-front in the final minutes but, in a game that had seen the lead change hands five times already, they were far from secure and had to work really hard in the final moments to protect their victory. The Predators pushed hard for an equaliser but a save in the dying seconds from Oliver Dalton-Bunker went some way to make up for his early errors, and Man of the Match Thomas Robinson was on hand to hoof the ball clear as the Hurricanes celebrated a morale-boosting win in their first game of 2020, by the odd goal in thirteen?!

After the game, Hurricanes coach Ben Robinson present each of the players with their Christmas gifts and said “Great well and well deserved – glad the lads are happy [with their new team hats!]” Assistant coach Glenn Whitehead added “Well played to all the lads today and well done Tom and Reece on their first game for the Hurricanes!”

The Hurricanes squad for the match was: Oliver Dalton-Bunker, Fabio Figueiredo, Alfie Rostron, Amaan Khan, Oliver Williams, Henry Errington, Dillan Caldwell, Jamie Maher, Joshua Whitehead, Reece Cartwright and Thomas Robinson.

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