POSTED: January 25 2020 18:53:12. By Ben Robinson - Hurricanes win big despite testing conditions

U11 Hurricanes (Home) v Prestwich U11 Lightning
Saturday 25th January 2020 (10.30am KO)
Parrenthorn Sports Centre, Heywood Road, Prestwich, M25 2GR
Referee: John Lewis

Won: 5-1 (HT 2-0)
Goals: Oliver Hall, Thomas Robinson, Alfie Rostron, Reece Cartwright, Oliver Williams
MotM: Oliver Williams

With the recent wet weather leaving their new ‘home’ pitch at Brookhouse unplayable, the Hurricanes had to give up home advantage to make sure that they got a game, by playing on the 3G pitch at Parrenthorn High School in Prestwich, against the Lightning team who were playing their first league game at this level, having been promoted from Division 3. The playing surface was rock-hard and covered in sand, which made conditions difficult for both teams, and the freezing temperatures and strong wind didn’t make it any more comfortable for spectators either?!

Coach Ben Robinson had a full squad to choose from and all of the players were raring to go, after a fortnight since their last game. They started brightly and definitely had all the best of the possession and territory in the opening exchanges. However, it was Beechfield ‘keeper Oliver Dalton-Bunker who was forced to make the first save of the game, as a rare Prestwich counter-attack lead to a shot from point-blank range.

This seemed to spur the Hurricanes on though and they continued to pile forward in search of the opening goal. It wasn’t long before a series of corners from Joshua Whitehead led to a bit of pinball in the opposition goal area, but Beechfield captain Oliver Hall calmly took charge of the situation by firing a low, hard shot into the back of the Prestwich net to give his team a well-deserved lead.

The game continued in much the same vein, with Beechfield dominating play but Prestwich playing some decent football and posing a threat on the counter-attack. One such counter led to a mix-up in the Hurricanes’ defence and left the Lightning striker clean through on goal, but Oliver Dalton-Bunker again came to the rescue with another top save. Again though, this spurred the Beechfield players forward and it wasn’t long before another corner caused havoc in the Prestwich penalty area, eventually allowing Thomas Robinson to hit a rocket of a shot into the far corner (and through the side netting!) to double the Hurricanes’ lead. This was no more than they deserved, and the score-line probably flattered Prestwich as the half time whistle sounded, as they had definitely been on the back-foot throughout the first half.

Unfortunately, after bravely battling to win the ball back in defence, a nasty fall on the rock-hard surface meant that the Hurricanes lost their captain just before half time, as Oliver Hall sat out the rest of the game to recover from his injuries. However, encouraging words from Ben Robinson and his assistant, Glenn Robinson, at half time gave the Beechfield players the confidence to continue with their game plan, as they went in search of more goals in the second half.

They didn’t have to wait long until Jamie Maher won possession with a strong header from a Prestwich throw-in, and released Alfie Rostron on the half-way line. Alfie went on a determined, jinking run through four or five would-be tacklers before cutting inside, on the edge of the box, and rifling home beyond a helpless dive from the Lightning ‘keeper for Beechfield’s third goal of the morning. It was definitely the goal of the game too and gave his team-mates a real lift as they piled forward in search of more goals.

A period of constant pressure followed where Amaan Khan whipped in a number of dangerous crosses and corner kicks, and Henry Errington drove forward to create a number of good chances. Eventually, the pressure paid off after some inspired substitutions from Ben Robinson. Oliver Williams went on a powerful run and laid the ball back to Fabio Figueiredo, who slide a clever pass in to Reece Cartwright who took a touch and fired home into the roof of the net from outside the area to put the Hurricanes four goals in front.

This put the result beyond any doubt but Beechfield were still hungry for more goals. Oliver Dalton-Bunker took a short goal kick to Dillan Caldwell who strode forward confidently before threading a brilliant ball through to Enzo Barbosa. Enzo charged through the Prestwich defence and hammered the ball goal-wards, only to force an excellent save from the Lightning goalkeeper. However, Oliver Williams followed in and adjusted well to volley home into the back of the net for a goal that his Man-of-the-Match winning performance deserved.

The five-goal cushion allowed Ben Robinson to rest some of the lads who had played the full game, with only Dillan Caldwell and Oliver Dalton-Bunker playing the full game. This gave some of the other Beechfield players a chance to get some extra minutes of playing time, which their performances had definitely earned, and they continued to battle hard as the Prestwich players rallied late on, in search of a consolation goal.

They were desperately unlucky to hit the post twice in the closing minutes and no-one could really complain too much as they managed to snatch a very late goal, with a powerful finish into the bottom corner, as the Hurricanes defence had just begun to take their foot off the gas a little. However, this did not take the shine off a confident performance where the boys from Beech Farm had dominated and thoroughly deserve their convincing victory.

After the game, delighted coach Ben Robinson said “Well done today boys, I thought we controlled the majority of the game with some really good football at times. Every single player brought something to the table to help the team get the win. Prestwich had chances, and we were lucky at times with them hitting the post twice, but another very good performance for us to build on. Well done Ollie Williams for his MotM performance, hope Olly Hall will be good for Tuesday”.

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

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