Hurstpierpoint Colts u15 3 – 3 Brockham Badgers Stripes u15; HDYFL U15DivC – 26/11/16

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With six of the squad unavailable a depleted Brockham Badgers Stripes made the trip to Hurstpierpoint on Saturday.

Kicking downhill in the first half the Badgers had most of the territory and possession but were unable to make their early pressure count.  The Hurst keeper had to make a number of good saves, with one in stop from a ferocious Leo Freeman effort drawing applause from both sets of supporters.  Brockham then fell behind after seeing a clearance charged down, the Hurst forward running through on goal and squeezing the ball past Jamie Graystone in the Badgers’ goal.

Brockham returned to the attack and drew level with Freeman despatching a powerful left-footed shot in off the underside of the bar from outside the box.  Minutes later the bar was again shaking.  Nathan Myers was fouled 25 yards out from goal and sent the free-kick over the wall and dipping as it cleared the goalkeeper.  The ball hit the underside of the bar and came down – but did it cross the line; was it Hurst v West Germany 1966 or Lampard v Germany 2010?  The decision went the way of Hurst meaning that the scores remained equal at 1-1.

Moments later Myers had another free-kick from a similar angle but a few yards closer.  Again his effort cleared the wall but the shorter distance to goal meant the ball did not have enough time to dip beneath the bar and this time it flew inches over the top.  At last Myers got his reward when Huw Morgan flicked a header through for him to run onto.  Keeping the ball on the floor this time he slid it beyond the Hurst keeper; 2-1 in Brockham’s favour at half-time.

The opening minutes of the second half went decisively against Brockham however.  A series of corners culminated in an unfortunate own goal and another defensive clearance going astray to let Hurst in down their right flank to see a low left footed cross evade attackers, defenders and Alfie Barlow in goal to curl in at the far post.  Brockham now 2-3 down, kicking up hill and with no subs available, found it difficult to change the momentum of the match with Hurst able to rotate with four substitutes against the tiring Brockham team.

The Badgers kept plugging away, James Cliffe and Tom Ambrose working tirelessly alongside Freeman in midfield.  Sam Horner leading the defensive effort and Sam Banfield trying to make something happen down the right flank.  Barlow made a good save when a Hurst forward timed his run onto a free-kick to give him a free header.  Joe Read and Ewan Banks as the wide defenders in a back three without natural wing-backs in front of them had to work overtime effectively playing as both centre-backs and full-backs simultaneously as Brockham tried to generate some forward momentum.  Banks went forward to take a corner and after his delivery came back to him from the near post jinked into a shooting position to send an effort just wide from the edge of the box.  Another couple of corners and free-kicks were cleared off the line by a combination of the Hurst keeper and defence and with the clock ticking away it seemed that Brockham’s seven match unbeaten run would be coming to an end.

Morgan won the ball in midfield but as he looked to open up a shooting opportunity for himself was chopped down to give Myers another free-kick opportunity.  This one cleared the wall and arrowed into the top corner to bring the scores level at 3-3 with 2 minutes left.

Neither side seemed content to settle for the draw but it was Hurst who had the better opportunities in the dying seconds with Brockham having to defend both a corner and a free kick successfully before the ref blew for time and Brockham to reflect on what was probably a point gained rather than two lost.

Brockham Badgers: Jamie Graystone, Joe Read, Sam Horner, Ewan Banks, Alfie Barlow, Sam Banfield, Tom Ambrose, Leo Freeman, Nathan Myers, James Cliffe, Huw Morgan

Brockham Scorers: Leo Freeman, Nathan Myers 2

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