Blofield Utd 3 Hellesdon FC 3
Honours even at the Rec
A cold and wet afternoon welcomed the two teams to Blofield Rec. The home side made three changes from the previous weeks defeat to CEYMS. Missing were Basey-Fisher (holiday), Banham (suspended) and Mckail. In came Gibbs, Rivett and Fryers in a 4-4-2 formation. The club also welcomed back Alex Niescierowicz from injury and working away. He took his place on the bench alongside Robinson and Medina.
Blofield Starting XI: Ian Stones, Abdul Ferej, Lewis Rivett, Kris Hart, Isaac Mace, Elliot Gibbs, Tom Wright ©, Dan Stobbart, Will Bennett, Rob Fryers, Orren Oliver.
The match started off in the worst possible fashion for the beavers with Hellesdon taking the lead in the second minute. The ball was played over the top for Blake, who rode Mace’s last-ditch challenge and neatly finished past Stones to give the visitors an early lead.
Blofield hit back immediately. Firstly, Bennett broke through but put his shot wide. Then Gibbs crossed the ball in from the left, this evaded everyone. Bennett did well to recycle the ball and Fryers almost got on the end of Will’s pass, though seemed to pull up in the process.
A minute later and Blofield did equalise.
Another long ball found Gibbs in space on the left, his cross eventually found Oliver and he finished well to make the score 1-1. Following that it was clear Fryers could no longer continue and he was replaced by Robinson.
After that pulsating start, the game took a breather for a quarter of an hour until a fine move involving Wright, Bennett & Stobbart fashion a chance for Oliver whose shot was well saved by Bond in the Hellesdon goal.
Neither defence looked particularly sturdy and Blofield’s was exposed once again as Pantry was put through, only to be thwarted by the on-rushing Stones, who made a great last-ditch tackle outside his area.
The visitors now started to get on top and were seemingly able to cut through the Blofield backline at will. Firstly, Pantry had a shot wide then Hurrel had the ball in the Blofield net, only to be penalised for handball.
The same player didn’t have to wait long though as he put the visitors 2-1 up. The move actually started with a Blofield free kick but Hellesdon broke at pace & whilst the Blofield defenders seem to lose their footing, Hurrel kept his and stabbed the ball past Stones’ off the inside of the post.
Hellesdon should have really extended their lead two minutes later. Love’s cross was somehow missed by Blake at the far post with the goal at his mercy.
Oliver was probably having his best game in Blofield colours and he & Bennett combined well again with Bond making a decent save from Oliver with the resultant corner coming to nothing.
Two more chances fell Hellesdon’s way. The scorers of their two goals Hurrel and Blake combined well with Hurrel’s forcing Stones into a point blank save.
Then Blake yet again found himself the wrong side of the Blofield defence only to shot horribly wide with only Stones to beat.
With chances going begging for the visitors, Blofield took advantage and equalised in the 39th minute. Gibbs slotted the ball trough to Oliver who turned his marker brilliantly and smashed the ball past Bond to make it 2-2.
Amazingly three minutes later, Hellesdon went ahead again. For the umpteenth time Blake found himself free behind the Blofield defence and this time finished well to put the visitors 3-2 up at half time.
The Referee’s whistle blew a couple of minutes later to bring a close a pulsating half of football which could have easily had more than the five goals scored.
H/T: Blofield Utd 2 Hellesdon FC 3
Hellesdon started off on the front foot again and Pantry having spotted Stones off his line, tried to chip the keeper but only managed to find the keepers hands.
In the 57th minute, Blofield equalised for the third time. Gibbs once again was heavily involved, winning a tackle on the half way line, he fed the ball to Oliver. The Blofield striker outpaced two Hellesdon defenders and smashed the ball past Bond into the far corner to complete an outstanding hat-trick and level the score at 3-3.
Two minutes later and Oliver almost had a fourth. Robinson’s cross just evading him and Blofield now looked to get on top. Robinson was heavily involved again in the 61st minute, his cross found Bennett whose toe-poke effort was saved. Niescierowicz followed up the rebound but his shot was well blocked by Alexander.
The see-saw nature of this game continued as Hellesdon fashioned two chances of their own. Following good work from Alexander, Kelley went close and then Hurrell fired a free kick narrowly over the bar after Pantry was upended just outside the box.
As the game entered its final stages, the pitch had worsened considerably and players from both teams were struggling to keep their feet. Medina replaced Mace for the final ten minutes.
Pantry headed over from a corner for Hellesdon but the home side almost snatched it in the last meaningful action of the game. Robinson’s cross was met by a flying Bennett header only for Bond to make a decent save.
The final whistle blew after four minutes of injury with honours shared.
F/T: Blofield United 3 Hellesdon 3
Both sides will think they might have done enough to win the game, certainly on another day, Hellesdon’s Tom Blake could have had four goals himself before half time but the day belonged to Orren Oliver, netting his first senior hat-trick and more than doubling his total for the season in one game.
Both teams can be applauded for trying to play football in poor conditions. The match was played in great spirit with no cards shown and was excellently refereed by Reg Barker, all in front of the watching Anglian Combination chairman Graham Jubb, who felt the end result was the fair one.
Blofield will now be hoping the pitch can recover in time for the visit of Caister next week where manager Didwell should have a couple more players available.