PETERSFIELD TOWN LEOPARDS 1 HAWLEY TORNADOS 4
With the league title already won, Hawley finished their league campaign in style with a win over Petersfield, putting them clear on points at the top of the premier division.
Is it really May? It seemed more like February on the side-line, but such concerns are irrelevant to the Hawley team with a job to do. Lee, I’m sure, would not be happy unless the league title was won with a clear points margin, so sent his team out to achieve that.
Connor and Saphal, two of our key players were not able to play today, so others had to step into their shoes. Patch had the hardest job on the pitch, tracking the fast, strong Petersfield forward. This was a task he stuck to tenaciously; a measure of his success was his opposite number switching position to avoid him in the second half.
Hawley were in a physical battle all game long and didn’t dominate the opening exchanges in the way they wanted. However, they matched Petersfield for strength and showed their quality to create chances.
Macca had a great, creative game in central midfield. Early in the first half, he brought the ball out of defence, passed to Ben who dribbled past a few and played the ball wide to Brad. It came back to Ben, then Dan who shot from the edge of the area. The ball was controlled by Allec who turned and scored low in the corner for 1-0.
Joe had more to do than usual in the first half, with Petersfield forwards breaking through and getting some shots in. A couple of good saves, one low to his left at the near post, gave Petersfield no sense they’d be able to beat him. Faced with a one-on-one, he was speedily off his line to force the forward wide enough to prevent him scoring.
Hawley wound up the pressure and started playing in the Petersfield half, winning a number of free kicks and corners from which Dan came close twice with towering headers. Dan had a dominant game in centre midfield, winning headers, making vital sliding tackles and starting moves – a man-of-the-match performance!
The second goal game from a lofted ball to Lewis, who always knows when to make his run and never misses an opportunity to gamble on getting onto a ball. On this occasion, the ball was perfect and he calmly lifted it over the keeper: 2-0.
Hawley were now creating more and more chances, getting Lewis and Allec through via some lovely passes from the wide-midfielders Alex and Brad. The Petersfield goalkeeper, however, was in no mood to be beaten and made some excellent saves, a pattern that continued right to the end of the match.
The second half saw even more chances created from through balls and simple passing moves. Hawley pulled further ahead thanks to a typical run from Allec, squaring the ball to Lewis, then to Macca in space on the right, who beat the keeper by placing it firmly in the far corner. 3-0.
Thomas didn’t sound well at times, but was as reliable as ever at the back of the defence. His ball for Allec to run onto produced the fourth goal. Allec, as always was quickest to the ball. He was pulled back at the edge of the box but shrugged off the challenge to fire into the net for 4-0.
Kai continued his strong run, not giving the Petersfield players an inch in which to move or a second in which to think. He and Thomas were sometimes stretched at the back, but both put in solid performances to limit Petersfield.
Brad had spent the match battling hard against big strong defenders and coming off best, to win the chance to set up passing moves with Ben and Macca. Alex dominated his opposite number in the first half and put in a lot of running to help out in defence and attack.
Miles and Johnny came on for Kai and Brad and immediately got involved in the fray. Both showed they have the strength and quality to maintain the high level Hawley play at.
A fifth goal was denied for off-side but is worth mentioning for the lovely pass in to Macca, his excellent cross and Lewis’ fine headed finish. A carbon copy was just taken away from Lewis by the leaping Petersfield keeper.
Petersfield scored a consolation from a long ball through to their quick forward. Patch matched him for pace and strength and forced him off the ball. However, Joe had come out and the ball trickled into the Hawley net.
Scorers Allec (2), Lewis, Macca
Man of the Match Dan