The Hawks started the game against Old Varndeanians very brightly on a cold morning at our home Stringer pitch. The midfield three of Hugh, Tom and Frank dominated possession in the early stages, without really threatening the Varndean goal. Dan and Sam were very comfortable in defence, not allowing any chances, leaving Max W as a virtual spectator for the opening minutes.
After five minutes a good tackle from Frank won the ball back for Hawks, and the ball dropped kindly for Hugh. Gabe took up a fantastic position on the edge of the area and Hugh's excellent pass found him. Gabe ran towards goal, waited for the goal keeper to commit himself, before hitting a great shot past him into the goal to give the Hawks the lead that their possession deserved.
HAWKS 1 VARNDEANIANS 0
Shortly afterwards a great surge out of defence and fine pass from Dan left Gabe one on one with the goalkeeper once more, but this time the goalie was able to pull off a fantastic save to prevent the Hawks from doubling their lead.
The Hawks defence and midfield continued their hard work, with Frank, Tom and Hugh all making tough tackles, and Gabes movement and running in attack kept the visitors defenders busy. Varndean continued to work hard and began to get further forward.
An attack down the left hand side created an opportunity but Sam made a fantastic block and the ball rolled through harmlessly to Max W in goal, quickly ran to the edge of his area and hit a long goal kick. With the Varndean defenders out of position, Tom and Gabe chased the ball down and headed towards the goal, only for the keeper to take up a good position and make a good save from Gabe's shot.
Dan took a dangerous and powerful corner but the Varndean defence held firm and cleared the ball well. Tom and Hugh combined well down the right hand side, but once again the goalkeeper was equal to Gabe's close range finish.
As half time approached, the Hawks were in total control, and Max W had not had a save to make thanks to the hard work of the defence and midfield to keep possession of the ball.
HAWKS YOUTH 1 VARNDEAN 0
Half time saw a tactical change, with goal-scorer Gabe taking over from Max W in goal, with Max going up front. The Hawks midfield carried on their domination from the first half, with Dan and Sam helping out in the midfield as well. However, with five minutes of the second half gone, against the run of play, Varndean fashioned an equalier as a cross from the right hand side found the striker un-marked in the penalty area. His shot was powerful and left Gabe with no chance, and suddenly the Varndean team had an equaliser
HAWKS YOUTH 1 VARNDEAN 1
Despite the set back the Hawks did not let their heads drop. Some good work from Dan and then Hugh left Max W with a clear run on goal. He out paced the defender and smashed a shot from the edge of the area. The keeper was well beaten but unfortunately for the Hawks the ball smashed against the crossbar and was cleared to safety.
Varndean attacked again but once more, great last ditch tackles from Sam, Dan and Hugh prevented them getting a shot on goal. Hawks counter attacked through Tom who surged through the midfield. As he shaped to pass but was fouled. The referee played a brilliant advantage (!) as the ball rolled into Max W's path. He shot calmly into the corner leaving the keeper with no chance, and restoring the Hawks lead.
HAWKS YOUTH 2 VARNDEAN 1
Hawks tackling continued to impress, closing their opponents down straight from the kick off and winning the ball back immediately. Hawks forced a series of corners on the left hand side. Hugh found Max W on the edge of the area with a great pass, and as the ball sat up to be volleyed, Max W hit the ball wide of the post.
Dan snuffed out another Varndean attack and continued his run down the right. In an instant he looked up and played the ball in behind the Varndean defenders and into Max W's path, who controlled the ball and slotted it past the keeper into the corner of the net to increase the Hawks lead.
HAWKS 3 VARNDEAN 1
Almost straight from kick off the Hawks had the ball again, and a great through ball from Frank put Max W in the clear once more. Just as he was about to shoot the Varndean defender got back with a terrific tackle to block the shot. It proved to be the final action of the game as Hawks ran out deserved winners. Once again the game was played in a fantastic spirit by both teams.