In an enthralling and high quality match Hawks U14s would face their toughest test of the season against an unbeaten Surbiton side sitting on top of the Mercian Premier League.
The game immediately started at a high tempo and the 2 outstanding players in the Surbiton midfield (both wearing no. 4!) began to exert their influence on the game. The Hawks midfield of Phil Barnet, James Edmiston, Laurie Cooke and Freddie Smith were kept busy on defensive and tackling duties. However it did require excellent work by Dan Evans and Ollie Dunn, marshalled and kept on their toes by The Fox in goal to keep the goal intact.
Despite the constant pressure the best chance of the game fell to Hawks as James Edmiston created space in the left channel and his pinpoint pass found Whitey in space and his shot was well saved.
Both teams went in at half team feeling that the score-line of 0-0 could have been different. It would require more of the same in the second half. Immediately Surbiton pressed from the re-start and Hawks were caught napping as their best player from Centre Midfield drove through 4 half hearted tackles and left The Fox with no chance in goal.
The Hawks team have grown enormously this season and showed their character as they then enjoyed their best spell of the game. Dan Evans cleared from defence to find Phil Barnet who fed Freddie Smith at the top of the D. With a cool head he finished with aplomb to make it 1-1. Hawks then created 2 great chances and Whitey put the Surbiton keeper under pressure. On another day the chances, which went past the post, may have found the net but their keeper had other ideas.
The fresh legs of Warner, Belton and Byles were added to the mix as hard work and tiring legs began to leave open spaces. There were opportunities on the break but the ball needed to find the wide areas-this was proving difficult however as Surbiton pressed high up the pitch.
Eisner and Dunn were being tested and worked tirelessly with the fresh legs of Warner providing support. Dan Evans and the Fox needed to be at their best as chance after chance needed closing down, clearing and saving.
Excellent saves from The Fox drew applause from both sets of supporters when another quick break from midfield found a unmarked Surbiton player on the left post. He roofed his shot to make it 2-1 despite the acrobatic effort of the keeper!
A short corner then led to a penalty stroke and a slightly harsh short corner on the final whistle was slotted home to make it 4-1.
The team did themselves proud and lessons can be learned from excellent games, even in defeat. It hurts but sometimes you just have to applaud and respect the opposition who demonstrate a level of skill which can be aspirational.
The whole squad deserve praise from their performance and reflect on what might have been. However incremental improvement through desire and hard work will provide the whole squad with the opportunity to realise their potential. Bring on 2016!
We would like to thank everyone who supported the team a very Merry Christmas and there will be plenty of opportunity to practice!!