Match Report Sunday 8th Jan

Hemingford travelled to Comberton's  synthetic pitch for the first game of the new year against old friends and foes, Cambs Vets. Manager Kingy had 14 to choose from and was grateful to have Pearcey from Buckden answer the call for a stand-in keeper. This is traditionally a 'proper' vets game with each team fielding several senior players. The early exchanges saw Cambs having good possession without threatening the goal but gradually Hemingford dragged themselves into the game and enjoyed the lion's share , failing only with the final pass which was often too ambitious. Somewhat against the run of play Cambs took the lead with a break-away goal. Pearcey was left exposed and did his best to spread himself but their sharpest forward slid the ball home from around 18 yards. Unbowed, Hemingford set about levelling the score and probably should have done so. Driven on by Nige Parker's encouragement and the industry of Ben in midfield a number of good chances came and went with Howie and Graeme blazing just over and the latter just failing to connect with a great centre by Howard. Our back four were coping well with anything coming their way, Kev enjoying the best of the contest with Cambs' robust centre-forward and Paul managing the odd foray up the wing. As the half drew to a close Kingy, who was standing in as ref had had enough grief from their centre back over an offside decision and invited him to do the job himself , leaving the field in the process. This had the desired effect , no more whingeing ensued and a handshake from the 'offender' patched things up. Half-time 1-0.
       The manager's team talk emphasised the need to play to our own style, keeping the ball and playing the short, passing game. Dippy, Daz  and Stu came on and it wasn't long before the changed strategy had the desired result. Playing a higher line and pressing the Cambs back four led to a mix-up and a Sedge tap-in for 1-1. It was soon 2-1 to Hemingford, another clumsy attempt to play out of danger giving Dippy an easy chance which he was never going to miss. In midfield Daz ,Chris, Simon and Headers were increasingly dominant and a waist-high cross from the left was expertly converted by Sedgie with a powerful scissor-kick from around the penalty spot.  Hemingford were cruising now, but never allowed to relax on the score with Nige Parker sweeping all across the back line and keeping everyone on their toes. Just before taking over in goal, two-touch was sent through on goal and finished well with a low drive. The switch proved another master-stroke, with Pearcey making some telling last minute challenges and Two Touch doing his Scmeichel impression to great effect on a couple of occasions. Cambs were not quite finished, however and the value of positioning the team's oldest player where he could have a rest, leaning on the post at a corner was vindicated by a goal-line clearance.
    Playing his last game before a sojourn to Australia, Dippy was finding his feet on the artificial surface and scored an outrageous fifth , dribbling along the right bye-line before finding the smallest of gaps between their Keeper and his near post with a strong drive. Never satisfied with the two, he converted again shortly afterwards with another tap-in to make it 6-1. Kev took an elbow to the face with the game drawing to a close and his absence from the back four, combined with a sun-blinded Howard running the line gave Cambs' centre the chance for a late consolation from a suspiciously offside position, final score 2-6. Scorers were Two-touch, Sedge (2), and Dippy(3). The match ball wasn't worth having and Dippy produced a man-of-the match medal from his bespoke Sports Direct kit bag, but the popular vote goes to Nigel Parker for his typically enthusiastic attitude, great defending and tireless running. A great start to 2017, everyone playing their part from the manager upwards. Final word : look out Sydney !!