Having several players unavailable for this fixture manager Neil King swooped to secure the services of some on-loan recruits from Buckden. With similar problems of their own, Cambridge fielded Willow and goalkeeper Dave from Red Bull. The previous meeting had resulted in a nine-goal ‘thriller’ and barely five minutes had passed before Cambs had the lead with a strong strike, albeit from a suspiciously offside looking position. The sense of injustice spurred Hemingford into a wave of attacks and it seemed certain that Sedge would level the score when he connected with an overhead volley but Dave produced a save of real quality, getting down low to his right to not only stop the shot but smother it into the bargain. Undeterred the home side persevered and were finally rewarded when Ray finished from close range after a goalmouth scramble. Hemingford now took the game to Cambridge and with 20 minutes gone Kev Anderson found himself one on one with the keeper. Opting to lob one of the tallest goalkeepers was an unusual tactic, but it worked, as Dave clearly didn’t expect this and went to ground as the ball dinked over him and into the net. It looked like the crowd of six substitutes and a couple of wives with their dogs were going to be treated to another goal-fest ! Sure enough, barely ten more minutes had passed when Cambs were awarded a hotly disputed penalty after their forward went down rather easily under Roy’s challenge. Kieran guessed correctly but couldn’t get to the well-placed spot kick. Worse was to follow when a mix-up in defence let the same player in on goal and his poor connection deceived our keeper, the ball rolling in at the far post. This was harsh on Hemingford as they had edged the possession on a tricky surface. With half-time approaching parity was restored when Simon sent over a trademark cross for Ray to head home powerfully. Half time and a breathless 3-3
Sedge rang the changes at half time as promised to give everyone a game and the match progressed in much the same way as the first half with both teams trying to play good football on the deteriorating surface. The large crowd didn’t have to wait long for the next goal with Buckden’s Scotty collecting the ball on the right corner of the six yard box and completely wrong footing their keeper by falling over as he shot...4-3. Four soon became five when Ray completed an impressive hat-trick with another strong header from a corner. Everyone in the ground thought that Paul had added a sixth with a tap-in at the far post but with both teams making for the restart referee Andy Smith consulted with the far-side linesman and VAR and ruled it offside. Back at 5-3 Cambs were given new hope. Willow, industrious as ever was pulling the strings and it was he who headed home following some uncharacteristic slack marking to make it 5-4. Back came Hemingford with Nige Parker, Simon and Sedge doing sterling work in midfield whilst the back four held firm and Kev Hirst ever the warrior in the centre, foraging upfield just long enough to dump their full back on the turf long after the ball, and the player had crossed the touch line ! As the final whistle approached, Kev Anderson again found himself one-on-one with the keeper but Dave was wise to him this time and parried both close range attempts, finally collecting after some pin-ball confusion around his goal. Time ran out on Cambs with the final score mirroring that of the earlier fixture. As ever, the game was played in the best of spirit and as the spectators filed out the players headed for the scalding hot shower and Mrs Hirst’s top class sandwiches.