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From: Stuart Smith <Stuart.Smith2@Monarch.co.uk
Hemingford travelled to Chatteris for a first meeting with the Fenland club hoping to erase the memories of a defeat at the hands of Royston in their last game. Clear skies and a low sun, together with a sticky pitch made conditions less than ideal, but we could have few complaints considering it was early December. It was clear from the outset that this would be a physical encounter but just as Hemingford were finding their way against new opponents a through ball to their centre-forward had our back four claiming an offside which was not forthcoming and Dave, guesting in goal from Red Bull was given no chance . The game was scrappy from the restart but Hemingford were gradually finding their way when an attempted back-pass came off big Kev Hurst's shin and wrong-footed the keeper for an own goal, 2-0 to the home side. Driven on by the irrepressible Nigel Parker, Hemingford began to play some decent football and enjoyed a period of good possession. Howard was ploughing a lone furrow up front and taking some punishing challenges with little protection from the referee. The pressure eventually paid dividends however, when a low, driven cross from Kev Anderson was turned into his own net by their centre-back. Hemingford survived a series of close shaves through a combination of some first-class goalkeeping by Dave, and the goalpost preventing the home side from increasing their lead. Half-time 2-1. Sedge rang the changes, resting himself on his return from injury and reduced the average age by a decade or so by replacing full-backs Stu and Roy. Both had played a decent first half, but struggled with the pace of (much) younger wingers. Hopes of levelling the scores were dealt an early blow when another marginal offside claim was denied and the resulting one-on-one again gave our keeper no chance. Hemingford were up against it now. Struggling to keep the ball and too often missing the final pass brought successive attacks from Chatteris. Kev Hurst was fighting fires at the back but found himself exposed too often to two or more of their forwards. Despite some heroics in goal Dave was eventually beaten by a well-taken curler from the Chatteris no.10. This was going to be a test of character for Hemingford but they knuckled down and a breakthrough saw Paul go one-on-one with their keeper to roll the ball past him bringing the score back to 4-2. This seemed to galvanise the vets and Howard's selfless hard work against some uncompromising challenges almost paid dividends with a superb solo effort along the bye-line and a cross-shot which the keeper just managed to finger-tip round the post. A goal kick was given a. s the ref had missed the touch but their keeper showed some welcome sportsmanship by calling it himself. The resulting corner came to nothing and, with time running out Chatteris added a fifth. Altogether a frustrating morning, a bit of soul-searching followed in the changing room with Sedge stressing the need for a bit of edge to our game. Nige Parker continued to demand the ball and encourage everyone , the second half subs Chris, Paul and Daz made an impact and Howie took the knocks for no return. Dippy was unavailable for this one but Stu ensured his spirit was there by turning up with 2 left boots ! My thanks to Daz for sparing the blushes and offering his spare pair.
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