Hartpury Reign Four to De-throne
Hartpury bounced back from their mini dip in form against top of the Eastern Premier Kingston in the ECFA Cup. Hartpury could not have been handed a more difficult tie against one of the favourites for honours this year, with two ECFA internationals in their team and travelling to the inners of London. This was going to be a tough test. Hartpury made changes to their team due to their recent form, the extra experience helped Hartpury to a comfortable four nil victory.
Hartpury started brightly with a high tempo and desire to win every ball. This was rewarded with them gaining possession on a regular basis. They were able to use more direct play on a difficult surface to put Kingston under pressure. This pressure told and Hartpury created their first opportunity on three minutes. Winger Fahy beat his man and hit a low cross that striker Wood met at the near post, his first time shot was just wide. This start gave Hartpury confidence and they seemed to have scored on seven minutes. Hilton’s pin point free kick met Wood at the back post, Wood’s header was directed back across goal where midfielder Liddiard stretched out his leg. The ball went over the line, however the Kingston goalkeeper clawed the ball out and the goal was not given. Hartpury kept to their task, another cross by Fahy was met by Wood who headed just wide of the post on 18 minutes. Hartpury were defending well, reducing Kingston to playing hopeful balls. Nonetheless on 22 minutes their speedy left winger cut inside and shot from 25 yards. The shot bobbled and bounced causing goalkeeper Filkins trouble but he managed to get behind the ball and smother any opportunity. Hartpury reacted. Striker Wood who was causing problems for the Kingston defence received a direct ball on the wing, he beat the right back and then cut in towards the penalty area beating another. His powerful shot was heading in when the Kingston goalkeeper managed to tip the ball over the bar. Wood again conjured up another opportunity for himself. On 38 minutes when a throw in by Thwaite was received by Wood in the penalty area, he controlled the ball and quickly turned and shot. The shot deceived the defence but his shot nestled in the side netting.
Half Time: Kingston 0 – 0 Hartpury
Hartpury started the second half the way they ended the first. Hartpury sensed the opening goal was near, an Osbourne cross the ball was half cleared and the ball fell nicely for Sankoh. Sankoh shot, his shot was heading in only to be deflected by a defender’s head on to the post. Hartpury felt they couldn’t buy a goal, but then fortune favoured the brave. On 60 minutes winger Fahy picked up the ball on the right, an overlapping run from right back by Gough took two defenders out of position, Fahy saw the space and headed towards the penalty area. Fahy then unleashed a shot from 20 yards out and a slight deflection wrong footed the goalkeeper and Hartpury had finally got their reward. Hartpury then kicked on from this, it was only minutes later that a free kick was awarded to Hartpury. Confident striker Wood decided to have a strike from 25 yards, his free kick stayed low and travelled under the wall leaving the goalkeeper’s right exposed with the ball ending up in the back of the net. Hartpury continued their pressure and missed another good chance when Liddiard received the ball into the box from Osbourne’s cross. Liddiard had time to pick his spot but he rushed his chance and the ball sailed over the bar. It was then on 76 minutes Hartpury were awarded another free kick in a similar position to Wood’s first. The outcome was exactly the same. The ball found the back of the net. Hartpury were flying with confidence and Wood rounded off a perfect day with his hat trick on 81 minutes. A long throw by Gough on the right was received behind the defence by Sankoh, who then crossed for Wood to hit first time into the top corner. Wood was then subsequently substituted for his efforts and replaced with Panting. Panting in the last ten minutes could have scored two himself, with particular emphasis on the later chance when he worked tirelessly to close down the Kingston defender. Panting managed to win the challenge and headed towards goal from the angle with the keeper to beat. His shot was matched by the goalkeeper who tipped the ball over the bar. The full time whistle was then sounded and Hartpury were worthy winners. A great team performance from back to front and a great way to get the season back on track.
Full Time: Kingston 0 – 4 Hartpury
Filkins, Poole (Osbourne, 45 mins), Pearson, Mace, Gough, Thwaite, Hilton ©, Liddiard, Fahy, Sankoh (Kewley, 81 mins), Wood (Panting, 81 mins). Subs: Hicks.