UEAFC 3 | 1 Hoveton Wherrymen
Cyril Ballyn Cup Round 2
On Saturday, UEAFC first team faced Hoveton Wherrymen in the second round of the Cyril Ballyn Cup after defeating Mattishall Reserves 4-3 in the previous round.
Possession was going back and forth between the two sides as both midfields tried to hold a grip on the game, with no real chances being created within the first 20 minutes. This forced manager Gary Butcher into making a change. Sam Golden replaced Jon Addai and went up front with Russell slotting into centre midfield. It didn’t take long for Golden to make an impact as he was played in behind the defence, rounded the keeper and squared the ball for George Marsden to tap into an empty net to make it UEA 1-0 Hoveton.
UEA were now growing into the game and putting the Hoveton defence under pressure. Moments after a last-ditch interception against a UEA attack, Golden was one-on-one with the goalkeeper again, seeing his shot get saved.
However, the balance of play soon changed when a long and hopeful ball was played in behind UEA’s right back. Hoveton’s pacy winger Tony Burch nipped in behind and made no mistake by firing the ball low into the far bottom corner of the goal.
The second half got off to a barnstorming start, with Hoveton conceding a penalty. Sam Golden stepped up, but the keeper guessed right and got down well to save. UEA took advantage of fatigued Hoveton’s mistimed tackles, delivering numerous long free kicks into the box.
The lead was soon regained when Owen French got on the end of one of these free kicks and flicked the ball onto the path of Golden, who made up for his penalty miss with a controlled header into the bottom corner of the goal. UEA 2-1 Hoveton. Hoveton started to press UEA more as time was running out.
In the end, the opposition could not find a way through, and the victory was secured in the dying moments when Russell got through on goal, rounded the keeper and slotted the ball home. For UEA it wasn’t the best performance overall, yet they worked hard and were able to grind out the win and book their place in the quarter finals. The final score was UEA 3-1 Hoveton. Man of the match was Owen French.
East Harling Res 2 | 4 UEAFC 2s
The Us came into this game on the back of a 4-2 win against Easton Reserves and were eager to build on this league success and secure their place in the next round of the cup.
The boys came out of the blocks tremendously, dominating play, dictating the tempo and controlling possession. The deadlock was broken within the first 15 minutes with captain Mark Allen scoring directly from a free kick just outside the box. The rest of the first half followed a similar fashion, with the boys taking control of proceedings whilst the opposition were struggling to compile any sort of challenge on goal. The lead was then doubled from the spot by Will Hanson; calmly stroking the penalty into the left side of the goal, 2-0 UEA.
Despite the excellent first-half display, the half time team talk put great emphasis on the devastating effect that complacency from the Us could have on the game, something that has caused the boys to drop points in the league games previously.
As the second half commenced there was an overriding sense that the story of our season so far was about to repeat itself. Some lazy UEA defending saw East Harling claw one back on the counter. Shortly after, East Harling broke with pace against a confused and disorganised UEA defence. The home striker proceeded to level proceedings with a good finish.
After this UEA captain Mark Allen decided to get the starting 11 back on the pitch in order to try and reclaim the dominance of the first half. This began to take success immediately, with Ed Groves hitting the post, Eddie Ntim being denied from ten yards and Mikey Romain scoring a goal that was called offside.
The Us started extra time the better side, dominating possession and threatening the East Harling goal repeatedly. East Harling were sentenced to ten men after Felix Hempel was fouled on the left hand side of the penalty box. East Harling’s player subsequently decided to petulantly throw the ball at Felix and incurred a red card as a result.
UEA eventually took the lead in the second half of extra time when Allen was able to beat his midfield opponent with a touch of skill and slide the ball through to Will Hanson, who rounded the keeper and tucked the ball into the net from a tight angle. UEA’s dominance was never in doubt after that, with the boys extending their lead, when eventual man of the match, Hanson, completed his hat trick with a delightful lob over the on-rushing East Harling goalkeeper.
4-2 victory in the end for the 2s – who made extremely hard work of what should have been a fairly straight forward victory.