Sonning 1st XI 4 – 3 Oxford Hawks 3rd XI
By Jonathan Sharp
Sonning dig out a much needed win with Hanlon at the double
After finding themselves 2 goals down at half time, Sonning rally to hit 4 goals in the second half and get themselves a much needed win.
With Neil Pursell out, and Jonty Rider back in as a straight switch, Sonning fielded a much unchanged side from their previous encounter, where they had run Banbury close and were unlucky to come back with only 1 point. Hoping to carry on this form against a struggling Hawks side they began the encounter on the front foot. They won themselves a few turnovers high up the pitch, and a couple of early short corners, but weren’t looking sharp in front of goal.
Hawks made a breakthrough, against the run of play after around 10 minutes, with a break down the full length of the pitch finishing with a well taken back post tap-in. 0-1. The old adage that ‘goals change games’ was never truer, and following the goal, Sonning found themselves all at sea and unable to string more than a couple of passes together. Their opponents however got their tails up, and with around 25 played, they got what was probably a deserved second from a short corner, tapping in from close range after some stick skills made some space. 0-2.
Credit must go to coach Briscoe and young keeper Ben Sully for their words at half time, and Sonning emerged re-energised and pushed hard after the break. Ian Gallagher in particular put in a 15 minute shift, turning over repeatedly and dictating the play from the middle of the park, during which time, two goals were put away to bring the scores level.
Colm Hanlon got the first, after he slapped home following an initial save after a melee in the D, with Sam Terry ‘living the defender’s dream’ (Quote: Ollie Waddington) just a few minutes later, finding himself in space to rifle in the equaliser for 2-2.
The closing stages of the match were frantic, with Sonning creating a bit more work for themselves before eventually seeing out the game. Hawks re-took the lead with a back post deflection with around 15 minutes to play, courtesy of a turnover on the left wing, and some slack marking. Despite this, Sonning refused to lose momentum and went back to work, dominating possession and penning back their opponents.
Jimmy Manser got the 3rd, and his 9th of the season, after some strong work from Ed Williamson in midfield. He took on two men and put Manser into space in the D for a reasonably simple turn & shoot, which he of course executed with aplomb – the postman always delivers.
Colm Hanlon popped up again for what would prove the winner, with just a few minutes to play, James Lockhart took a quick sideline ball and undid the Hawks press with some vintage stick-skills, that you may not choose to coach to a youth player, but that which remain effective at MBBO2 level (Pusey knows). He found Hanlon in space, who was able to turn and confidently put his shot in between the keepers legs for 4-3.
Sonning saw out the game with just a slight whiff of panic coming when Sam Terry gave away a last minute short corner, but keeper Sully made the save and spared his side any more heartache this week. After a Saturday off, Sonning return to the Doom Bar Arena in a fortnight to play Aylesbury 1s. #COTN
Goalscorers: Colm Hanlon 2, James Manser, Sam Terry
MOTM: Sam Terry
DOTD: Ian Gallagher