It was only 3 weeks ago that the Anglian Home Improvements sponsored team had beaten Hockering reserves away 5-3, but this week it was the return fixture and the Anglian Knights had a depleted team due to injuries and work commitments. Usual goalkeeper Reece Harrison was still unavailable so Jim Newman took the keeper’s jersey. It was a reshuffled back four with Ian Probert partnering Kieron Orford at centre back following their injuries. Kirk Lanckmans continued at left back whilst new signing Jack Wright made his debut. Louie Watts skippered the team in centre midfield alongside Matt Jillings, with Jack Hurrell left wing and Josh Taubman returning to the squad out on the right wing. Lee Kiddell got another 90 minutes under his belt up front next to his brother Craig.
Hockering reserves turned up with a few players from their first team and a full selection of substitutes, so Phil Perriton and Martin Smith’s tactics were quite simple; play the ball to feet, keep hold of the ball and don’t bust a gut early in the game. The aim was to wear Hockering down and get them on the break, which Anglian did brilliantly for the majority of the match.
For the first 25 minutes the Knights had played very well, absorbing any attacks and clearing their lines well. Neither side created many chances and it was quite a dull game, despite a disgusting double footed lunge from Hockering’s number 7 on Lanckmans.
However, the game got its first goal just after the half hour mark. A cross from the right was not dealt with by stand-in goalkeeper Newman who miss-kicked the ball leaving the Hockering striker with an open goal. 1-0
Anglian then pushed Hockering into their own half for the rest of the half, but failed to make any clear-cut chances, despite some good crosses from Taubman and Jillings.
Perriton’s half-time talk was positive, the Knights were playing as they were asked, but with the goal deficit they needed to push forward and grab the equaliser.
Anglian began the second half confidently, stroking the ball around the pitch, wearing out key players for Hockering and creating chances. Jack Hurrell had a shot miss by inches and Matt Jillings’ header went just wide moments later.
Jim Newman was swapped for Kieron Orford midway through the second half as he picked up a knock. Louie Watts moved to centre back, whilst Newman went to his natural position of striker. This made an immediate difference as Newman won numerous headers and flick-ons that Anglian had been failing to do. Despite this improved attacking prowess, the Knights still couldn’t finish their chances.
Hockering nearly stole a second goal when the ball was whipped into the back post from the left, but the goal bound shot was blocked on the line by Watts.
Anglian finally got their break with only minutes remaining; Watts’ goal kick was flicked on by Newman, which released Hurrell who made no mistake lobbing the ball over the keeper and into the net.
This goal gave the Anglian Knights a well deserved draw, they fought hard and earned the point. The Knights now lay in 9th position in the league. Anglian played well, but who was your Man of the Match for this game?