Woodcote gave an uncharacteristic stuttering performance as they overcame a gutsy Hazlemere team which pushed them all the way. The game had been in doubt for the whole week with the visitors uncertain they had sufficient players available. In the event they arrived with the bare eleven players and the fact that the game took place at all owed much to the tenacity of Woodcote’s Secretary, Mike Higley, who was in constant touch with the visitors and the League throughout the week. Woodcote also found a very capable referee in Andy Woodley to officiate, when the League was unable to provide an official. Hazlemere also deserve credit for the fact that they fulfilled the fixture when it might have been easier not to.

Given the circumstances, The Woodcote players might have expected an easy afternoon and a high-scoring win, but Hazlemere showed in the early exchanges that they hadn’t just come for the ride. However, it was the home team which broke the deadlock after 18 minutes when Joe Webber played-in Mike Mattimore, who supplied a neat finish. After 25 minutes Woodcote increased their lead with a superb goal. Ryan Corbett switched the play from right to left with an inch perfect forty- yard pass, Frank Dillon then supplied a perfect cross and Joe Webber’s close-range volley was unstoppable.

At this stage, the home side might have expected to cruise to victory, but nothing could have been further from the truth. Incredibly, by half-time Hazlemere held a 3-2 lead and poor defending by the home side had a big part to play. Two of the goals resulted from woeful defending at corners and the other came from a breakaway after Woodcote committed too many players forward and then gave the ball away.

At the start of the second-half Woodcote continued to find it difficult to establish any rhythm to their play and Hazlemere looked dangerous in attack. However, on the hour mark there was relief for the home supporters when top-scorer, Toby Nowell, who had previously spurned a couple of easy chances, provided an emphatic finish with the assist coming from Mike Mattimore. Within a minute Nowell added to his tally with man-of-the-match, Joe Webber supplying the pass, to give Woodcote a 4-3 lead. Hazlemere continued to provide a threat to Woodcote’s lead until the final whistle, although only a wonderful save from their keeper had robbed Ben Rusher of a goal which would have made the final minutes a bit less nail-biting.

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