The Rusty Hatchets recorded a famous Cup win on Friday night. Despite going into the game as rank outsiders, the Rusties put in a backs-to-the-wall performance to come out on top, and go through to the second round.
Two hours before kickoff, it was looking unlikely that the Hatchets would even be able to field a team, let alone compete. Some last-minute logistical errors from elder statesman Simon Bennet, who claimed to have ‘forgotten to pick his car up from the mechanic’, was bad news for Simon, Jason and Nick P, but good news for Uber. Ultra Tune Windsor spokesman Lance responded in a prepared statement that ‘we have never heard of Mr. Bennet, and we certainly wouldn’t let him forget his car here’.
Even once the team had assembled at GJ Greenfield Park, pundits were giving the boys from Herston little chance of causing a ‘Cupset’ (that’s cup upset for you poms out there). Many will remember the 4-2 win to Titans when these two teams met in pre-season only three weeks ago. To make matters worse, the Hatchets only had 11 players, compared to a full bench of 7 from their opponents. The excuse of mid-sem exams the next morning has been raised by some players, however this was dismissed out of hand by team whip Jack Gilpin, saying ‘the team should always come first’. Jack refused to reveal his GPA.
In team news, Mitch made his debut in goals. This was controversial in some quarters due to his lack of medical connection, however Mitch states that “I’ve always considered myself a doctor of the classroom.”
Titans started out on top, with their traditional approach of chipping the ball over the top for a fast striker almost paying dividends. However, some smart sweeping from Mitch avoided the assured calamity of conceding an early goal. The Rusties made the smart decision to drop much deeper, and force the Titans to actually play through them. This worked quite well since it turns out the Titans actually aren’t good enough to do that.
At half time it was 0-0. The best chances of the first half had fallen to Jack, who had a shot well-saved. But it was the Hatchets that came out firing in the second half, just when they should have been tiring, with no substitutes available.
Some early pressure and several half chances finally came to something in the 54th minute when a good run by Nick R down the right created space for Jason in the middle. Jason tapped the cross home and wheeled away in celebration. It was his first goal in a competitive game for the Hatchets and one he will surely remember for days or even weeks.
Ten minutes later, it was a similar story. Nick’s good run sucked in several defenders, and Jason finished sweetly into an empty net. At 2-0, it was now the Hatchets’ game to lose. They sat back even more, allowing the Titans to push up and create space at the back.
As regular readers of http://www.herstonhatchets.com will know, this situation is what Nick Rigby thrives on. He once again broke away down the left in the 76th minute. Just when it looked the defence had reset and the chance was gone, one of the defenders made the strange choice to roughly tackle him from behind with his back to goal right on the edge of the box. The referee pointed to the spot, and Simon tucked it straight down the middle to make the score 3-0.
The game was basically over at this point. Titans scored a consolation goal with a nice chip, but it made little difference to the final outcome. The Rusty Hatchets will be delighted with their strong defensive performance, and will be looking to take that momentum into the next game on April 21.
The draw for the round of 16 in the cup has yet to be announced, but Rusty Hatchets supporters will be hoping for a big ticket tie against the other Hatchets team.