Heddon increased their lead at the top of the table to nine points thanks to a comfortable 9-0 victory over Hexhamshire.
A week on from the dreadful performance against Adam and Eve, and the now infamous ‘Shuttlegate’ episode; talk before the game centred on drawing up a clean slate, and getting back to the standards we had set before Christmas. Several changes were made to the starting line up from the previous game, with last week’s man of the match, Joe O’Donnelldini visibly disgusted by his omission in favour of Jamie ‘he turns like a boat’ Lishman!
Heddon looked like a new team from the offset, keeping the ball on the deck and pressing the opposition high up the pitch. This was rewarded ten minutes in, good work by Richy Harrison on the left and a header across the box from Dan Fleming, led to Sean Hownam appearing to head the ball in. Whether Sean got the final touch can only really be adjudged by the ONE Heddon Ultra watching the game on Phil Edmondson’s live Facebook feed! One soon became two, when Dan Walker volleyed in at the back post, after another pinpoint cross from Richy, the resultant Jimmy Bullardesque celebration drawing laughs from manager Dave Green, and utter disdain from Rich TA!
Hexhamshire started to get a foothold in the game, drawing a couple of smart stops from Waddsy, although in truth Heddon were looking dangerous whenever they were in possession. Half an hour in, the game was as good as won. Walker’s free kick hit the wall (a recurring theme), with the rebound dropping to Hownam, who waltzed past one tackle before being brought down in the box (no need for video evidence on that one). Walker dispatched the penalty down the middle. The last 15 minutes of the half were all Heddon, Ballaz making it 4-0 with a good header from Dan Ramshaw’s free kick on the left. Fleming then produced a miss that wouldn’t have looked out of place on a cheaply produced Footballing Gaffes compilation, somehow hitting the post from less than a yard out with an open goal at his mercy. Woody tried to outdo this with a cracking goal line clearance for Hexhamshire after Walker had slid him in. Heddon kept going and were rewarded with a fifth goal – Lishman burying home after a Richy pull back to score his first for the club - the underappreciated/underrated left back eventually being rewarded with a hug by Greeny in the Tuns after the game! Right on the stroke of half time, Hownam smashed home his second from the edge of the box, after the Hexhamshire left winger and left back kindly allowed Ramshaw to put in 3 crosses in a minute, the resultant scramble fell to Hownam who made no mistake. Half time 6-0.
Heddon started the second period slowly, bar one chance for Walker who slipped when set up by the Hexhamshire centre half. Hexhamshire had a couple of chances, Lishman clearing well after the striker had rounded Waddsy. At the other end, Richy came close with a header, while Ramshaw hit the bar from long range with a speculative effort (mishit cross!) Fresh legs brought a fresh impetus to Heddon’s play - O’Donnell putting in an eye-catching cameo at left back, including a strong challenge on the Hexhamshire keeper and his trademark knock past and loop around the opponent leading to him being christened the ‘Heddon Bypass’ on the sidelines. Scott Flynn also put in a solid shift in an unfamiliar defensive midfield role. Heddon got a seventh goal, Walker grabbing his hat trick, sliding in at the back post after good work by Hownam on the left. There was still enough time left for Sean to get his hat trick, calmly rounding the keeper and slotting the ball into the bottom corner. Walker then scored his fourth, Flynn’s ball over the top coolly finished by the striker, lobbing the ball over the onrushing keeper.
Overall an excellent performance, and hopefully a springboard for the business end of the season. Tougher tests await but on the basis of this showing, Heddon are very much still the team to beat.