After a faltering start against Hexham Phoenix on Sunday, Heddon kick-started their 2016/17 campaign with an emphatic victory over last season’s third placed side Prudhoe Social.
Despite the midweek kick off time meaning several players were unavailable for kick off, managers Dave Green and Keiran O’Donnell were able to select a strong starting line-up, unlike the visitors who supposedly had some first choice players missing…
Kicking off in damp and greasy conditions, Heddon immediately got the ball down and played through the midfield, showing far more intensity both with and without the ball, a million miles away from last Sunday’s performance. Any Prudhoe possession was broken up by Ross, Flem and Woody in midfield, with the visitors limited to speculative long range efforts that were easily dealt with by Waddsy. Heddon were gaining joy all over the park, and were cutting through the Prudhoe defence at will. A period of concerted pressure was rewarded with the first goal of the game 20 minutes in – Richy cleverly flicking in Dan Walker’s corner across the keeper inside the far post. The second goal came almost immediately after the first, some excellent play down the left wing resulting in Ross crossing to Walker who made no mistake.
A third goal arrived soon after, in a move which started from the back, the ball fell to Ross who played a perfect throughball to Woody who calmly slotted past the keeper. A rare goal from inside the box for Woody, for once not having some sort of fit when positioned 10 yards from goal! Heddon were rampant at this stage. Frankie, probably having his best game in a Heddon shirt, picked up the ball with Ross and Walker either side of him in a 3v2 situation. He fed Ross, who went against the advice and wisdom from those on the touchline to square it to Dan, who after having the ball for about 30 seconds, curled it into the far corner with the outside of his right boot. 4-0 at half time.
As expected Prudhoe came out for the second half with a bit more purpose, however despite a couple of pop shots and corners, Heddon never really looked like conceding. Ten minutes into the second half, Walker made sure of the points and his hat trick, taking his strike early from the edge of the area, with the keeper reacting after the ball was in the back of the net. This goal gave licence for Dave to make changes, displaying the strength in depth of the current squad. The sixth goal was probably the pick of the night and already a contender for goal of the season. Sean laid the ball off to Heddon’s other ‘jigsaw’ (falls to pieces in the box) Dan Fleming who rifled a strike into the top corner from all of 25 yards – extinguishing the memories of THAT miss last season! After the best individual goal of the game, came the best team goal. Some excellent one touch play down the left wing involving around four players resulted in Murtagh delivering a pinpoint cross to Elliott, who headed in his first goal for the club. There was still time for one more goal, Scoob carrying on his prolific form from last season, deflecting in a long range effort from Frankie to finish the scoring.
With around 8 minutes to go and with the pitch bathed in darkness, the referee had seen enough and brought a halt to proceedings - the Hexham and District’s attempt to introduce no floodlight, day-night football at the end of August not proving to be the most popular of ideas!
Hopefully this performance will prove to be the turning point after a shocking pre-season and disappointing season opener. The football played tonight was on par with the best performances of last season and there is still potential to improve.