Chapter 14: How The Hatchets Got Their Groove Back

The Herston Hatchets signalled their intent to return to the top of the ladder with a 2-1 win over QUT Black last night. The past few weeks haven’t been easy for Hatchets supporters around the world, but things are looking much more positive after the victory. It was not just the three points that will please supporters, but the confident and assured nature of the performance.

After a 1-1 draw against league leaders Annerley FC, and a 3-0 loss to second-placed Warriors, concerns were raised that strong momentum from the first half of the season had been lost. Flagging spirits were worsened by morale-sapping injuries to Nick, Trey and Logan. Rumours of discontent at the team’s direction had even been published on herstonhatchets.com, although none of our sources were willing to go on the record and verify them. It was on this sombre backdrop that the game against QUT took place.

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The team looking resplendent in red. Photo: Mark Andrews

The first good omen for the Hatchets was the arrival of the team’s 2016 jerseys this week, and it’s safe to say they came out a treat. The long-awaited kits were presented by representative’s from sponsors MDA and ProLending at a ceremony before the game. Thanks to Dr. David Gilpin from MDA, and Mark Andrews from ProLending, for making the effort to attend – more photos coming soon.

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Pre-game tactics. Photo: Mark Andrews

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The ‘paddle pop’ formation

With a record crowd in attendance at Jack Speare Park, the game also started well for Herston. A dominant opening to the game produced a number of chances. In the 7th minute, striker Jack received the ball with his back to goal on the edge of the box. Stopping only to ensure his dad was watching, Jack flicked the ball past his opponent before slotting it into the bottom corner.

“Yes, very good goal,” remarked Jack’s dad, while calmly turning the page of his newspaper. Meanwhile, Adam I on the sidelines was telling anyone that would listen that “Jack’s goal was highly reminiscent of Denis Bergkamp scoring for Arsenal against Newcastle United in their game on March 2, 2002.” And indeed it was, as can be seen below.

The Hatchets created more pressure, but were struck by something of a sucker punch up the other end. An unlucky rebound fell perfectly for the QUT striker in front of goal. Although his first shot was well-saved by the highly trustworthy Alex, the rebound once again fell kindly and he was able to tap into the net to equalise.

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Photo: Mark Andrews

A lesser team would have been disheartened by this and let their heads drop, but the Hatchets are not a lesser team. The boys from UQ came out firing after half time and created chance after chance. Jack made it to the byline and put in a low cross which Marcus was about to slash home into the net when the referee disappointingly blew for a goal kick, claiming the ball had gone out. A couple of other good shots were saved by the QUT keeper. It was becoming more of a question of ‘when’, not ‘if’.

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Mike G dribbling down the touchline. Photo: Mark Andrews

In the 63rd minute came the best chance of all. A promising attack resulted in three shots in a row being scrappily blocked from around the penalty spot. Chaos and consternation reigned supreme. Players and onlookers alike cast their eyes around, seeking the champion that could finally pull this metaphorical sword from the stone. Up stepped none other than midfield maestro Bjorn, with nostrils flared and eyes wild. He sized up the opposition in one glance, dismissively shrugged off a pathetic defender, and proudly thrust his right foot through the ball. The QUT keeper was fortunately able to dive out of the way of his powerful shot, but the net was not so lucky – the ball went clean through, careening off down Fairley Road unchecked. Some say it is still flying through the air.

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Adam B lines up for a challenge. Photo: Mark Andrews

A demoralised QUT outfit did their best to score another equaliser, but they were severely starved for chances with the Hatchets defence putting in another strong shift. The score remained 2-1 at the final whistle. A good win for the Hatchets, and one that they hope will set the tone for the rest of the season.

By Simon B

The Hatchets will be back in action next Friday night, when they come up against traditional rivals Titans FC. 

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