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Hares fire 8 past opponents as they start cup run with a clean slate

Clean Slate FC 2 – 8 (Eight) Harefield United

Your eyes are not deceiving you, writes Harefield United chairman Gary South. The scoreline above is correct, as a rampant Hares side demolished their Division Two opponents on Saturday in the League Cup.

Man of the match Oluwaliseyi Akinola, somehow managed, in the process, to outdo the incredible feat of team mate Tash Jordan only weeks earlier, by scoring five in the match, beating the 4 goal salvo of the latter.

Harefield had travelled to the wilds of Milton Keynes, the land of roundabouts and, well, more roundabouts, eager to put their shaky start in the league behind them.

With facilities akin to the old Hares' ground Taylor's Meadow, the team warmed up on the small pitch in the hot September sun whilst the travelling supporters sought out a nearby Budgens for refreshments.

The Hares attacked from the off, desperate for a hat full of goals and after four minutes an Adam Willis cross seemed to come off the shoulder of centre forward Olu Akinola to put the visitors one up.

Defender Will Holland, playing in an unfamiliar right wing back role, was consistently skinning the home left back, getting to the byline and crossing, on eight minutes this nearly paid off when a low cross found Joe Willis who shot straight at the keeper.

Returning striker Tash Jordan, having scored four on his last outing, was unlucky not to add to his season's tally as he dribbled through the home defence only for the keeper to save his powerful shot.

Harefield were keeping possession well, with Luke Baldwin bossing the midfield. Clean Slate's number six was shown a yellow card after a foul on the instrumental Baldwin. Mr Baldwin Senior, meanwhile, was censured for bad language by the home supporters.

On twenty nine minutes an Elliot Dobbs' cross from the left wing found Akinola who drilled the ball home for his second of the game. Five minutes later the still limping Baldwin was unfortunate not to get his name on the score sheet when his volley went just wide.

Two-nil up at half time then, and Hares coach 'Mystic' Michael Molokwu told his team the only way his team could concede would be from a breakaway or a set piece.

With this advice quickly forgotten, a minute into the second half Dobbs drifted across into midfield and passed to Baldwin who set up Akinola for his hat trick. Harefield were coasting now, Holland causing havoc on the right flank, his accurate passing putting Baldwin through on goal only for the midfielder to place his shot just wide.

Eleven minutes after the break Adam Willis scored from a free kick awarded twenty five yards out and the tie looked beyond the home team's reach. Never say never in football though and on sixty two minutes Clean Slate's Ikenna King got on the end of a free kick to beat Hares keeper Jacob Ballheimer at the near post.

Coach Molokwu's words were about to come true, two minutes later a home breakaway saw King shoot across the goal from the right side, beating Ballheimer again and it was 2-4, game on!

Two minutes later Hares manager made a double substitution to try to shore up the game, replacing centre half Lee Clarke with the evergreen Cristian Barrett at the back, and Seldyn Grant coming on for Baldwin in midfield, in an effort to preserve the battling player for the next game.

After sixty nine minutes Blaise Riley-Snow played the ball of the game, pinging it from inside his own half on the right straight onto Akinola's left foot, the prolific striker netting with a full volley to score his fourth and the visitors' fifth. Manager Shaw made his final change, bringing on son Sam Shaw for Joe Willis.

Into the last quarter then, with the visitors firmly in control, working a string of corners from Dobbs and Shaw from the right and Adam Willis on the left. This was to pay off again with seven minutes remaining. A Shaw corner found captain Sean Mangan whose header was cleared of the line only for, you guessed it, the predatory Akinola to pop up and score his fifth, making him United's top scorer so far for the season in one match.

The Hares weren't finished yet, with two minutes left Holland got behind the home defence and pulled the ball back for wing back Dobbs to score his first of the season, cracking in a low left footed shot from twelve yards out and two minutes into stoppage time substitute Grant completed the rout by muscling onto an Adam Willis corner in the packed six yard box.

The final score was an incredible 2-8!

Harefield go into the hat for the next round but more importantly into next Saturday's important FA Vase Match away to Colney Heath brimming with confidence.

Harefield Man of the Match:

On a normal day it would've been Adam Willis or Luke Baldwin but who could deny five goal hero Oluwaliseyi Akinola?

HUFC team. Ballheimer. Dobbs, Holland, Clarke,Riley-Snow, Mangan (capt), Jordan, Baldwin, Akinola, A. Willis, J. Willis. Subs. Barrett, S. Shaw, Grant and Green, Richards (unused)

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