Raiders show their class – despite the poor conditions

Raiders (in blue and black) playing at Chesham Athletic in the snow.
Raiders (in blue and black) playing at Chesham Athletic in the snow.

Breathtaking football in some awful conditions took Berkhamsted Raiders under-13s Blues into the next round of the Dick Hopkins Memorial Cup after a 5-1 win at Chesham Athletic at the weekend.

The pitch was heavy with a dusting of snow before kick-off and it only got more slippery and white – in a biting wind – as the game wore on.

Yet Raiders moved the ball superbly and created a string of chances before finally going ahead in the 17th minute, Finnlee Ferguson tapping in from close range after the home keeper fumbled an Oscar Lenane shot.

Great vision from Ryan Colmer four minutes later saw his quick free-kick release Lenane on the right and his intelligent cut-back allowed Jude James to make it 2-0.

Six minutes after half-time Raiders went 3-0 up via a classy move, Gabe Millson striding forward on the right before stroking the ball to his left where Liam French played a fine first-time pass into the path of Oli Pitblado, who finished with aplomb.

The hosts pulled one back and could have gained a foothold had Raiders’ keeper Jack Heginbottom not made a stunning full-length save.

But Raiders moved up a gear and two goals in a minute gave them the winning margin their performance deserved.

First, in the 66th minute, Chesham didn’t clear a cross and Paddy Read cut in from the right and drilling it home.

Then, in the next attack, Raiders underlined their class with the goal of the game. A series of passes out of defence allowed James to break through the middle and he played a sublime one-two with Lenane, raced clear and drew the keeper off his line before planting a shot in the bottom corner.