A thrilling contest, which either side will have felt they could have won, ended in Hutcheson and Cavalry Park both coming away with a point.
Hutchison Vale got off to the perfect start, with Daniel Beveridge finding some space on the left wing, before crossing in for Brandon Hunter to smash home from around 15 yards out. His finish found the top left corner, not giving the goalkeeper a chance.
The early goal had an almost electric effect on Cavalry Park, who came alive. They had several set piece opportunities, including a free kick and two corners in very quick succession.
None of these came to anything, all being cleared, but Cavalry Park kept at it.
The ball was played forward, and out towards the left, in much the same manner as Hutchison’s earlier goal, where Owen Ranton hared after it, trying desperately to stop the ball from going out of play. He just flicked it back in time, but the ball fell to Hutchison defender.
Undeterred, Ranton tackled him, winning the ball, and suddenly finding himself with nothing between him and the goalkeeper but 30 yards of 3G turf. This he rapidly set about closing down, before unselfishly attempting to pass across towards Charles McKinnon.
A Hutchison defender managed to get a foot on it, but succeeded only in pushing the ball past keeper William Miller, and straight into the path of Ranton, who gratefully tucked home from a tight angle into the empty net.
Some might call it a little lucky, but he certainly had earned it. 1-1. Cavalry Park’s good spell carried on, and McKinnon could have put them ahead when he stole possession from Jamie Crawford, but the ball bounced unkindly for him, and Miller was able to gather.
Through this period, Hutcheson had been giving away free kicks away repeatedly, and Cavalry Park were about make them pay for it. From one of these, around about 25 yards from goal, Ranton had the goal in his sights. He ran up, striking the ball right-footed, around the wall, and straight into the diving Miller’s top left corner. It was a great strike, and served to illustrate just how quickly football games can turn.
A few minutes ago, Cavalry Park had been left reeling by the early goal, but had turned things around and they now led, with Ranton helping himself to a fantastic brace in the process.
Not long after, Ranton almost got his hat trick, again escaping down the left, this time electing to shoot. The prodded effort from close range was goal bound, but Miller intervened and batted it away.
However, the game swung once more, with Hutchison coming right back into it. Hunter headed over from another cross, James Gordon saw a slightly speculative right-foot effort from the right hand corner of the penalty area just beat the far post.
With the shots on goal piling up, there was bound to be at least one rewarded. And, just past the half hour mark, Beveridge slotted home with a well-hit right footed
shot to the goalkeeper’s right. The match was level once more, and, on balance, it was probably fair to both sides.
No longer in front, Cavalry Park were determined to restore their advantage. Ranton had another chance for his hat trick a short while later, but Miller denied him again with another crucial save. Conan Murle had a free kick shot from some distance turned behind for a corner by Miller.
Hutchison came within inches of taking the lead again when a cross from Gordon made its way through to Beveridge, who hit the crossbar with his powerful strike. Two minutes later, the referee put an end to a enthralling half, in which both teams had had periods of dominance, with both sides providing a high-quality, very gripping contest.