Whilst the 1st team may have been lucky with the weather earlier in the afternoon, the 2nd Teams first league game was subsequently visited by the very angry weather gods for a game that came to resemble more of a swimming gala than a game of hockey. Supporters came from the ladies and men’s 1st’s to cheer us on but the incessant rain did eventually get the better of them long before the end but the show of support was hugely appreciated.
The game got under way and the Devonport came out of the blocks all guns blazing with a good shape and good pressure to a stun the Uni side. Some great play using the skills and routines covered in training saw us 2 goals to the good within the first 15 minutes. Great play right from the back and up the right hand side saw Reece receive the ball and drive into the D for Yianni to score the first of his brace of goals. Yianni kept using the high, wide left area well to drag defenders out and then loop back into the D for which he was soon rewarded with his second goal.
It seemed to us at this point that this game might be a breeze and maybe that confidence (and the Uni team having a good talk to themselves) wasn’t to last. The opposition managed to settle themselves down and started to play better which did then disrupt our rhythm. They started to get through and attack Codie’s goal but the defence was strong enough to keep them at bay with some great individual and collective defending. The highlight was watching some of the Uni team start to celebrate what looked like a certain goal as the ball rolled towards the goal line with central defender Fred Parry in hot pursuit and diving headlong to make a brilliant reverse stick clearance to huge cheers from the team and side line supporters. Codie also made some important and well timed clearances including a brilliant reaction save with his right glove to keep us in front.
The second half saw the rain gods get angrier and the supporters on the side line less ‘supportive’ (ie; they left!!!). Devonport seemed to lose their shape and composure and struggled to regain their earlier momentum which allowed Uni B to capitalise and they were able to pull a soft goal back. Devonport then seemed to descend into a ball chasing game as Uni B kept attacking and they could have been rewarded with an equaliser but for last-ditch defending (and a bit of luck!).
Devonport could (or should) have had several more goals but for the Uni B ‘Man of the Match’ goalkeeper. We had lots of chances and the GK proved to be an excellent shot stopper having been forced to make at least 6 or more valuable saves from goal bound strikes. This did highlight a need for us to work on our second phase play to capitalise on this but we know we can penetrate and get shots on target.
Anyway, we managed to hold out for the final whistle and the 2-1 win was the important thing. There was much to be proud of but much to work on also!
Three people deserve a mention in dispatches for the MoM results with Elliot Chapell (putting in another solid centre half performance) with 11 points. The the old Diving Defender Fred with 19 points but the MoM with 21 went to Yianni for his great work up front and his 2 goals.
For DoD, very few points were actually given however, the DoD (with only 3 points) was Elliot Chapell. Why, I hear you ask! Well, Although his skills and performance in midfield were again solid and commendable, his DoD points were for taking on too many players and not releasing the ball early (and losing it). Although the Captain brought this to his attention (again) at half time. With two minutes on the clock, he dribbled, was robbed, a defence splitting pass followed and a near equaliser scored! He is still a quality midfielder who we will lose to the first team one day! Hopefully not this season though Brian eh! Well done team and supporters. Great start.
Apologies to Yianni, I didn't have a picture of him, a picture of captain marvel will have to suffice!