LTHC Men’s 1st XI 3 at University of Nottingham Men’s 2nd XI 3

MRHA T1 – Midlands Premier

The Men’s 1st XI travelled the short distance up to Nottingham Hockey Centre to play a talented University of Nottingham 2nd XI side. The game started well for Town with Ethan Hoodle making his one and only contribution to the game winning a short corner which was bundled in by Mike White. Unfortunately, Hoodle was side-lined the rest of the game due to injury.

After taking the lead 1-0 lead Town were put under pressure but a defensive line of Nick Morris, Ian Johnston, Jack Thomas and Lawrie Bayne defended well. However, a poor turnover in midfield saw the away side concede to make the scores 1-1 at the break.

Town got off to the worst possible start to the second half conceding from a penalty corner within the first five minutes of the restart to go 2-1 down. This however sparked a remarkable twenty minutes of hockey which saw great attacking play from Jake Vincent, James Lewis and Adam Carter providing chances for the forward line.  This attacking hockey resulted in goals from White, with his second, and a penalty stroke from Johnston.

Town had opportunities to put the game to bed with a close chance from Sam Curd just missing the goal. The game however soon turned and saw Town defending for the last ten minutes of the game.  Two tactical fouls resulting in two green cards which put Town down to nine players. Unfortunately, Nottingham found an equaliser with four minutes to go, but Town managed to hold strong and see out a 3-3 draw which in the end was probably a fair result. POTG: Lawrie Bayne

LTHC Ladies’ 3rd XI 1 vs Leicester City Ladies’ 3rd XI 7

LRHA Ladies – Premier Division

After the disappointment of losing 5-1 last week, Loughborough Town Ladies 3rd XI knew that this week would potentially be a harder game, as they hosted last season’s runners up Leicester City 3rd XI.

Town welcomed some new faces to the line-up, as well as official coach Mantaraj Lad to the bench.  The game started on time but within the first two minutes Town found themselves a goal down.  In similar fashion to last week’s opposition, Leicester were quick on the ball and passed effectively causing Town to scramble to recover.  A most unusual but effective routine on free hits outside the attacking D, resulted in City having unmarked players pressuring the goal.  Once again, some fantastic defensive play by Kate Horrigan in goal, kept the score line within reach.

Town certainly had some great passages of play working the ball out from the defence and into midfield but unfortunately, they were not able to capitalise once in the attacking 23.  Just as the half time whistle blew, debutante Lydia Elvin took a stick to the bridge of her nose, resulting in some emergency first aid.  City went in to the break leading 4-0

Tactics and encouragement were delivered by coach Ladd and Captain Sam Dalby at half time, as despite the score Town had started to play better than the week before.   The second half started with a shuffle of positions, placing centre half Izzy Perry into centre back to replace injured Elvin.  Not one to shy away from a challenge, Perry quickly got stuck in, assisting in clearing the D from more of City’s attacks.  However, another three more goals would follow, before some beautiful passing between Grace Jones and Harriet Galpin would send Jo Hately one on one with the keeper to score the only goal for Town.  Final result 7-1.

Next week Town travel to Mountsorrel to play Charnwood Sileby 1st XI, looking for their first win of the season. POTG: Izzy Perry

LTHC Men’s 3rd XI 5 at Melton Men’s 1st XI 4

MRHA T3 – South East Midlands Premier

Looking to get back on track after last week’s disappointing loss, the Men’s 3rd XI travelled to Melton Mowbray to take on Melton 2nd XI.

The game started well for Town as within the first five minutes they went 1-0 up from an unconventional penalty corner routine. Henry Smith miss-dragged the ball out, which Kyran Patel alertly got the ball outside of the D back to Smith who drilled the ball across the face of the goal. A dive from forward Matt Horsfall to connect his stick to ball was in vain but Phil Cook was there to tap the ball into the goal.

What was a great start turned bad as Town lost structure and gave away too many penalty corners, which resulted in the home side taking a deserved 3-1 lead. Town were lucky not to go another goal down, as a break away saw a Melton forward round the keeper, though his shot came off the post. Agonisingly rolling across the goal line the ball was cleared by the Town defence.

Just as half-time neared Town started to play some decent hockey, winning a free hit on the edge of the Melton D. After moving the ball, the required five meters Peter Hayes fired the ball into the D, where Horsfall finding himself in space directed it into the goal. His first of the season and a much-needed goal to take Town into the half at 3-2 down.

A truthful halftime team talk was delivered by Captain Rory Cook, knowing that Town needed the next goal to keep in the game.

Whilst Town started the second half playing better hockey, they again were in penalty corner trouble. This time Melton didn’t try the direct shot but moved it right and flicked the ball at goal. A miscommunication between keeper and defender resulted in them both going for the ball, which resulted in it dropping into the goal. The home side extended their lead again to 4-2.

After a couple of green cards, one for each side, Town started to push higher up the pitch, creating plenty of chances but couldn’t be converted. Eventually the goal came when Cook scored his second.

The equalising fourth goal was from a penalty corner. The drag out by Hayes found Freddie Pass at the top of the D who’s miss hit of the ball bobbled towards goal. Luckily for Pass the keeper missed the ball and it rolled into the goal. 4-4, the game was anyone’s now, though the away team had the momentum.

With five minutes left Town could see the three points in their grasp and pressed hard. Pass keeping height in Melton’s D, was found after some good team passing. Taking his time, he placed the ball in the open goal putting Town in the lead for only the second time in the game. The away side then saw out the final minutes clinching a 5-4 win. POTG: Phil Cook

LTHC Men’s 4th XI 2 vs Beeston Men’s 5th XI 2

MRHA T3 – North East Midlands Premier

During the opening fifteen minutes of this game it did look like Town might have to deal with a repeat of last week’s heavy loss. Town were struggling with applying the 4-1-2-1-2 formation designed to stifle Beeston’s creativity in the middle and it was no real surprise when the visitors scrambled the ball over the line to take the lead. It was probably more surprising that Town were just 1-0 down, again guilty of gifting the ball to the opposition in bad areas. Town weren’t out of the game though and unlike last week their determination was beginning to turn the tide. When they passed well, they carved Beeston wide open and it was one such sweeping move which found veteran striker Andy Hargreaves on the right & inside the 23.  Beating one defender he unleashed a powerful shot which the Beeston keeper could only partially parry back to the advancing Hargreaves who was able to bundle the ball across the line.

Town began the second half more composed and confident; they knew that they were now competing. Chances to take the lead came and went, somehow, they just couldn’t score. The home side needed something special and it came in the form of Luca Hargreaves who, after a strong driving run into the D, unleashed a signature reverse stick strike. His connection was so sweet that the Beeston keeper only saw the ball after the rebound off the roof of the net hit him on the back of his legs.

Town now ahead squandered chances to kill the game off and Beeston weren’t out of it. A penalty corner later and the scores were back level, frustrating for Town who had led for much of the second half and had chances to take the win, but probably a fair reflection of the game ended 2-2.  Overall a much stronger performance but with improvements still to make.

Next up for the Men’s 4th XI is a tough trip to face Mansfield 1st XI, as long as restrictions allow it. POTG: Guy Heywood

Cover Image © Andy Smith

Categories: Match Reports