This week we have match reports from the M3, L3 and M4.

LTHC Men’s 3rd XI 5 vs Khalsa Leamington 3rd XI 0

Midlands Men’s Division 5 East

Loughborough Town Men’s 3rd XI were finally back in action for the start of the second half of the season after last week’s game was postponed due to the cold weather.  Town looking to build on their previous two wins before break, and made it three wins in a row as they beat bottom of the table Khalsa Leamington 3rd XI 5-0 at home.

The first half of the game was even as both side’s retained possession well, and each side having a couple of penalty corners each, though none lead to any goals.  Town had the better of the open play scoring chances though couldn’t put any away.  Slightly disappointed the home side went into half-time with the score line 0-0.

Town came out in the second half the better side as they started to make the quicker passes which opened up Khalsa’s defence.  Nathan Holifield opened up the scoring using his pace as he ran past the defence before pushing the ball pass the keeper. The home side soon doubled their lead when Sam Horsman scored from a well worked penalty corner.

Gaining confidence Town had a lot of possession for the rest of the game, with a second goal for Holifield, sixth of the season from Town’s leading goal scorer. The third came again from a penalty corner as the ball at the top of the D was slipped left where Orestis Canna hit the ball into the far corner of the goal for his first of the season.

Khalsa did have some opportunities in the second half through open play and a penalty corner though nothing troubled keeper Guy Heywood as he kept a clean sheet for the third game in a row.

The last goal was a gem as Matt Younger skilfully beat numerous Khalsa players from the twenty-five yard all the way into the D, though his shoot hit the post, though Ollie Bartlett was there to push the ball over the goal line for Town’s fifth.

The win means Town have won their last three games in a row without conceding a goal.  However, next weekend they are again at home to third place Nottingham which will be a much sterner test as they look to continue their winning streak.

LTHC Ladies’ 3rd XI 1 vs Oundle 1st XI 2

Midlands Women’s Division 4 Nene / Charnwood

Due to lack of players at the start of the season, then Ladies’ 3rd XI had to forfeit their first fixture to Oundle Ladies’ 1st XI. This meant they were going into the match unsure of what to expect from their opposition, but with Oundle only a place above them in the league table, it promised to be an exciting match.

The morning didn’t start as Town would have hoped, with three players pulling out of the game last minute, they were a depleted team down to only 11 players. Unfortunately for the Town 4th XI their game got cancelled shortly after arriving at the pitch, but this ended up being to Town 3rd XI gain as Molly Worthing, Zoe Stead, and Trishi Shah sped from Leicester to come help, arriving seconds before pushback.

Town started the game strong with some well-coordinated passing up the pitch, but against the run of play, Oundle made an attacking brake. The defence managed to track back and put up a solid resistance. However, despite the whistle appearing to be blown for a presumed penalty corner before the ball had crossed the goal-line, Oundle was awarded the goal and went 0-1 up after two minutes.

Not long after, Oundle broke from their half again. Despite the best defensive efforts from Iris Broekhuijzen, Annabelle Page, Tara Vincent and Connie Rutterford; they managed to score a messy goal from close range.

Town went into half-time 2-0 down.

Initially surprised by Oundle’s physicality, Town looked to pick themselves up in the second half. Town looked a re-energised side, winning penalty corner after penalty corner, but the oppositions defence held strong, until a deflection off a defender’s stick sent the ball to the back post where Vincent was waiting. She managed to slot the ball round the keeper, giving town their well-deserved and hard-fought goal.

Despite Town’s best efforts the game ended in a 2-1 loss. However, Town will take the lessons learned against Oundle into their two fixtures next weekend.

LTHC Men’s 4th XI 3 vs Warwick 3rd XI 2

Midlands Men’s Division 6 South East

Loughborough Town Men’s 4th XI extended mid-season break came to an end with the visit of Warwick 3rd XI to the University’s EHB pitch. Before the game started Albie Waterton (Warwick Captain) presented Town’s Captain, Rob Jephcott with a commemorative pennant celebrating Warwick Hockey Club’s 100 Years of Hockey.

Warwick HC 100 years of hockey pennant

With the formalities over, all attention turned to the match in hand and with Town having managed to collect just three points from a solitary win in their first ten games, they badly needed points.

Town started positively, moving the ball swiftly around the pitch and carving through a somewhat surprised Warwick team. The visitor’s defence was called into action early and Town continued to press hard for a breakthrough, forcing a number of excellent stops from the Warwick keeper. Warwick were doing everything they could to hold off the swarming Town attacks but they held firm and began to gradually work themselves into the game.

A missed Town pass gave Warwick a chance for a breakaway attack, with the lone Warwick striker bearing down on Town’s goal, keeper Guy Heywood showed his class by coolly dispossessing him and setting Town back on the attack.

As the first half continued the game became more open and chances were now being created at both ends, and with both keepers pulling off tremendous saves it was beginning to look like neither goal was going to be breached. However, Town were now throwing more players into their attacks, crowding the D and making it more and more difficult for Warwick to clear the ball effectively.

Then came the breakthrough, left-back Luca Hargreaves picked up a weak clearance just on the edge of the Warwick D and moving forward he instinctively shot at goal, for once the Warwick keeper was unable to react as the ball travelled through the forest of legs and into his goal. With Hargreaves and his team mates celebrating, Warwick were protesting with the umpires and claiming an infringement inside their D. After a momentary consultation between the officials, the goal was confirmed and Town had the lead they had worked so hard to get.

Town quickly won the ball back from the restart and began to pressure Warwick again, looking for the security that comes with a two-goal lead. More Town chances and more fine saves from the Warwick keeper seemingly signalled that the first half would end with Town just one goal to the good. Town had other ideas and a defence splitting ball was picked up by, Man of The Match, Tomas Clark who first beat a defender and then superbly rounded the diving keeper before slotting the ball away into the empty goal.

The first half ended with Town 2-0 to the good but also knowing full well that their own keeper had saved them on a number of occasions.

Warwick restarted the second half with a clear attacking intent, immediately pressing Town back, and dominating the early exchanges. As the half progressed, Town were increasingly struggling to cope with Warwick’s movement, being pulled out of shape far too easily and when they did manage to win the ball back, they were squandering possession, inviting Warwick to attack again and again. Twenty minutes later and Warwick were on level terms at 2-2 and looking like they could very well go on to take the game, but Town weren’t going to be beaten this time.

With both teams going all out for the win it was Town who somehow found the way, and Liam Street popped up in the Warwick D to force the ball over for the vital third goal.

As the final whistle blew it was Town celebrating a hard fought second win of the season.

Next week the 4th XI travel to Warwick University, with the incentive of knowing that a win there will see them leapfrog their hosts in the league.

Categories: Match Reports