Slazenger’s first league game since the Christmas break was a spirited affair against Barnsley. Both teams were evenly matched.
Barnsley enjoyed some early possession and quickly converted that pressure into a goal. Slazenger did respond to the set back and tried to start playing some quick, passing hockey. Unfortunately, after some attacking breaks in the opposition half they conceded two more sloppy goals. Both were very similar in that they left the defence isolated and Barnsley capitalised by leaving players up the field who converted their chances in front of goal.
For the last 10 minutes of the first half the Horbury side enjoyed the majority off possession and could have scored several goals but all opportunities were spurned. Luckily, a mis-timed shot from Robin Brearton sneaked through the keeper’s legs for a 3-1 half-time score.
Barnsley started the second half strongly and were gifted a fourth goal when a mis-timed pass in defence put one of the Barnsley strikers in on goal. Both sides continued to press for additional goals and Slazenger’s, although creating further scoring opportunities, continued to live dangerously at the other end with goalkeeper Ralph Toon making a couple of telling saves.
Slazenger’s began to dominate for the rest of the game with relentless pressure but still didn’t have the clinical edge in front of goal, that they needed if they were to level the game.
Fortunately, all the pressure did have some reward when Slazenger’s were awarded a penalty flick, which James Bennett duly converted, quickly followed by a football type celebration in the centre circle!!
Slazenger’s continued attacking strongly but failed to defend a simple pass upfield from the Barnsley defence which was duly converted. The game ended 5-2 to Barnsley.
By Andy Fisher
From match played at Barnsley Hockey Club on Saturday 15th January 2011