Slazenger Men’s 3rd’s travelled to away to Sheffield for their third game of the season. The team were expecting a tough encounter and were not disappointed, however after a steady start, they emerged 3-1 victors, keeping them top of the table for the third week.
The team travelled away to Sheffield Bankers, still missing Captain Andy Fisher (the hand injury coinciding with 4 consecutive away games!…) but with an otherwise full strength squad. They started steadily, not with the customary speed and gusto, however, were able to work the space and put the home defence under pressure. It was never going to be that easy though, and periods of end to end hockey kept the game fast moving and open ended.
It was the home team who went ahead, though against the run of play. A mix up within shooting circle caused the defence to stop, assuming an infringement had been spotted by the umpire. By the time they realised it was not to be given, there was little chance to stop the one-on-one with goalie Ralph Toon to unfortunately concede his first goal of the season.
Slaz redoubled their effort, altering formation and bringing fresh legs on. A passing effort opened up Ian Hedges for an effort on goal, only to be stopped by a defenders foot, and being awarded a flick. Andy Birkett to dispatch it; the keeper getting a pad to the ball, but not enough to stop it smashing into the roof of the goal.
The pressure was maintained, however Sheffield defended well and stopped several great chances; midfielders Aiden Hopkinson, and Luke Gueli both impressing on the attack. However, they could only hold out so long as midway through the second half, a long corner gave Ian Hedges the space to strike the ball into the “D”, with winger Dan Levitt being on hand to chip the ball past the keeper.
Minutes later, the continued pressure gave the visitors a short corner, the keeper was able to stop Paul Johnson’s first strike, but the followup from Ste Roberts found the back of the net for a deserved goal. While slaz continued to pressure the home team, some impressive goalkeeping and defensive work limited the result to a 2 goal deficit. Efforts from Jack Mumford amongst others were unfortunate not to go in.
Slaz travel away to Grimsby on Saturday, hoping to maintain their momentum at this early stage.