Slazenger Mens 3’s latest fixture, away at Lincoln Roses, looked a tough proposition on paper. With only 11 players and no substitutes everyone had to be on the ball from the start. Surprisingly, for a team lying second in the table, it was the home team who didn’t look up for this fixture. Rain had started falling heavily just before the warm up and Lincoln didn’t appear on the pitch until just before the push back.
Straight from the start Slazengers got about the opposition, denying them time and space on the ball and hitting the opposition with swift counter attacks. Again and again forwards James Walker and Luke Gueli linked up well passing the ball out wide to either flank where wingers Dan Levitt and Danny Moakes were drilling balls into the opposition goalmouth for the forwards to get shots away on goal.
It was no surprise that Danny Moakes after several penalty corners, got onto a rebounded shot and drove the ball low and hard just over the diving keeper. Lincoln didn’t panic and seemed to think it was only a matter of time before they got themselves back into the game, but Slazengers maintained the high tempo and with midfielders Byron Dean and Tom Pitchforth co-ordinating play from the centre of the pitch the Horbury team just couldn’t be contained. The only disappointment was the halftime score of 1-0 didn’t reflect the dominance Slazengers had enjoyed.
Second half the expected Lincoln fightback was countered with more fast, aggressive hockey from the away team and it was a feature of the match that Slazengers always stuck to their game plan whatever distractions the home team conjured up.
Slazengers second goal from half back Simon Taylor was the result of 15 minutes continuous pressure, when he was left unmarked at the far post to score a rare goal. Lincoln were become somewhat agitated at this point and the game became slightly fractious with the umpires having to be more vocal. It was during this period that the home team scored after a solitary lapse in defence. This was unfortunate because Tony Walker and James Higgins had been immense all afternoon calmly dealing with any Lincoln attacks. Highlight of the game was when keeper Darren Buttery cleared his lines on one occasion by kicking the ball high into the air and well into the opposition half.
The Horbury team knew the game was won when Luke Gueli, again on the far post scored for Slazengers, soon after conceding. Despite another fractious final few minutes and the handicap of having two players harshly yellow carded near the end, the away team held on for a memorable victory. Final score 3-1.