Mens 1st’s (6) vs. (3) City of York 3rd’s
Post Christmas break the men’s first eleven have only managed 40 mins of hockey. after injury forced last weeks game to finish early. But frozen pitches and injured opposition were to hold us back no more, a triumphant return to January hockey saw the men’s firsts defeat York 3 – 6 and continue the push for promotion.
It’s fair to say that 5 weeks without a full game did show on match fitness levels, substitutions were plentiful, as were tired legs. That said the game started very well for Slazenger’s with early goals from Tuddenham and Perry who linked up gloriously in the first 15 minutes to set the tone of the game.
As the game progressed York managed to keep a foot in the door with the odd goal, however a man of the match performance from super-keeper Loftus put pay to any real chance the opposition had of challenging for the win. The second half saw Tuddenham complete his hatrick, and Swinden (Mark) narrowly avoid a card for a strong tackle. On the whole a competent, if not electrifying, Slazenger performance got the New year hockey off in the right direction.
Mens 2nds (4) vs. (4) Harrogate 3rd’s
Slazengers mens 2nd team travelled to top of the league Harrogate on Saturday and became only the 2’nd team to take points off them this season, coming away with a well deserved 4-4 draw. Harrogate were always going to be tough opposition and they started quickly breaking the deadlock after a fast break. Slazengers responded well and put Harrogate under pressure creating a number of chances, Asad Baig netted the equaliser beating the keeper at the near post. Harrogate showed their skill and forced the Slazengers defence and keeper to work hard but eventually took the lead again to go into the half 2-1 up.
Slazengers were determined to not let Harrogate have things their own way and despite Harrogate going 2 up early in the 2nd half, Slazengers hit back through Ted Richardson. Harrogate again took a 2 goal lead only for Richardson to peg them back again with a quality first time strike after good work from Baig. Slazengers work rate was excellent and they refused to give Harrogate time on the ball pressing time and time again, eventually this paid dividends when Slazengers stole possession and Captain Ben Graham finished with a fierce strike from the top of the ‘D’. Despite a late scare, the final score was 4-4. Tristan Whittle took the man of the match award for Slazengers with excellent work from Slaz keeper Daz Buttery giving him a close 2nd.
Mens 3rd’s (1) vs. (1) Leeds 7th’s
Slazenger 3rds travelled to Leeds in a top of the table clash. Already weakened by injury, Slazenger knew that this game could decide the league champions, but having already beaten them at home, knew they were in for a good game.
Slazenger came out strongly from the start, maintaining possession with Paul Johnson and Matt Banks expertly holding the team together from midfield. Powering forwards, Slazenger were not without goal scoring chances, but the strong Leeds defence seemed almost impenetrable having only conceded only six goals this season. Both sides were evenly matched and neither team was able to find the back of the net, leaving the half time score 0-0.
After a rousing, inspirational, Churchill-esque team talk from Captain and man of the match Simon Taylor, Slazenger came out strong in the second half. Tireless running from Sam Haigh and veteran Tim Carr offered more opportunities, but Slazenger were unable to take full advantage. Finally it was Leeds who were able to break the deadlock, converting a short corner chance to take the lead 1-0.
Rather than letting heads go down, Slazenger were spurred on. Minutes later a short corner was converted, after Josh Dunstans flick was deflected in at the back post by a Leeds defender. Both teams could now smell victory, but the defensive lines held strong. A back post opportunity was thwarted by Keeper Harry Buttery in the dying moments of the game to leave the final scores all level at 1-1.
Mens 4ths (0) vs. (0) Worksop 2nd’s
Slaz 4s went to Worksop away as they continue their campaign with another tough fixture. The first half was very even and few chances created and the score at 0-0.
The second half was much more open as Worksop opened with 2 goals. The game continued to be backwards and forwards as Steve Johnson and Harry Lumb scored 2 for Slaz but another two Worksop goals ensured the home win after a competitive game.
Man of the match went to Dan Cass for a great performance in midfield but notable performances went to Dan Alderson in goal, Harry Lumb and Jack Lee in midfield and also the forward line of Steve Johnson and Michael Plumbley.
Ladies 2nd’s (0) vs. (3) Halifax 2nd’s
Slazengers were forced onto the back foot after Halifax 2nd’s beat the Slazenger defence early in the game. Slazengers kept battling but after two more goals from a short corner and open play they found themselves 3-0 down at half time. They held strong in the second half and didn’t conceed any more in the second half, unfortunately they also failed to convert any of their attacking chances. Player of the game was Mollie Gilbert in defence.
Ladies 3rd’s (1) vs. (3) Sheffield Bankers 3rd’s
Ladies 3s travelled to Sheffield for their away leg with Bankers hoping to secure another win to take them safe and out of the relegation zone. It was a wet start to the day with Slazengers taking a bare 11 to the fixture against a 15 strong Bankers squad. Bankers were quick off the blocks putting pressure on the Slaz defence resulting in an early goal for the home side. More bad luck for the visitors in the first 5 minutes saw key midfielder Jess Reilly take a deflected ball the face, splitting her cheek and a trip to A&E ensued. With Slaz now down to 10 players and still trying to form a strategy to keep the continously fresh legged opposition at bay, a further 2 goals in quick succession were netted for Bankers. With play continuing to be mostly in the Bankers attacking half and 23, Slaz defended with all their might with player of the match Justine Birkett stepping up and executing superbly the DCM role. Numerous penalty corners were defended with vigour and the visitors denied any chance of Bankers increasing their 3 nil lead in the first half.
Slaz seemed to have cemented their strategy in the final third of the first 35 and started the second half confident they could get something back. Utilising space round the back and down the wings Slaz managed to penetrate the Bankers circle but were thwarted by the Bankers defense repeatedly. High balls to Aleks Kapinska were also read well by the opposition and turned over. However the Slaz 10 continued to defend well and keeper Lizzie Tunstall made some outstanding saves to keep the second half nil – nil. Finally Slaz managed to break the Bankers defense with some slick passing down right which found Caro Schofield in space in the 23. Schofield stormed the circle drawing the keeper and crossing to Kapinska on the left post to hit home for the visitors. With only a minute to go a tired Slaz 10 were happy with the consolation goal after a sterling performance from all.
Ladies 4th’s (2) vs. (1) Leeds Adel 5th’s
Having lost 14-2 earlier in the season against Adel 5’s, Slazengers Ladies 4th team were expecting tough opposition once more on home ground. However, within minutes of the first half, it became apparent that the teams were more evenly matched.
Slazengers tried hard to be the first to score but were beaten to it when Adel were successful from a short corner leaving Slazengers 1-0 down at half time.
The cold and rain didn’t deter the home team, spirits were high from last weeks win and the ladies hard work paid off with Josie Hughes finding the goal for the first time. Despite a missed penalty flick, Slazenger’s kept the pressure on and the green shirts dominated the second half with Josie Hughes scoring again to give the Slazenger ladies a well deserved 2-1 win.