Team Men’s 2nd Team
Opponent Beacon 6
Date February 24, 2024
Result Win
Score 3 – 0

Beacon Men’s 6s 0-3 CoB Men’s 2ndXI

Goalscorers: Robin Stanley, Ben Matthews and James L.

A refreshing midday start for the visitors, who are so used to 4pm away fixtures. This combined with a week away from hockey (school break) put everyone in a positive frame of mind and were all raring to go. Even news that our goalkeeper would be missing for the start and 10 minutes of the game (family emergency) couldn’t dampen the team’s enthusiasm.

The visitors started with a focus and determination not to give away possession cheaply. Every pass counted and every foray forward was weighted to protect our empty net. When possession was lost every player worked hard to win control of the ball again with good tackles in the middle of the pitch. This style of play proved problematic for the home team, who saw the empty net but just couldn’t  break into the visitors “23”. They only got one half chance with a cross to the back post but the striker missed the ball. The visitors on the other hand were getting umpteen attempts at goal. Testing the home team’s keeper and backline. The pressure was all mainly from COBHC and they were winning lots of short corners. Eventually Ian pushed another great injection out to Stan who collected the ball open faced, one touch then shot at the keeper. It powered through his kickers giving the visitors an early lead. The extra player in the field of play, was over powering the home team and Stan again had more chances but were either saved or went narrowly wide.

When our keeper was kitted up and ready to join the play the home team had gradually built up some pressure and Jack was soon called into play making a save within minutes of coming on! For the rest of the 25 minutes remaining in the first half it was end to end stuff but the visitors defence of Owen, Paul, Isa and Ian defended the attacks with strength and good tackles. The City team struggled to get a rhythm going and panicked a little, not keeping their composure and losing possession cheaply. Going into halftime only one goal up was disappointing for COBHC after all the early chances but still positive for the second period.

The team reset. Their positions and strategies were reinforced by John (our coach on the side). Everyone was set a task and to build on the positives from the first half. Stan stayed high throughout the second half, the team’s target man upfront. James had an excellent game playing the central holding midfielder and was getting strong tackles in, breaking up play and set up our own attacking forays. This was perfectly balanced with Zee and Ben running their hearts out filling in any gaps that appeared and made nuisances of themselves whenever a Beacon player tried to get through the middle of the pitch. Ideally the visitors needed to use the wide players more but going through the middle passing through the congestion did actually work for all the goals that followed.

Ian sent a ball through the crowded centre area finding Ben, he passed to Stan and as Stan drove wide in the “D” he whipped in a cross to find James who swept from the top of the “D” powerful hitting the top corner of the net. A two-goal cushion was desperately needed as the home team was getting breakaway chances as the COBHC defence pushed a high line. Jack was called to make three telling saves in this period keeping his team in the game. On one occasion a clever through ball fell through the defence line and Jack was facing three attackers charging towards goal, the player on the ball fancied his chances and tried shooting through Jack’s kickers, No Chance…Jack saved with a clearance getting the ball safely from the other advancing attackers. The home team began to win numerous short corners and were getting shots at goal. Jack saved a couple and both Ian and Paul cleared off the line from short corners!

Throughout this half it was end to end stuff, but the visitors slightly edged it with the better chances thanks in the main part to the strength on the ball by Stan. Not only did our midfield try to get the ball to him quickly but he pressed the home defence into errors. To say Stan could have scored a hat trick is not an over statement. His many chances admittedly were from tight 45’ angles and the keeper closed the angles down rapidly. Even though the visitors tried pushing through the middle on many occasions the wide players always gave the team the width which the home team so badly lacked. Anthony, André and Ethen all worked the lines keeping the width throughout the game and spread/stretched the home team just enough so James and Ian could get the ball through the middle. Eventually with ten minutes to go the game was put to bed when Ben got a shot away from a nice pass and move starting from the right wing. His shot got a deflection into the goal beating the keeper but a 3-0 victory was a deserved result. As our coach said at the end, a brilliant performance. considering so many of the squad were playing out of their normal positions. Anthony noted that during the game he played four different positions, left back. Left mid, left wing and finally centre mid. A flexibility in the squad was definitely a bonus from the game along with the three points.

 Unfortunately, the Seconds can’t jump to the final promotion places this season but to chase down third place is now the team’s target.

Categories: Match Reports