FIRSTS NARROWLY MISS PLAY OFFS
Leicester close their season in a respectable fifth position and three points off the mark for a play off position.
In the pre game build up the players were looking at this game like any other, however on the day looked nervous and were unable to play to the high standard they have in recent weeks.
Both teams appeared to struggle with the bounce of the pitch making lots of unforced errors but home side Holcombe took the lead in the ninth minute from a penalty corner scored by Emily Maguire.
On the twenty fifth minute Leicester pulled level through a flowing move down the right, slipped to an unmarked Katie Long at the top of the D, who swept the ball home.
Chances came and went for both sides throughout the remaining fourty five minutes but neither could score the clincher.
Leicester's player of the match was undoubtedly Caitlin Jeffries in goal, who made a number of 'world class' saves to keep Leicester in the game.
Leicester will be disappointed with the final result, but the other two games would not to go their way to sneak a play off spot, the game in the end proved to be academic.
All in all a very pleasing season; plenty of quality hockey demonstrated, great team and solo performances and promising juniors getting the opportunity to train an play with a senior squad full of strength and class.
Bring on the 2017-18 season!
SECONDS SECURE FIFTH IN THE LEAGUE
The second eleven travelled to Birmingham to face a University side who had everything to play for. The match started brightly with Leicester knocking the ball around in a controlled fashion, but after a good five or ten minutes the game took a turn for the worse and turned into a scrappy affair. The breakthrough finally came when Bea Bridge smashed the ball to the back post with Lucy Ring coolly tapping the ball home for a yard, 1-0 Leicester.
The game continued in a similar fashion with lots of scrappy play from both sides. Leicester created some great opportunities which would have gone in on another day and at the other end Steph Tirrell made some fantastic saves to keep the game at 1-0.
Leicester thoroughly deserved the three points but will be disappointed with the overall performance.
With a respectable fifth place guaranteed in the league, Leicester will go into next week in high confidence looking to add salt into Leamington’s wounds having narrowly missed out on promotion to the National League. The game is at home 15:00 pushback.
THIRD TEAM FINISH ON A HIGH
Leicester uni 1 - 4 leicester ladies
Leicester ladies went into the final game of the season with unfortunately nothing to play for having comfortably secured fourth in the league. After a promising start to the season the wheels somewhat fell off due to; injuries, illnesses, availability and family planning. However the last game of the league season showed the fighting spirit we've had all season.
Although never actually going behind Leicester made it difficult for ourselves. The away side began strongly pressing Uni hard and making it very difficult for them to exit their own half for the first 5 minutes. Managing to hit both posts, the keeper and their defenders all within the first 10 minutes has to be some kind of record right? Leicester would take the lead off the back of a penalty corner of all things, all be it the second phase. After a good stop and initial routine at the top of the circle it would be Ellie Copeland who would step up and slot the ball home to give the away side the lead. 1-0.
Now two things happened at this point; 1) The Uni got a boost from somewhere, probably the alcohol being sweated out due the heat and 2) Leicester stopped marking. The 2 combined to made the next 10 minute very difficult from a coaches and spectators perspective and resulted in Megan Lowe in goal making 7 saves (Steve counted every one). The Uni side placed a lot of pressure on Leicester's defensive line during that 10 minutes and whilst the away side stood strong for long periods of time including seeing off 4 short corners they were eventually broken. Some smart play and good skill opened up the circle and time for a shot which the Uni forward took and slotted home, 1-1.
With heads dropped on the away side the centre was taken. Annie Wiffen passed the ball to Rachel East, who in turn played the ball back to Ellie Copeland, played it back to Annie, wide to Abi Hart, back to Annie who found Sarah Turner unmarked in the Uni's circle. Sarah slapped the ball towards the back post only for the retreating Uni defender to turn the ball in, 2-1, 8 seconds after surrendering the lead.
Some tactical changes saw Leicester tighten their grip on the game. The second half began much as the first but would follow a different path from then forward. To put it simply, we remembered how to play hockey.
Leicester looked to move the ball around a lot more and treat it like gold dust, looking to retain possession rather than going to forward constantly. The back line of Emily Kendall, Emma Mack and Etta Magill moved the ball smoothly between them to stretch the pitch, whilst the forward line of Rachel and Tilly Johnson caused havoc whenever they had the ball using all the length they could to get the Uni's defence turning and chasing back towards their own goal.
Leicester would batter the Uni's defence for the whole of the second half with the shots on target reading 12-0 in favour of the away side. The midfield of Molly Edwards, Eleanor Godiwn and Ruby Barham would ensure that any time the home side did try to break they wouldn't leave their own half. Leicester's pressure would tell as a our third go came 15 minutes into the second through Sarah, who again found herself in the circle unmarked and slotted home. 3-1.
Clearly by this point Leicester where not in the mood to surrender the lead again. Pressing hard right from the off with Casey Humphreys stepping forward from her usual position into the bottom of the midfield to cut out the attack and lace the ball through to an unmarked Tilly, who did everything right, driving hard into the circle, moved the keeper but just clipped the wrong side of the post! Leicester would continue to pressure and look to counter any attacks made by the come side. Another 1v1 would occur 2 minutes after Tilly's after a long ball played down the pitch was chased by Annie. Annie started a good 30m away from the ball and the leicester defender started 10m away. Now I think anyone would back the defender to get the ball unless you have Usain Bolt chasing. However apparently the pitch that the defender was running through was quicksand as Annie, managed to overtake the defender, pick up the ball and take the shot...right into the keeper.
It would be the combination of the young guns in Leicester's side that would get Leicester's 4th with six U18s on the pitch at the time the final goal went in (Megan, Emily K, Molly, Hephzibah Smalley-Kaspruk, Etta and Eleanor). It would be a number of those who would combine to allow Abi to score. Emily K took the side line to Etta, who drove forward, moved the ball wide to Molly, to cut inside, found Hephzi, who shot at goal managing to find the keeper, and who should be there to follow up? That would be Abi, 4-1.
You might notice one name missing from the above report, Elsbeth. Saturday was her last game this season as she will be attending a wedding next Saturday, over our final I might add! She has lead both on and off the pitch all season and been willing to play for the 4ths when they were short. She has guided the youth in the side as well as kept the oldies in check (I'll let you decide which category you fall into). But above all she has had to deal with me as a coach which is a horrible thing to have to deal with; grammar correcting match reports, ranting at me when I've missed something important and of course having to deal with me being late...a lot. Elsbeth truly defines what it means to be a Leicester ladies player, member, coach and captain. So from myself and I'm sure from your fellow team members I am greatly thankful.
Squad: Megan Lowe, Hephzibah Smalley-Kaspruk, Annie Wiffen, Etta Magill, Emma Mack, Molly Edwards, Emily Kendall, Tilly Johnson, Ruby Barham, Sarah Turner, Rachel East, Abi Hart, Casey Humphreys, Elsbeth Woodgate, Ellie Copeland, Eleanor Godwin
Leicester 3s will go in our final match next week in the Plate final against Half century 10:30 pushback at Soar Valley College. Your support would be gratefully received.
THEY THINK ITS ALL OVER...
This final match report may be one of the shortest I have done. A relief to all I know.
Where do I start? Probably best if I start from the second half. First half, was very forgettable as we flapped around like wingless birds, unable to get off the ground. We failed to make any significant impact on the game. Ashby, turned up goalkeeper less and we allowed that to affect the way we played hockey. We certainly created chances but insisted on trying to walk to ball into the goal. Not sure if people were scared of hurting players or we just needed to wake up, but at half time 1-0 down and the 23 coaches on the sidelines were not overly impressed. What Ail’s thought after I had bigged the team up I have no idea?
So, the first half was a write off.
The second half was significantly better. Ashby tired and we started to be a little more patient, moved the ball away from contact, created space and cleaner chances. We played hockey….
With 16 in the squad this week, it was a little easier to give some of the younger (and older) legs a break at different parts of the game. This gave us a huge advantage which we took, except when Anna C got sent off. Nothing wrong with that, 2 great players received cards this week.
Fran and Marion provided some much needed solidity at full back. Working with Kerry, in goal, to break down the breaks from Ashby when we got a little rushed in attack. Ros, Juliette, Emma R, Emma S, Anna K, Katie started to develop attacks down the widths feeding the higher players with early ball; Jennifer, Anna C, Anna G, Kate, Caitlin and Gaynor started to open up the Ashby defence. When we attack from the widths we really do look like a much more accomplished side.
The first goal is always the hardest to come by. Chances were fluffed for the first 15 minutes. However, once Sandy got the first goal, more followed. Sandy (x2), Gaynor and Kate tucked the ball away. Could ave, should ave been a lot more scored.
So we end the season with a 4-1 win. The league position doesn’t reflect how close we came and different points to more wins. There are 3 sides in the league that are miles better than the rest. This side can compete with everyone outside the top 3 when everyone is available.
Thank you to all who played this season. It’s been great and next season bodes well. Although the side is possibly relegated, I am sure performances will continue to improve and results will without doubt follow.
Oooops. Almost forgot Player of the match. An alternative Chapman was offered it this week (Anna). Jennifer tried to steal it while people ate after the game. To be honest, I am struggling for a change, to pick out a single player to give my vote to. Everyone had their moments. However, I think Fran was the one player who provided a consistent solid performance and rarely missed a tackle.
FIFTHS RUN AWAY WINNERS!
The fifth team finish their league season in third position after an 8-0 win against Bosworth.