Canterbury 1 - 1 Leicester
After a long journey down to Kent, Leicester found themselves playing a team they recently beat 4-1 at home. The tight turnaround in fixture ensured both teams knew what to expect of each other. Both teams were in need of crucial points ahead of the the Christmas break.
The home side started the strongest but Leicester soaked up early pressure and took an early chance to open the scoring from a Rachel Mack strike. The game was end to end, both team creating opportunities.
Leicester kept a 1-0 lead going into half time and knew they were in for a battle second half. Mid way through the second half Canterbury’s persistence at the Leicester goal paid off with an excellent solo goal to find the equaliser. As both teams pushed for the winner, with tired legs the game became very open. Leicester survived a final onslaught from an aggressive Canterbury attack. Leicester’s penalty corner defence stood firm, despite a controversially awarded corner in the dying moments.
Although disappointing not to gain all 3 points, Leicester fought hard for a point.
The second team went into their final fixture before Christmas determined to leave the pitch with a positive result, having had a tough result against Lichfield last week. The game started positively with some fantastic link up play from all three lines, and a real team effort to maintain possession. Unfortunately, an early injury to a Harbourne defender stopped time and allowed Harbourne to regroup and settle more into the game. Although Leicester were generally on the front foot, a counter attack from Harbourne mid-way through the first half led to the only goal of the game, when a forward slipped free and managed to deflect the ball into the corner of the goal.
Leicester reassembled, and worked incredibly hard to regain their advantage. Some excellent drives by Carmen Simpson down the wing, combined with regular leads from the forwards gave opportunities but unfortunately these could not be capitalised.
The second half continued in much the same vein, with continued pressure from Leicester on the Harbourne defence. A few through balls came through from the midfield, but unfortunately couldn’t be guided goal wards, and although a few penalty corners were awarded, still Leicester were unable to convert. As the game drew to a close, Leicester sacrificed a defender in a last ditch attempt to get a point on the board but the game finished in a 1-0 defeat.
The 2nds can take positives from the game, and will look to regroup over the Christmas break in order to build on their current 6th place in the league.
LEICESTER SCRAPE WIN TO TOP THE TABLE
This weekend the third team looked to shake up the squad and give some new players exposure to hockey in the third team as they took on Melton at home.
Leicester dominated their half and looked solid at the back with stand in keeper Sandy Boyce equitting herself well. Dominance in possession and serveral short corner opportunities all went begging and play in the attacking third started to become increasingly frantic as Leicester cotinued to chase an elusive goal.
Melton's defense and keeper continued to stand strong despite continued attacks from Tilly Johnson, Maisie Robinson and Zaz Barbour upfront. Newcomer Emma Sleeman played well in midfield with sniping runs up the right hand side with Ellie Lineham in support. Casey Humphreys and Gemma Newton worked well in central defence to cut out any attacking opportunities from a physical Melton forward line.
Siobhan Bahl, Ellie Copeland, Anna Kendall and Hephzibah Smalley-Kaspruk worked hard in midfield to keep up sustained pressure and create opportunities in the attacking third.
At the half time break the squad agreed to focus on the positives and basics and the goal would come, we hoped.
Sadly the second half continued much like the first with play breaking down and green cards coming in for some rather dubious tackles by both sides. Melton seemed to grow in confidence having not yet conceded and Leicester got more frustrated at the lack of outcomes in the D (not something we have had issues with this season so far).
The deadlock was broken however by Maisie who was able to goal line scrabble with the keeper on the right post and slot the ball in off the left post, the team celebrated more than any other goal this season.
Leicester then went on the defensive shifting Etta Magill from midfield into her usual defence in an attempt to see out the last 10 minutes of the game one goal to the good.
Melton applied increased pressure and were able to battle into the Leicester D on a couple of occasions. Leicester were able to mobilise and effectively defend a short corner on the final whistle to see out the game 1-0
Praise must go to Melton who battled really hard and were able to step up their game in the last few minutes. Leicester will look to forget the performance and look ahead to a tough game against Loughborough Town next week away from home.
Leicester sit top of the table temporarily awaiting the result of the postponed fixture between Loughborough Town and Loughborough Students 4s.
Leicester 3-0 Half Century
Leicester 3-3 Loughborough Town 2nds