WEEKEND ROUND-UP 25/11/17

1ST XI

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.


2ND XI

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.


3RD XI

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.


4TH XI

Leicester 3-0 Half Century

On Saturday the 25th of November, the Leicester Ladies fourth team, captained by
Katie EP, played Half Century. With Half Century being one player down, we were
hoping for a win but we knew that it wouldn’t be easy. In the first 5 minutes, Half Century
dominated the game, although a break through their players by Chiara Bensi almost led
to a goal, building all of our team’s confidence. In the first half we had many shots at
goal, especially by Anna Chapman, but scoring was made difficult from the strong
defending of Half Century.
   One minute into the second half, Leicester won a short corner. It was successfully
defended by Half Century but thanks to great defending by Jane who passed to Caitlyn
up front, Leicester took possession again. After 7 minutes of the second half, the hard
work paid off and a lovely goal was scored by Chiara, assisted by Caitlin. Half Century
fought back hard with strong attack, however, with great defending from Emily Kendall
at left back and Kerry in goal, Half Century were unable to score. Katie made some
awesome interceptions from Half Century’s scary midfield. This lead to some chances at
goal by Chiara, set up by Anna Chapman and Katie. Unfortunately their goalie made
some excellent saves. We kept going, allowing Emma Mack to score a lovely goal,
beautifully set up by Anna Chapman. We had some lovely play up the sides from Karen
who played some lovely one touch hockey allowing us to easily get around the
opposition's players. Jane equally played some lovely balls up the line to Anna Godwin.
With help from Abbie and Emma Mack, Anna Chapman scored giving Leicester Ladies
a 3-0 lead at the end of the match. Well done to Emily Kendall who was awarded player
of the match by Half Century, and thank you to everyone who turned up to play and
Dave for coaching.


5TH XI

Leicester 3-3 Loughborough Town 2nds

Leicester 5ths went into Saturday's match knowing that they faced a stern challenge from Loughborough Town 2nds, on the same points as them in League Division 1. Town have some very good players and brought a physicality to the game that tested our side's resolve, especially when, already behind to a good goal, a 'stray' elbow to the nose saw player coach Gaynor Nash leave the field. On the sidelines Nash recovered sufficiently to offer just a little too much help to Town's umpire which saw the 5ths' captain Sarah Levy green carded for Nash's misdemeanour.
1-0 down at half-time the 5ths knew they were still in the game but would have to match the physical play of Town. Early in the second half a sublime through ball from Elena Bensi, playing only her second women's match, put Jennifer Pollock in a one on one against Town's keeper. Jen kept her cool to level matters and within minutes she had notched a sharp second to see us edge ahead. At the other end Ails Bullivant was marshalling the defence well and behind her Cas Evans made some good stops. The excellent Clare Slater pulled up injured which saw Lydia Cross drop deeper in midfield and play a vital anchor role. 
With Leicester holding firm the game took an unfortunate turn. Ails, defending at the top of the D pushed a ball onto the attacker's foot and was then eased off the ball by a Town player. With us expecting a whistle the ball found its way to a Town player who scored well. They followed it up with a very well worked goal and suddenly we were 3-2 down with five minutes to go. We pushed forward and saw their keeper make good saves before, eventually, Nash slotted the ball in from a good pass from Jen Pollock. There was still time for a winner but it wasn't to be and a lively game ended 3-3.
Afterwards it was clear that despite the feistiness we had all enjoyed the game whether aged 64 (Jane) or 13 (Elena). Special mention must go to skipper Sarah Levy who worked tirelessly and the aforementioned Clare Slater, voted Player of the Match by Town.
Squad: Cas Evans, Sophie Vincent, Rosemary Jacques, Jane Cottrell, Emma York, Ails Bullivant, Sarah Levy (C), Elena Bensi, Alex Peet, Clare Slater, Lydia Cross, Jennifer Pollock, Lauren Ellis, Joy York and Gaynor Nash.