BAPTISM OF FIRE
Leicester ladies 2s travelled up the M1 to take on newly promoted University of Nottingham.
UoN are the new kids on the block and regarded as the up and coming Uni making moves to challenge Birmingham, Durham and Loughborough on Saturdays and Wednesdays.
A number of England junior players and a host of scholarship students showed their class from the opening minute. UoN dominated proceedings and it soon became clear this side had been built to challenge at the top end of a National Conference, not midlands Prem.
Despite UoN dominance Emma in goal made several excellent saves but Leicester were slow on to react and the UoN girls capitalised.
Things were not made any easier when Margo rode a robust tackle but soon had to come off with the stick impact to her knee causing too much pain to continue and she required a short break. Carys puled up with a hamstring injury five minutes later which resulted in a quick reshuffle across the backline.
Leicester conceded five goals in the opening 35 minutes and in truth struggled much of an impact on the game.
The second half was much of the same with UoN scoring another five before the final whistle. Leicester’s bets opportunity to score fell to Lauren O in front of goal but she failed to capitalise as the UoN keeper smothered.
If UoN don’t finish in the top four and secure promotion something has gone seriously wrong, after that performance and the level of player they have acquired they will be favourites to win the league.
Congratulations to Margo, Gemma, Roshni, Lauren, Ellie and Emma who all made their debut for Leicester L2.
AN ALL LEICESTER AFFAIR
What are the chances that the first game of the season would see the 3s play the 4s. It all felt a little pre season, players arriving lateish, a lovely autumn day, sun beating down and a very casual game experience. Both sides had significantly different squads to last season.
The game for the 3s started in a pretty lacklustre way. The 4s however threw everything into it and looked the stronger side for 20 mins or so. They created the first chances of the game with Anna C and Emily K dominating the midfield. There endeavour was rewarded after 10 mins with a neat finish from Lauren E. A few expletives followed from the 3s while the 4s trotted back to the half way line beaming. With only 11 players the 3s got tired very quickly but... started to get a grip on certain areas of the game the 3s forwards started to put the 4s defence under pressure. With 15 mins in the half to go, a short corner and Casey put the ball into goal. Another 5 mins and the 3s were ahead. Chiara breaking away and following some neat interplay with other forwards, tucked the ball passed a flailing keeper.
Elise finally turned up!!! Apparently late because she had been scoffing pasta after her school game. She got to play 2 mins of the 1st half before the whistle went. An opportunity to regroup for the 3s and for the 4s to bemoan a losing position that was not wholly deserved.
The 3s half time talk involved Elsbeth telling the coach off, again...but a recognition that as tired as individuals were the game was now in their hands.
The second half was largely dominated by the 3s and they had the bulk of chances to score. 2 further short corner goals from Casey and a little dinky finish from Katie EP left the score finishing 5-1 to the 3s. Both sides taking something away from the game, some good performances across both sides and the season is up and running.
3s Squad: Cas Evans (GK), Casey Humphreys, Elsbeth Woodgate, Eve Moss, Caitlin Pittham, Elise Atkinson, Katie Evans-Puttick, Anna Kendall, Chiara Bensi, Lauren Clough, Sarah Robinson, Nat Gear
4s Squad: Jane Worlding (GK), Emily Kendall, Anna Godwin, Eleanor Bensi, Georgia Allen, Lauren Ellis, Maisie Brownlow, Abi Archer, Anna Chapman, Sophie Levy, Tara
5THS OFF TO A FLIER
The new revamped 5th team made a winning start to the season with a solid 5-1 win over Market Harborough 3rds. Early on both sides struggled to retain the ball but gradually the 5ths got into their stride, began passing well and creating chances. From the first short corner awarded to us Jen Pollock powered the ball past the Harborough keeper. Leicester started to dominate and newcomers Anna Kellie, Tara Bahra and Sophie Levy all showed up well. From another good attack Lydia Cross struck to make it 2-0.
Half-time came and with it a warning that Harborough were not out of it and looked dangerous on the attack. We needed to be more clinical, however, the coach’s words were proven right when from a good attack Harborough took a shot that looped up off an unaware attacker’s stick to spin beyond Aleena Moti in goal. Back came Leicester with Lydia once again forcing the ball home for a 3-1 lead. Leicester then had several shots that the keeper saved well or that just went past the post before Tara got on the end of a cross-shot to tip in at the far post. Classic widening the goal from Tara. she then went on to link up superbly with Lydia in a series of one twos that saw Lydia complete her hat-trick. There was time foR Aleena to make a very good save to ensure the score line was more reflective of the game. Harborough chose Tara as our Player of the Match and we gave the accolade to their keeper.
Squad: A.Moti, S. Vincent, R. Jacques, J. Cottrell, Sarah Levy (c), Sophie Levy, T. Bahra, J. Pollock, A. Kellie, A. Peet, G.Nash, J. York, J. Bensi, L. Cross.
THE START OF SOMETHING NEW
Leicester's new men's section Leicester City took to the field to play their first ever league fixture away against Nottingham Players 4s at the Nottingham Hockey Centre.
The game started strongly and Leicester took the initiative engineering a number of attacking opportunities in the D. The pressure finally told for Players as Ross Harrison scored the first ever goal after only 7 minutes of the game, Ross continued the momentum shortly after putting another goal passed the keeper within the first 15 minutes of the game.
Players managed to stay in the game repeatedly clearing the keeper's pads and getting the ball out of the 23 only for Leicester to quickly turn it over and attack all over again.
The pressure continued and the question was not if a goal was coming but who would score it? Safe to say everyone was desperate to score in the historic first ever men's fixture! A scrabble near the P-spot saw Jamie Sinclair score the third and a baseline run and a narrow angle shot from David Magill took Leicester into half time 4-0 up with all the players except two (one being Jason in goal) getting shots on target in the first half.
The second half was much like the first, high Leicester pressure had Nottingham deep in their half and maintained the goal scoring momentum. A baseline run from Jamie down the right hand baseline left David Magill to first touch push the ball home passed the near post for his second of the game. David Hill went on to score the next, well deserved after a number of short corner opportunities and assists for other players, then one for youngster Ethan Pittham with a left slip on a short corner. Momentum continued as Jamie went on to score two more for his hat trick which won him Man of the Match.
Other than a handful of opportunities including a couple of short corners Nottingham were unable to make the most of their attacking chances and confident defensive and midfield unit of Boycie, Henry, Paul, Karl and Nic quashed any breakaways. Jason was ultimately left cold in the goal with only a handful of saves made and a strictly style dance with the ball caught in the pads. Final mention goes to captain Ed to worked his socks off in Midfield but sadly played his first and probably last game this season as he moves away after this weekend- good luck and come back soon!
What a start- bring on the next game away vs Barton on 13th October 11:30 pushback- supporters welcome!
Squad: Jason Clothier (GK), Ed Charlesworth, Daryl Boyce, David Hill, David Magill, Ed Charlesworth (C), Ethan Pittham, Henry Young, Jamie Sinclair, Karl Taitt, Nic White, Paul Lineham, Ross Harrison
On Sunday morning, the 1s set off for Belper (known as the Nailers) in their first league game of the season. With some new faces in the Leicester side, along with some experienced players the side were keen to get their campaign off to a good start.
Pressure from both sides, meant breaking the deadlock was key and after 10 mins a great ball sliced through the Belper midfield to set Katie Long free for a short run and rapid strike just inside the circle. The score at half time finished on 1-0 but with bright flashes from Belper, the side knew they needed a few more goals to relieve the pressure.
The second half was a much improved performance from Leicester and they stepped up a gear seeing several strikes saved well by the Belper keeper and a few go narrowly wide of the goal. Some great passing around the circle led to the next goal from Flora England at 43 minutes and another added on 61 minutes by Leicester's Japanese player, Mina Nagano both on their Leicester league debuts.
Belper never gave up and after sustained pressure at the end, saw them pull back a well taken strike on the 69th minute to end the game 3-1 to Leicester.
Leicester's next fixture is a local derby against Loughborough Students away 12.30 pushback.
Squad: Caitlin Jeffries (GK), Katie Mason, Steph Hale, Fora England, Katie Long, Carmen Simpson, Tara Lloyd, Mina Nagano, Liz George, Rachael Mack, Lizzie Honarmand, Anna Elson, Jess Honarmand, Jenni Schanschieff