BATTLE AT BROOKLANDS
The team arrived ready for a physical encounter, but after 3 good results knew that they needed to keep up with the momentum.
The game started brightly and Leicester pushed hard early on, however some good pressure from Brooklands led to a penalty corner and Leicester conceding after 18 minutes. The score remained the same til half time. After the break Leicester consolidated and new player from NZ Oriwa Hepi, tucked the ball away from a penalty corner to make it 1-1. Brooklands applied more pressure and took another goal to take the lead. Leicester fought back again and after lots of pressure and opportunity and Anna Elson tucked away a nice team goal to take it back to 2-2. Leicester kept applying pressure and were unlucky not to sneak the win at the end.
A point away from home in a very physical and robust battle was pleasing.
TWOS GO DOWN TO BIRMINGHAM UNI
Leicester travelled to Birmingham with a somewhat depleted side to take on the athletic and technically gifted University of Birmingham (UoB) side. The game started with UoB playing at pace and winning a penalty corner after only 15 seconds. Despite a scramble in front of goal UoB converted and took an early lead. Two more goals followed and Leicester found themselves 3-0 down within the first seven minutes.
Leicester steadied the ship and despite the initial panic that lead to three goals Leicester worked their way back into the game repelling the talented UoB side.
Towards the end of the first half UoB scored a fourth but Leicester would fight back. After a swift counter attack Megan Dreyer played the ball into the circle and the UoB goalkeeper miss-kicked the ball clear. It went off the backline and the umpire judged it to be a deliberate action. A somewhat controversial decision from which Jen added insult to injury finishing the corner to pull a goal back for Leicester.
The second half was much of the same with UoB putting pressure on the Leicester goal but a combination of excellent defending and solid goalkeeping kept them at bay.
Leicester had opportunities to strike back but failed to capitalise on their counter attacks.
A difficult game in difficult circumstances. Leicester 2 will be back up to full strength next week when they take on Northampton Saints.
THREES BACK TO WINNING WAYS
Sat afternoon was cold, wet and the 3s faced a physical and determined Ashby side.
It really was one way traffic. The 3s dominated the game, created many chances but frustratingly failed to convert enough.
The first goal from Chiara was a little fortuitous but was no more than she deserved. We kept pressing, pat-a-cake with the goalkeeper but never stopped despite every push and shove. Defensively Emma R, Casey, Jess, Josie and Anna K never looked flustered and pushed forward in attack. Elise, Katie, Nat, Margo and Maisie B continued to dominate the midfield and Chiara, Caitlin and the energetic Sophie were frequently in the right place at the right time but just could not score.
Katie doubled the score in the second half. Looked a little confused about how to celebrate. I took her off fearful of a nosebleed. That's it, game won. Never in doubt and sterner tests to come. We NEED to start scoring and taking those chances. Much work to do on Wednesday.
Player of the match was Elise who has started the season very well indeed. Muppet was won by Margot for stealing a cupcake I clearly had bagsied. She still has a match report to write!!!
Well played all. On we go
FOURTHS BATTLE STUDENTS
On Saturday the Leicester 4s welcomed DMU ladies players Olivia Watson, Sophie Vincent and Liv Kirk to the squad to take on a strong Loughbrough Students side.
A low key warm up (note to self - 45 minutes is not a sufficient meet time before the game) however did not impact on a good start to the game. Leicester matched the students for energy and work rate and this, combined with good communication between the back four of Alexia, Eve, Abi, and Sarah limited opportunities in the first quarter. The midfield supported well and some super link up play between Tara and Elena and Maisie and Josie provide opportunities to break the dead lock. The game moved quickly from end to end but it was the students who eventually found a way through the defense, taking the lead with a well taken strike and deflection into the corner of the goal. Leicester did not let their heads drop and continued to work hard to create chances of their own and eventually the endless running of the midfield enabled Elena to feed Tara in the circle who converted it skillfully passed the goal keeper.
The first half finished 1-1.
The second half continued as the first had finished with the students pressing and Leicester defending well. Eventually a short corner to Loughborough, led to a penalty stroke which was placed just beyond the diving arm of Cas in goal, 2-1. Again Leicester created from midfield however despite some great distribution from Kirky, Eleanor and Helen we could not carve out any further chances. A third goal for the students in the last few minutes meant the game ended 3-1. The scoreline didn't reflect the game and I am sure by continuing to work in training on creating more scoring opportunities from all areas of the pitch and perfecting our deadly finishing we will be able to reverse the score on the return fixture. Player of the match for Leicester was Josie Rule, very well deserved.
5THS DRAW AT HARBOROUGH
The 5ths travelled to Market Harborough to take on a team with a 100% record and emerged with a very creditable draw. Despite losing players through advancement to the 4ths and Leicester Grammar School Open Day the side acquitted itself well in an even first half. Chances were created but both Aleena and their keeper made good saves.
The second half started with us in the ascendancy and we took the lead when a very astute dinked pass from Jennifer Pollock set Joy York free in the circle and her finish was unerring. We had chances to seal the game but could not take them and the young Harborough side began to threaten. With about ten minutes to go an unfortunate slip in defence let Harborough in and Aleena was unable to keep out the accurate shot.
We pressed hard for the last phase of the game but just couldn’t create a clear-cut chance. Anna Godwin, playing centre midfield, was voted Player of the Match.
We hope to have star striker, Lydia Cross, back from injury for our next game on November 17th against Lutterworth.
Squad: Aleena Moti, Sophie Vincent, Abigail Archer, Hazel McSweeney, Rosemary Jacques, Jane Cottrell, Emma York, Anna Godwin, Catherine Smith, Jennifer Pollock, Joy York, Eleanor Partridge and Gaynor Nash
MENS FACE FIRST DEFEAT
Saturday saw the men's side lose their first game, but they did it in style. Playing Beeston 7s was always going to be our biggest challenge and unfortunately we were not quite up to it. Perhaps a lack of quality in the playing personnel, perhaps some interesting officiation but mostly we played against a side better than us, man for man.
That does not belie the effort. Henry and Ehren faced the toughest challenge marking players with ability beyond what we have faced to date. They stuck to the task admirably. The midfield battled hard and it was only towards the end of the game where the effort started to tell.
At half time the 5-0 score line seemed a little harsh. Some offish goals providing a score line that flattered Beeston. The second half started much better, we put them under a little more pressure but didn't quite manage to find that last pass or hold our composure to control the ball in the circle. Beeston scored a few more goals in the second half. The league results says 2 more, not convinced it was not another 5!
Next time we play, both sides (having spoken to Beeston Vets representatives on Sat and Sun) can look forward to a good game. With more games together under our belt and a few more players available I am confident we can give them a shellacking.
U16’s v BEESTON
On a cold damp Sunday, the U16 Squad faced old rivals Beeston in the first round of the EH Tier 1 Championships.
Beeston showed right from the start that they meant business. They were sharply out of the gates, and pressed high from the start. This match was obviously going to call for cool heads.
Credit to Leicester, that is exactly what the Squad delivered. The defensive back line – led by Captain Etta – remained calm and unflustered, mopping up Beeston’s early barrage. The Squads looked evenly matched, but Leicester took the first advantage after being awarded a PC just 5 minutes in. A calm slip from Etta found Maisie Robinson at the far left edge of the D, who fired home one of her (now trademark) rockets.
There followed a period of fantastic end to end hockey, with both Squads giving the large crowd of spectators a really exciting match. Towards the end of the first half, Beeston were awarded the first (of VERY MANY) PC’s. This was brilliantly defended – particularly by Margot Buchanan with an incredible and brave run out. But with less than 2 minutes to go, a second Beeston PC was converted on the rebound (although there was much debate about whether the ball had even left the D and therefore should not have been awarded as a goal) leaving the match all square at half time.
The girls, showed no sign of the Beeston equaliser having any effect. They came out really galvanised after their half time Team Talk. The ball was passed around quickly and fluently, and after a beautiful build up from Katie, Maisie Robinson and India, the ball was smartly put away by Chiara. Once again the girls had their noses in front, and once again both Squads settled into a fabulous period of end to end hockey. Roshni and Chiara seemed to be everywhere on the pitch at once, and did a great job of ‘making a nuisance of themselves’. The only downside was the number of PC’s that Leicester kept giving away (Count of them was lost by the time we reached 8). This began to take it’s toll, and Beeston eventually equalised from another one.
The last 10 minutes were tough to watch. The Squad began to physically tire after such a fast paced game, although credit must be given to every girl on the Squad for never once letting their chins drop, rolling subs with speed and maturity in an effort to push the opponents to the end. Beeston found the back of the net with a third goal after reclaiming the ball quickly after a PC clearance, and for the first time had their nose ahead – which seemed to give them the impetus needed to get across the line. A final goal from them in the dying seconds (from you guessed it – ANOTHER PC) left the final score at 2-4.
In truth, the final score line flattered the opposition, as it was a close and hard fought match. That said, Beeston just had that little bit more experience, and enough ‘gas in the tank’ to get across the line. Credit to both teams for giving the spectators a wonderful game of hockey played in great spirit.
Thanks to the Coaches James and Steph, Paul for Umpiring and to the small army of parents who mucked in to help with match teas.