1st XI SHOW DOMINANCE AS TROPHY DEFENCE GETS OFF TO WINNING START
Continuous pressure eventually tells as the 1st XI looked like making this a hard game for themselves for a while.
After the trials and tribulations of Saturday's league game and the need to play 40 minutes with 10 men, in addition to the wonderful Oktoberfest shenanigans at LMP on Saturday night, the tired legs of the 1st XI made their way down to Brighton to take on Southwick HC. The Portslade Community Sports Centre is possibly not the most desirable venue and this trip can be likened to an FA cup away day at non league Ebsfleet United where the ball rarely runs true and the crowd (Of 8) is a little hostile. I was unfortunate enough to be refused entry to the ground on the basis that I was in the possession of a 2 year old Whippet and a South African dwarf, I'm not sure which was seen as more offensive but never the less I took my seat on the rather precarious mound behind the home goal and settled in to enjoy a Sunday afternoon feast of hockey.
For a while I felt like I was watching my beloved Liverpool as chance after chance came and went and every now and again the Southwick dribble and smash tekkers were looking a fraction dangerous. In all fairness to the B&E boys there was not much else they could do, on a pitch that would have been more suitable for a curling match rather than hockey, wave after wave of attack came through only to find the Southwick GK in inspired form. In the away end, Tristan and I started to think that we were going to locate either the keeper or the fence behind the goal too many times to make the game safe. Sure enough, as half time closed in, a succession of corners were either saved, kicked or deflected wide on a day when not much was going right in the goal scoring column. The defence had been pretty much used as quarter backs in the first half as they launched the ball into attack time after time, the midfield were well drilled and moved it nicely and the forward line were in good positions but the final product would evade the lads on every stride forward. 0-0 at HT.
It was good to see the return of Mike Benson (From SA) and Tom Archer (from work/lads trip to Tokyo) and both slotted into the side nicely. Combinations of Harden T and Bowman, Linking with Downer and Forshaw saw the boys get the ball forward for Harden C, Self and Lawrence to cause some havoc and at last we won a corner much to the delight of the Dog who reckoned we should have been a few up by then anyway.
A neat move off the top of the corner and after a 1-2 with Dave Lawrence Chris Harden located the bottom corner and everyone breathed a big sigh or relief as the dead lock was broken and normality could resume. For all the dominance of the B&E team however, Southwick had their moments and James Craigmyle needed to be on his metal as the odd opportunity popped up and made for a scary moment or two, but we held on and sure enough the flood gates were opened and the ball started to find its way in. A short corner enabled Joe 'Wavy' Allen to get a shot passed the keeper but only to find a foot of the defender, stroke, Harden, 2-0. Game set and match, to use a Curling term!!!
Lewis Burnham and Dave Lawrence were starting to terrorise the flagging back 4 of Southwick and as they linked together and opened up the wing for Dr Slack, the good doctor crossed for Harden, save, Self volley, save, Harden, 3-0......how many could we get in the last 5 minutes. It could have been 15 by this point any how but as the whistle went 'Wavy' found the corner for a debut goal and 4-0 will be the sound of the BBC results reporter on 5 Live this morning as no doubt the EH Trophy round 1 will get top billing.
Its always important to put your chances away and as much as the first half was tough both myself and the Dog didn't ever feel like the game was going to end any other way. In fact he knew what was going on and as soon as the first goal went in he curled up, closed his eyes and said 'that's that sorted then, see ya Southwick'
Round 1 over and we will have to see who Shearer and Lineker pull out of the bag for us in round 2 which will be played on 12th November.
Job done, away day done.