Were we robbed?
1st team lose despite scoring equaliser in the final minutes of the match.
Apologies for the long winded match report, but reading the report in its entirety will help understand our season to date.
If success in this league were based on the technical skills within the team, then Leicester Hockey’s clubs 1st team would be at the top of this league. Without doubt, every member of the squad is exceptionally talented; this sentiment being expressed by many of the teams they have played during this season’s campaign. “Your team is going to be great in, a few years!” they say. Unfortunately, Leicester’s performances so far this season suggest that as a team, they have been far from exceptional!
Having watched the 1st team play throughout the season, somehow managing to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, I was reasonably confident about how this match would go. Taking into consideration that today’s opponents were one of last seasons relegated teams, having won 4 of their 5 matches in this seasons campaign; another defeat for Leicester was distinctly possible; a white wash was also not an unimaginable outcome.
With this in mind, I started preparing for today’s report by listing all the shortcomings that I felt existed in this team; fully expecting to tick them all off as the match progressed. In my mind, the shorting comings and possible explanation for their poor season to date merit the following questions being asked.
• Why do some of the team seem to know nothing/very little about the day’s opponents prior to the match?
• Why doesn’t the entire team feel the need to give 100% during the team’s match day warmups?
• Why do some of the team feel it appropriate to apportion blame during the match?
• Why do some of the team seem unaffected by the outcome of a match?
During this match, I managed to tick off 3 of the 4 questions above; an affirmation of the team’s shortcoming, some might say? However, something else now seems to be happening within Leicester’s 1st team; they might actually be playing as a team!
From the off, Leicester were on the front foot, managing to keep the ball in the oppositions half for at least the first 5 minutes of the match. However, 10 mins into the game we were given our 1st green Card; presented to young Amar Chudasama for a dangerous tackle. “Here we go again”, I thought. Approximately, 15 mins later, a counter attack by opponents Telford, following an attempt by Captain Eddie Brebner, gave Leicester’s opponents their 1st goal of the match. 8 minutes later, Leicester were 2-0 down ,when their entire defence missed a ball hit across the ‘D’ ; leaving an easy tap in for Telford. “Now for the white wash!”, I thought. This was immediately followed by Leicester’s 2nd green card; this time given to Scott Pointon for failing to move back 5mtrs before engaging the oppositions after a foul. Consequently, at the half time break, Leicester were 2-0 down.
Was this a repeat of most of their previous matches? Well, no ! In actual fact, Leicester had played well; having the majority of the possession in the first 35 minutes of the game
The 2nd half started, and still Leicester hadn’t fallen apart. On the contrary, they appeared to be dominating laprge parts of this match. 15 minutes into the 2nd half, Leicester were awarded their first short corner. Nothing to worry about! Leicester hadn’t scored a goal from a short corner all season. The ball was injected by Dave Harrison, stopped by Eddie Brebner & struck by Scott Pointon, ….and it’s a goal! That can’t be correct, Leicester don’t score from short corners! 2-1down and they could actually make a comeback.
The match continues; Telford has its opportunities but Leicester is dominating this match. 3 minutes to go and Leicester are still on the attack. The ball is passed to Aaron Patel; it hits his stick and then his foot. The umpire can be heard to wave the play on; “nobody near”, he says, “carry on” .Patel passes the ball to Pointon who dribbles into the ‘D’ and shoots. The shot is blocked and the seconds tick on. The loose ball finds its way to Aneesh Deogan; who squares up and fires off his shot. More seconds have passed. It’s a goal!! 2-2. Leicester celebrates.
Telford complains to the Umpires about the foot, but that’s almost a minute earlier. Surely, it’s too late to change that decision now? Apparently not, as after discussions, the umpires decide to disallow the goal. Now, is this the time for Leicester to fall apart? Do they start complaining; get themselves a yellow card and give more goals away? No! Uncharacteristically for Leicester of recent times, no one complained. The team reorganised itself and played on. A minute later, the final whistle blow and Leicester lose again. 2-1 this time, but it’s a different type of loss.
This time, Leicester could have won. This time, Leicester played as a team. This is a different Leicester, a Leicester 1st team that based on this performance, don’t deserve to be bottom the league. A team who, if they continue to show this spirit; this commitment, shouldn’t be at the bottom of the league by the time the next 16 matches have been played.
Why the change, you may ask? Coach, Anthony Boal may have the answer. If they don’t look like they are giving 100%, they’re off! If they talk back to the Umpires, they’re off! If they don’t follow my instructions, they will be taken off!
Man of the match was awarded to Scott Pointin. He showed the entire team the level of commitment that will be needed by every member of this squad if Leicester is to succeed this season. Thanks for coming (DoD), also awarded to Scott Pointon. It doesn’t matter how well you play, never wear your girlfriend’s socks to a Hockey match. What were you thinking!
Come on Leicester!
SQUAD: dave Standish(GK), isaac garner ,Aneesh Deogan, Senna Patel, Scott Pointon, Eddie Brebner(C), Dave Harrison, Amar Chudasama, Ray Lubunga, Aaron Patel, Saajan Patel , Seb Jones, George Godwin, Ketan Deogan