Alarm bells ringing on Eagles’ season after Notts defeat
West London Men let slip a six-goal lead against fellow Premier Handball League stragglers Nottingham leaving them still without a win
The visit of Nottingham HC, with only one win to their name this season, was the perfect opportunity for West London to throw off the disappointment of a tough start to their 2017/18 campaign. In attack the Eagles started positively as Romauldus Sakovicius, Lucas Carstens and Gilbert Lewis led the way, scoring all of West London’s first eight goals; the team dealing well with Nottingham’s aggressive 4-2 defence.
It was at the back that the Eagles struggled – the Nottingham back three finding simple gaps in the defence to keep the score ticking over. After a good start the porous defence would soon come to haunt West London. A period of several turnovers in attack allowed Nottingham to take hold of the game, with Dani Ramos getting most of his seven goals in the first half. The score at half-time 16-19 to the visitors.
Despite recent games where West London have faltered in the second half this game was completely different. Eagles came flying out the gates, even a two-minute suspension for defensive stalwart Fabien Collette in the 37th minute did nothing to dampen the hold that the Eagles’ had of the game. Again, the duo of Lucas Carstens and Romauldus Sakovicius, as well as Tobi Gierk, saw West London add a flurry of goals to the scoreboard; after 50 minutes the game had been turned on it’s head. Eagles led 30 goals to 24.
However, as if it was scripted the game, then started to slip from their grasp. An injury to the ever-present Alex Pechlivanis saw new goalkeepers introduced at a crucial time, coupled with some tired legs on court meant Eagles were there for the taking. Nottingham saw the opportunity and switched to a seven player attack – sacrificing their goalkeeper for the extra man. The plan worked with Francisco Pereira getting many of his seven goals from the right-wing as Nottingham rocketed back into the lead.
With the scores tied 32-32 with less than two minutes remaining Dani Ramos stepped up for a penalty only to see his effort saved by Eagles goalkeeper Tomasz Kawa. Then at the other end Tony Sharp had his effort from the line ruled out for a six-metre infringement. But crucially in the final minute a kempa attempt from Nottingham saw a player take a tumble with a penalty awarded just four seconds from the end. Despite his best effort Kawa couldn’t repeat his save just moments earlier, Pereira slotting the winning goal for Nottingham.
The defeat cements Eagles place at second bottom of the Premier Handball League table with their season now destined to be a bitter relegation scrap. They next face bottom placed side Liverpool HC on the 9th December. Although not catastrophic, a defeat there would blast some serious holes in the Eagles’ ship.