With their positive performance against Nottingham HC in mind, which after intense 60 minutes ended with a draw, West London Eagles were eager to face their next opponent. London GD, the current champion, could not have been satisfied with their present 5th place in the league table and were looking to improve their position.
Due to the continuous hard work implemented by the entire team in the recent weeks, Eagles were able to surprise the audience, which by now would have expected them to have a rough start in the first half. Not this time.
After the first few minutes it was clear that scoring would not come easy, with both teams giving their maximum effort in the defence. Ivan Vik, playing his first game for the Eagles, blocked the GD's first shot attempt from the 9 meters, encouraging the opponents to try their luck in other parts of the court.
Three minutes had to pass before Eagles opened the score with Kamil Dereń beating the defender one on one and shooting from left wing. The next few actions saw Eagles recovering twice from a missed shot and a turnover, showing that every ball will have to be fought for till the end.
After six minutes of the game London GD still did not score yet, missing the goal three times, including one penalty, or being stopped by Tomasz Kawa, who did very well that day. Eagles, however, were still trying to beat the well performing GD's goalkeeper for the second time, looking forward to increase the lead.
Before that could happen GD scored their first goal from the left wing but in the next action Eagles reciprocated with Mats Larsen's running shot from the right back. Straight afterwards GD did not slow down the pace, responding with a goal from the right wing, bringing the score again to a draw.
The next two minutes saw Eagles repeatedly attempting to score, succeeding in the end with another goal of Dereń, this time from the right wing. In the following moments London GD came to a lead, scoring twice from penalties. Eagles responded with a clever pass from Jojo Ernst executing a corner, which Vik used well. With 14 minutes into the game, the score was now 4:4.
In the next few minutes both teams' goalkeepers made sure to keep the nets undisturbed until Eagles were awarded a penalty, scored by the their usual executor Lucas Carstens. With spirits lifted after leading again, Eagles kept playing well in defence, forcing GD to risk shots from the wings, which did not end up in the goal, while on the other side of the court doing well in attack, helping Kamil Dereń score his third goal in the game and thus making the two goal lead for Eagles.
Facing a hard working defenders in the blocking department, GD nevertheless managed to sneak in a hip shot from the centre, scoring their fifth goal. They topped it up next minute with another, third penalty, which was their sixth and last goal in the first half of the game.
Eagles, on the other hand, added another two goals, courtesy of Carstens and Larsen, fixing the half-time score at 8:6. After 30 minutes and possibly the most valiant performance of Eagles in the season so far, the team was determined to repeat it in the second half.
However the second part of the game did not go as intended. With Eagles struggling to score, London GD managed to score three goals. With tension rising, things took an even worse turn when Ivan Vik, a big asset in defence, got a red card with only 7 minutes into the second half.
London GD capitalised on this, gradually increasing their lead by scoring multiple goals from penalties and left wing while Eagles had a hard time beating Adriano Stagni in the GD's goal, who let through only 5 shots in the entire second half.
Testimonial to the great defensive effort on both sides of the court is the fact that in the last 6 minutes of the game none team has been able to score any more goals, leaving the final score at 18:13 for London GD.
Obviously disappointed with the final outcome of the game, West London Eagles nevertheless demonstrated that they are able to and intend to compete with each and every opponent. With that thought in mind and a prayer to the nondescript gods of handball to send a decent pair of referees next time (too much?), they look ahead to their next game against Cambridge on 17th of November.