On a windy afternoon at the Armitage Centre in Fallowfield, University of Manchester’s Hockey First Team began their 2017-18 season with a victory over local rivals University of Liverpool.
The contest started with the home side on the front foot and it was not long before they were in front. Reece Jecketts produced a good turn of pace down the left flank before crossing the ball to Rowan Poots who happily converted the chance into the net.
The away side seemed to struggle to get going and the opening stages consisted of them making many mistakes and releasing possession back to Manchester. The home side looked to capitalise on these mistakes with Poots looking very lively. First by working space into the box and then firing wide. A few minutes later he was firing another shot into the side netting but from a difficult angle.
The ten minute mark saw Liverpool’s first attempt on goal but it was a tame effort. Three minutes later, they had a penalty but also failed to convert it. A minute later again and they did manage to equalise. Again this was through a penalty, but this time around the shot was deflected on its way into the net.
After their equaliser, Liverpool were the team on top. Pushing Manchester back into their own half but it was actually the home side who were to score next. A dribble from Alex Lord allowed him time to finish tidily into the bottom corner and restore Manchester’s lead.
The goal changed the momentum back in Manchester’s favour as they regained control of the ball. Andrew Robinson saw his shot go wide and a good cross but was unable to find anyone on the end of it.
With half time approaching, Manchester managed to double their lead. James Bennett was found by Toryn Whitehead from the penalty and Bennett slotted the ball into the goal. The half time whistle blew with the score at 3-1.
The opening stages of the second period were a much more evenly balanced affair as it turned into a very stop-start game. With Manchester trying to protect their two goal lead, Liverpool began to pen them in their own half. A good blanket coverage made it hard for Manchester to both mark all the players and subsequently hard to counterattack.
The home side looked happy to weather the storm as the full time whistle drew nearer. Both teams were failing to convert penalty chances and the fifth goal of the game came from a good passing exchange.
After a neat one-two with his teammate, Poots proceeded to hit the ball hard to the keeper’s left and all but secure the win for the home side.
Liverpool did manage a late consolation goal but it was a comfortable win for Manchester, who have gotten their season off to a roaringstart.