St Aidan’s A edge Collingwood Bs in five-goal thriller

The following is an article provided by Palatinate.

St Aidan’s A recorded a 3-2 victory over Collingwood B in the Men’s Hockey Division 1 to make it two wins from two.

Aidan’s started the more lively of the two teams and carved out the best early opportunities, with Ollie Patterson and Donal Kelly both seeing efforts blocked by Collingwood goalkeeper Ben Jenkins and the Collingwood defence.

Patterson and Kelly posed the biggest threat in the opening exchanges for Aidan’s and the duo nearly combined to open the scoring, but the latter failed to get a touch from a yard out on the former’s pass.

However, Collingwood were dangerous on the counter-attack, and when Sean Maplesden misjudged an aerial pass, Harry Goodwin latched onto it and forced a short corner after Aidan’s goalkeeper Oli McLeod was adjudged to have handled the ball outside the ‘D’.

Nevertheless, McLeod atoned for his error, saving the resulting penalty corner from Collingwood captain Dan Lambert.

Aidan’s captain Rob Cullinane was the controlling force in his side’s midfield, and his precise reverse pass would have been converted from a yard out had Ollie Vercoe made contact at the back post. They were not to be denied for much longer though, as Dom Jacklin’s low cross was stroked home by Kelly.

Collingwood’s most likely route back into the game was likely to be from a set play, and so it proved here. Having had a goal ruled out for a high ball in the routine of one, Lambert smashed the next penalty corner into the bottom left-hand corner, which was to be the last play of the first half.

Aidan’s appeared stunned that they had entered the break level, and therefore applied pressure early in the second half to retake the lead. Cullinane skewed an effort at the near post wide when he ought to have done better, but they were not left to rue the chance as swift counter-attacking play from Arnab Haque and Patterson resulted in Kelly restoring their advantage.

Collingwood’s Matthew Fennell was denied by McLeod either side of Aidan’s third goal from Tom Miller, which again involved the searing pace, and this time the assist, of Haque. Just when Aidan’s believed they had decisively seized the intiative, Collingwood fought back and reduced the deficit, with Ben Hazlewood’s low ball in being converted with the reverse stick by Fennell.

A tense finale ensued as a series of short corners all lacked an end product. Vercoe crucially blocked Lambert’s goal-bound strike, before Miller had his effort saved and Cullinane struck just wide after connecting cleanly with his attempt. Collingwood had one last chance from one, but Goodwin was not able to turn home Lambert’s powerful strike, resulting in Aidan’s keeping up their 100% record.

Cullinane praised his side’s determination after they came through a stern test.

“I’m glad we could grind out a scrappy win, it’s a good sign for the rest of the season if we can win games whilst not being at our best”, he said.

Photograph: Kishan Vaghela