As Premier Division hockey returned to Nottingham on Saturday, the Ladies 1s won their first league game of the season against Reading, but the Men’s 1s suffered an agonising defeat in the final quarter. Vinay Patel was at the Beeston Hockey Club to report on the first double header of the month.
Ladies 1s v Reading
Reading were coming into this fixture with a wealth of international experience, featuring the likes of Lucie Daman and Hannah Cozens, who have represented England and Wales respectively. Additionally, the Green and Gold were also up against GB hockey stars Jo Pinner and Amy Tennant, the latter of whom has just returned from maternity leave.
Despite Reading’s dominance in the 1st quarter, forcing a fine save from Lucy Brown in the ninth minute, the closing minutes saw Jordan Homann fire UoN into the lead going into the break.
After going behind, Reading were keen to get back into the game and scored an equaliser in the 24th minute. A penalty corner for the visitors was saved by Brown in the 28th minute but Sarah Spooner followed up with a goal, just a minute later to put Reading ahead.
The end to end contest continued and the Green and Gold midfield worked hard to frustrate Reading
The end to end contest continued and the Green and Gold midfield worked hard to frustrate Reading, with their efforts being rewarded as Homann’s fantastic effort found the back of the net.
The sides could not be separated at 2-2, as the half time whistle blew.
Both sides came out of the blocks quickly after half time but it was UoN who struck first, through a clever reverse hit from Maddie Long to put the hosts ahead for a second time.
Some important defending however, was required on the other side of the pitch, with the Green and Gold making two goal line blocks in the 3rd quarter. Needing to find a way back into the game yet again, the visitors started the final quarter with great intensity and Reading soon found themselves level inside five minutes of the 4th quarter.
UoN had to dig deep if they were to get something out of the game
UoN had to dig deep if they were to get something out of the game, as they faced an onslaught from an experienced Reading side for the majority of the final quarter.
However, the hosts were offered a lifeline in the form of a penalty corner in the dying minutes of the game and who else could it be but Jordan Homann to fire home the winner and complete a well-earned hattrick.
RESULT: Ladies 1s 4-3 Reading
The Green and Gold’s season was finally up and running and who better to do so against, than the league leaders, in Reading. Following that victory, the Ladies 1s move up the table by four places to 8th, after being rock bottom, leapfrogging the three other student sides.
Men’s 1s v Reading
Next up were the Men’s 1s who were hoping to replicate the Ladies’ feat, as they kicked off against Reading under the floodlights.
A notable absence in the Green and Gold line-up was midfielder Tim Ehret, meaning that George Baugniet operated deeper in the midfield on Saturday. The 1st quarter got off to a frenetic start and while it was end to end at times, it was clear that the two sides were still scoping each other out.
Baugniet’s leadership also shone through on Saturday
The 2nd quarter saw much of the same, though Louis Tipper’s relentless stamina and solid defensive display kept Reading at bay in the first half. Baugniet’s leadership also shone through on Saturday, rarely stepping a out of line, whilst maintaining his impressive ball retention.
However, a goalless first half meant that the stage was set for a dramatic second half that was to unravel in front of the Green and Gold faithful.
Within mere minutes of the whistle, Reading took the lead in the 39th minute and quickly doubled down on UoN’s misery, by scoring a second goal just two minutes later. The Men’s 1s suddenly saw the game slipping away from them and the visitors capitalised on the hosts, who were clearly taken aback.
Reading won a number of penalty corners in the 3rd quarter, as well as two short corners in the final two minutes. But the score line remained the same going into the final quarter.
Tipper was there once again to […] send the fans into delirium
Refusing to back down in front of their fans, Louis Tipper struck in the 61st minute to provide the Green and Gold with a lifeline. All of a sudden, the visitors were there for the taking and following a save from goalkeeper Lewis Fraser, Tipper was there once again to score a stunning half volley on the rebound to send the fans into delirium.
Supporters of UoN were in full voice and the vuvuzelas translated their unwavering support under the floodlights. In the limited time remaining, the Green and Gold were rightly pushing for the win but Reading were able to win a penalty corner on the other end.
In a cruel twist of fate, Reading scored the winner in the final minute to prevent any chance of a comeback and it was heartbreak yet again for the first team.
RESULT: Men’s 1s 2-3 Reading
The strength in character shown by the Green and Gold has to be commended, upon conceding two quickfire goals in the 3rd quarter and still mustering a comeback. Putting on a performance like that against a vastly experienced side in the division, can only be a positive but their search for a win goes on.
Featured image courtesy of Vinay Patel. Permission to use granted to Impact. No changes were made to this image.
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