Warwick dug deep to come from behind against Leicester.

Men’s hockey enjoy stirring second-half comeback

Match Report

Fixture: Warwick Men’s Hockey First Team v Leicester Men’s First Team

Date: Wednesday 26th November 2014

A resilient performance from the men’s first team produced a second-half comeback against Leicester University. Warwick eventually won 4-2, advancing to the Midlands Conference Cup quarter-finals stage.

The first half saw a swift counter-attacking goal from Warwick winger Casey Dennis. Leicester responded with two goals early in the second half but when they suffered a ‘sin-bin’ punishment, Warwick took full advantage to draw level with another goal from Dennis. Warwick pressed on for a penalty goal, converted by forward Paul Huelsmann, and a counter-attacking goal from centre-forward Chris Barnett.

The first team came into this game on the back of two straight league wins- a 7-0 win at Harper Adams University College and a 3-1 win at Birmingham University. Warwick top the table but Leicester were only behind them on goal difference. you would not blame Warwick for feeling some pressure to perform well.

Despite this, Warwick started the first half brightly with two shots on goal in the first 10 minutes, developed from the wide play of right-winger Matt Jarmo. Warwick kept applying the pressure with forward-thinking play from centre-midfielder Matt Tricker, leading to the first shot on target in the 21st minute.

Warwick began the second half as they ended the first; with high pressure in the middle of the pitch

Controversy struck the match on the 29th minute when Warwick’s Huelsmann was denied a penalty, when he was caught by the Leicester keeper approaching goal.

This decision had the potential to be a game changer. But Warwick kept the pressure up and they were rewarded with the first goal of the match, working their way past the Leicester defence for Dennis to sneak the ball past the keeper.

Warwick began the second half as they ended the first; with high pressure in the middle of the pitch. However, they were caught out three minutes in as Leicester broke away to level the scores.

As the match opened up, Warwick were made to suffer for their lack of ruthlessness in the first half as Leicester won a short corner. A powerful shot went straight past the Warwick keeper Rob Barnes and the visitors took the lead for the first time.

The match dynamic had now changed as Leicester took control of possession and made chances for a 5 minute phase, until a silly error led to a Warwick short corner. One Leicester player argued with the referee, earning himself a yellow card and a 5-minute sin-bin.

This was a game-changer and the momentum returned to Warwick. Within this crucial 5 minute period, Dennis scored again, glancing the ball delivered into the D from Jarmo.

When the sin-binned Leicester player returned, the game opened up again but Leicester were starting to lose their discipline. This reached its peak near the 30-minute mark as Warwick were awarded a penalty due to a Leicester handball in the D. The penalty was sweetly put away in the top left corner by Huelsmann.

Warwick will face Leicester at home again next week

Retaining the lead, Warwick dominated as Leicester despaired, having taken off their keeper in favour of full-on attack. Yet it was to no avail as Warwick successfully countered in the 35th minute with Jarmo delivering the ball again for Barnett to convert. Playing out extra time, the match ended with a 4-2 Warwick victory.

When I spoke with team captain, centre-back Tom Metcalf, he said; “The first half was very competitive. I said to the boys at half time that before, if we were 2-1 down, we would normally come back. The team showed good resilience in the second half to come through.”

“The penalty decision in the first half was slightly odd but it was good to get one in the second half. It was a body on the line- a 50/50 decision.”

Warwick will face Leicester at home again next week. “They have a very strong forward, so we will try to shut him out”, Metcalf said. “I think composure will be key. We can play the ball round and we will try to do it better next week.”

Man of the match for the team captain was winger Matt Jarmo. “He has good ball control and delivered some excellent slats into the D, assisting three out of the four goals.”


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