Colchester 0 Harpenden 4
NE14Hockey East Men's LeaguePremier BColchester 0 Harpenden 4AFTER a couple of good wins before Christmas Colchester were brought back down to earth with defeat at home to high fliers Harpenden.
NE14Hockey East Men's League
Colchester 0 Harpenden 4
AFTER a couple of good wins before Christmas Colchester were brought back down to earth with defeat at home to high fliers Harpenden. It was Colchester though that had much of the game and a 4-0 score line was not a fair reflection on the game.
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Colchester started the game brightly with Rohan Khaira and Richard Sexton getting some joy down the right. It was good play between the two that lead to a Sexton cross into the 'D' for Matt Brown, however Brown was crowded out as he tried to get his shot off.
Colchester pressed hard and a minute later and this time Khaira drove round the back of the Harpenden defence before passing the ball across the 'D' for Tim Wright, however as with the earlier Brown chance Wright was unable to get his shot off.
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With just six minutes gone Harpenden had opened the scoring, against the run of play. A quick break away drew Grant Hibbert out of the goal to make a good save, however the ball fell to another attacker who fired the ball high past the covering Mark Kennedy on the Colchester goal line.
Colchester continued to play some nice hockey and were still having joy down the right. Three times Colchester got the ball into the Harpenden 'D' but were unable to get that final pass or shot to finish off good move.
Harpenden had doubled their advantage before half-time when a well rehearsed Penalty Corner routine saw the ball deflected past Hibbert in the Colchester goal.
The second half continued in a similar vein to the first with Colchester having much of the possession but just unable to take advantage. Colchester were indebted to Hibbert for keeping the score at 0-2 as he saved well after a ball out of defence was intercepted.
Colchester's first real test of the visiting goalkeeper came in the 50th minute from a Matt Brown penalty corner, however Brown's high dragflick was well saved. Just minutes later Colchester had their second Penalty Corner of the match. Brown robbed a Harpenden defender on the edge of the 'D'. As Brown tried to get his shot off, the ball hit defender's foot and the penalty corner was awarded. This time Brown sent the ball goal wards low, the ball was saved but only as far as Wright. However Wright couldn't keep his shot down, as he fired high and wide.
On the hour mark the visitors further extended their lead. A speculative ball out of defence by Harpenden was not properly dealt with by the Colchester defence and the visitors were able to work the ball to the right. The Harpenden forward drove with the ball along the baseline and drew Hibbert out of the Colchester goal, he then slipped the ball back to the Penalty Spot, where another forward pushed the ball into the empty net.
Colchester were indebted to Hibbert once again as he made another couple of saves to deny the visitors. However Hibbert could do nothing to prevent Harpenden's fourth goal. Another penalty corner routine for the visitors saw the ball deflected in front of Hibbert. Hibbert did well to prevent the ball going in, however the ball fell back to Harpenden forward who slipped the ball past the Colchester keeper.
With just minutes remaining Colchester should have had a consolation goal. A free hit deep in the Colchester half was taking quickly by Richard Bran up to Matt Brown. Brown controlled the ball, before passing the ball onto Richard Sexton. Sexton did well to round the goalkeeper before getting his shot off. His shot hit a defender's foot to prevent a goal, and so a Penalty Flick was awarded. Matt Brown stepped up to take the flick. Brown flicked the ball high past the Harpenden goalkeeper, and the ball rebounding off the back stanchion. However both umpires felt the ball had rebounded off the cross bar and no goal was awarded.
Colchester will be happy with the amount of play they had but will be looking to make the most of their opportunities when they travel to Norwich City next week.
Hills Residential Man of the Match was Grant Hibbert for his display in the Colchester goal.