Colchester 10 Dereham II 1

Hockey East League

Division One

COLCHESTER maintained their lead at the top of the table with an emphatic victory at home to struggling Dereham 2nd XI. After four home games without a win it was vital that Colchester finally put their home troubles behind them.

It was the visitors though that started the game better and in the opening minutes had forced Mark Kennedy and Rohan Khaira into deflecting shots wide. It didn’t take long for Colchester to settle into the game and in the eighth minute they had taken the lead. Richard Sexton broke down the right and cut the ball back to Rob Mann; Mann’s shot was saved but the ball fell back to Richard Sexton, who laid the ball across to Joe Rich. Rich pushed the ball goalwards but found a defender’s foot to give Colchester their first penalty corner of the match. Rohan Khaira slipped the ball to Rob Mann, whose effort was deflected but only to Joe Rich, who pushed the ball across to Richard Sexton who slapped the ball into the goal.

The goal spurred Colchester on and within minutes they had forced another penalty corner, this time a good run by Joe Rich causing the Dereham defence trouble and having a shot deflected dangerously. This time Rohan Khaira shot directly, with the Dereham keeper saving, but the ball falling to Rob Mann who fired a reverse stick effort over the bar.

Colchester didn’t have to wait long before extending their advantage. A quick break down the right saw Rob Mann get the ball in the ‘D’, Mann was tackled but the ball fell to Jack Devitt, who forced the defender into fouling to give Colchester their third penalty corner. This time Rohan Khaira’s shot nestled into the bottom corner.

Smart work by Jack Devitt to put the ball on a defender’s foot in the ‘D’ gave Colchester a fourth Penalty corner and their third goal, with Rohan Khaira getting his second goal, firing his effort through the falling Dereham keeper.

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Colchester continued to press and Alfie Sexton forced the Dereham keeper into making a good save after working a good position to release a reverse stick effort. Colchester’s fourth goal came from another Penalty Corner after Richard Sexton was crudely taken out when driving along the goal line. This time the ball was slipped back to Joe Rich who took a touch before pushing the ball into the goal.

Colchester had their fifth before half time when Richard Sexton added his second of the game after Jack Devitt has shown some neat skills to beat his man and slip the ball across towards Rob Mann. Mann could not take the ball in, but it fell to Sexton who slapped the ball in first time.

Colchester wanted more of the same in the second half but the visitors came out strong and forced Liam Phillips into making his first save of the match within minutes of the restart. Colchester though soon regained their composure and began controlling the game once more.

Rohan Khaira completed his hat-trick to give Colchester their sixth goal. Another strike from a penalty corner, this time deflecting off the goalkeeper’s pads.

The seventh goal came after Michael Pearce played a quick ball out to Tim Wright on the left; Wright laid the ball forward to Brian Barker, who deflected the ball to Jack Devitt, Devitt drove into the ‘D’ and pushed the ball goalwards only for the keeper to save, but Chris Dunning was there to push the rebound into the goal.

The eighth goal came shortly afterwards. Chris Dunning picked up a loose ball in midfield and passed the ball to the left to Richard Sexton, Sexton forwarded the ball to Jack Devitt, whose cross found Rohan Khaira, who took a touch to round the defender and fire a shot into the roof of the net to take his personal tally to four goals.

A smart save from Liam Phillips kept the score at 8-0 after Dereham attacked quickly and their forward broke through tackles from Mark Kennedy and Michael Pearce.

Colchester continued to attack and efforts from Jack Devitt and a Tom Britton forced the Dereham keeper into making saves. Colchester were not to be denied for long and Jack Devitt added two goals late on to ensure the hosts reached double figures. Devitt’s first came after Rob Mann had an effort save and the ball fell to Rohan Khaira who played the ball to the right for Devitt to fire into the bottom corner. Khaira was also supplier for Devitt’s second. Michael Pearce found Khaira on the top of the ‘D’ and Khaira unselfishly played the ball to the back post for Devitt to deflect the ball to trickle over the line.

Colchester’s perfect afternoon was ruined with the final touch of the match when Dereham scored to deny the Colchester defence their first clean sheet of the season. Mersea Homes man of the match was skipper Rohan Khaira for his four goals and all-round play. Colchester will be hoping to continue this fine form when they travel to third place St Ives next week.

Colchester Round-Up

Two goals from Richard Bran and One from David Fletcher gave the second eleven a 3-0 win away at Harlow. A win which keeps them five points clear at the top of division 4SE. The third eleven put in a fine performance as they held league leaders Wapping 5th XI to a two-all draw at home, with both goals coming through Andy Bryant. The fourth eleven also managed a draw away against Old Southendian 4th XI, with the score being one-all.