Colchester 3 Brentwood 2

NE14Hockey East Men’s League

Division One

A MUCH changed Colchester side than that finished last season started off the 2010-2011 season with a good victory. There were debuts for John Wilson and Tom Britton who have joined the club from Essex University as well as return of three players, Jack Devitt and Chris Dunning after finishing University and Joe Rich who returned after a season playing at Chelmsford.

It was the visitors that started the game better having the lion share of possession in the first ten minutes. With only minutes on the clock Colchester were indebted to keeper Liam Phillips who made a smart double save from a penalty corner.

Colchester’s first effort of the game came after John Wilson broke down Brentwood’s attack and set the home side on a quick break. The ball found its way to Rohan Khaira, who drove straight at the heart of the defence, drawing a foul and winning a Penalty Corner. Khaira’s effort from the corner was saved by the Brentwood goalkeeper.

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Colchester were coming more into the game and beginning to look dangerous. A quick break once again, this time the ball getting to Rob Mann. Mann made a run down the left before cutting in and then fluffing his pass, however the defender could only put the ball out for a long corner. Khaira’s ball in from the corner found a defender’s foot to give Colchester their second Penalty Corner of the match. This time Khaira slipped the ball back to Wilson, whose first time effort found a defender’s foot on the line to give Colchester a penalty stroke. Captain Rohan Khaira stepped up to put the ball to the keeper’s left and give the host’s the lead.

Colchester were taking control of the game and were awarded a third penalty corner when Joe Rich was crudely tackled within the 23 meter line. Richard Sexton’s dragflick effort from the corner needed a good save from the keeper as the ball was heading towards the bottom corner.

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Brentwood then got a foothold in the match against the run of play. A forward was allowed to run into the ‘D’ and pass to another forward, whose shot was deflected and looped over the advancing Phillips. However Colchester were not put out of their stride and just moments later were unlucky not to regain the lead. Rohan Khaira made a good run down the right and along the baseline before cutting the ball back to John Wilson, with Wilson’s first time effort looping narrowly over the bar.

Colchester didn’t have to wait long to regain the lead. Tom Britton made a good tackle just inside the Brentwood half and passed the ball on to Jack Devitt. Britton continued his run into the ‘D’ and was found by a nice pass from Devitt. Britton rounded the keeper, but as he did so, his stick was checked by the keeper and the umpire awarded Colchester a second penalty stroke. With Khaira taking a breather, Michael Pearce stepped up to take the flick. Giving the keeper no chance with a powerful effort to the keeper’s right.

On the stroke of half time Colchester doubled their advantage. Another break from Colchester saw Rob Mann have a shot in the ‘D’, Mann’s effort hit a defender’s foot and a Penalty Corner was awarded. The whistle for half time blew, so the Colchester piled forward as the Corner had to be completed. Khaira attempted to slip the ball back to Wilson, however the pass was intercept and flew across the ‘D’ where Tim Wright was hand to neatly slot the ball home on his reverse stick.

The second half continued in a similar vein, with Colchester looking dangerous in attack. Colchester had the ball in the back of the net, Khaira’s cross being deflected by a Brentwood defender, however Khaira’s cross was from outside the ‘D’ and after originally awarding the goal and much deliberation a Long Corner was awarded.

However as the game wore on the visitors were getting more and more into the game and were creating quite a few chances. However they found Phillips in the Colchester goal in fine form as he thwarted their efforts time after time.

With just 10 minutes to go Brentwood got back into the match. Phillips had got down superbly to prevent the ball going into the bottom corner. However the visitors scored from the Long Corner that followed. A speculative cross was met on the penalty spot and deflected to give Phillips no chance.

This lead to a tense finish to the match as Brentwood poured forward in search of an equaliser, but once again could not find a way past Phillips. In the final minute Colchester had a chance to put the result beyond doubt after Rob Mann had drawn a foul to win another Penalty Corner. Khaira’s effort from the corner was deemed illegal as his shot went just above the backboard.

Colchester will be looking to build on this result as they aim to improve on last season’s fourth place finish. Mersea Homes man of the Match was Chris Dunning for his efforts at the heart of the Colchester midfield.

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