Colchester 3 Old Southendian 2

NE14Hockey East Men’s League

Division One

COLCHESTER maintained their excellent start to the season as they won their fourth game in a row to take a three point lead at the top of the table. In this early season top of the table clash, it was the visitors that had the first chance with a forward getting round Richard Elston on the Colchester right but Liam Phillips was out quickly to deny a scoring opportunity.

Colchester however then settled quickly and soon created a chance of their own. Jack Devitt made a good run from the right into the centre, he found a pass out to the left and when the ball came back it hit Rohan Khaira’s foot when in a good position. From the free hit Colchester pressed hard and Rob Mann put in a good tackle with the ball falling to Jack Devitt. Devitt cut in from the right and fired a reverse stick shot through the legs of the Old Southendian keeper to give the hosts the lead.

In a frantic opening Old Southendian had a chance when a long ball found a forward high up the pitch, however after getting into the ‘D’ the forward fired wide. Within a minute Colchester were back up the other end winning a penalty corner. Rohan Khaira and John Wilson combined well down the right before Khaira found Devitt in the ‘D’. Devitt’s shot was deflected and a defender’s high stick gave Colchester their first Penalty Corner of the match. With the regular penalty corner expert absent, John Wilson stepped up and forced the Old Southendian goalkeeper into making a fine save from his dragflick effort.

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Midway through the half the visitors had got on the score sheet, another long ball catching out the Colchester defence. This time the forward took the ball past Liam Phillips and fired into the goal.

Colchester nearly regained the lead shortly after as John Wilson narrowly missed the top corner with his reverse stick effort after Jack Devitt had crossed the ball from the left. The visitors then had a period of sustained pressure forcing Phillips to make a couple of good saves in the space of a minute.

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Colchester weathered this mini storm and got back to playing the game in the opponents 23 meter line. Sustained pressure from the hosts resulted in a couple of Rob Mann shots being saved. Colchester again pressured the Old Southendian defence with Richard Sexton forcing a defender into a crude challenge to win another Penalty Corner. This time Sexton stepped up with his drag flick effort saved, the ball rebounded back to Sexton who fired the ball on the reverse stick over the bar.

With the half nearing a close Colchester regained the lead. Tim Wright broke up an Old Southendian attack and began a counter attack. Wright passed the ball on to Rohan Khaira; Khaira then switched the play to the left with a fine pass to Rob Mann. Mann took the ball into the 23 meter line, before firing the ball into the ‘D’ where a diving John Wilson was on hand to deflect the ball past the visiting keeper.

Colchester began the second half well and forced a Penalty Corner in the first minute of the half. Some nice exchanges between Rob Mann, Joe Rich and Jack Devitt; saw Rob Mann reach the baseline. Mann’s cross hit a defender’s foot to give the host a chance. This time Richard Sexton switched the ball back to Rohan Khaira; whose first time effort went narrowly wide.

Colchester were playing some nice hockey, but just falling at the final hurdle with passes not quite finding their man when in a good position. Colchester did extend their advantage after some nice play from the left. Rob Mann took a long corner to Chris Dunning, Dunning found Jack Devitt on the baseline. Devitt centered the ball where Richard Sexton was unmarked to push the ball into the empty net.

With 10 minutes remaining the visitors got a goal against the run of play. Richard Elston gave away a free hit within the 23 metre line. Old Southendian worked the ball from the left to the middle and fired a ball into the ‘D’ where an attacker got a touch to deflect the ball past Liam Phillips.

The goal could have meant a tense finish however Colchester played well and were able to deny their visitors anyway back into the match. Colchester will be looking to maintain their great start to the season when they travel to Dereham next week.

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