Upminster 1 Colchester 3
NE14Hockey East Men’s League
COLCHESTER came from behind to beat Upminster and secure their place back in the Premier B Division for next season. The home side made life difficult for Colchester as they looked to secure the points that would pull them clear from the relegation places.
It was the hosts that had the first chance but found Mersea Homes Man of the Match Jack Gardner in fine form in the Colchester goal, as he made three good saves in the first half. Colchester were looking dangerous and creating chances of their own, Rob Mann firing narrowly wide after Colchester broke down the left and Brian Barker failing to get a telling touch after Colchester skipper Rohan Khaira had rode a number of tackles to get into the ‘D’ and pull the ball back.
The hosts took the lead before half time after a long ball cut the Colchester defence apart, the ball found a forward who skipped past Matt Brown and fired his shot under the advancing Gardner.
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Colchester were reduced to 10 men before half-time as Joe Rich received first a green card for saying something out of place to the umpire and then carrying on, so the umpire upgraded to a yellow card.
Colchester were looking to continue in a similar vein after the interval and put their host under pressure and get back into the match. Shortly after Joe Rich returned to the pitch, Colchester had their equaliser. Rich took a quick free hit and drove right at the heart of the Upminster defence. He rode a couple of tackles before firing in his shot, Rich’s effort was saved by the Upminster goalkeeper, but the ball fell to Richard Sexton, who fired the ball into the goal.
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The game continued to go from one end to the other and Colchester were indebted to Jack Gardner again as they kept their hosts to one goal.
Colchester then scored their second to take the lead for the first time in the match. A penalty corner award was played back to Joe Rich; Rich’s first time effort hit a defender on the line, but the ball fell back to Rich, who took a touch before putting the ball into the back of the net.
Colchester had a glorious chance to score a third when an aerial ball from Matt Brown found Brian Barker. Barker showed some good skill to forward the ball to Richard Sexton in the ‘D’. Sexton then showed good composure and unselfishness as he took on the keeper and laid the ball off to John Wilson, but Wilson could only fire his effort wide, with the goal wide open.
With the game drawing on Colchester were hampered when Rohan Khaira took a stray stick to the head and needed to be substituted with a nasty gash on the side of his head. Colchester though were not to be too disheartened and late in the game doubled their advantage. A crude tackle by an Upminster defender gave Colchester another penalty corner and the defender a Yellow Card. Matt Brown stepped up to fire a drag-flick into the roof of the net.
Despite being down to 10 men the host pushed for a way back in and forced a number of penalty corners themselves, but the Colchester defence and young goalkeeper stayed strong to repel their hosts.
There was still time in the match for Colchester to be reduced to 10 men once more when Richard Sexton said something out of turn and received a yellow card and a temporary suspension. With both sides down to 10 men Colchester finished the game playing half court and saw out the game with no further scares.
Colchester will be looking to end their season on a high at home next week when they face Broxbourne, hoping that a win for them and draw or a loss for St Ives will bring them the league title.
The second eleven moved a step closer to securing the division 4SE title with a battling 5-4 win away at Romford. The third 11n could only manage a draw away against Wapping sixth 11, which put paid to any thoughts of a potential promotion from division 5SE. The fourth 11 picked up the points as their match against Ramgarhia second 11n was awarded to the home side.