Waltham Forest 4 Colchester 5

NE14hockey East Men’s League

Division One

COLCHESTER were in seventh heaven as they kept up their stunning start to the season with their seventh straight victory. However Colchester didn’t have things all their own way and were pushed hard all the way by their opponents.

Waltham Forest had the lion share of the game in the early exchanges and had won the first penalty corner of the match in the first minute after a foul from Michael Pearce; however the strike was wide of the mark. The hosts were pressing hard and created a couple of chances from quick breaks. Richard Elston making a good tackle to prevent a chance and a Waltham Forest forward then firing a reverse stick shot over the bar.

Colchester were then spurred into life and almost took the lead. A quick break down the left saw the ball get to Rob Mann, Mann cut in from the left and found Joe Rich, who saw his shot hit the post and go behind. Colchester had further chances through Rohan Khaira and Richard Sexton, but could not find a way past the home keeper.

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Colchester resurgence didn’t last long as the Home side took control of the game once more. The Colchester defence allowed a Waltham Forest forward to run into the ‘D’ and fire off his shot, the shot was deflected by another forward in front of Liam Phillips, somehow Phillips got a touch to prevent a goal and concede a long corner. Colchester were contributing to their problems with some poor passes. Tim Wright was guilty of a poor clearance, handing the ball to a forward inside the 23 metre line. The forward drove into the ‘D’ where Matt Brown made a tackle, but was adjudged to have impeded the forward to give the hosts another penalty corner. Michael Pearce got out well to deflect the shot over the bar.

Colchester were lucky that the home sides penalty corner routines were not working quite to plan as another couple of corners were mis-controlled and the defence were able to clear. With half-time looming, Colchester got the first goal of the game. A penetrating run from Rohan Khaira took him from the right to the left; Khaira laid the ball back to Rob Mann, who passed the ball on to Joe Rich. Rich weaved his way into the ‘D’ before firing in a shot which beat the Waltham Forest Keeper at the near post.

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Colchester got back to normal service in the second half and within minutes of the restart they had doubled their advantage. Rohan Khaira took a free-hit to Rob Mann on the top of the ‘D’. Mann turned the first man, before pirouetting past a second, he then showed great persistence to retain possession and get to the baseline, and Mann looked to cross the ball, but found space between the keeper’s legs to find the goal.

The hosts were still looking dangerous and were soon back into the match. Colchester were opened up down their left, before a Michael Pearce stick tackle gave Waltham Forest their first penalty corner of the second half. Pearce was out quickly to charge down the strike, but could only deflect the ball past Liam Phillips in the Colchester goal.

Within minutes though Colchester had restored their two goal advantage, an aerial ball from Matt Brown was taken down well by John Wilson, Wilson cut in from the right before slipping the ball to Richard Sexton. Sexton crossed the ball to Rob Mann, who saw his first effort saved, but the ball fell back to Mann, who quickly reverse stick slapped the ball back towards goal, where the ball hit a defender’s foot to give Colchester a Penalty Stroke. Matt Brown stepped up to put the ball into the top left hand corner and gave the keeper no chance.

Colchester’s Tom Britton received a sin-bin for a stick tackle to reduce the visitors to 10 men. This was levelled up when a Waltham Forest player also received a yellow card for a similar offence. Colchester took advantage of the increased space with Rohan Khaira releasing Edwin Cawthorn down the right; Cawthorn crossed the ball for Rob Mann, who saw his shot saved.

The ball came out and was put on a defender’s foot to give Colchester another p

penalty corner. A misdirected injection saw Michael Pearce take a touch and fire his shot into the bottom corner.

Colchester were firmly on top and the hosts were temporarily reduced to nine men as another player received a yellow card, this time for illegally raising his stick above shoulder height to take down an aerial pass. Colchester made the most of what was now a two-man advantage as Richard Elston won another Penalty Corner. This time Matt Brown switched the ball back to Rohan Khaira, whose first time effort found a defender’s foot to give Colchester a second Penalty Stroke of the match. This time Brown put the ball into the top right hand corner, once again giving the Waltham Forest keeper no chance.

With the game all but won Colchester switched off and allowed their hosts back into the match. A penalty corner effort was saved but the rebound was followed up to hit both posts and rest on the line. The umpire believed the ball had crossed the line, and a goal was awarded. This spurred the host back into life and the finished the game much the stronger. In the final two minutes the home side scored twice more to make it a very edgy finish, but Colchester managed to hang on for the victory, which now leaves them six points clear at the top of the table.

Mersea Homes man of the match was Rob Mann, for his front running and goal. Colchester will be looking to extend their 100% record when they face fourth placed Felixstowe at home next week.

Colchester Round-Up

The second eleven moved up to second in division 4SW with a 4-1 win away against Wapping fourth eleven. The third eleven hit seven again as the beat Ford second eleven away 7-1, a result which moves them up to third in division 5SE. The fourth eleven were the only losers of the day as they went down 2-0 at home to Plashet second eleven.

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