Magnets Magnificent Against H&W
By Mark Waller
SHC Magnets 5 – 3 Hampstead & Westminster Supetvets
London Hockey League Men’s 50s Trophy
Scorers: Chris Beaney 2, Waller 2, Majid
PoM: Chris Beaney
The day started inauspiciously with just ten players able to make the trip to University School in north-west London to play H&W, a team placed third in the league above ours. Despite this, a doughty performance against ostensibly better opponents saw the Magnets come home with all three points. Last week’s disappointments were forgotten and we finally rediscovered our scoring touch with some quality finishing.
Upon arrival we managed to negotiate the loan of one of H&W’s subs so that we could field a full 11, which was much appreciated.
The match started with H&W passing the ball around nicely, and they created several scoring chances in the early exchanges, but failed to capitalise on their possession. And, once we found our feet, we mounted some spirited attacks of our own, forcing several PCs. With half time approaching the match was finely balanced. Then, just before the whistle blew, we were awarded another PC. The initial strike was saved by the GK but Haassan was well-placed to pick the ball off the pads and squeeze the ball past the defenders on the line. A perfect end to the half.
At this stage, a churlish H&W decided to withdraw the player they had loaned us, without informing us; a discarded Surbiton shirt thrown on the floor our only clue that perhaps he might not be returning for the second half. Despite being taken aback by this show of petulance and lack of courtesy, the Magnets came out for the second half with their tails up; a fuse had been lit and we were determined to make a game of it.
H&W were clearly irritated that we had not proved to be a pushover and their higher press from the start of the second half soon brought them an equaliser. Rather than let our heads drop, the Magnets got straight back into the game and in end-to-end exchanges the scoreline went from 1-1 to 2-1, 2-2, 3-2, 3-3, 4-3 before ending up 5-3 in our favour.
It was a niggly second half, but as H&W pushed up higher the Magnets – despite being a man down - found extra space in midfield which we exploited with some very good attacking moves. Our goals were emphatic and well-taken, the pick of a very good bunch being a cracking shot from Chris to finish off a fantastic three-man move that split open the H&W defence.
Chris’ goals and hard work tracking back deservedly won him the Player of the Match award. However, this was a gutsy performance from the entire team against awkward opponents that left us with a huge sense of satisfaction.