26/11/17 : Mens 1 vs Team Bath Buccaneers
Home - Havant College
Won 3 - 0
Havant maintained their unbeaten home record in the league with a resolute performance against Team Bath on their Sponsors and Patrons day.
From the push back Team Bath kept possession well working the ball round the back and into midfield, but the first chance of the game fell to Havant in the third minute. Chris Smith making his way up the right wing crossed the ball into the circle, but Matt Boote was unable to get his stick onto it. It was Havant again who created another good chance in the 5th minute after Matt Cox, who had an outstanding game, created a turnover in midfield which resulted in a Havant penalty corner. This was easily saved with a flick that went straight down the middle of the goal.
Team Bath continued to play “pretty" hockey moving the ball round the back and in and out of midfield, but it was also pretty ineffective. Yes Team Bath did mount some attacks and forays into the Havant circle, but they did not trouble Bristow in goal. Havant were able to create a number of turnovers in midfield and mount attacks, but Havant were guilty at times of poor decision making with a poor final pass around the visitors circle or thwarted by good defending. Until Havant opened the scoring it was “cat and mouse”, with neither team taking advantage, but the turning point came when Havant put the Bath defence under pressure; the Team Bath looked good in space and unchallenged, but very uncomfortable when placed under pressure.
Havant won their second penalty corner in the 25th minute after Jack Stubbings found a defenders foot in the circle and a variation from Jonathan Pickett found Matt Cox who deflected the ball high into the Team Bath net. Team Bath had very few clear cut opportunities in the first half and the best pattern of play was produced by Havant when a Team Bath attack broke down and a quick counter attack saw Maciej Janiszewski run the length of the left wing and send a reverse cross into the circle to find Mike Deller-Merricks who deflected the ball just past the left post of the visitors goal.
Team Bath started the second half strongly and nearly equalised in the 41st minute, but Chris Bristow’s quick reactions saw him make a smart save on his right post after a deflected cross. The resulting play saw Team Bath have their best spell of the game. Havant were under intense pressure for a five minute spell and within this period Team Bath won their first penalty corner after a poor tackle outside the circle, which reduced Havant down to nine men with another green card, as Mike Deller-Merricks had already been green carded for a robust tackle a minute earlier. The penalty corner was well taken, but Bristow was equal to the shot and saved the flick low down to his right.
Team Bath soon won another penalty corner, which again was saved by Bristow, but the ball rebounded and a goal mouth melee pursued resulting in a penalty stroke for the visitors. Chris Bristow pulled out an outstanding save high to his right, and one could not help but think this was the turning point of the game. Team Bath continued to press hard, but Havant were resolute in defence and created a couple of break aways. One breakaway resulted in a smart save from the Team Bath keeper from Maciej’s Janiszewski’s shot. Havant had worked through a difficult five minutes and were now pressing Team Bath. This pressure won Havant’s third penalty corner in the 51st minute. The routine broke down at the top of the circle but Havant were able to get a shot on target; the rebound off the keeper fell to Matt Cox who sent a rasping reverse shot high into the Visitors netting for a two goal lead.
Team Bath’s reaction to going further behind saw them step up their intensity, but they could not break down a stubborn Havant defence. As the game progressed Team Bath were becoming frustrated and anxious that the game was slipping away. Havant won a fourth penalty corner but this broke down, but Havant made no mistake from their fifth penalty corner in the 54th minute when Jonathan Pickett converted a straight drag flick to give Havant a three goal lead.
Team Bath had a late chance from a penalty corner which they flicked wide, but Havant showed great maturity and were in no mood to let the visitors back into the game. The man of the match award was shared between Matt Cox and Chris Bristow with Chris Bristow eventually winning in a second vote.This was a result that moved Havant into fourth position in the league table as we finish for the Christmas break. Seventeen points at this stage is a fine result in our first season back in the National League and in a season of consolidation.
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Jonathan Pickett 1