A first home game of the season saw the Havant U12 Boys take on Haslemere in a friendly match with splendid conditions at Havant College.
With a number of new signings to the squad the team took to the pitch in their now trademark 2323 formation and a self belief to deliver a performance in front of the (socially distanced) coffee fuelled Havant supporters.
Havant started strong in the first half but were unable to break down the strong Haslemere defence, who with limited possession were able to deploy a counter-attacking style of play that troubled the Havant back line. A quick breakaway goal for Haslemere was to set the scene for an opposition blueprint that the Havant team were unable to adapt to. At half time the score was 0-3, a tough period of play for the boys in green.
After a team talk from James the team focussed on their formation and believing in their abilities, linking play up the pitch and taking shots when they have the chance.
Bouncebackability is a word often underused in U12s hockey. But the next period of play showed the true character of the team as they fought back to take control of the game. Playing with a lot more discipline and width the team found themselves being able to exploit the opposition D at will. In an explosive period of play which was described afterwards as “liquid hockey” the resilient green marauders of Havant got themselves back in the match.
Reuben opened the scoring with some great far post positioning connecting with a solid cross from the right wing. 1-3, game on. After another period of midfield pressure the Havant Captain Fred having put in a tremendous shift in midfield broke into the opposition D and rifled a low shot under the arm of the outstretch Haslmere keeper. 2-3 and with a self belief building in the team they then aunched a number of phases up the field to set up our striker Phil who connected with a pile-driver that many were surprised to see didn’t break the backboard of the goal. 3-3 and all level.
Alas the hockey gods were not to shine on Havant and although continuing to pressurise were unable to covert. As the teams tired Haslemere pulled back a late scrambled goal to end the match 3-4.
Onto the players, Ben again was solid in some testing one on one plays in the first half. Danny put in a strong performance in Defence and showed some great distribution from the back. Austin put in his strongest display of the season with some great defensive tackles. Matthew commanded from the backline linking well with the midfield. Rebecca was very strong on the left wing breaking down attacks. Tom again was very strong on midfield with some excellent passing. Fred worked hard for the team and took his goal well. Robert showed some fantastic close in skills on the right and really helped give the right wing some drive. Toby put in some strong crosses from the right wing despite an injury. Heath was again solid attacking and defensivley in midfield. Charlie made some great saves in the second half, very much keeping the team in the game. Phil gets on the team sheet for the first time, i’m sure the first of many. Lance in his -delayed- debut put in a very strong performance on the left wing with some great positioning and unlucky to not score. Alberto another debutant put in an exceptional effort on the right wing for the team, running end to end to support attack and defence in every move.
Man of the Match - Alberto
Players Player - Fred
Many thanks to James for coaching, Nick for umpiring and our fantastic supporters/parents.
As Sir Clive Woodward once said, how setbacks are handled are the making of a great team, winning does not happen in straight lines.