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Match : 3rd XI v Lisnagarvey 8ths
Date : 2001-10-26
Venue : H
Score : 2-1
Scorers : Johnson(2)
By 3rd XI Captain
Lisnagarvey, a name to strike terror into minds of mere mortals. A club that can field nearly as many teams as East Antrim has playing members. Would the thirds let these matters intimidate them? Of course not. A late start due to:
1. There being no nets on the posts and,
2. The keeper (I hang my head in shame) having left his helmet in the changing room did not seem an auspicious way to begin but with Skeltie and Soupy umpiring (2 Umpires on a Friday night) things could have been worse.
The match did not start particularly inspiringly and the 'garvey midfield did some serious damage in the first ten minutes. One breakthrough saw a cracking shot at goal luckily being deflected out by the post, the keeper was no where near it. We began to settle down but were still finding a little difficulty with the middle which led to the garvey centre jiggling his way straight through. A good finish into the left hand corner put us one down. For some reason this seemed to galvanise the team into a cohesive force. The boys decided to play sensible hockey.
This means that they did exactly what they had been told. Stop the ball - look for a player and pass. Run it space and wait for the next pass. The wingers stayed on the wings giving us width. Using this simple formula we began to take command of the game. In defence the method was equally simple - stay with the man where ever he goes - do not get deflected from this. It works. After some fruitless forays into the 'garvey circle and some unlucky misses we were rewarded by an excellently taken goal by Neil Johnston. 'garvey counterattacked but the man to man system held up and Nathan Haddock deserves mention for his tireless defence in centre midfield. Gary Hooks was unfortunate to sustain a groin injury about halfway through the half and was replaced at right back by Aaron Young. There was some discussion of reorganising the positions but it did not seem sensible to change a working formula so, although a forward, Aaron was kept at right back. Neil was to score again before the break after another coherent build up from the back.
The second half did not bring any further goals from either team but, with the exception of a ten minute period in the last quarter when sustained pressure from 'garvey had us penned in the 25 for what seemed like eternity and the wheels seeming perilously close to falling off, the team played with a confidence they could rightly be proud of.
It would not be overstating it to say that it is a pleasure to captain a team that plays for each other, is totally committed and whose players in the main do exactly what they are asked without question. This formula should hopefully see us through a relatively successful and enjoyable season.