De Montfort University (DMU) Men’s Hockey had a difficult start to the season, losing both of their first two matches by a singular goal. With a third straight away game, they had a bitter rival to overcome to get their first points of the season. University of Leicester (UoL) 2nd’s were sitting bottom of the British University and College Sports (BUCS) table, but the match was already getting fierce from the first whistle.
DMU started with their signature high intensity, something that was implemented in their final games last season, which paid off immediately as DMU shot just wide from the edge of the shooting area. This really set the tone of the game as DMU’s passing caused problems for the UoL defence, with numerous shots going inches wide. DMU’s lack of communication didn’t affect them too badly as although they missed 3 good opportunities to go ahead, they were just about able to force in a rebound to make it 1-0. UoL looked to get back into the game, putting DMU under pressure for the first time in the game as UoL forced a save from the DMU keeper. However, DMU made them pay on the counter attack as they ran the right wing with a quick couple of passes and a powerful shot into the far side of the goal, putting DMU 2-0 up with only 20 minutes gone.
DMU carried on their dominant showing, winning a short corner in the shooting area by hitting the ball onto an opposing players foot for a foul. With a good chance to score another, the defending players were just about able to clear the ball after a brilliant save by the UoL goalkeeper and eventually they were able to attack DMU, putting them under pressure and winning consecutive short corners. With only 4 defending players and the goalkeeper able to be in the defending half of the pitch whilst the short corner begins, short corners can prove deadly and they did at the second attempt as UoL struck a low shot into the bottom corner to bring the game back into reach just before the half time whistle. Between the goal going in and the whistle, the UoL goalkeeper pulled off a string of brilliant saves to keep the score at only 2-1 to DMU.
This continued into the second half, where DMU found a way to step up their performance and only a brilliant performance by the UoL goalkeeper saved them from embarrassment. Eventually, some creative play on the edge of the shooting area fooled the goalkeeper and DMU went 3-1 up. With only 20 minutes left on the clock, DMU put another into the back of the net as UoL failed to muster up any ability to attack. Conceding the fourth goal spurred UoL to try and get back into the game, which opened up the game a lot more as the UoL goalkeeper was forced to make a double save to keep the score at 4-1. Without their goalkeeper being on top form, despite conceding 4 goals, the score could easily have become an embarrassment for Leicester.
Men’s Captain Harry Worrall, who was unable to play due to suspension, commented on the match saying “our heads were just in this game compared to Leicester’s, who just didn’t seem ready for the game”. A perfect description of what occurred during the game, where the mindset of DMU showed, dominating throughout the game whilst UoL looked to hide their embarrassment from their bitter rivals.
Final Score: De Montfort University Hockey Men’s 1st’s 4 –1 University of Leicester Hockey Men’s 2nd’s