Sils beaten 6-3 by Khalsa at St Nicholas Park, Warwick.
Despite our first defeat of the season Sils occupy top spot by one point from second place Hampton but they have two games in hand.
Match Report by Craig Ffitch.
Well, Khalsa in St Nicholas Park was always going to be a tricky one. Having drawn with them at home and viewing their very mixed results, it was a guess as to which Khalsa team would actually appear on the pitch. As it happened, it was a pretty skilful one.
With Tom Tyrer and Jack Morris slotting into the midfield duo positions normally occupied by Simon Russell and Alex Willetts, we took time to settle and Khalsa exploited this to play some good, quick-passing hockey and threaten our D on several occasions. However, good defence from our back three held them at bay. While there were a couple of good moves down the right from John H, he was closely marked by the Khalsa left back and saw little reward for his efforts.
However, Keith W was now exerting more control and a lovely aerial from him found Tom T who then squared to Jack M who was unlucky to see his shot go just wide. Play was now going from end to end with some good inter-linking work between Keith and Tom. Steve Tabb now came on for Keith and, playing in midfield, provided some extra strength and control.
Nevertheless, Khalsa’s quick passing and ball control was troubling Sils and they gained a short corner. Fortunately, the shot was well saved by Yogi and the threat dissipated. After 18 minutes, Sils gained a long corner and this led straight to a short corner where, from some good inter-passing, Andy R slotted the ball home to give Sils the lead. However, Khalsa came straight back and equalised within a minute of the re-start. Sils kept pushing forward but, as soon as possession was lost, Khalsa were able to look dangerous on the break and a Sils foot in the D resulted in the umpire awarding a penalty flick when it was not at all clear that the foot had actually prevented a goal being scored. However, Khalsa put it away to go 2 – 1 up on 25 minutes.
Another Khalsa short corner soon followed but this was well dealt with by Steve A. Poor control by Sils then allowed a Khalsa forward to have a clear chance to score again but Yogi pulled off a great save to frustrate him.
On 32 minutes, a good pass from Tom to Jack saw the latter score a well-taken goal to bring Sils level. However, Khalsa came straight back at us and, after some messy attempts by the defence to secure the ball in the D, it fell to a Khalsa attacker on the far post to gently push the ball over the line to regain the lead.
After the half-time “coaching” from Dave and Shaun, Sils attempted to settle but the opposition pressed again and, although Steve a was able to skilfully pluck a Khalsa aerial from the sky, they were able to crack a shot against the cross bar. Yogi was initially able to save the ensuing shot on goal but was probably unsighted when Khalsa put the next shot away. At this point, there was something of a “Keystone Cops” moment when we realised that two players had gone off during a substitution but none had come on! This was rectified quickly but Khalsa were still stringing quick passes together while our marking was rather poor and Yogi was forced to make two great saves. On 49 minutes, Khalsa went 5 – 2 up.
Murray C came on and ball control and calmness settled us down again. A great pass from Shaun B to Andy R enabled the latter to evade the opposition’s tackles to score a good goal. Skilful work by Tom Tyrer down the left to the edge of Khalsa’s D on a couple of occasions went unrewarded when he was closed down by their defence. Great efforts by Andy and pressure from the right by John H led to Sils getting a short corner. However, it came to nought after some messy play in the D and John was yellow-carded for venturing his opinion to the umpire on the non-award of a perceived Khalsa infringement.
Khalsa counter-attacked once again and their right wing, evading Sils’ attempt to marshal him over the bye-line, cracked a shot into the top corner of the net over Yogi’s outstretched arm.
So ended M4’s first defeat of the season. A rather below-par performance that left everyone feeling we could have (should have) played a lot better. In our frustration, we tried to press forward when a square ball or pass backwards would have at least denied the opposition the ball. A lot of passes were not crisp enough and went to a Khalsa player and their speed of attack often left us exposed at the back. A bit of grumbling after the game soon turned to constructive comment in the bar.
We all know what we need to do next week vs Edgbaston so let’s put this behind us and get the promotion bid back on track!
The Man-of-the-Match award goes to Yogi who pulled off some great saves from some cracking shots.