With the season coming to a close, this weekend originally was going to be the last of our many double-header weekends in which we took on Rotherham 3s for our final home fixture on Saturday and Hallam 7s away on Sunday that has been in the pipeline to be played since last November (I think) with endless rearrangements due to the weather having it in for us
Saturday ended up being conceded to us as Rotherham we short on players, so we could focus on what would be a tough game against Hallam 7s who have been fighting for promotion alongside us and Worksop. Another long and uneventful drive down the M1 (and that stupid 30mph zone on the M621, whoever thought that was a good idea should be punched in the stomach) saw us arrive at Hallam and then proceed to watch a woman complete a 1,000 point turn to park her car. A ginger hockey player get very upset about this and ‘politely asked her to hurry up and park’ but I may be paraphrasing there… Excitement levels weren’t going to get much higher than this spectator sport but we headed to the pitch none the less after several minutes of textbook parking
With Mikey and Charlie being late, oh and Matt Brown but the day he arrives on time we should probably quit hockey as the world will end shortly afterwards, Hallam were extremely sporting and allowed us extra time to get everyone warmed up so the game could be as competitive and fun as possible. Luke warmed up and brought out an old stick known as “black magic” (he should probably stop naming his sticks) for some odd reason. It turns out while he was busy snaking off to Boston Spa the day prior with the 3rd team he decided to leave his new stick “agent orange” (please stop naming them Luke) behind for some espionage. Or maybe he just forgot. We all agreed he was an idiot and then moved on with that at the back of our mind if we had nothing better for DotD votes
The game began with an Adel pushback but a small error in midfield cost us the possession and the pressure was on Adel to defend. Not the best start but the newly formed defensive duo of Crocker senior and Luke “the cannon” Taylor (completing his plethora of names for his hockey sticks), with Craig and Pete on either side, broke the attacks down nicely and allowed us to get our foothold back in the game
With lots of good passing between all our players meant we could do what our team do best and build up the pitch as a full squad to squeeze the opponents in their own half to force errors. This was self-evident when the Hallam 16’s and free hits usually resulted in a crash ball through the middle of the park. With Allan and his new glitter hair (we’ll come onto that) staying high and Charlie dropping back slightly and taking on the role of playmaker, our offensive threats were always good with lots of options to drive down the flanks or use Charlies skills to work around the Hallam players and into the D without him needing much assistance (he even passed lot!)
Most of our chances came about with picking out Allan in the D but the Hallam defence were as old-school as our own and were able to break down the threats effectively and clear their lines. As the game progressed Hallam picked up a couple of shorts which we were able to defend nicely and break away up the pitch. We were eventually rewarded with some shorts of our own that were taken well but the Hallam team read the passes and were also able to prevent the ball rolling over the line
With the game locked at 0-0 and the game a constant back and forth battle between the two teams it looked like this game was heading for a stalemate or potentially a 1-0 win. Our closest chance in the first half came from who else but our youngest player Charlie as he took the ball from the somewhere around the middle of the pitch, into the D and cracked a ball towards the far post that missed by inches. A second came from an odd reverse hit on the baseline that managed to go underneath about 5 bodies with no one able to tap home the first goal. The whistle went for halftime with the goals still at zero a-piece and we had an exciting (not as exciting as the lady parking earlier though) and tough 35 minutes ahead of us. Keeping everything as it was with the tried and true formation of 4-4-2 we began the second half with everyone stepping up the intensity
Immediately it was advantage Adel with us pushing into the opposition D more and more receiving a few more short corners and shots on goal. One short could have resulted in a p-flick with a Hallam foot stopping the ball on the goal-line but Allan decided to foul an opposing defender who wasn’t anywhere near the ball which cost us that chance. Charlie also had a shot blocked and the ball ended up flying straight out the pitch and over a 2 story tall tent in the next field.
It seems the hockey gods were against us but with 10 minutes to go Charlie worked the ball back into the box and then came on the receiving end of quite a hard shove to the chest from a Hallam player that winded him for a couple of minutes. We naturally won a free hit and then Crocker senior, obviously fed up with the youths not getting anywhere, charged up to support this hit on the edge of the D. It was a little confusing for me being the taker as he ran down the left side waving his arms while shouting the name of someone else on the pitch. Either way he received the ball because that’s the way I was facing (also he was completely open and unmarked) from which a nice cross in from himself resulted in a short corner.
A flick to the far post was quickly saved but a poor clearance resulted in the ball falling straight to Charlie on the left slip who slapped home the first goal of the day to break the deadlock. With about 8 minutes left on the clock the tension was up as Adel were looking at another 3 vital points to take us closer to the promotion spot. Hallam had a couple of opportunities in this time to snatch a point from short corners but thankfully Craig was able to tank a shot to the foot and the second short was cleared away nicely by Mikey which we broke from and nearly put the game to bed with a second goal. Allan also made a Tom Beale-esque dive to back post to try and slot home a cross but this went unfortunately wide
This second goal never came about but never the less the final whistle went and it was Adel who walked off the pitch with the spoils. A very enjoyable game for all involved with thanks to Hallam for providing a solid opposition and the umpires as well for keeping the game a very free flowing affair with little in the way of interruptions.
MotM was a joint win between the two juniors of the day of stand in keeper Mikey, and Charlie who both had cracking games. DotD went to Allan for going back to his Canadian heritage and think we were playing ice hockey, a result of which he received a green card, and having a bizarre hair choice. He said it wanted it to be orange which is quite admirable I guess but in the words of the philosopher Mick Jagger, you can’t always get you want.
Special mentions to our defensive line in thwarting most threats from reaching our D. Although Craig had a moment of madness where Mikey was watching a ball out to give us a 16 to which Craig, eager to not be anonymous, swooped in and started driving the ball along our baseline with a Hallam player not far away and then up the right wing. Also to a ginger fruit for being a great presence in the CDM role throughout the game. Matt Brown for running another marathon up and down the wings, and Joe Phelps for subbing off for a breather and then being asked immediately to come back on. Safe to say he nearly had a heart attack
With two games left to play and some results to iron out in our league we look to snatch the number 1 spot from Worksop in the closing games and the promotion that goes with it. With some hard work and grit we can be the 4th Adel team to secure promotion this season and make it two promotions on the bounce (if Sam Jackson tells you the first didn’t count feel free to slap him, not that you need a reason anyway).
Next Saturday the Mighty Phwoars make the journey to Slazengers as we look to keep the points and hopefully lots of goals rolling in.