The Men’s first team arrived at fortress Adel on a gloomy wet day, with calls the night before of ‘It’ll be far to cold for hockey’ – Andy Bird (2017). Later it was revealed he had a date with an American man at the Etihad. So, with the guaranteed cards of Jimmy, Watto and Purdy unavailable, we looked to the return of the great Jim Heslip and a rare, if not brief, showing from coach Ben. With some re-shuffling we managed to cobble together some sort of front line (and what a front line it turned out to be).
The game started well for Adel creating chances and building pressure, however, it went downhill quickly from there. 0-1 Halifax… 0-2 Halifax, from a couple of breakaways. Fears of previous seasons slip ups came to mind, however, some brilliance from Andy Bird with a textbook rollout (Ben Hendley eat your heart out) firing home into the bottom corner and then some brilliant work from Heslip provided Miles with a trade mark tap in, 2-2. Half time was approaching; with plenty of chances for Adel to seize the initiative they could have easily gone in at half time a couple of goals up, somehow Halifax managed to clear their ball from their own baseline on the reverse to their forward close to our D. Despite our best efforts to hack him down he managed to scrap a short, which they duly converted in equally scrappy style. 3-2 HT.
Coach Ben’s team talk comprised mainly of ‘lets sort this press out’ and ‘be wary of the counter attack’. But despite being able to fix this, Adel managed to dominate most of the second half. Quick goals from Heslip x2 and Hemming meant Adel went 5-3 up. Positively dominating proceedings. The next 15 minutes were end to end, saw another scrappy Halifax goal, 5-4, then another goal for Heslip, rounding off a superb hat-trick made the score 6-4. Despite a number of superb saves from Rob Daring, Halifax sneaked a further goal making it squeaky bum time (quite literally), for Adel, 6-5. Good game management meant the next 10 minutes were managed superbly by the hosts, holding the ball up well, wasting plenty of time and still creating a plethora of chances, these were however, not taken. Until ‘back-post’ Miles managed to steal a further goal from a well worked (dysfunctional short), a classic deflection. This gave Adel a comfortable last 5 minutes to manage. A nice easy victory, no further issues, nothing to worry about, nothing went wrong… Adel finished the game with 10 men; something about a stick up the back passage and a lack of dinner and drink meant Miles was sent to the bench (where he usually starts), for the remaining 90 seconds.
A Superb victory for a weakened Men’s 1s team, arguably the best victory of the season. They strive for a push for promotion in order to play some decent hockey in subsequent seasons. Many thanks for the contribution of Jim Heslip returning to the team. Roll on Ben Rhydding next week, hopefully a more comfortable fixture for Big Ben’s Men.
DOD-Miles Buller (not for hockey reasons)
Goals – Jim Heslip x3, Miles Buller x2, Nathan Hemming and Andy Bird
Match report by Miles Buller