Saturday saw an early morning fixture as Adel met with bleary eyes, a missing player (who turned up at Adel – no points for guessing who!), and a missing pair of shoes at their former stomping ground the Leeds “Beckett” University Hockey pitch. However the side met with confidence in their old changing room having yet to taste defeat this season.
This week leading up to the game there were discussions around tactics, with seemingly only two available defenders. An all out attack, and a score more than them approach obviously was in the minds of all the players. Despite still waiting for Mr Portnell, currently AWOL at this point, Coach Walker discussed the differing approach towards this game given the personnel at his disposal.
The first half started at a quick pace, with Adel controlling most of the possession, however were struggling to find the final ball to test the opposing goalkeeper. Adel’s, to date, successful PC’s were not offering any success either finding the agile GK or one of the two Leeds post men to deny them the early goal.
Leeds’ only exit from an effective press was the aerial ball which caught the Adel midfield and defence out at times, but Taylor in the Adel goal was untested as yet. Through exchanges of possession the deadlock was broken when the ball was played out to the new boy Norman on the right who delivered a penetrating slap to the back post. He found Boag, making only his second appearance, sliding in and diverting the ball past the helpless ‘keeper into the far side netting.
Adel didn’t ease off the pedal and continued to attack with purpose and play free flowing hockey. This style of hockey proved valuable as Adel forced the Leeds GK to make some very good saves, both from open play and penalty corners. Sadly the second goal was lacking to provide the cushion that has been required in recent games.
However, just before the stroke of half time Adel added their second goal a slick move down the left hand side of the pitch when Butterworth delivered a ball to the back post where he found Portnell (finally) in his interesting lycra leggings to tap home – not his usual style.
The second half started with Adel showing as much impetus as the first still awaiting the full match performance. Their effective press reaped dividend as Captain Butterworth nicked the ball from the Leeds centre back before providing a simple opportunity for Mayhew to slot home. Leeds’ appeal for an infringement in the build up fell on deaf ears.
Adel’s defence, controlled by Tino was determined and tenacious as they searched for their first league clean sheet in over two seasons. In a short lapse of concentration, Leeds had a PC that saw Taylor’s only two touches of the game; however the young GK stayed strong to deny the attack.
The game was not quite finished as again Adel’s press stole possession in the front line. Portnell carried the ball in the air, more his style, before placing the ball into Evans’ path for a simple finish to round of the game and a very professional performance from the boys in black.
Next week sees the side make the journey along the M62 to the University of Hull.
Thanks to the officials and Ultras who support us home and away.
MoM – Paul “Watto” Watkins. A four way tie in a team performance.
DoD – Jimmy Mayhew. For taking out the umpire.