Following last years perfect season the Mens 1st team returned to the North hockey leagues after a 5 season hiatus and had been handed a tough opening fixture against Sheffield Hallam 2nd team who finished second last season.
The game started at a frenetic pace and at high quality, a stark contrast to most of the games last season. Adels strong forward line of Harris, Moorhouse, Purdy, Ball, Stroomer and Watkins pressed high and created some early chances which really should have been put away with better linkages and decisions. Eventually the pressure told and the ball fell to last seasons top scorer Sam Harris to clinically finish into the bottom corner and Adel were up and running.
The rest of the first half was very open with further chances created and squandered by both teams. Adel added to their 1-0 lead mid way in the first half when Stroomer took an early free hit, played it into Ball at the top of the circle who deftly deflected the ball into the path of Purdy who slotted it into the bottom corner…2-0.
Unlike last season, when most of the opposition surrendered, Hallam continued to play some well structured counter attacking hockey and converted a short corner to pull a goal back. This gave Hallam some confidence and when a short corner decision for Adel was strangely overturned a 60 yard aerial bypassed the Adel forward and midfield line and was not dealt with and the Hallam forward squared the ball to his teammate for an easy tap in…A sucker punch for 2-2. This goal left Adel shell shocked and another turnover was pounced upon and another swift counterattack saw Hallam go into the break with an undeserved 3-2 lead, a position Adel had not found themselves in for more than 2 seasons.
Ben encouraged the lads as for large parts of the first half Adel had been the better side. They started the second half well and pushed hard for a equaliser, this played into Hallams game plan who continued to play on the counter attack and quickly found themselves 5-2 up. A mountain for the team to climb with 20min left to go.
Adel needed to stick to the philosophy which has seen them promoted for the last 2 seasons. Finally their patience and persistence paid off, Ball and Moorhouse combined and the latter finished opened his account for the season, something which took him until Christmas to do last year.
Adel continued to play attractive attacking hockey which was pleasing on the eye for the growing crowd of spectators. Further pressure lead to a string of corners and finally a well worked routine was deflected in by Ball to make the score 5-4 with 10minutes to go. Hallam started to find themselves pushed back as Adel searched for a equaliser and when Harris fed Moorhouse who had made a lead onto the back line, Jamesy kept his cool and finished past the keeper from an acute angle to level the scores at 5-5 with 2 minutes to go.
Neither team could find a winner and the teams shared the points. A fantastic comeback and a reminder of the challenge the boys will face this season. Plenty of positives to take into the next game which is the first of many trips up the A1 to North Shields.
MOM – James ‘2 goals’ Moorhouse
DOD – Simon ‘pass it, pass it, pass it’ Ball