As we all know, travelling to hockey matches can sometimes be a bit of pain, we in the 4s have to travel down to Sheffield on a regular basis this year which isn’t ideal when there a multiple other clubs on our doorstep. However we have all agreed that this mere 50 mile drive down to M1 is nothing to be complained about when jetsetter Iain Mitchell managed to be up at the crack of dawn, eat breakfast, travel to Poland, travel back, and still arrive at Adel before anyone else. All of this with an injured foot, that according to the internet is either something deadly or a sprained ankle. Think about that next time you have an 8am meet for a trip to Scarborough…
A crisp, sunny Sunday afternoon held the semi-final of the League Cup C involving Adel Men’s 4s/5s taking on Boston Spa 3s/4s at the Adel fortress. Newly recruited coach Clare Hesselwood was looking to keep her 100% managerial role record intact after a 3-0 win for the 3’s the previous day. We also had the new Adel mascot in attendance in the form of Gabby’s young Labrador, Taco.
Despite the Sunday fixture most of the 4s players we in attendance but we were missing our old school keeper Andy Miles in net. Fortunately we were able to recruit Tom Poll in his stead who comfortably helped us warm up in our usual way by shelling balls at him. It served us well for a whole season, why change? Also there was some passing.
Clare had a rousing pre game tactics speech that was undermined slightly when Ross remembered he had forgotten to include Rich Bingham as he was meant to be umpiring originally. Several minutes wasted we began a fresh while we waited for Katy Blyth to arrive as a last minute favour to umpire our game.
The game got immediately underway upon her arrival with Adel showing some serious speed and ability down the flanks of the pitch with the ever rock solid combination of Bob Sibbers and Nic Crocker holding the centre of our defence. Despite applying constant pressure in the Boston half through quick simple passing and also long balls to the speedy Iain, we struggled to get past the defenders Boston had brought along and get many clear cut chances on goal. Craig Smith had possibly the best chance as keeper cleared ball directly to him, unfortunately he didn’t make the most of the opportunity as it was the first real chance we had for a shot on goal.
Boston meanwhile were relying heavily on their central midfielders to dribble down the pitch in an attempt to get a shot away as quickly as possible. Our midfield were more than match however to prevent them getting close enough to get these shots through. Eventually they changed tactics to playing long through balls that were either picked up on the baseline or just too fast for their players to pick up. This proved a bit more fruitful for them however as new signing Tom Poll was called into action on more than one occasion making multiple saves with excellent kicks from which we often immediately turned into a counterattack.
The highlight of these was a cracker of a free hit from outside the 23 by Crocker Snr to Luke Taylor, who for the first time ever, truly unleashed his cannon. He swept round and swung the ball up and hurtled it toward the back post where it nearly burnt a hole through the side netting. A goal so good everyone lost their mind for a moment and Luke looked like he had scored the last minute winner in a Champions League final. Despite the fact that this was the best goal we would see all season, Katy Blyth managed to compose herself, and then disallow the goal, much to the relief of Boston as the shot was taken from a fraction outside the D. I’m sure Luke will disagree but despite the decision the goal will go down in Adel history, a fitting Christening for his cannon.
From this Boston were back on the offensive and they managed to slide a goal into the far post past an outstretched Poll Jnr. The first half ended with Boston holding tentatively to a 1-0 lead. An excellent team talk from club captain Paul and coach Clare at half time got everyone roused up for a strong second half.
It started with Adel once again on the offense using the pace and ability of Joe Phelps on the right to drive up the pitch to where Tom B sent several balls to the back post and on target that were either saved or narrowly missed by our other strikers. Clearly tiring with relying on teammates, Tom B received the ball at the top of the D, turned, and flicked the ball into the bottom left corner past the Boston keeper to level the score line with a few minutes to go.
Our team spirit revitalised we started the last 5 minutes of the game applying heavy pressure on the Boston looking to make them make a mistake that we could capitalise on. Some excellent runs up the pitch from our midfielder Matt Brown and Greg who managed to slip away from two Boston attackers to drive forward gave some fantastic moments to watch. Unfortunately this wasn’t enough and the game ended a 1-1 draw ready to progress to penalty flicks.
The line-up for Adel was Tom B, Ross Nichols, Matty Brayshaw, Rich Bingham, and Bob Sibley. Tom B netted the first for Adel, matching Boston’s effort. Boston’s second was saved by Tom Poll to a raucous applause from Adel followed by Ross who sent a less than adequate flick to the left of the keeper which was saved meaning we were still matched at 1 each. Boston’s third effort was dispatched as was Brayshaw’s taking it to 2-2. Boston’s young boy then waltzed up and hurled his flick a good 2 feet wide of the goal followed by Bingham who took the score 3-2 to Adel. The final Boston player dispatched his goal meaning our next flick could win us the game.
Up walks Bob Sibley, with all of his years of experience we had the best man to carry us through to the final of the cup. Katy Blyth signals the all clear, he shoots to the top right and somehow a diving Boston keeper manages to tip the ball round the post.
Sudden death commences with Boston slotting their first flick away, and then Tom B once again matching it. The second for Boston is a goal and then Ross’s “flick” misses and the less said about it the better. Disappointment for Adel all round as we were in control for much more of the match and should have scored more than once in regular time.
Our next two league matches are once again this Saturday and Sunday. The former being against Rotherham away, so yet another drive down our favourite road in the UK followed by a trip to Halifax on Sunday for a rearranged fixture. Taking 6 points would see us leapfrog back to the top of the table where the mighty phwoars deserve to be.
MotM to Tom Poll for an excellent display in net. Special mentions to Luke for exceptional goal that also wasn’t, and Iain for his 2,000 thousand mile taxi ride prior to the game. DotD was a fairly unanimous vote to Ross for the terrible flicks. Many thanks to both Paul and Clare for coaching us during the game and also cooking enough pasta to feed 50 people when only 8 of us stayed behind