DEFEAT wasn’t the ideal way to sign off for the Christmas break, but Milton Keynes Hockey Club Men’s 1st team are keen to get the second half of the season going already.
Taking on Brighton and Hove on Saturday, they came out on the wrong end of a 3-2 defeat in their last game before the festive period. MK were looking to build on the good performance from last week against Hawks and their opponents this week were Brighton and Hove.
The game started at a high pace with chances at both ends, but it was Brighton who took the lead from a cleverly worked corner.
Despite the early setback MK tried to play their own game and were rewarded shortly after with a corner of their own, with Rich Townsend equalising for the home side.
The game carried on at a high pace with Brighton causing problems with good movement up front and effective use of the ball, allowing them to work an opening and take a 2-1 lead.
MK then again tried to hit back and were very unfortunate not to score when livewire striker Stu Clark hit the bar. It came back to hurt MK with Brighton hitting them on the break to go 3-1 up at half-time.
After some wise words at half time from Zak Jones, MK retained the ball much better in the second half, orchestrated by defensive duo Nick Anderson and Andy Dixon. They were ably assisted by Ian Cooper, Scott Robert, Stanley Craig and Andy Pettefer in the containment of a talented Brighton forward line.
As the half progressed MK managed to carve open the Brighton defence with more regularity with great work from the tricky Ali McColl causing real problems, but unfortunately not being able to finish.
Then after winning the ball high up Jamie Dodd burst in to the D to fire the ball across for Stephen Ruse to finish in style, setting up a nail-biting finale.
Not willing to give up without a fight, MK took the battle to Brighton in a bid to get back on level terms but narrowly missed out on the vital equaliser.
Milton Keynes Men’s 2nds 5-1 Wokingham
Playing against table topping Wokingham, MK came determined to establish a three horse race for the championship.
MK started brightly and went ahead through a short corner - Grant Webster was convinced that his powerful strike was the best route to scoring and so it proved. Dave Breuilly managed to find Matt Darvell following a run down the right of the pitch. Darvell coolly controlled the ball and smashed it into the net. Despite pressure from Wokingham and a number of spurned chances MK went into the interval 2-0 up.
Anticipating a Wokingham backlash in the second half, MK worked an early chance that was not capitalised on before James Barrow had a bursting run down the left of the pitch.
It appeared that a number of Wokingham played stopped playing in the belief that Barrow had knocked the ball out of play. He expertly drew the keeper and scored much to the chagrin of the Wokingham players.
There followed the anticipated backlash and Wokingham found a player unmarked at the top of the D with a long ball who struck into the bottom right hand corner.
A period of sustained pressure from Wokingham and some more spurned chances was soaked up by the solid MK defence.
The game was killed off by a Doug Spencer goal and a Jolyon Vernon goal from a cleverly adapted short corner from Phil Mayles giving a tremendous 5-1 result.
Milton Keynes Men’s 3rds 4-1 Wokingham 2nds
Wokingham made a strong attacking start winning most off the 50/50s in the first 20 minutes but some strong defending, good goalkeeping and some rather fortunate bounces meant they were unable to capitalise.
MK were playing solidly with no silly mistakes and got fortunate when two own goals in just five minutes put them 2-0 up. Wokingham were left scratching their heads in disbelief.
After the break goals from Dave Mac and Ollie Lum put the game beyond Wokingham with the visitors only snatching a conciliation goal towards the end although it was the finest half volleyed finish that has been seen on an MK pitch so far this season.
Milton Keynes Ladies 1sts 1-0 Southgate Ladies 2nds
Milton Keynes faced Southgate at home on Saturday and came away with the spoils.
The ladies were back to their comfortable playing style, passing the ball with ease around the pitch. MK retained the ball in the first half, which lead to the midfield of Helen Cooke, Chrissy Little, Mally Dolphin, Lindsay Kettleborough and Alice Vigor working hard and creating opportunities for the forwards.
Southgate made use of their possession forcing the MK defence of Laura Pellington-Woodrow, Player of the Match Sarah Lowry, Jess Barnes, Steph Bates and Vikki Alexander utilise their skills to redistribute the ball up to the forward line.
It was in the second half that some great passes between Louise Reynolds, Ellie Walsh and Sofie Sokowolski saw MK secure a short corner, which was executed with precision and resulted in a goal from Louise Reynolds.
MK then protected the scoreline and defended as a team having 11 players behind the ball to hold on for victory.
Milton Keynes Ladies 2nds 5-3 Wokingham Ladies 2nds
MK Ladies 2nds faced a tough mid-table battle against Wokingham 2nds but worked tirelessly throughout to find themselves 3-1 up with 10 minutes of the game remaining.
Both teams then managed to score two goals in the final minutes of the game to leave the score 5-3 to MK and eight points clear of Wokingham in the Trysports Three Counties Division 1.
MK goals from Gemma Little (2), Trish O’Rourke, Fran Shepherd and player of the match Sophie Wombwell.
Milton Keynes Ladies 3rds 0-7 Kidlington Ladies 1sts
Milton Keynes Ladies 3rds started well enough against Kidlington but could not make anything of the possession and Kidlington started scoring.
Holly Captainino made many fine saves with Maddy Boyce, Emma Hooton, Francesca Head and Lyndsey Rutherford helping sweep the ball wide to try and limit the score from the numerous short corners.
Rita Boyce and Vanessa Cox joined in when subbed into defence Talyssa Mensah and Player of the Match Lauren Hooton played deep to help dig the ball out of defence and feed it wide to the forwards and midfield of Lana Camp, Emily Watkins, Sarah Berwick, Charlotte Cox, Sinead Cook and Dani Jeffrey. By half time MK were 5-0 down with very few opportunities themselves.
In the second half Milton Keynes marked tighter and limited Kidlington to two goals and saw a bit more possession in their half but not enough to get close to scoring a goal.