First half blitz puts Pelicans back on win trail

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Pelicans Men 3 Colchester 1

Pelicans got back to winning ways on Saturday as all the goals came in the first half.

Pelicans started on the back foot as it was the visitors who made the better start and forced Major, Allsop, Page and Dowers into early defensive duties which they manage to handle well. Aldous yet again was superb throughout in goal.

Pelicans started to pass the ball better as the game went on and started to create chances. They took the lead still slightly against the run of play when Simons stole the ball off a defender before shooting at the keeper, only for the predatory instincts of Lankfer to slot home the rebound.

The home side’s midfield of Picton, Kerry, Johnstone, Batterham and Hall were putting the miles in tracking up and down the pitch and this is what led to the second goal.

A run from Johnstone found Simons in the circle whose cross shot hit a Colchester defender foot which the umpires deemed to be going in the goal. A penalty stroke was awarded and despatched confidently by Page. Colchester pulled one back with a stinging strike from a short corner before on the breakaway before half-time Lankfer squared it to Simons who scored at the far post.

The second half was scrappy and Pelicans had to defend strongly to prevent Colchester from getting back in the game. Half chances fell the way of Pelicans from Widdowson who looked full of running on his return to 1st XI hockey. Hall also had a golden opportunity to secure the game but hit the side netting.

Aldous continued his fine form this season as he kept the score at 3-1.

Pelicans entertain Bishops Stortford at home on Saturday but they will have to do it without the services of Picton and Simons who both picked up their third yellow cards.

Middleton Aggregates MoM: Paul Aldous.

Pelicans 2nds 3 UEA 3

Saturday saw a clash between two of the league’s top teams.

On the one side was a young, fit University 1st from UEA and on the other another vintage Pelicans 2nds side comprising upcoming youth, ex-first team and some very ex-first team. The game started at a fair pace and Pelicans produced some good moves but were pressured from some slick passing moves from UEA too.

Corbett and Kent showed that whatever attacking flair UEA could produce though Pelicans could respond with interest. Kent again dazzled with driving runs, tying defenders in knots.

Corbett sublimely drifted into space, received the ball and then wandered round players. They found each other on several occasions but the UEA keeper denied them.

Corbett fired one particularly fine cross into Kent but he could not find the net. It was UEA that scored first though with a well practiced drag flick at a short corner.

This insult to team pride sparked Pelicans to greater efforts and Human busied himself in the middle. Kent picked up the ball on the 23 and drove forward, he picked out Corbett who lashed home for the equaliser.

Stunned by the goal UEA were soon two down as Kent again drove forward and found Brooks who slapped the ball home past the keeper. Pelicans were still under pressure though as some loose marking and UEA defenders pushing forward created overlaps.

The second half saw UEA apply more pressure and the overlaps caused problems. Another short corner saw UEA get a flick away into the corner of the net to equalise.

However neither team was going for the draw and Pelicans pushed forward. In a good sign of attacking hockey Olley, Taylor, Page and Vinson, all surged forward from the back. There was some quality ball carrying from the backs that applied real pressure to UEA. Likewise in the middle Brown and Human battled it out with usually three opponents between them.

They both managed to work the ball wide though. It was however while the team pressed for a goal, as UEA were down to 10 after a dismissal, that the UEA right forward countered quickly and only just managed to get the ball past Bower with a deft reverse stick touch. Yet again team spirit saw the team through, there was no heads dropped and the team pushed on.

No clear cut chances were made though until a short corner was won with two minutes to go. A changed routine saw Kent calmly side step the rushing defender and then pick his spot to the left of the goal for the equaliser.

MoM: Sam Kent.