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Lancaster 0-3 Salford
Travelling team Salford University came up against a newly promoted Lancaster men’s hockey thirds side looking to replicate last year’s strong performance in the league.
Immediate saves were required from the Lancaster keeper from the second minute of the game, as Salford launched into a heavy attack with a series of short corners and pressing play.
Through the first 15 minutes of the game, both sides seemed very evenly matched, as Lancaster’s defensive play remained solid despite early pressure.
A great save again from the Lancaster keeper in the 15th minute however, was shortly followed up by Salford’s first goal driven in a minute later. Although Salford pushed on the attack whenever possible, Lancaster in possession demonstrated fluent and promising wing play throughout the game. At crucial points they were let down by their finishing, although the chances were being created.
Shortly after Lancaster were awarded a long corner in the 19th minute, Salford took possession and opened up the field to put away their second goal through a speedy counter-attack. The first half came to a close at 2-0 Salford, but with the opportunity of a comeback very much possible.
As the second half got underway, both teams began fairly evenly until Salford capitalized on another attack on goal in the 41st minute to bring the score to 3-0. Although Lancaster appeared on the back foot, their effort was never questioned as they continued to keep the opposition on their toes.
Lancaster came very close to converting a short corner in the 46th minute, and continued to apply pressure down the wings which Salford had struggled to cope with for the majority of the match. A thunderous strike in the 60th minute saw the Salford front man’s shot smash off the bar and back into play where Lancaster led straight into a fiery counter attack only to be stopped in the final sector of the pitch.
Lancaster came on the attack again in the 65th minute and came agonisingly close to converting another chance from a long corner. The home side really came into the frame of dangerous attacking play in the final ten minutes of the game, leaving the Salford formation shattered and struggling to retain possession.
Lancaster captain Matt Hanson, acknowledged that the “pace of the game had got a lot faster in the higher league.” He went on to highlight the importance of the team establishing themselves in the new league and the importance of ‘taking on the 50/50 chances. Once the ball is out of the defence, and passing is focused, things can happen.”
A worthy performance should be noted of the Lancaster keeper, who made several outstanding saves in the game. The defence also remained solid throughout the majority of the opposition’s attacks. Defeat in the first game of the season therefore cannot be too bitter of a blow for a promising Lancaster thirds side.