Gallery: Osbourne inspires Harpenden Hockey to end 2013 with victory.
PUBLISHED: 09:56 17 December 2013 | UPDATED: 09:56 17 December 2013
Harpenden signed off 2013 with a well-deserved 2-1 victory over Colchester at Woollams on Saturday.
Having played the same side the previous weekend, and lost, Harpenden jumped at the chance of immediate redemption, and despite a few nervous moments towards the end, grabbed all three points with confidence and verve.
After the game, skipper David Falk said: “I’m Very happy with that. We had the game under control for long periods, and created plenty of chances. Harry Osborne put in a hell of a performance today, that’s a watershed for him, and gives me real belief in what we are trying to achieve here.
“We have had a great run into the Christmas recess – that’s four wins out of five now - so I can’t ask for much more from the lads. We will continue to work hard on to maintain our conditioning, and hopefully come January we can push on and surprise a few people.”
Harpenden started with the determination they have been hinting at over the last few weeks with forwards Russell Timms, Osborne and Nick McLean pressing the visitors’ defence from the start.
The early pressure paid off as a superb dribble across the top of the D by Osborne stretched the Colchester defence before playing a disguised reverse pass through to Timms. With just the keeper to beat, Timms produced a slick finish to open the scoring for Harps.
Harpenden continued to press and enjoyed the lion’s share of possession. Colchester looked to break quickly and with a quick and skillful collection of attacking players, always threatened on the counter.
The visitors squared the game up from just such an attack. Picking up the ball on their own 25 and promoting it down the right wing, exposing the Harps defence, splitting the full backs and finishing well.
Going into the second half all square Harpenden knew they needed to improve and with skipper Falk making his expectations crystal clear, there was no doubt that Harpenden knew what they needed to do.
Harpenden pushed hard, and another piece of scintillating play by Osborne spread the visitors’ defence, opening up the D for his cross to find Ali Hutson looming at the far post. Alas the ball was just behind the striker’s feet, and he could only nudge the ball towards the gaping goal. A firmer push would have done the trick, but Colchester managed to scrabble it away.
But Harpenden would not be denied. With Jamie Olive, James Evans and Rob Ward refusing to lie down, the platform was there and it wasn’t long before Harps fired again. McLean was picked out high up the pitch by Evans, he then delivered a fine cross into the D and Todd Baines met the ball on his back hand from a well timed run from deep.
There was still more to come. Once again man of the match Harry Osborne was architect. Backing up a short corner, from the breakdown, he delivered the ball on a sixpence to give Timms a tap in from two yards to complete his brace.
Colchester pulled it back to 3-2 and Harps sailed close to the wind in the last exchanges but the result seldom looked in danger and Harps can go in to 2014 full of confidence and optimism.