Perfect start to year for Harpenden after thrilling win over Wapping
- Credit: Archant
Harpenden had to come from behind to do it but they opened up their new East Hockey League season in style with a thrilling 4-3 win over Wapping.
It was the east London club's fourth team but they are still expected to be one of the sides to beat in Division Two North, a consequence of their first team's promotion to the national leagues.
But the Woollams-based club have ambitions of challenging for titles and promotion too and this will have been the perfect way to build the confidence.
The summer has been one of slight rebuilding with the retirement of last year's vice captain Dave Falk and the moves of defender Ali Barrett and forward Jon Brayshaw to Letchworth and Blueharts respectively.
Coach David Thomas has also revamped the tactics on the pitch and although the squad are still getting used to the intricacies, there is no doubting the new system clearly had an impact on the result.
You may also want to watch:
The match had started well enough and Reece Baker-Kiff showed he had lost little of his Midas touch in front of goal as he fired in from long-range to put Harpenden ahead.
The lead was soon wiped out as Wapping rattled in two penalty corners despite the best efforts of Andy King in the home goal.
- 1 Can you help after man left unconscious outside St Albans pub?
- 2 Where in Hertfordshire are the most incidents of weapon possession?
- 3 Birthday charity walks in brother's memory
- 4 Market trader says goodbye to beard after 15 years
- 5 Light at the end of the gulley for long-running flooding
- 6 Driver hospitalised after three-vehicle accident on M1 near Redbourn
- 7 Girls 'followed' by men in red Range Rover at 2am in city centre
- 8 Fashionistas flock to Cathedral catwalk extravaganza
- 9 St Albans named among UK's most family-friendly cities
- 10 Who can get a Covid booster jab and how can I book one?
But the Woollams-based club made sure they went in at the break level thanks to fine approach play from Alex Weaver, making his competitive debut for the first-team, and a good finish from the well-positioned Mark Hoefield at the back post.
The second-half had barely begun though when Wapping went back in front, another penalty corner proving Harpenden's undoing with the drag flick beating King and Todd Baines on the post.
A green card to Wapping and numerical advantage to Harpenden was gleefully accepted, James Singer finding Callum West, another of Harpenden's talented youngsters, and he showed a brilliant combination of skill, composure and confidence to beat a defender, enter the circle and quickly fire off a rasping shot into the far corner.
And with the upper hand well and truly with the home side, Hoefield made it a great day by bagging his second following a cut-back by Harry Kneale.
Next up for Harpenden is a short away trip to Hitchin to take on Blueharts.