Harpenden get first points on the board at Letchworth

Harpenden share four goals with Letchworth GC counterparts

Letchworth GC Men 2

Harpenden Men 2

HOCKEY: HARPENDEN secured their first point of the season with a hard fought draw at local rivals Letchworth. After just five minutes the Whites were up against it - partly due to Letchworth’s ruthlessness from short corners but also as a result of Harps’ own defensive generosity.

Slack marking allowed the home centre forward to run through to the top of Harpenden’s D, leaving goal keeper Ben Brind little choice but to concede the foul. LGC scored from the resulting short corner with a slick routine, dragging the ball low into the bottom left corner.

Brind made a couple more first half saves, while Harpenden also went close after a corner. Following some impressive work form the Harpenden midfield, Jonny Baker found a pocket of space to open up the play for Nima Salehi, who finished neatly on this reverse stick to restore parity.

Harpenden now had the bit between their teeth, and again Baker led the charge. Picking the ball up in his own half, the young midfielder showed impressive vision to feed Nick Pomfret. He played the ball through to Nick McLean, who had sniffed the scent of goal and finished brutally. With their noses in front, Harpenden dominated the opening 20 minutes of the second half as they stretched Letchworth with their quick movement and incisive passing.

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Driven on club stalwart, Paul Wise, Harpenden tried to extend their advantage. The 43-year-old Wise, put in a classy performance, that will surely silence some of his recent critics. Having been dropped from the Harpenden first team last month, his exemplary work rate caused problems for the home side and his guile led to another opportunity. His disguised pass, under the arm, left McLean with the goal wide open. Alas, the striker sprayed his shot on to the post for a miss that proved costly.

As the game played out and with Harps legs tiring, the home side wrestled back some of the initiative. Harpenden’s resolve was strong, but in the end, conceded one short corner too many. Despite brave efforts by the Harps back five, finally Letchworth worked a clever corner to open up a scoring opportunity. The resulting shot crashed into the face of David Falk, and the umpire had no hesitation in upgrading to a penalty stroke. The Letchworth captain duly converted and the game finished all square.

After the game Harpenden captain Tom Bunbury said, “At last we had big levels from our creative players. That’s probably what’s been missing in the past few games. Paul Wise was great out there.”

Bunbury continued, “Goals change the dynamics of the game and it is a real shame we couldn’t bag a third, because when you go away from home, you always need a bit of a cushion. We had enough chances and with a little bit more composure could have got the goal we needed. But overall we are not too disappointed in ourselves. ”

This weekend Harpenden entertain Cambridge University.