Harpenden given a shock by Colchester

Harpenden Men 2 Colchester Men 4

HOCKEY: NEWLY promoted Colchester gave Harpenden more than they bargained for with a convincing win over the Whites on Saturday.

This disappointing result now puts Harpenden below Colchester in the league table with just 4 points, and demands a rapid improvement from the Woollams based outfit.

Harpenden’s troubles started early on with the enforced substitutions of Michael Emes and Tom Adams. Once again Emes fell victim to his crystalline shoulder, and Adams tore his hamstring chasing back a long ball. Losing this experience early on was always going to be problematic, and so it proved.

With their key defenders recovering on the side line it required keeper Brind to be sharp off his line to prevent the quick breaks of Colchester.

Inevitably this last line resistance was overcome. The visitors had the ability to break forward down either flank and their centre midfield was a source of creativity, linking cleverly with his dynamic inside forwards.

From this platform Colchester were able to release their centre forward who made no mistake with his chances, rapidly bagging a hat trick to send the visitors in to the half time interval three goals to the good.

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After a measured half time team talk, Harpenden took to the field with renewed resolve. However, over enthusiasm from Russell Timms almost ruined his afternoon when his push on the Colchester centre back led to a green card. However, soon afterwards Timms rectified, as he scored from the spot following a foul on Dave Falk in the D.

By now Colchester were reduced to set-piece efforts but the Harpenden defence lapped it up. Todd Baines anticipation led to Harpenden’s next goal as he was quickest to latch onto Jonny Bakers flick-on down the right wing. His accurate centre found Paul Wise, who was denied his first goal of the season by a clumsy Colchester challenge.

From the resultant short corner, David Jefferies, who was also excellent in defence, strode forward. His initial slap shot was not cleared and it fell back to him perfectly, to then deceive the Colchester keeper with a crafty lob finish.

Harpenden had their tails up and the home crowd were in full voice, but just as they started to sense an equaliser, the umpire awarded a penalty corner at the other end and Colchester took little notice of the locals and swept in their fourth goal to put Harpenden in a league position some of their supporters would have thought barely possible at the start of the season.

After the game, Tom Bunbury said, “I’m not satisfied with that – especially in the first half. The fact that there have been so many chances against us recently, we have concede too many cheap goals, we have to reduce that if we are going to be competitive in this the league. We were better in the second half, more solid. So we can learn from that.

“Now we just have to stick with it, work harder and not make it easy for the opposition. We definitely have the players to sort this out – its time to step up.”

This week Harpenden take the trip up the Hitchin to face Blueharts.