Harpenden stun league leaders Bedford but head coach insists it's no shock
PUBLISHED: 09:51 31 January 2019
Harpenden Hockey Club produced a sensational comeback to shock league leaders Bedford – with head coach Dave Thomas saying he knew that was what they were capable of.
The Woollams-based side were trailing 2-0 at half-time after Bedford charged out of the blocks.
But inspired words at the break and a renewed belief completely turned the tide and goals from Reece Baker-Kiff, Mark Hoefield and Danny Burgess ensured Harpenden left with the victory.
Coach Thomas said: “Despite Bedford’s position at the top of the table, this wasn’t really that much of a shock result as we’ve already proven several times this season that we can compete with, and beat, the best teams in the league.
“The players deserve particular credit for the way they came back from being 2-0 down and potentially looking at a heavy home defeat.
“To ultimately come away as rightful winners is just reward for the tremendous effort put in across the pitch.”
Bedford had only lost two of the previous 14 East League Division Two South contests and started like a side full of confidence.
They opened the scoring on 12 minutes with a shot that looped up and over Andy King in the Harpenden goal.
Harpenden’s day got worse too with a second from a penalty corner coming just after defender Ali Barrett limped out with a calf injury.
A reorganisation of defence prevented any more breaches prior to the break and a well-taken goal from open by Baker-Kiff halved the gap before Hoefield’s first of the season levelled things up.
And with Harpenden now displaying skilful interplay, hard work and quick exchanges of short passes, they got their noses in front.
It came from a penalty corner that was turned in at the near post with a touch of finesse from Burgess.
Harpenden hope to have a couple of players back on Saturday when they go to IES in Ipswich.
The ladies were also celebrating as they picked up their first win of the season with a 2-1 success away to West Herts in East League Division Two South West.