The Men’s 4s welcomed IES 4s to the nest in what was going to be a tough game as both sides are separated by 1 point in the league.
The game started at a fast tempo going from end to end but Magpies started piling on the pressure with numerous short corners won by the front 2 of James Bensly and Sam Emms which caused the IES defence problems all game. As the pressure grew Magpies looked increasing likely to score to which the finally did after a pinpoint ball into the D from Oli Hall finding Matt Bensly who had a delicate touch to take it over the keeper into the side netting putting Magpies 1-0 up. More chances followed to which none could be taken due to some good positioning from the IES goalkeeper. The half time whistle went with Magpies leading 1-0.
The second half started with as much intensity as the first half, IES started to create some chances of their own but were shut down quickly by Bob Skinner and Dan Middleton. A few sloppy mistakes from Magpies increased frustration throughout the team which was proven by a green card awarded to Matt Bensly. As the game was coming to an end IES started putting a lot of pressure on with little success but Magpies saw this as an opportunity and had a few quick counter attacks lead by the front 2 again of James and Sam but these couldn’t result in a goal unfortunately. The final whistle was blown with Magpies winning 1-0. A fantastic result for the team!
On a cold day down at Newmarket hockey club men’s 4ths bring a young team down with debut games for Freddie H-S and Joe Wicks. It was a fairly even first half although Magpies did have the edge and took the lead with a short corner slip to Matt Bensly who rattles it in to put us 1-0 up. Newmarket fought back with a couple of short corner opportunities however Magpies in turn win another short corner, and this time it was slipped to Freddie H-S who saw the opening and put it in for his big debut goal. Whistle blows for half time 0-2 up for Magpies.
The second half is underway. Magpies have the push back. Matt B wins a short corner chosen to take a drag flick and puts it in top left to make the score 3-0. Newmarket win a short corner and score to bring it back to 3-1 keeping them in the game. Newmarket have a very high press attack which Magpies turned around. Ball got loose to Toby D who charged down the wing on the counter attack supported by Sam E who took the cross and put the ball in the back of the net to make the score 4-1 Magpies. With a few unmentionable cards, three players spend 2 minutes in the bin leading to a little bit of drama on the pitch, but those left playing held the game back to full 11 on the pitch Newmarket win a short corner in the dying seconds and GK Charlie makes a solid save to keep the final score 1-4 to Magpies.
Looking to secure another win this week the Mens 4s travelled to the Dragons Den to take on their 4s. Game got off to a good start from both sides with Dragons finding the back of goal from a nice volley hit early on into the game. Closing out the first half with a good hit into the D from Oli Hall and a small deflection from James Bensly made it 1-1 going into half time.
Second half was a very even game from both sides with opportunities at both ends of the pitch. However no goals were scored meaning the game ended at 1-1. Fantastic performances from everyone today in the 4s especially Toby Drake who was our Man of the Match.
After some unlucky defeats to the top 2 in our division it was important for us to get a win this weekend. Starting off the game a bit slow we went down 0-1 within the first 5 minutes of the game. Playing a fairly even first half we managed to score a goal near the end of the half coming from Jack Caswell-Dodd to make it 1-1 going into half time.
In the second half we started to play some really nice hockey and won the half 3-0 with goals from Arthur Johnson, Stu Peters and Oli Hall.
End result was 4-1, a good win for Magpies Men’s 4th Team.
At half time in their home match vs City 5ths, the Men’s 4ths were 2-1 down following a disjointed performance. During the break it was decided to press higher up the pitch, play as a more compact unit, and retain possession. These tactics worked and the 4ths scored 3 unanswered goals to win 4-2. Goals were from James Bensly 2, Lewis Belsey and Arthur Johnson. The skill and application of the three youngsters Tom Caston, Toby Drake and Jack Largent was exemplary.
The Men’s 5ths headed off to play Pelicans 3rds with 10 players. Being 4-0 down after quarter of an hour it looked like being a long afternoon. Once we settled down and started to retain possession things started to look up. Open play goals from Joe Wicks and Chris Hall and a penalty flick converted by Oli Hall got us back to 4-3 at half time. Magpies started the second half playing some excellent hockey and Joe scored a second well deserved goal. With legs tiring both teams had chances to win but a draw was a fair result.
Bearing in mind that we lost our first game to Felixstow 2nds 5-4 at home, and our recent results, the odds were that this game was going to be one for the spectators. And so it proved.
With Arthur in to strengthen last weeks electric fast forwards, and with the skipper banished to left back as Max came in to sweeper the team had a more balanced look. We immediately took the game to Felixstow and were soon two goals up, thanks to the prolfic Toby H and another goal from Ben Emms. We then proceeded to completely forget our game plan and to start giving the ball away in midfield. This led to three quick goals for the home team. With Lewis helping another shot from Toby over the line we went into half time 3-3.
The second half was a different game. We stopped giving the ball away and pretty much played the game in the opposition half. With the team now playing fast open hockey many chances were created. Ben scored his third goal in only his second start for us and then inevitably Toby popped up and scored his 23rd goal of the season. Late on Felixstow broke away and scored a consolation goal to make the final score 6-4 to Magpies.
The result was marred by an injury to Lewis. A collision with the goalie led to a serious shoulder injury for which we are still awaiting the diagnosis.
Despite the presence of the captain this was the youngest side the Mens 4ths had fielded for some seasons. Having won the previous game against Thetford 1sts 6-5 at The Nest we were expecting a tough game.
The game was confirmed at 12.00 and by 1.45 our squad of 11 was sitting in the changing room trying to decide how late we could leave going outside to ‘warm up’. The skipper decided to give a long team talk, encouraging the lads to be more vocal, only to be constantly interupted by Oli who was getting in some early practice.
Fielding in Toby H, Lewis and debutant Ben Emms, the quickest forward line in memory we decided to sit deep and hit them on the counter. This tactic worked well initially and although I cant quite remember the order of the goals we scored first and kept kept ahead to go in 4-3 up at half time. Our second goal was a smartly taken debut goal from Ben, to follow last weeks debut goal from Ed Brice. The other two goals were from Toby; the first an excellently taken solo effort and the second a tap in after Lewis took an overhead from the skipper to the line and crossed.
The half time chat took place in a penguin huddle with Cadburys chocolate eggs replacing the customary jelly babies. Conditions were getting worse as the driving snow began to settle on the pitch. This did not prevent our gallent band of supporters out shouting the home crowd and giving us much appreciated encouragement.
Goals were exchanged regularly throughout the second half with Toby getting two more, and with midfield maestro Myles slowing down with a recurrent thigh injury we were relying more and more and the outstanding work rate of the youngsters. With two minutes to go Thetford were awarded an controversial penalty corner (of course!) which they rifled into the roof of the net to make it 6-5.
This was a hard game played under tough conditions. The young team put in a fantastic effort and were unlucky not to come away with at least a point. Thanks once again to our loyal spectators/taxi drivers. Your support really was much appreciated.
Mens 4th Team v Norwich City 5ths (Home (L) W 2-1)
At a chilly Nest the Mens 4ths entertained City 5ths who had won the previous meeting. City are a well organised experienced team and Magpies knew that they would have to work hard and play well to get a result. From the start Magpies took the game to the opposition and allowed City very little possession in Magpies half. City’s overhead threat was well controlled by the solid back four.
Midway through the first half City conceded a penalty flick which was well dispatched by Cobbald junior. The second half followed the pattern of the first, with Magpies on the front foot and City causing little threat. Following an excellent foray down the right Arthur took the ball into the circle and despatched a fine reverse stick shot into the far corner.
It came as a bit of a surprise when City won a flick from their second penalty corner which they scored. Magpies played out the remaining time for a very satisfactory win.
On a characteristically sunny afternoon in Kings Lynn the 4ths turned up with an enthusiastic yet slightly unfit squad of 11. Having agreed our line up over a pre warm up coffee we took the field confident of our positions if not our style of play, or stamina.
From the start we had the opposition on the back foot and this set the tone for the game. Toby and Arthur, prompted by JA created numerous chances, and once Toby at last scored the first goal the result was not in question.
With the energetic mid field duo of Rob and David J ably controlling the center of the park, the rather experienced defence, and Oli, kept the opposition forwards under tight control. Further goals from Toby and the excellent Arthur ensured that the points were secured.
With this 6-4 win, the 4ths aggregate scores for the last 4 games is 19 for, 16 against! Quite a record. The 4ths went into this mid table contest confident that they would be able to score goals, and so it proved.
Beginning with high intensity Magpies pegged Thetford into their own half and scoring regularly went into half time 3-1 up. The second half really opened up with both sides attacking at will. With Arthur Johnson leading the line well Magpies always looked dangerous. Despite Thetford scoring from two late well taken corners Magpies ran out deserved winners with Arthur scoring a well deserved hat trick and Rob Neal popping up with two more goals.
Looking to continue their winning run, Magpies 4ths entertained Felixstowe 2nds at The Nest. Unfortunately Magpies started off in second gear and from the start gave away possession to the eager opposition forwards. It was no surprise when from turnover ball Felixstowe scored the opening goal. This woke Magpies up and although still not firing on all cylinders they scored 3 goals without reply. Right on half time Felixstowe scored from another turnover to make the halftime score 3-2.
In the second half the game opened up and although Toby Hughes scored his hat trick goal Magpies always seemed a bit vulnerable at the back. This uncertainty led to Felixstowe scoring two late goals to take the points 4-5.
Mens 4th Team v North Norfolk 2nds
(Away (L) W 6-3)
The small but perfectly formed 4th team squad arrived in Cromer hoping to break their sequence of 4 games without a win. That this was achieved whilst in the process finally finding their scoring touch gives great credit to the team.
The progressive 3331 formation suited the available players and Magpies were on the front foot from the off. Magpies were always ahead, being 3-1 up at half time and ending up 6-3 winners.
It is impossible to list all those who played well (everyone actually) but mention should be made of Seth, Louis and Hugo who improve with each game. Lastly a special mention to Rob Neal who scored a lovely dragged corner, proving that practice does make perfect!
Magpies always knew that this was going to be a difficult game against unbeaten North Norfolk 1st team. Magpies however started off in top gear and pegged the visitors back for long periods of the first half. Playing controlled, high tempo hockey Magpies created a lot of pressure but did not always make the best decisions in the final third of the pitch. Several penalty corners went un-converted and any threat North Norfolk posed was adequately dealt with with the well marshalled Magpies defence.
The second half continued in the same vein, with the visitors, used to dominating and scoring freely beginning to get frustrated. Despite Magpies continuing to win short corners it was North Norfolk who took the lead from a well worked corner routine. With 10 minutes to go the visitors scored from another corner routine and despite continued pressure Magpies just could not score.
This was an excellent game against a strong opposition 1st team. Mention should be made of Seth Read who dominated at the back assisted by Goalie James Harvey who did not make one mistake and made several excellent saves.
4ths played Dragons 4ths at The Dragons Den. A well contested game that magpies could have won had they converted one of their many penalty corners. Late in the second half two defensive errors led to two goals and a subsequent 2-0 victory for Dragons.
Mens 4th Team vs Ipswich 3rd Team (Home (L) D 1-1)
Match Commentary: Magpies were facing their biggest challenge of the season so far with the visit of unbeaten Ipswich 3rds. Both teams started strongly with chances hard to create. Gradually Magpies took control, working very hard to win and then retain possession. Any threats to the Magpies goal were dealt with by debutant GK Chris Routs. With Magpies midfield really buzzing the home side started to create a few chances and eventually following a break by Alex Kilbourn and Arthur Ross, Alex slotted the ball passed the oncoming keeper.
The second half continued in a similar manner but with Ipswich, following a tactical change exerting more pressure. This pressure eventually led to an equalising goal and with both sides going for the winner Chris Routs made an great diving stick save to deny Andy Cook in the final minutes.
This was an excellent game played and umpired in a tremendous spirit. The work rate and skill level of the youngsters on display was great to see
Mens 4th Team vs Norwich City 5th Team (Away (L) L 1-2)
This was a hard fought match. City shaded the first half and deservedly went into half time 1-0 ahead. At half time Magpies reorganised and started to press higher up the pitch, and kept better possession of the ball. A succession of penalty corners led to an equaliser from Phil Cobbald. With Magpies pressing for the winner City broke away and scored what proved to be the winning goal themselves.
This was a classic ‘game of two halves’! In the first half Magpies struggled to settle down, and pressed by IES continually gave the ball away. IES deservedly went into half time one goal up. A slight tactical change at half time led to a significant improvement with Magpies taking much better care of the ball and working it around the pitch well. Tom Norton scored a well taken equaliser and in the last few minute Magpies had chances to win the match.
Mens 4th Team vs Pelicans 3rd Team (Home (L) W 5-1)
Despite exerting early pressure Magpies went behind following a miss controlled hit into the D. Magpies hit back almost immediately when Mitch Tomkins, making his first appearance for the 4ths for 4 years finished neatly. Magpies controlled the rest of the half with goals from Hugo Thomas and Arthur Johnson.
Pelicans came back into the game in the second half, but rarely threatened the Magpies goal. As the game stretched out Magpies scored two more goals from debutant Hugo Thomas and Stuart Peters.
Mens 4th Team vs Bury St Edmunds 3rd Team (Away (L) W 4-0)
A really encouraging first league match of the season. The hard work and mature application of the 8 youngsters in the team bodes well for a good season. Although it was a 4-0 victory the young defenders Louis Calvert, Oli Hall and Seth Read all had really good games
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