Nine-man stickmen under pressure

First published in Sport

Colchester 4ths 8,

Thurrock 3rds 1

HOCKEY: WITH only nine men, Thurrock were under pressure from the start as the skilful Colchester side exerted early pressure. Thurrock held firm until the 15th minute when a mishit shot deflected across the line.

The home team were spurred on by the goal and quickly added a second from a short corner.

From the restart, Michael Fleming dribbled through and drew the keeper before passing to Lawrence Jackson whose shot went inches wide. Soon afterwards, a solo run by Ricky Smith led to a shot which the in-form keeper deflected over the bar.

And at the other end a Colchester shot was put wide and – as Thurrock were in the process of taking the free hit – a Colchester player seized on the ball and put it in the net. Despite Thurrock’s protests the goal was allowed to stand. In the last minute of the half, Colchester added a fourth goal from a short corner. In the second half Colchester penned Thurrock into their own half and attacked in numbers.

This pressure resulted in two more goals in the first ten minutes. Thurrock reverted to a damage-limitation mode and, with Michael Fleming switching from attack to defence, held firm. Midway through the half a rare breakaway produced a short corner for Thurrock which was scored by Fleming to give the borough some hope. But when Lawrence Jackson was yellow carded, Colchester took advantage of the situation and added two more goals.

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