Hockey: Dragons get off to a flying start
Sep 30 2009 by David Lockwood, Huddersfield Daily Examiner
HUDDERSFIELD Dragons Men’s team got their first-ever North League Division II East campaign away to a flying start with a 2-0 debut win over Doncaster II.
As Doncaster Seconds were relegated from North Division I last year, this was a fixture which Huddersfield knew would be a good test as to whether they could step up to this level and they were not found wanting, matching the home side for both effort and ability.
Although Doncaster looked strong in the middle they lacked a cutting edge up front and looked vulnerable at the back, which proved the case when the lively Foster broke into the D, picked out Martin Hirst, who in turn lifted the ball over the keeper from close range for the opening goal.
In the second half the game became more spread out with Huddersfield creating a number of chances which they failed to convert, but with 15 minutes remaining Lovatt settled any nerves with a superb drag flick from a short corner into the net.
Huddersfield’s second goal led to a big response from Doncaster, while both sides lost a play to the sin-bin, and then Dragons were reduced to nine men as they also lost a second which provided Doncaster with a penalty.
However the shot was smashed into the crossbar, and when a Doncaster forward found himself one-on-one with keeper Howarth, he blazed his effort over the bar to leave Huddersfield with their first North League win and a clean sheet to boot.
Team: Howarth, Beatson, Swinden (M), Hannam, Gregory, Buckley, Courtney, Lovatt, Kelly, Hirst, Foster, Dobson, Keaveney.
Huddersfield Dragons II 2 Kingston-upon-Hull III 1
DRAGONS’ second team claimed their first three-pointer of the season after a bruising tussle with Kingston-upon-Hull.
A number of ‘meaty’ challenges ruffled the Dragons in the first half which ended scoreless and with neither keeper having had to make a single save.
But Huddersfield came out far more determined in the second half and began to create chances from the re-start and within 10 minutes were on the board after Haigh pounced on a through ball, hitting it on the half volley low to the keeper’s right.
The home side kept on pushing and were rewarded further on 55 minutes, when a strong pass from Richardson found Clark with space five metres out and he fired between the keeper’s legs.
Hull did pull a consolation goal back in the dying seconds, but overall this was an encouraging performance from the Dragons.
Doncaster V 0 Dragons III 4
HAVING watched their first team get away to the best possible start against Doncaster, the Thirds were keen to bounce back from last week’s defeat.
And with captain Craig Hindmarsh back in the starting line-up and Sean Connell leading the attack they dominated through the midfield, and took the lead through Lee Maddaford from a short corner.
Brett Kullar then made it two shortly afterwards, while at the other end the rarely-threatened Bob McCallum made some fine saves when required.
Despite being reduced to nine men at one stage in the second half, Huddersfield created chances, Connell twice missing opportunities he would normally have put away.
Ten minutes from the end, Kullar grabbed his second, firing in off the keeper, and Dragons added a fourth in the last minute to seal a solid victory.
Wakefield II 3 Huddersfield Dragons 0
THE Ladies’ First string opened their campaign with a disappointing 3-0 loss against Wakefield, despite a bright opening which promised much.
But when they conceded a short corner Wakefield took the lead against the run of play and added a second in the first half.
Dragons showed plenty of grit and determination with big efforts from newcomers Hester Longstaff and Hannah Higginbottom and with the experienced players lifting their game in the second half Huddersfield began to create chances with several short corners.
Unfortunately none of them were converted into goals and Wakefield scored a third to compound Dragons’ disappointment.
Team: Creedon, Maddford, Benson, Fillingham, Thomas, Dobson, Tootell, Durrans, Sowerby, Higginbottom, Longstaff, Smeaton.
Huddersfield Dragons II 3 Bradford & Bingley I 3
THIS was a disappointing result for Dragons having dominated for much of the game, and could consider themselves unlucky not to have come away with a victory.
The free-scoring Liz Green capitalised on a short corner to put Dragons ahead, but Bradford were soon level, before Rebecca Hargreaves-Brown won the ball in midfield, found Sarah Walters, who crossed into the D from where Green notched her second to send Dragons in 2-1 up at the break.
Again Bradford equalised working the ball round the Dragons defence, but the Huddersfield girls were full of fire and determination and Michelle Dexter fired into the roof of the net to again take the lead.
Dragons composed themselves and played solid hockey, but Bradford never gave up, and in the final seconds of the game they popped in another equaliser to deny the Dragons.
Team: Creedon, Dunne, Middleton, Stacey, Monchuk, Hargreaves-Brown, McEwan, Walters, Bagshaw, Green, Dexter.