Sport | Hockey Men's 1sts – Leeds 1 – 1 Sheffield
Frustration. That was the order of the day at Weetwood as Leeds were held to a 1-1 draw by Sheffield.
The Gryphons began well and applied pressure with and without the ball, forcing mistakes from their opponents. Within 5 minutes long corners and a penalty corner was awarded to the home side, after tricky play from Alfie Jones, but with no end product.
Both teams had a fair share of possession in the first half but tended to be sloppy with the ball, with chances proving difficult to come by. It was not until the twenty minute mark that either goalkeeper was tested again, as the away side forced a save from Will Green.
Leeds continued to be industrious, with Josh Mayling and Henry Campbell weaving in and out of defenders, though the final ball remained elusive. At the other end full-back Matt Proctor was doing a great job of keeping Sheffield out.
As the half drew to a close, more long corners were forced and the lack of cutting edge was obviously on the mind of Coach Karl Smith, as he requested more support from midfield. He got his wish soon after, with the home side pressing forward as they went into half-time but the goal eluded them.
Smith’s half time words seemed to have invigorated Leeds with chances coming frequently at the start of the second half; the Sheffield goalkeeper being forced into more saves in the first five minutes than the whole first half combined.
Leeds continued to push but with no real clear cut chances, was all this pressure going to be rewarded? Another penalty corner, yet more disappointment.
Finally, the breakthrough came, Alfie Jones, who had impressed throughout, lofting the ball over the outstretched goalkeepers leg around the hour mark. This was no less than they deserved, and with only 10 minutes to hold on for, it looked like victory was around the corner.
This proved not to be the case as concentration then seemed to lapse as only minutes later, as a Sheffield winger ghosted in from the left to equalise with minutes to go. Despair for Leeds.
Fresh from the setback, Leeds set out to claim the victory that was rightfully theirs. Josh Mayling forced a penalty corner after a winding run, only to see the resultant set piece cannon off the post, a fitting end to a dominant but frustrating performance. Coach Smith summed up the game perfectly post-match saying that even after having the lion’s share of possession, the team needed to be more clinical in the final third.
Image courtesy of Leeor Ohayon