Sport | Leeds' winless start continues in Hockey

Leeds’ winless start to the season continued in the late push-back at Weetwood as they succumbed to their second 4-0 defeat in succession, this time at the hands of Loughborough 1sts.

Having won promotion to the BUCS Hockey Premier Northern league having won the BUCs Northern 1A with an impressive 25 points tally, the Gryphons have found the first two league games a real baptism of fire.

Whilst Loughborough, who finished 3rd reflect Leeds’ industry and creativity as they were unlucky not to score on a handful of occasions. Having said that, Leeds made hard work for themselves as they conceded after just 3 minutes as a Loughborough forward finished crisply after collecting a stray pass out of defence. Just moments later their lead could, and should, have been doubled as another poor pass out of the Leeds defence was intercepted yet the shot from the visitors blazed harmlessly over.

Once the Gryphons managed to get a foothold into the game they enjoyed a good spell of possession, carving out two half chances which drifted narrowly wide. Leeds kept knocking on the door yet Loughborough defended determinedly, blocking a series of shots from a goalmouth scramble and clearing a Leeds short corner off the line.

Loughborough responded in kind, and should have extended their lead after a good solo run down the right only for the forward to shank her effort wide. The Leeds keeper also produced a wonderful point-blank save after two unmarked Loughborough players bore down on goal.

Loughborough did eventually double their lead on 32 minutes, tucking in a rebound during a moment of confusion in the D following a heavy spell of pressure. In the final moments of the first half Leeds’ enjoyed a final burst of chances but failed to convert any, going into half time 2-0 down.

Down came the rain during the interval making playing conditions even harder as players from both sides lost their footing and the ball skimming off the wet surface. Leeds started the second half the better side forcing the visiting keeper into several decent saves. However, Loughborough slowly asserted their dominance, enjoying more meaningful possession and playing predominantly in the Leeds half.

Loughborough converted their superiority with two more goals, following a fierce shot from the edge of the area and a well worked penalty corner, sealing their second victory of the season.

With the game beyond the hosts, Loughborough relaxed whilst the Gryphons plugged away tirelessly to try and a score the goal that their performance warranted.

The Gryphons’ next game is on Wednesday at home to Manchester 1sts, in what looks, even at this early stage, to be a must-win game.

Joe Bookbinder

Image courtesy of University of Leeds

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