Leeds University’s men’s hockey first team repeated their Varsity triumph over neighbours, Leeds Beckett, with a deserved 3-1 victory at Weetwood on Wednesday afternoon. The momentum swapped between both teams throughout the match, with Leeds securing their first win of the BUCS season, following a defeat at Loughborough last week.
Beckett kicked off but started slowly, with the Varsity result looking like it was playing on the minds of their players. Leeds had the best of the early moments, hitting the post in the first few minutes after rounding the keeper. With their opponents keeping the ball well in the first half, Beckett went for a counter-attacking strategy, as they began to work their way into the game. However, committing players forward left gaps in the defence for the home team to exploit, and their pressure paid off with Leeds’ Ed de Blaby scoring from close range following an accurate ball from the left.
The goal seemed to give Beckett a lift, as they hit the post soon after kick-off, missing the rebound when it seemed easier to score. Sensing that they were letting their opponents back into the game, Leeds had another ten minute period of domination, with corner after corner finally resulting in a Beckett foul and a short corner for the home side, with Josh Malling scoring to double the advantage. University of Leeds would have been hoping to see out the final few minutes of the first half without any drama, but they gave away a foul in the final minute, with Matthew Breeze converting from the resulting short corner to give Beckett hope of getting into the game.
Perhaps disappointed with letting in a late goal, Leeds started the second half the brighter of the two sides, with a fantastic pass across goal allowing Josh Malling to divert the ball past Beckett’s keeper to restore Leeds’ two goal lead. This half was much closer than the first, with the early stages being end to end, with both sides using the wings to counter-attack, hoping to add to their goal tally. A scrappy period of the game followed, with both teams giving away fouls when in good positions, with Leeds looking happy to sit back more and protect their two goal lead.
The final five minutes led to Beckett taking their keeper off the pitch, going all-out attack in a last ditch attempt to secure the two goals necessary for a draw. Unsurprisingly, this led to an exciting end of the game, with practically every interception leading to a chance for Beckett to halve the gap, or Leeds to put the game out of the reach. None of the opportunities were taken however, with the match ending 3-1, meaning all of Leeds University’s male hockey teams were victorious on the day, with the 5s 15-0 win against Bishop Burton being the standout result.
The hockey first team have a one week break before travelling to Scotland to play Edinburgh in November, with their next home game being against Birmingham 2nd team.