In a dominant performance, Vanbrugh College Hockey saw their first win of the season over Langwith.
Following an uneventful first few minutes in which neither team had any chances, Langwith opened the game with a sixth minute goal by Thomas McConnell and an eighth minute goal by Dan Fisher.
However the early score of the game, while well-deserved, was only in part representative of the game.
Vanbrugh controlled the midfield throughout, having almost exclusive possession while exerting unrelenting pressure on Langwith’s defence.
Langwith’s defence held steady, and a ruthlessly efficient offence converted their two chances into goals.
Vanbrugh struggled with the quick breaks they faced, repeatedly saved by luck and occasional poor passing.
Once the Vanbrugh defence settled into the game, the dynamic changed. As pressure mounted, and with Langwith incapable of clearing the ball, Vanbrugh’s Kieran Deaville scored their first in the 19th minute. The rest of the half was played with Langwith on defence and after a through ball Andrew Watters equalised.
Following halftime, Vanbrugh immediately continued where they had left off. Sam Dean put Vanbrugh ahead within a minute, while pressure continued to mount on Langwith.
However after a disputed decision by the umpire and much arguing, Seb Harwood was suspended for three minutes. After further arguing with the umpire, the suspension was increased by another five minutes.
With one less player, Vanbrugh struggled, and briefly Langwith gained a modicum of control. Langwith’s Toby Randall-Paley ceased the opportunity to once again equalise while they had the advantage.
After Harwood was allowed back on the pitch, Vanbrugh’s continual efforts bore fruit. Dean scoring his second put Vanbrugh back in the lead.
Using the momentum, two minutes later Andrew Watters decided the game in Vanbrugh’s favour, after effortlessly going past two and scoring the 5:3.
While Vanbrugh definitely had the upper hand throughout the game, Langwith forced a difficult struggle. Outside of the last 10 minutes, Vanbrugh appeared dominant, but incapable of converting their advantage.
On the other hand, Langwith played a very defensive and break reliant game, but after ten minutes lost the pace and efficiency which had served them well up to that point.
If Vanbrugh manages to improve its ability to convert, they will have a formidable side this season. Langwith have a bigger task ahead of them. Their defence was very successful considering the attack it faced, but Langwith’s offence is another story.
Relying on breaks can work, but they struggled to retain the ball. There was also a fair bit of confusion concerning aerial passing. Several players insisted aerials were not permitted, while umpires pointed to a recent rule change allowing them.