Derwent grind out win to extend lead

Derwent Firsts Miles Smurthwaite defends on the halfway line in their match against Leicester Westleigh.
Derwent Firsts Miles Smurthwaite defends on the halfway line in their match against Leicester Westleigh.

Derwent 2

Leicester Westleigh 0

Derwent Hockey Club 1sts managed to grind out a win against a stubborn Leicester Westleigh on Saturday and moved ten points clear at the top of the league.

Leicester Westleigh started brightly and looked to hit the leaders on the counterattack.

But, due to the defensive pair of Matt Bacon and Adam Orduna, the visitors were limited to speculative efforts, which never worried Jamie Carlin in the Derwent goal.

As the half wore on, Derwent started to raise their standards and finally applied some concerted pressure.

The best chances fell to Ben Everett-Li and James Bolus, but both missed from close range.

Despite numerous penalty corners, Derwent couldn’t find a breakthrough and entered the half time team talk all square.

A frank assessment of the first half performance led to Derwent playing much better in the opening minutes of the second half.

Almost straight from the restart, Derwent were awarded a penalty corner and they scored from a superb training ground move.

Tom Ellison faked the drag flick and spun round to set up George Taylor, who powered his drag flick past the Leicester Westleigh keeper.

The goal should have seen Derwent click through the gears, but instead, after ten minutes, the standards dropped, giving Leicester belief they could get something from the game.

Carlin was in fine form as he completed a double save from the rejuvenated visitors.

In the rest of the half, the game could have gone either way, but with seconds remaining, Derwent finally put the game beyond doubt when Richard Wildgoose scored from close range after a mazy Steve Langrick run.

Coach Heath Roberts commented: “That was a difficult game to watch.

“We never really played to the standard I know this team is capable.

“We lost possession far too easily, and committed too many basic errors.

“And for the first time this season, I felt we were complacent and expected to get the win without working hard.

“We’ve got one game to go before the winter break, so I don’t want to detract from an unbelievable start to the season, but I think I need to freshen things up.

“People need to refocus on what has delivered the results and realise there is still a long way to go in this season.”

Derwent play their final game before the winter break this weekend, visiting Newark in a top versus bottom encounter.