Derwent 1sts 4
Derwent’s incredible run continued at the weekend after they reached the halfway point of the season with their 100 per cent record intact.
Heath Roberts’s side started brightly with the defence moving the ball around the back with confidence and pace. Aware of the challenge facing them, Newark were giving their all to try and limit the space.
But after Newark’s initial enthusiasm, gaps started to appear, which Derwent fully exploited.
Richard Wildgoose was in fine form and was at the heart of everything. The winger’s pace and skills unsettled the Newark defence on every occasion he got the ball.
As the pressure ramped up on the Newark defence, Wildgoose got the breakthrough.
From a penalty corner, he skilfully deflected a well-worked penalty corner from a Tom Ellison drag flick high into the back of the net, leaving the keeper with no chance.
Five minutes later Wildgoose was on the score sheet again. Ben Everett-Li charged down the right wing and threaded a ball to the waiting Wildgoose on the back post, who smashed home from close range.
The second half saw Derwent continue where they had left off.
With Miles Smurthwaite and James Bolus patrolling the midfield, it allowed the forwards to attack with freedom. Knowing the next goal would be crucial, it would be Derwent who put the game beyond doubt.
Following a goalmouth mêlée, the ball fell to Derwent’s top scorer, Everett-Li, who made no mistake by flicking the ball over the line.
To their credit, Newark put on a gutsy display to try and salvage a consolation goal, but this merely left more space for Derwent to exploit.
Everett-Li saved the best until last as he burst through a packed midfield, and promptly dribbled round the two remaining defenders, leaving him with just the keeper to beat.
As the keeper advanced, Everett-Li calmly rolled the ball past the outstretched foot of the Newark keeper to cap his and Derwent’s impressive performance.
Coach Heath Roberts summed up his feelings: “At the start of the season.
“I was hoping we could be in the mix for promotion, but to be 13 points clear at the winter break is amazing.
“It was a thoroughly professional performance against Newark and a great way to end 2011.
“Over the last couple of weeks, we’ve been guilty of making life difficult for ourselves.
“But not today. We had control, commitment and composure.
To keep the 100 per cent record going feels very special. We know all of the teams will want to be the one who breaks our run.
“And we are thriving off that pressure.”
He also had special praise for the two goalscorers.
“I’ve been really impressed with all of the players we signed over the summer.
“They have bought into the team spirit and ethos of what we are trying to do here as a hockey club.
“But Rich Wildgoose and Ben Everett-Li have given us what we have always needed, an attacking threat.
“To score 26 goals in ten games between them is remarkable.
“Long may it continue into 2012 and beyond.”