Tough task for Penarth at debut game in fifth tier of UK hockey
8:00am Thursday 4th October 2012 in Sport
LEOMINSTER 5 PENARTH 3
HAVING lost three key players over the summer, and with a further three missing this trip to Leominster, Penarth men's hockey club faced a big task in their first league fixture in the fifth tier of UK hockey.
The fixture was also the first time the club had returned to the scene of their heaviest defeat of last season, losing 8-2 in a game played before their famous Welsh Cup semi-final victory over Wrexham.
Knowing they had to provide a sterner test for their opponents this time around, Penarth started the game strongly, with a new look defence of Richard Bromiley, James Davies, David Tipping and new signing Joe Wells coping well with the first wave of Leominster attacks.
Penarth were having some possession too though and began to create some chances of their own, Chris Baker and Phil Lane combining well and Mark Thomas marshalling well from his deeper midfield role. It was Rhys Evans who soon opened the scoring with a well worked goal following some neat build up play on the right hand side of the pitch.
Penarth were dealing with the difficult surface very well and, with Tipping, and especially Wells, putting in some big challenges at the back, the visitors were holding on to their lead comfortably.
That all changed with the harsh award of a penalty corner, however. A clean strike from the top of the D soon followed and Leominster were on level terms.
The second half started very much as the first had ended with neither team able to establish a great deal of possession, and Baker being cynically fouled each time he touched the ball. Finally the yellow cards started to appear, with three being dished out to Leominster and one to Penarth. With Leominster down to 10 men, Penarth took the lead.
Another goal from a short corner saw the home keeper making a good save from the initial shot, only for Sam Chick to open his league account for Penarth with a well-taken goal from the left hand side of the net.
The home team were soon back on level terms and, from there, raced into a 5-2 lead as, for the first time in the game, a team managed to gain some attacking momentum. Penarth began to tire in the unseasonably warm weather and without the luxury of substitutes.
A third goal for Penarth came from another short corner, courtesy of Lane’s ferocious strike, and a stirring comeback was denied by some solid defending from Leominster in the final minutes as Penarth pressed forward.
Richard Baker is hoping to have a full squad to pick from for the side's first home game of the season on Saturday, when they host City of Bath from 12.30pm at Barry Sports Centre.
Training continues on Wednesday nights, with juniors from 6.15pto 7.15pm and seniors from 7 until 8.15pm. New and returning players are as welcome as ever.