MPA, B, C Match Reports Rounds 11 - 14
MPA 3 - 1 Win over Hawthorn
The Koonung pitch for this top of the table clash could only be described as a swamp. Our normal playing style went out the window with large puddles forming all over the pitch. Coach Currie implored the team to be hungrier in the contest. Doc Dreher also gave the priceless advice to lift the ball off the surface as often as possible in order to get the ball from A to B quicker.
We made the dream start with a quick ball into the circle and a clinical finish by Swanton. We continued to battle away, learning to avoid the puddles with our passes and shortly before halftime we doubled our lead.
Hawthorn took advantage of a card early in the second half to score from a scrap around the goals. The rest of the half was a tough end-to-end contest. The match was sealed with a goal from a corner with a few minutes to go.
This was a huge win. It takes us ahead of Hawthorn on the ladder but we fully expect to face them at the pointy end of the season and it is sure to be another tight contest.
MPB 3 - 1 Loss to Kew Box Hill
With the absence of Jason Reilly, Johnny Nailon stepped up for the pre-game chat with his message to let the ball do the talking and be prepaid to get wet on a cold arvo at Koonung. As well as to welcome back James Foster aka Bobby
After going down 1nil early in the game, the boys fired up and replied with relentless attacking pressure which resulted in a conversion of a short corner by Kasper. The attacking pressure remained, however the team struggled to convert. Meanwhile, KBH we able to sneak in 2 goals late in the 1st half, going down 3-1 at half time.
The 2ndhalf was much like the first with repeated attacks by the Wells, frustratingly still failing to account to anything on the scoreboard. With horizontal rain bucketing down late in the game, it became almost impossible to move the ball in the flooded parts of Koonung, with KBH holding for the win
MPC 7 - 0 Win over Hawthorn
This was a comprehensive result on the field and the scoreboard. Right across the pitch we were able to dictate the terms of the game. The guys worked hard to follow up on the main themes of our training session around stronger linking play through the channels and improving our use of width in attack. I would highlight another clean sheet for Pat Leigh in the net and a good spread of goal scorers across the forwards. It was pleasing to welcome Scott Wright back to the team after an extended run of injury and illness.
Our next match is a first v second clash away to Southern. The winner will grab a break on second spot. It is a game where we will need to lift our rating and demonstrate we can play to our plan under sustained pressure. I know the group is looking forward to the challenge.
MPA 7 - 2 Win Over Southern United HC
In what was a chilly afternoon at SNHC, a clash with an opposition who also sat in the top 4 was never going to be easy.
Despite Mish’s best efforts to instill this message pre game, we started very flat and Southern capitalised with two early goals. Once we found our feet and regained our trademark crisp ball movement as well as tighter marking we began to work ourselves into the game. With no Reesy in sight it was Dec’s time to step up to the corner battery. He made no mistake with 2 perfectly placed drag flicks locking it up at 2-2 going into half time.
With the momentum on our side going into the second half, you could feel it was us that was going to run the game out stronger against an older Southern line up. The second half was much improved with a more consistent team effort across the board. Dec put in two more with Oli getting his first senior goal along with one each from Fez and Swan to help us run out 7-2 winners. A special mention to Pat Leigh who made many important saves throughout his first game for Pennant A.
Onto next week we go.
MPC 3 - 2 Loss to Southern United HC
Round 12 was always going to be a challenge. A top of the table clash away to a Southern team who would be desperate for some redemption after going down to us in Round 3. It proved to be a tough day in the office.
We were jumped early, coughing up two goals in the first ten minutes against an opposition who were simply better switched on and harder. A break for the heavy hail was just the reprieve we needed. From the break we were able to reset and refocus. We played out the remainder of the first half with much smarter use of the wide ball and the baseline to build a sequence of attacks that yielded our first goal.
The second half continued to see the boys really dominate for long periods. Against the run of play, Southern found a third early and the deficit was back to two goals. We were starting to become more confident and comfortable to use the overlapping run in attack. We scored our second from one such play. Our circle penetrations continued to grow as took control of the game and denied Southern any real attacking opportunities. Unfortunately, we just couldn’t find the equaliser. While the result wasn’t what we wanted, we played with full endeavour right to the end and were extremely unlucky not to bag the equaliser.
The top four is now heavily contested. A top two finish will require us to be both ruthless and committed. If we want it enough, we can do it.
MPA 3 - 0 Win Over Greensborough
After a month away from Matlock, we were back at prime time on Saturday for our match against lowly positioned Greensborough. In the first half, they were anything but lowly, matching us with their attack on the ball and solid defensive structure. We went into half time at 0-0 but confident that we would break the game open in the second half as space had started to open up in the midfield.
Our in form striker Declan opened the scoring early in the half with a nice finish from a corner. Soon after this he doubled our lead with a clinical stroke into the side netting. By this time we had got our passing game up and running. This was highlighted by our ability to draw defenders to the ball in 2 vs 1 situations and give the ball to our free player in space. Johnny finished the game off with nice hit from a short corner that he cleverly worked to deflect off a defender’s foot to wrong foot the goalkeeper.
We sit nicely at the top of the table but with a realisation that further improvement is still required for us to reach our best. A clear focus for the coming weeks is to get off to a fast start.
MPB 6 - 0 Win Over Greensborough
For the previous two weeks, the Pennant B team have been lacking some form. It has seen us lose our position on top of the table and a reminder how important it is to play quality hockey every week.
Our focus for this week was to bring intent into the match for the entire 70 minutes. As the game started, we realised quickly that we were playing against an unorthodoxed looking Pennant B team. We started strongly but could not score against a flooded 11 man circle, despite countless circle penetrations. After 15 minutes, our first goal was scored from a deflection with most players being involved in the play. We continued pressuring the Greensborough defence and went into half time 3-0.
For the second half, we wanted to maintain the intent and not allow Greensborough into the match. Our focus was also to ensure all field players kept to their roles. The game ended 6-0 with goals evenly spread amongst players and varied in how they were scored. It was a terrific performance with an even contribution from all players.
It was pleasing to see the classic Camberwell style of moving the ball fast and quickly was back for Pennant B. A top of the table clash looms this week, with the team confident that our best hockey can beat any side in the competition.
MPA 1 - 1 Draw with Footscray
With roadworks blocking the club entrance and portable change rooms reminiscent of Matlock 2017, Footscray were taking their usual mantra of being tough to beat at home to new levels.
As we expected, they played a scrappy and counter attacking game style, breaking down play when possible to blunt our ball movement. We struggled to penetrate well in the first half and went down 1-0 just after half time.
We widened our attack and had good success winning multiple corners. Lachie Hunter scored to level the affair and that was how it would finish. A frustrating game but one that we are glad to have banked a point at least.
MPC 2 -3 Loss to Doncaster
It was scrappy. It was tough. It was frustrating. It was loss.
It was the difference between finishing the round in first or fourth.
Hard to say much more. We really struggled to gain control of the midfield for much of this game due to consistent pressure from Doncaster. This was particularly the case in the first half. The second half was better and we did manage to spend a hold the ball in the front third for an extended period that resulted in a run of corners and our second goal. It wasn’t enough reward for all the effort though.
With the change to play finals a strong motivator, the team now has a month to really prove it is worthy of a top two finish. We have all the ability. The question is – how much do we want it?