Grantham Hockey Club

Grantham 0-3 Spalding 5ths – A Slow Start

East League Division 6 NW – Spalding 5ths 3-0 Grantham

Grantham’s first league game of the season began with a slow start as a well-drilled Spalding side capitalised on all chances to win 3-0.

The first half began with Grantham finding their feet in an unfamiliar formation, a consequence of having a completely new roster for Grantham’s captain Graham Johnson to call upon. However, the first goal against new keeper Arnold Manguzis came from a deflection from a Grantham defender and the keeper was left with little chance to make a save.

The remainder of the first half remained a struggle for Grantham as the youthful Spalding team stormed through the midfield and defence with little resistance, but Granthams experienced back-line of Andy Willey, Nick Jacks, Graham Johnson and Paul Burns did well to prevent all but one other attempt on goal from reaching the back-board. The closest Grantham chance came when Oli Phillips drove down the left wing and crossed but no Grantham player could reach his pass.

Following a reshuffle of the pack to adapt to the pace of Spalding’s attacks, the performance in midfield improved dramatically in the second half. Will and Jem Hill combined well with David Nix, David Braunton and Mark Pearce to open up play and control the ball within Spalding’s half. A number of chances came from Nix striking at the top of the circle and Jem Hill placed a powerful shot just a hairs breadth from the cross bar.

Grantham also benefited from a calm approach when attacking and defending, especially as Spalding became increasingly frustrated at not adding more goals. The result was a number of short corners for Grantham, although none were converted.

As the second half progressed Spalding capitalised on a breakaway chance and scored leaving Grantham with little chance of getting back into the match.

Oli Phillips, returning for his first full league game since breaking his leg October 2012 was named as Grantham’s Harrison Green man of the match.

Team: A Manguzis (GK), A Willey, G Johnson (C), N Jacks, P Burns, D Braunton, D Nix, O Phillips, W Hill, J Hill, M Pearce, D Sykes (umpire)

Grantham Hockey Club – friendly, welcoming Lincolnshire hockey club