Our last match report of the 2018-19 season!
LRHA Plate Semi-Final
Guest report by Steve ‘Umpire’ Ellis.
The last chance for Leicester HC to win some silverware this season saw the 5s hosting Market Harborough 2s at Leicester Grammar School.
Leicester 5s started strongly playing an attacking game, willed on by coaches David and Gaynor, creating much early pressure on the Market Harborough defence. However, with 6 minutes on the clock, on Harborough’s first attack, a defensive mix up lead to Aleena making a good save, but was unable to stop the follow up. Leicester 5s 0 Market Harborough 2s 1
Leicester continued to attack and put the Harborough defence under a lot of pressure, leading to a number of penalty corners, which Leicester were unable to convert. The closest they came was when a hard shot driven by Bella hit the foot of a Harborough defender near the line. Appeals for a penalty stroke were turned down as Lauren’s Dad (who was umpiring) gave Harborough benefit of the doubt as there was a possibility a defender may still have stopped it. Close call, but it is margins like this that win or lose cup games.
In all the excitement, Umpire Ellis forgot the rules at one point, trying to send the Harborough goalkeeper to the halfway line following an early break at a penalty corner, but fortunately, his colleague was there to remind him of his error!
A few tackles straying beyond the limit of the rules were starting to occur and the umpires had to warn a couple of players. At half time though it remained 0-1 and Leicester were very much in this.
Second Half was pretty much the story of the first. Much Leicester pressure, a number of short corners and no-one able to convert. Lauren Ellis went close, as did Sophie Levy and Jen Pollock, but Harborough held out. Both sides had spent time down to 10 players as Umpire Ellis tried to keep control of things. And then Harborough, against the run of play, extended their lead. 0-2.
Leicester were not finished yet though and redoubled their efforts. And then the opportunity came. Penalty corner which Jen switched to Bella, who smashed the shot into the corner. Leicester back in this at 2-1 down with 8 minutes to play.
Two minutes later, and some desperate defending saw Leicester awarded another penalty corner. Bella smashed in the equaliser. It’s 2-2. The supporters who have been loudly willing Leicester on all match were in delight.
It’s now looking like the anguish of penalties. Then, Harborough break out down the left. Leicester struggle to deal with the threat. There’s a foul just outside the circle, and advantage is played, a second foul, which might have been a penalty stroke, but the ball fell favourably for a Harborough player to slap in the shot past Aleena with 4 minutes remaining in the match.
FINAL SCORE: Leicester 5s 2 Market Harborough 2s 3
What a game, what a performance! Leicester did not deserve to lose, but it takes two teams to make a match, and both teams played with wonderful spirit and determination. Despite the defeat, Leicester can hold their heads high in what was possibly performance of the season. We wish Market Harborough success in the Final.