The M1's travelled to Birmingham on Sunday to take on table-topping Olton & West Warwick and despite producing their most compelling performance of the season to date, lost out to the odd goal in seven when Olton scored a controversial winner with five minutes left on the clock. Hawks started the brighter of the two sides and immediately forced the first penalty corner of the match. But the opportunity was squandered and Hawks were quickly made to pay when they found themselves two goals down inside five minutes with Olton converting their first penalty corner swiftly followed by a neat open play goal. Hawks stuck to their task and were soon rewarded with two goals of their own when Andy Watts struck in the twelfth and seventeenth minute to draw Hawks level – one the result of an incisive interchange of passes. By now Olton knew they were in a game and Hawks gave as good as they got through the remainder of the first half, only to be undone with four minutes to go to half time when Olton fired high into the roof of the net from a penalty corner.
Despite this setback, Hawks mood in the half time break was upbeat and they gradually took a grip on the game in the second half, forcing the hosts to absorb most of the pressure. Hawks deservedly drew level midway through the second half when Matt Wood finished instinctively on the reverse stick to cap a fine first outing for the 1st XI this season. By now Hawks were enjoying the lion’s share of territory and possession but Olton still looked a threat on the counter and it was from one such counter attack that Olton scored the decisive goal - although the final touch into goal seemed to come off an Olton knee rather than a stick.
Despite the defeat, Hawks go into the mid-season break knowing that they can compete with any team in the conference - providing they can produce more seventy minute performances like this one.