The men’s 4s recorded back-to-back-to-back victories for the first time in a number of years following their 3-0 win over Slough 2s. In what was a fairly scrappy affair with no sign of a goal for large periods of the game, you still wouldn’t have bet against Hawks to secure the win such is their form at the moment.
It was a fairly drab first half. Despite some patient build-up play, more so than usual, Hawks’ passing wasn’t as crisp or accurate as it has been, meaning possession was surrendered in key areas of the pitch. Slough’s strategy, on the other hand, was to crash the ball into the D in the hope of deflecting the ball into the goal. At times, this proved to be reasonably effective with man of the match Phil Hargreaves on hand to keep the ball out on more than one occasion.
Fortunately for Hawks, the breakthrough came right on the stroke of half time. It required some individual skill from Luke Piper to give Hawks the lead – he sailed into the D, rounded the goalkeeper, and lifted the ball into the net to make it 1-0 to Hawks. With the half-time whistle to follow, the goal couldn’t have come at a better time for the 4s.
It was much of the same in the second half, although there were fewer chances of note for the opposition. Slough attempted to replicate Hawks’ patient way of playing, rather than risking loss of possession, but their indecisiveness invited pressure and led to numerous errors. Hawks transferred and passed the ball marginally quicker which created more space to pass in to and, subsequently, more goal-scoring opportunities. However, Hawks would continue to draw a blank - from open play at least.
In the closing fifteen minutes, Hawks won their first two penalty corners of the game. Barnaby Barber stepped up for the first attempt and successfully flicked it into the bottom left-hand corner of the goal. Minutes later, another penalty corner was successfully dispatched by Luke Piper to double his goal tally and open up an unassailable lead for Hawks.
In the closing stages of the game, the shackles were off and the 4s played some intricate hockey and further chances were created to increase the score line, but it remained 3-0 at the full-time whistle.