Hawks Men's 2s keep a clean sheet and beat Wallingford 1s
26 January 2013, 13:00, Banbury Road North (Near)
Men's 2s 2 - 0 Wallingford Men's 1s
Following an enforced break due to the wintery weather, a rusty Hawks side took on Wallingford 1s who are renowned for their tight play and boasted the best defensive record in the league coming into the game. The 2s welcomed Humphreys in goal for the game, as well as Roche on his return from injury, who both bolstered the line-up with their experience and presence at the back.
The rhythmic flow that Hawks had shown in their last outing against Sonning was nowhere to be seen against a sturdy Wallingford defence and midfield. It was Wallingford who found possession easiest to come by in the early stages, but could not get through the home side's resolute defence - with Tim Blackburn defiantly clearing off the line at one stage. As Hawks began to settle and counter attack, a short corner was won. Up came the fluid routine of Drew Blackburn to Robinson, with the team's top scorer Burden coming in to flick into the side netting, for his 12th goal in 7 games and continuing an outstanding record of finding the net in every game he has played this season.
Wallingford continued to threaten, and when the ball did get through to their forwards in the D, Hawks were fortunate enough to have Humphreys on hand to make the necessary clearances. As the pressure grew, Baldock saw yellow and took a breather on the sideline after being judged to have slowed down play too many times. However, Hawks managed to survive the barrage of attacks on their defensive line to go into half time with a 1-0 lead.
Hawks started the second half with a little more vigour than the first, and the game went from end to end. Wallingford were eager to get the equalising goal and pushed men forward at every opportunity in the search for that elusive equaliser. Man of the Match Humphreys made numerous second half saves, including a superb stick save low to his right to deny the opposition, which quelled Wallingford's optimism and motivation. While Wallingford pushed forward, Hawks looked to put the game beyond doubt. They finally did so as the ball rolled into the path of Jenkin in the D, who hammered the ball into the back of the net from close range, and sealed the victory.
Hawks will ultimately be grateful for the three points and a clean sheet in a game which they did not play their best hockey of the season. However, it is a sign of their current confidence that they can win these derby games when not firing on all cylinders. This Saturday sees the side face an away trip to OMT 1s, who have taken points away from Hawks' top of the table rivals in recent games, and Hawks will have get back to playing at their full potential if they are to take another three points and maintain their lead at the top of the table.