Maidenhead Hockey Club men fight back to keep promotion hopes on track
Maidenhead HC men’s 1sts captain Rob Kempton said his side were on the point of losing their crucial clash with Oxford before finding the spirit to fight back and win 5-4.
Last week Kempton had identified the next three matches as pivotal to his team’s promotion hopes starting at Oxford on Saturday.
However, the promotion push almost stalled in its tracks as Maids found a position of strength in the game, only to hand it back to the hosts, as Kempton explained.
“We nearly threw it away and showed amazing character to come back from 4-3 to win with the final two goals coming in the last five minutes when we were down to 10 men,” he said.
“It was a very exciting match with lots of chances.
“Oxford had nothing to lose, knowing a win was their only chance of getting into promotion contention, so played with a very attacking formation and a high pressing game.
“We went down to 10 men in the final minutes and it looked all over as we were 4-3 down.
“It was an unbelievable fightback to win the game and maintain pressure on the top two in the table.”
The entertaining match saw Maids take the lead through Stephen Roe only for the hosts to equalise.
Roe banged in a second shortly after, but a missed penalty stroke from the Berkshire side ensured there was just one goal between them at the interval.
A goal from Cameron Upton early in the second period put Maids 3-1 ahead and seemingly in charge, but with little to lose Oxford hit back and scored three in succession to lead 4-3.
Despite this, and going down to 10 men, Maids found a way back into the match; first when Aqeel Hussain netted the equaliser and secondly when Roe notched his hat-trick and Maids’ fifth.
It was a dramatic conclusion to an entertaining match which keeps Maids in third place in MBB&O Regional 1
Kempton was delighted with the victory which sets up the next two encounters.
He said: “Although the character shown was great, we had a big let off and will need to play much better to beat Eastcote and Ashford who we have in the next two games.
“If we win these two games we are in a strong promotion position.”
Maids entertain leaders Eastcote at Altwood on Saturday with five points the difference between the teams.
W A depleted Maidenhead Merlins side lost 6-1 away to Oxted, conceding four goals in the second half.
The visitors were still in the game at half-time, only trailing 2-0 after a determined effort.
The second half was more difficult for the Merlins although man of the match Hugh Waggett did score.