Match Report - 26 Jan 2019, Alton Hockey Club Mens 1st XI lost to Poole 1st XI
Alton Men's first came agonizingly close to picking up some important points on the road this Saturday only to be narrowly edged out in a close 3-2 defeat against 3rd placed Poole. Alton arrived in Dorset still looking for their first win of 2019, and the visitors started off well with all of the game's early pressure. Alton's forward line of Sam Steel, Tom Singleton and Sam Juncker had several good runs into the Poole defensive zone with the Poole keeper being called into action several times to keep Alton out. Alton were feeling confident with the bulk of possession seeming to fall their way, however it would be Poole who struck first with a quick counter attack seeing Alton outnumbered at the back and Poole picked up the first goal of the game. Despite this setback Alton did not back down and continued to mount pressure on Poole at every opportunity. Again Poole's goalkeeper denied several chances that fell to the Alton forwards as they searched for an equalizer. Not long before half time Alton would suffer another setback despite their best efforts, Poole winning a penalty corner which was saved by Lawrence Jones in the Alton net, however the rebound fell kindly to a Poole striker who managed to beat Pete Harvey on the Alton post to make the score 2-0 in favour of the home side at the halftime break.
Many teams would have struggled at this point but again Alton showed great character as they started the second half with the same determination to get something from the game. Again most of the possession was falling Alton's way and the visitors still continued to make Poole work hard to keep their lead intact. Finally Alton got themselves on the board, after a string of penalty corners they cut Poole's lead to 1 with Steel converting the corner for the visitors. Alton could now sense an opportunity and again poured forward looking for the all important second goal, but the home side were showing signs of why they were currently 3rd placed in the league as they defended well and had several counter attacks that Alton's back line had to be alert for. Out of an Alton counter attack a golden opportunity suddenly arose when Tom Green had his on-target shot stopped by the outstretched hand of the Poole captain and the umpire awarded a penalty flick. Looking for his second goal of the game Steel stepped up for Alton and calmly put the ball away drawing the teams level and setting up a tense final fifteen minutes. Both sides had to be credited for their effort from that point on as they set about trying to break through each others' defensive lines that had been so strong all game. Sadly for the visitors Poole proved to be just that bit too much as a counter attack saw a Poole striker break into the circle and despite Alton's best efforts get off a shot that squeezed between Jones in the Alton net and Liam Cave on the post putting the home side up by one. In the final minutes Alton continued to search for a way back but some fine goalkeeping from the Poole keeper saw the game finish 3-2 to the home side.
Although a disappointing result Alton take a lot of positives away from a game that they know deep down they could have won, and now focus on next week's challenge when they host Chichester at Eggar's.
Poole 1st XI 3 - 2 Alton Hockey Club Mens 1st XI