No roundup this week, as there was only our game…but there is a match report,
better late than never….
The Knights had their first away trip of the season where they travelled to Cheadle Hulme for what had been described as a potential league title decider. Higg was there, played in the game, and this is what he had to say about it.
There is always something a bit special about away games for the Knights. It might be that they take all day, it might be everyone (generally) arrives in plenty of time, and they’ve all eaten sugary food for the previous 2 ½ hours. It might just be that for me, I don’t have to run around sorting out all the little game day things that inevitably seems to crop up at home.
Regardless, there were two more debutantes for the men in silver and black this weekend with Mullman making his first appearance in attack and our latest German import Hensel in midfield. The squad also featured 10 of last week’s squad with Fletcher coming into D with Ellwood moving up to midfield along with Johnstone returning from Poynton.
The first quarter started with some solid D from the Knights after Higginbottom struggled his way through a day of faceoffs against former NCAA FOGO Rick Wilson. Grove ate up an outside shot and the ball was cleared easily.
After a brief period of possession Elleker found himself with enough space to free his hands a drive a shot past the lefty keeper for 1-0.
This sequence of events was repeated twice more in the first 10 minutes of the game, lose faceoff, defend well, shot saved, possession, goal for Elleker. It was starting to look easy.
It didn’t stay that way.
The rest of the quarter was back and forth for around 5 minutes, before CH totted up 2 goals in quick succession leaving the first quarter at 3-2 to the visitors.
The first quarter huddle was all positive, and all about intensity.
The second quarter was another step up for the Knights, who were looking something like a real lacrosse team. Good ball and off ball movement created a few opportunities with Hensel breaking his duck and Ellwood notching one to go with it. This was countered by a single for the home team.
Half time was righteous. The score was 5-3. The home team were flagging. There was Haribo in the huddle and the Knights were looking solid.
If third quarters win games, and defence wins championships….then get engraving.
That statement is obviously a bit facetious, but whilst winning the third quarter 1-0 (Hensell), the Knights showed composure and hustle to keep the opposition scoreless.
At the start of the fourth it appeared that Cheadle Hulme had merely been playing dead. They came screaming out of the blocks pulling back 2 goals in the first 3 minutes as the Knights came out slowly. But Higg with his impeccable timing, pulled out his single faceoff win of the day to stem the tide, take the wind out of the sails, do some other nautical clichés, and generally halt the run of the home side.
He coupled that with his first goal of the season, to which Johnstone added a tally and Chambers notched his obligatory goal. Taking the score to 9-5 before conceding towards the end. Regardless it was a happy team that huddled at the final whistle.
To put the result into perspective, Cheadle Hulme were shorthanded with only 11 men, and the third and 4th quarters they were out on their feet, and the Knights lacked a little penetration, and struggled slightly against the pressure defence in the 4th quarter.
On the other hand, the Knights were without arguably their three top scoring threats in Bryant, Webb and Suddaby, so putting up 9 against a solid D unit isn’t to be sniffed at.
We now have to pause and say a big “wat-up-brah” to Phil Ellwood on his first goal for the Knights in his 4th (?) season. Skills Phil. Also a big shout out to our newest German Fred Hensel with a brace on his debut – probably more than the previous one (Steve
Berger) got in his whole time here.
There were still a few signs of early season rust, but once the game got underway - and it was a game, something we’ve seen precious little of over the past couple of years – people found their rhythm and the off-ball rhythm from the Lincoln game kept us in good stead, and although hardly any of the goals were of the cut and pass variety, the lanes opened up by the off ball movement allowed shooters into the alleys for high
percentage shots, despite Bobby saying we’re still a bit gun-shy (and he’s probably right)
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Previews, match reports and general musings from the Toon and beyond.