Home victory tinged with disappointment
EAST MEN’S LEAGUE
Harleston Magpies I 5
Blueharts I 0
Speaking to last week’s Express, Harleston Magpies skipper Leigh Sitch revealed his side would be looking to record a big victory against Blueharts on Saturday.
A fortnight earlier Magpies had been ruthless against basement boys Spalding — beating them 12-0 — and the hope was second-from-bottom Blueharts would be on the receiving end of a similar scoreline.
And being four goals to the good come the half-time whistle, it appeared the hosts were on course for another big win.
It never truly materialised, though, as despite a dominant second-half display, Magpies could only add one further goal to their tally.
Results are all that matter ultimately, but first-team coach Tim Whiteman revealed there was also plenty of collective disappointment at the final whistle.
“We told the group at half-time that they had played well and put a good building block down — now let’s go and really push on,” said the former England and Great Britain international.
“We did not set a target and we are always very clear not to expect too much — it is always about the performance.
“Although I felt the performance was okay, it could have been better in the second half.
“You could tell that when the players came off at the end, they were disappointed with how they had played.
“That game is a bit of microcosm of the season so far. We defended very well, created some chances but did not score enough goals.
“We have hit a couple of big scores this season, but overall we are not quite scoring enough goals.
“It has been a good season, but we are not creating enough.
“It is not just down to the people in the forward line, we are not always creating enough chances for them.
“We are working on things. There is work going on in training and tactically we are trying to change things as well.”
Magpies’ first three goals — two from Dave Gilbert and one from Giles Flatt — were all very similar in their nature.
Built up from the back and through the midfield, the home team worked the ball wide before being crossed and subsequently converted.
Archie Winter made it 4-0 with a penalty stroke and the scoring was completed after the restart via Simon Hipwell.
Jonty Gosling was named man of the match, but Winter was also impressive in attack.
And Whiteman is excited by the youngster, who he believes has the potential to follow in his footsteps.
“He has a huge future,” said Whiteman.
“What is really exciting for him, when I was his age, hockey was a sport to be enjoyed and the best 10 or 15 got to play at international level. Now, and I was lucky to experience this, it is a full-time professional sport.
“Archie can do this as a job. He can get into the senior training squad, like I did, and he can do that professionally.
“It is amazing that young hockey players have the chance to make a career out of hockey.
“You might not earn big bucks, but he could play abroad in places like India and South Africa.
“Not only has he got the talent to do that, but he is a terrific young man with an incredible attitude.
“From my experience at the top level, you have to have some talent, but you certainly have to have the right attitude.
“I played with people that perhaps were not the most talented, but they trained incredibly hard and were mentally very tough.
“Archie has got a lot of that and the future is very bright for him.”
n Fifth-placed Magpies will go in search of their sixth victory of the season tomorrow away at Cambridge University I (1.30pm).
The students are currently one place below Harleston in sixth, with a total of six points splitting the two teams.