Depleted Reivers put up a fight at Grange

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Grange Development 5 Fjordhus Reivers 1

EAST MENS DIVISION ONE

A GLORIOUS sunny day greeted the much changed Reivers mens hockey squad at Newfield in Edinburgh.

With no fewer than eight of last week’s squad unavailable for a variety of reasons it was always going to be tough to put out a competitive team.

However with an injection of youth in the shape of Dylan Fagan and Jamie Fletcher added to the old pros David Seed and Tim Watkin, returning after a religious sabbatical, the team looked on paper to be capable of putting up a fight.

And that’s exactly what was provided with the late summer sun beating down raising temperatures and tempers to boiling point on more than one occasion. No fewer than three cards were dished out along with countless warnings to both sides about the ferocity of the tackling.

The opening exchanges were extremely tight with no quarter being given by either team. The Rievers looked spritely in attack but were struggling to dominate the midfield battle with Grange seeming to have an extra man in that department. A stray foot on the 20th minute led to a short corner to Grange, a neat training ground move found a free man at the near post with a simple finish away from the Reivers post man.

The pattern of the game remained the same with things remaining very tight. Scott Girvan was offered some advice on his tackling technique while his opposite number in the Grange line-up earned a two minute rest for allowing his tongue to be sharper than his stick skills.

Just before half time, another foul in the circle led to another short corner, sadly the outcome was the same as the first effort, the initial shot was blocked however the follow up shot was accurate and powerful to make the score 2-0.

The Reivers best chance of the half fell to Dave Seed however, with no time to get power behind his shot, it was easily parried by the young home goalkeeper.

In the second half the Reivers started to drift out of the game, a lack of match fitness and cohesion in the team began to tell. The old heads in the Grange midfield began to dominate proceedings and there was little the visitors could do. The almost inevitable third goal came before long with a good run down the right wing and the ball crossed into the centre of the D the initial shot and follow up were blocked by the keeper only for the third effort to be lifted high into the net.

The Reivers were not yet finished, a mazy run from the right wing by Tim Watkin found space in the circle and Watkins powerful shot beat the keeper into the corner of the goal. This buoyed the visitors who pressed forward, Jonathan Fletcher and Graham Lofthouse both went close with shots from the edge of the circle.

Grange are not a team who like to be put under pressure however and it was the same player as the first half who was again carded, this time a yellow for trying his macho man routine once too often. This should have given a Reivers 10 minutes with an extra man, however a petulant tackle from Lofthouse earned him a card and a break to even things up for two minutes.

As both teams tired the quality of hockey petered out, Grange looked the more likely to score, they found the net with three minutes to go then again in the last minute with the visiting goalkeeper making a hash of a straight forward shot to give the score line an unwarranted one sided look.

All in all this was always going to be a tough encounter with so many changes from last week’s team, however the Reivers will be disappointed to have given away so many soft goals and allowing themselves to be wound up by the opposition when they really should know better. The real bright point of the day was the performance of the two youngest players on the pitch, Jamie Fletcher and Dylan Fagan both showed good touches and were not afraid to take players on.

Captain Fletcher was pragmatic after the game “We knew it was going to be tough as it always is here, however there are positives to take, we threw some inexperienced players in and they did well, however we still need more depth in the squad. We will need to improve further but there is something to work on there”.

The man of the match was Scott Girvan.

Fjordhus Reivers: Young, Girvan, Conkie.P, Stockdale, Conkie. S, Fletcher JA, Lofthouse, Fletcher Jo, Watkin, Seed, Fagan. Sub: Gibson.