5* Jones shines for Mens 1s
By Halifax Hockey
Top goalscorer Michael Jones bagged 5 as Mens 1s beat top of the league Slazengers 6-3 at home
Halifax 1s 6 – 3 Slazengers 1s
Top of the league Slazengers were the visitors to Park Lane on a foggy day, that almost meant the match didn’t go ahead.
The pre-match talk was about keeping things tight and compact in the midfield and pressing Slazengers high up the field to force the mistakes. Halifax couldn’t have asked for a better start when these tactics paid dividends within the first 5minutes.
Halifax welcomed back top scorer Michael Jones after missing two games due to illness and he didn’t show any signs of rustiness. The Halifax pressure forced the mistake in the Slazengers defence and when Jake Bamforth fed the ball through to Jones his run round the edge of the D created himself some space and he smashed the ball into the bottom corner.
Slazengers were not settling and Halifax were dominating the possession. Jones made it 2-0 with the goal of the game. Great work and passing in midfield from Gabe Coleman, Tom Love and Josh Barron sent Bamforth clear and his initial shot was saved by the keeper, but the ball fell to Jones on the top of the D. With the keeper stranded off his line Jones produced a sublime chip sending the ball up and over the goalkeeper into the goal beyond even a covering defender.
Oliver James made it 3-0 midway through the half as he broke forward to support another flowing attack and finished it off with a smart strike.
Slazengers were struggling to get a foothold in the game and with the confidence of their great defensive performances recently, the Halifax back line of James, David Wheatley and the Sutcliffe brothers Josh and Connor were standing firm and restricting the away team to half chances
A penalty corner though on the stroke of halftime got Slazengers back in the game at 3-1.
Slazenger started the second half strongly as they looked to get the upper hand in the game. Returning keeper Matthew Breton after missing 6 weeks with a broken foot, made some excellent saves but could do nothing about Slazengers second goal. After beating 3 players on the top of the D the forward’s strike under pressure flew into the bottom corner. 3-2
Rallied by this Halifax pushed again and when Slazengers were reduced to 10 men following a yellow card, Halifax punished them. A penalty corner brought up the hat-trick for Jones and he then finished off a move down the right to take the score to 5-2
Another penalty corner for Slazengers brought them back to 5-3 but Jones wasn’t finished and it was fitting he had the final say in the game. As the game neared the end Halifax won a penalty corner and Jones’ drag flick was too much for the keeper – taking his tally to five of the day.
A great 6-3 win that puts Halifax back in the promotion race. They now have two tough away trips before Christmas to tackle starting with Sheffield Hallam next week.