The Bournbrook pitches were host to one of the best second halves of hockey you’ll see all year on Wednesday, as Birmingham’s men’s 1sts came from 2-0 and 3-2 down to eventually win 4-3 against Durham.
The game began badly for the lions, as they fell behind within 10 minutes, and for the remainder of the half Birmingham looked second best. Durham dominated possession, and while there weren’t many chances to speak of they looked the more threatening of the sides.
The second half began in similar fashion, and Durham doubled their advantage from a penalty corner. At this stage you feared for Birmingham, but their response was monumental. Almost straight from the restart Birmingham got back into the match, bundling the ball in after a good save from Durham’s keeper. 2-1 to Durham.
Five minutes later the match was level, a flowing counter attack finished from an extremely acute angle after the keeper had been rounded. A terrific finish from the Birmingham man.
Birmingham however didn’t capitalise on the momentum that was clearly in their favour following the equaliser. They sat back and Durham gained control of the match yet again for a good 15 minutes. This period culminated in Birmingham being reduced to 10 men in a controversial call; the Birmingham man accused of dissent by the referee pleaded that it was in fact the Durham man who had been the offender. The decision baffled the Bournbrook crowd and seemed to similarly affect the players, as they almost immediately conceded from a penalty corner.
3-2 to Durham and you would be forgiven for thinking the Birmingham fight back was over. But the players had other ideas. With still only 10 men on the pitch, a long ball forward and hopeful cross was brilliantly deflected towards goal to put the game in the balance yet again. But Birmingham weren’t finished, and perhaps saved the best goal till last. A cross from the left-hand touchline taken under control at the edge of the D, before a reverse stick finish low to the keepers right.
There wasn’t enough time for Durham to respond this time, and Birmingham came away 4-3 victors to the delight of the watching crowd. In terms of chances created (and the valuable short corners) Birmingham were outdone, but they put on a clinic of finishing to move them joint first in their division with a game in hand.