On a cold and windy game day, the University of Birmingham Hockey Men’s 2nd team took on Dundee 1sts. Both teams being top of their leagues going into this cup fixture, with it all to play for a crowd gathered expecting a tight match between these two teams. Birmingham had won their previous league encounter 11-3 demonstrating their fantastic goal scoring ability, while Dundee won theirs 4-0 showing their own good form.
It was clear that Birmingham wanted this win. Their warm up was fast paced, intense and focused. From the first whistle of the game Birmingham gave it their all. This was rewarded as within the first 5 minutes of the game, Birmingham secured their first goal making it 1-0 to the Lions. The goal came from open play leading to a Birmingham playing having a 1v1 with Dundee’s goalkeeper. The goalkeeper logged and the Birmingham player took full advantage of this by simply flicking the ball over him into the net of the goal. Scoring so early on gave Birmingham the confidence that if they continued playing with intensity they could win this match and move on into the next round of the cup.
Although Birmingham had the majority of the possession, Dundee did escape with the ball and break a few times putting the Birmingham defence and goalkeeper under pressure. It was unfortunate for Dundee as one of their players hit the post not once, but twice attempting to score. The great goalkeeping by Birmingham and overall solid defensive structure made sure Dundee could not get the ball over the goal line no matter how hard they tried.
Birmingham as shown through their previous match scores capitalise on every opportunity in their attacking D as after another 15 minutes of play they were rewarded with another goal. This goal came from a few Birmingham players within the D working together in what is known as the ‘ugly zone’ in hockey in order to confuse the keeper and allowing the Birmingham attack to secure their lead making it 2-0. Just before half time, Birmingham managed to grasp another goal through open play to their tally this game making it 3-0 to lengthen their lead.
After half time, Dundee picked up their pace and their forwards applied more pressure to the Birmingham defence by closing them down more quickly. This forced the Birmingham defence to make multiple unsuccessful passes, one which resulted in the Dundee forward getting a shot on goal. However, once again the Birmingham goalkeeper was equal to it, preserving his clean sheet. The pressure continued and resulted in Birmingham receiving cards from the umpires. A green card was awarded to a defensive player for a nasty stick tackle outside the D, however later on in the game a Birmingham midfielder, from what it looked like to the crowd, purposely obstructed a Dundee player with the ball and pushed him therefore being shown a deserved yellow card by the umpire leaving Birmingham with only 10 players.
However being a man down did not affect Birmingham’s standard of play as they scored a fourth goal of the day through open play yet again. A fantastic goal by the Birmingham forwards who looked fluid all day. One player dribbled through and out skilled the Dundee defence who passed to another forward for him to cross it across the goalkeeper’s toes for an amazing diving deflection by another team mate. A truly great team goal.
With the score now being 4-0 Dundee started to become deflated and frustrated throughout the game allowing Birmingham to continue on with their goal scoring ability. The Dundee defence become fatigued due to the constant pressure from the Birmingham forwards with their continuous wave after wave of attack. This continued pressure from Birmingham was rewarded with more goals come pouring in for the Lions with the fifth being a similar goal to the fourth with a sneaky cross and deflection into the net.
The sixth goal was the first goal to come from a set-play, a short corner whereby the Dundee defence were too exhausted to run out leaving space for Birmingham to play around with the ball in front of the goalkeeper for yet another easy goal. Brum’s eight came following a series of shots aimed at the Dundee goalkeeper were saved, however when he attempted to clear the ball it went straight to a Birmingham forward who volleyed it with a reversed stick into the roof of the net. Another fantastic goal that was really appreciated by the crowd, and the scorers teammates who lifted him into the air in celebration.
UoB’s eight goals mean they proceed through to the next round, the amount of goals not only demonstrated Birmingham’s brilliant ability to capitalise on every opportunity, especially as all but one came from open play it also shows how well they communicate and work as a team. Whoever faces Brum’s seconds in the next round will be wary of them following this destructive performance.