The University of Birmingham Men’s Hockey second team fell to an agonising defeat, in a thrilling encounter against Leeds on the Bournbrook. Having beaten their opponents in the reverse fixture before Christmas, Birmingham had the opportunity to climb above the away side in the table, but a clinical Leeds outfit proved too strong on what was a wet and windy Wednesday afternoon.
The hosts began well, racing into an early 2-0 lead. Clearly well prepared following the Christmas break, the Lions scored from back to back penalty corners. The first of which was a slightly delayed shot that completely decieved the Leeds goalkeeper.
The Birmingham start clearly rattled Leeds, who knew that unless they responded quickly were facing back to back defeats. However soon after got the stroke of luck they required. Following a long ball forward, somehow the ball found its way into the back of the net, despite an excellent effort from the Birmingham keeper who did well to get a hand on the ball.
By half-time Leeds had completely spun the game on its head. They sat deep, pressed well and countered with pace and precision on the break. They equalised at 2-2 after a fantastic turn inside the box before taking the lead following a fantastic counter attack that was eventually turned in on the rebound.
A compelling game was narrowly poised at the interval, and despite trailing by a goal Birmingham had every chance of turning the match around. They began the second-half well, but a scrappy Leeds goal gave the visitors a vital two goal cushion, one of which would that would be difficult to overturn.
However Birmingham, knowing the game was slipping away from them, responded instantly. A fantastic cross was turned in at the near post and all the pressure that the Lions had exerted was finally rewarded.
With now only being a goal behind, Birmingham knew they had every chance of a thrilling fightback. Though spirited Leeds defence meant it was not to be, with away side even adding a fifth goal on the counter attack meaning they took home a 5-3 victory.
A frustrating day for the Lions but one on another day they may well have won, they can take plenty of confidence into the rest of the season and press for a top half finish.