The Birmingham Men’s first team were involved in a thrilling game of hockey against Bristol, narrowly beating their opponents 5-4 at the Bournbrook Pitches, advancing to the quarter-finals of the BUCS Hockey Championships.
Although they dominated for large periods of the game, Birmingham were made to work hard for the victory. Fast out of the blocks, the home side were rewarded for their attacking tactics, with two early goals. With their obvious grip on the game, Birmingham altered their style, slowing play down and choosing to focus on a patient, possession-based approach.
With Birmingham sitting back, Bristol were allowed to regroup – managing to force their way back into the game with a goal out of nothing. The game was a more even setting now, with the Birmingham defence having to remain vigilant as a number of Bristol attacks threatened to provide the away side with an equaliser. However, as half-time approached, Birmingham’s two goal cushion was restored through a brilliantly worked counter attack to make it 3-1 at Bournbrook as the half-time whistle blew.
Birmingham began the second half in the same manner that they started the first. Their opponents from Bristol weren’t given any space, as the home team adopted a direct, pressing style of hockey. This approach soon began to pay dividends, with Birmingham adding a fourth goal early in the second half. But, yet again Bristol illustrated that they weren’t yet a beaten side, pulling one back from nowhere.
Sam French, a thorn in Bristol’s side all evening then took matters into his own hands – adding Birmingham’s fifth, and his third – to seemingly close the tie. However, with Birmingham looking comfortable, Bristol showed the Bournbrook fans why they’re a side held in high regard in the BUCS hockey community. Two quick-fire goals from the away side meant the score was now 5-4, with Bristol in the ascendancy and Birmingham looking rattled. However, the Birmingham team remained strong at the back, and highlighted why they’re well fancied to win the competition – holding on to secure the victory their performance warranted, much to the despair of their opponents.
Although at times it was a little too close for comfort, it was a fantastic result for the home team, who highlighted a number of impressive aspects to their game. Defensively, they remained focused during the tensest of moments, and with five great goals and a magnificent performance from Sam French in particular – they demonstrated that they’re an attacking force to be reckoned with.
With a quarter-final tie looming, Birmingham will certainly have one eye on the cup, and after a fine performance to see off a very strong Bristol side – there’s no reason why they shouldn’t believe that they can win it.