At a packed Sportspark, Men’s Hockey took a pulsating 5-4 victory over their Essex counterparts in testing conditions.
Last year, the game between the two sides was a superb encounter as UEA recovered from two goals down to win 4-2, and Essex were out for revenge in this year’s fixture.
The first half saw both sides start brightly, with Essex having some good possession and UEA also having some good moments in the early exchanges. However, as the opening period went on it was the home side who began to dominate, but as the snow fell their goalkeeper was forced into a superb reaction save from an Essex shot.
UEA quickly took the lead thanks to a tap-in at the back post and doubled their advantage shortly after. Unfortunately, the home side could not hold their lead for long, as they scored a controversial first goal when a defender looked to have been impeded in the build-up. Essex scored an equaliser just moments later. The scores were now level at 2-2 after a superb comeback from the away side.
They were not level for long though, as a short corner by UEA was tapped in, giving them the lead before the half-time whistle sounded, with the score at 3-2.
Essex began the second half well, as they forced a UEA defender to clear off the line, as they pushed hard for another equaliser. Another fantastic save denied Essex once more, and momentum swung to the home side who pushed forward and in a rare foray forward scored again thanks to another close-range effort.
The game became more stretched as the away side rampaged forward, and they scored quickly as a speculative shot crept in to reduce the score to 4-3 to UEA. Essex continued to push forward but the home side’s defence held firm, with the visitors seeing two players sin-binned in quick succession to reduce them to nine men.
UEA then scored a fifth goal and saw another shot cleared off the line, although Essex hit back quickly to score their fourth and keep the deficit to just one goal going into the final stages.
The visitors had a late short corner; their final chance to find an equaliser. However, UEA defended stoutly to shepherd the ball out of play, with the full-time whistle sounding just moments later to scenes of wild celebration among the home side’s players and spectators.
It was a superb win for the hosts in what was a nail biting game, as they secured another point in their quest to take an overall victory in Derby Day.