Hockey Blues turn up the heat

Stuart Penman 21 February 2008

A great result means the Blues are now within a point of the two teams above them.

The Blues started brightly but were unfortunate to go a goal behind early doors.

The increased confidence levels among the players has been evident since Christmas and the deficit didn’t seem to matter. The players forced themselves level with a well worked penalty corner goal from Jez Hansell.

There were opportunities to go ahead when Firebrands had a man sin-binned, but the Blues failed to transfer their numerical advantage onto the scoreboard. At half-time the game was perfectly poised, with both sides creating chances.

Conversely, the second began frantically, with neither side being able to sustain effective periods of possession. It was the Firebrands who fashioned and took the next opportunity, but the Blues were soon back level with a well created goal from Phil Balbirnie.

The Blues were then a tad unfortunate to have two players sin-binned in fairly quick succession as the umpires got a bit card-happy and tried to even up the game. However the defence held strong and the team’s fitness started to show in the final minutes.

Simon Ashton, having recovered sufficiently from a broken nose in the first half, gave the Blues the lead with 5 minutes to go and Cambridge looked certain to hold on to victory.

It was left to another Hansell penalty corner to rub painful salt into the Firebrands’ open wounds and to add gloss to Cambridge’s scoreline.

Stuart Penman