Scorers: Gent x2, Bean x2, Boyne
MoM: Dan Gent
DoD: Matt Carney
CHC vs Oxford Hawks
With a fairly disjointed start to the day with two late absentees, the first team took to the game with two subs and some last minute juggling of positions.
Off the back of the re-jig, Dan Gent stepped up out of midfield and into the forward line to assume the position of ‘target man’ in much the same way Mourinho likes to utilise the strength and power of his centre forward to bully the opposition. Although the similarities in stature to the Drogba’s and Lukaku’s of this world are not immediately obvious, the results were just as pronounced with the the 17-year-old getting his first 1st XI goal with a tidy finish early in the first quarter, dropping his shoulder and flicking the ball into the net amongst a congested circle.
A strong start from Canterbury had them in the ascendancy from the off with Oxford struggling to recognise the home teams midfield structure. This afforded the likes of Matt B-B, Craig Boyne, and Hamish Roberts space to exploit with Tom Degiovanni being the linchpin as he continues his impressive start to the season.
In the second quarter, a break away goal, garnished with a sprinkling of ‘back stick or no back stick’ controversy, for Oxford saw them draw level despite Canterbury’s control.
During half-time, the feeling was good amongst the team although the equaliser came as a stark reminder of the dangers of getting too carried away in their own attacking play.
The third quarter progressed in much the same way with Canterbury on the front foot but as time went on, the second goal eluded them until Conor Annand cleverly won a penalty corner near the end of the quarter which was dispatched by Tom Bean to settle the nerves.
From there, the flood gates opened, Canterbury extended their advantage through a clinical backhand finish into the side-board from Craig Boyne – when he arrived late onto a ball in space, there weren’t many at Polo who expected anything but a goal from the coach.
Another penalty corner from Bean made it 4-1 in the final quarter before Dan Gent popped up again on top of the circle to hit a back-hand first time and send the ball darting through the keepers legs to double his first team account and top off a great day for him and the team.
Oxford rallied in the final few minutes but thanks to a few smart saves from Chris Rea in goal, their deficit was kept to four and Canterbury saw out the game fairly comfortably.
After a couple of good performances against some tough opposition, the team felt some pressure to take home their first three points of the season and deliver a performance to excite those at Polo who braved the weather.
With a composed and mature performance from the whole team, we are hoping this can be the catalyst for a good run of games ahead, starting with Brighton away next weekend.